I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I really love Christmastime. It may sound cheesy, but I do believe this is the most wonderful time of the year.
Each and every year, I write out my thoughts on Christmas and include a handmade holiday gift guide. This year, I’m going to keep it short and sweet. I’ll include some of my text from last year’s post, as I think it sums up all that I want to say.
I love Christmas: I love the baking, the decorations, the gifting, the crafting, the music, the family, the traditions, and the nostalgia of it all.
If only it were as simple as that. But there’s the ugly side of Christmas: The shopping malls, the parking lots, the Black Friday lines. The anxiety, stress, and despair. The wish lists, greed, credit card debt, and consumerism. The poor, the broken, the forgotten, the needy.
It’s all so unsettling.
But four years ago, I watched one short video (from the wonderful folks at The Advent Conspiracy) and it changed the way I do Christmas. The message was so simple and clear: Love All, Spend Less, Give More.
Those six little words pack quite the punch. They’ve given me a new outlook, they’ve given me hope. Christmas is different, in the best way.
For the past four years, I’ve made most of my Christmas gifts. I find so much joy in the process and I have a ton of fun getting creative with gifts. I don’t pretend to be superwoman and I certainly don’t try to take on too much. I do purchase gifts from local businesses and artisans, and I’ll also pick up things at vintage and thrift stores.
This year, I put together A Handmade Holiday Pinterest Board, with 25 handmade gift ideas. There’s a little something for everyone – ornaments, terrariums, spice blends, jams, sauces, and more. Take a look!
Lastly, I am including a simple and delicious recipe for homemade granola with coconut, almonds, and dates. I plan on giving jars of this granola to various friends and family for Christmas.
You can’t go wrong with the gift of granola!
- 1/4 cup coconut oil
- 1/4 cup olive oil (or vegetable oil)
- 1/2 cup honey
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3 cups oats
- 1 cup shredded coconut
- 1/2 cup roasted coconut chips (from Trader Joe’s)
- 1/2 cup toasted almonds
- 1 cup dried dates, pits removed and roughly chopped
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- Generous pinch of sea salt
- Preheat the oven to 325°. Line two baking sheets with parchment or a Silpat.
- In a small pot, heat the coconut oil, olive oil, and honey over low heat. Whisk together until coconut oil is melted and the mixture is combined. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and spices.
- In a large bowl, toss together the oats, shredded coconut, and chopped dates. Toss with the honey and oil, to coat. (Note: I don’t add in the toasted almonds and coconut chips until after baking.)
- Pour onto prepared baking sheets. Using a spatula, spread granola into an even layer.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until granola is golden brown. Check granola every 5 minutes and stir, if needed. Allow the granola to cool on the baking sheets. Once cool, mix in the coconut chips and toasted almonds. Store in airtight containers in the pantry. Granola will keep for 1-2 weeks.
Adapted from La Casa De Sweets