Last Minute Holiday Ideas
Congratulations, you have almost made it. But if you anything like me, the holiday season is one that I would love to extend. The feeling of inviting people into your candle filled home, the fact that everyone seems a bit happier and kinder (mind you a avoid the mall), the smell of hot apple cider (or Glogg!) and home-baked cookies permeates the air, and the kids wake up each morning hoping that by some miracle a few flakes of snow will fall. These are the feelings I cherish, and the lesson I try to instill in the family. This season is about showing kindness, gratitude and love- not about getting and giving presents. Yes, we do our requisite gift giving, but we try to do our best to give from the heart and make as much as possible. So, if you are still working on those last minute holiday gifts, thank you cards, and stocking stuffers- this might be of interest to you.
One of our favorite activities is baking traditional Scandinavian holiday cookies. Not only is a fun thing to do together as a family, and the house smells amazing, but they make such a great, thoughtful gift. One of the things that we like to do is hand-deliver a bag of cookies, with a ribbon tied around and a nice note to all of our neighbors on the evening of December 23rd, just after dinner. We get our silly santa hats and reindeer antlers on and "elf"- so fun! The neighbors love the unique gift, and is a great opportunity to connect and say hello and happy New Year.
Our kids teachers, love getting cookies and a thoughtful hand-written thank you note as well. After asking some teacher friends several years back what it was they received the most of and what they wish to receive, I learned much and realized that making our teachers happy was so easy with just a little bit of thought. Teachers give so much to the classroom and to our kids, it is great to be able to show them some gratitude. But mugs, frames, and ornaments are not the ideal gifts since they receive so many already (10-15 a year, every year). Some of the best gifts are thoughtful such as coffee or hot cocoa (instead of the mug), books, items for the classroom, or sweet treats- like homemade cookies :)- along with a nice note. Some teachers also said that if you have something specific to your traditions and culture, that is a fun gift because then they learn about you and what is important to you.
So, what we do is we make traditional Danish Christmas hearts (Julehjerter) out of paper or felt and fill them with fresh baked cookies. These Julehjerte traditionally hang on Danish Christmas trees, but are a quintessential decoration all over Copenhagen. It takes a bit of effort, but makes a huge impact. In a season that has become about gift cards and games, it is great to have the opportunity to hand someone something personal.
Take a moment to think about what is personal to you and what you can do for your neighbors, teachers, mail carrier, UPS guy, or bus driver- you'll put a smile on their face.
Isn't that what it is all about anyway.
Share some of your ideas on our Facebook page and get inspired!
Happy Holidays- have fun baking cookies.