Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Christmas Basket

The Christmas Basket has become a holiday must have at our home.  It has been around for about 6 years and provides a much needed service.  Because of my husband's work and church calling we have many people that stop by our home with little gifts of Christmas love. We love it!...but find ourselves unprepared with a little something in return.  That's where the Christmas Basket saves the day.  
Each person or family that drops by is encouraged to come in, stay awhile, chat and when ready to leave invited to take a little something special from our Christmas basket.

As the season progresses (and as I have more time) the basket grows in it's contents.  Christmas books, sparkling cider and dollar store candy cane filled tubes have always been a hit.  Our school principal dropped by one year and said, "Kate told me all about this basket...I needed to come check it out for myself!"  He did and of course went home with a little extra something.  

Our smart neighborhood children caught on to our idea rather quickly and seem to visit us often during the holidays.  Well...we've got something new for them this year!

Rudolph Treats!  It was getting a bit expensive to stock the basket so our little neighbors now get to choose from the framed Reindeer/Santa/Frosty treats.
This idea came from here
The treat container tutorial is here
Pebbles in my Pocket sell the complete packets to make 6 reindeer.  Or you can make your own...very easy and quick. 

Visit our blog tomorrow for some last minute gift ideas.  Jen's Christmas kitchen has been pumping out neighbor gift goodies all day!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Candy Cane Brownies and The Christmas Train

Peppermint Candy Cane Brownies and a book titled The Christmas Train, by Thomas S. Monson have become two of our newest 2012 family Christmas traditions.  
We have a fondness for trains at our house during the holidays.  When our first child was born we excitedly purchased a train set to decorate the space at the base of our Christmas tree.  We loved the old fashioned idea of a Christmas train.  Every year since we carefully (cause it's very old) set up the tracks and coax the train around the tree.  Over the years many children have stopped by our home during the holidays to eat a cookie or two and run the train around the track.  We turn on the little train whistle as each child breathlessly takes the controls in hand for a brief ride.  
One year the baby Jesus from our ceramic manger scene went missing.  We looked everywhere and could not find him.  When we asked our 4 year old son if he knew where the little baby was he said proudly, "Yes!  I thought baby Jesus might like a ride on the train!"  He led us to the decorated tree and we found the baby carefully placed in the boxcar of the old Christmas train.

We love the idea of reading our favorite Christmas stories with a warm cup of cocoa and a little sweet treat.  At the beginning of the season we search for a new Christmas cookie recipe to try.  This year I found a scrumptious one!  Best Bite's Peppermint Candy Cane Brownies.  So GOOD!  A favorite family tradition in the making!
Find the recipe here

We hope that trains, candy cane brownies and especially the spirit of Christmas is in your heart and home this holiday season.