It’s no secret that I love Christmas music. I would probably listen to it year round if it was socially acceptable.  (Though it would a little strange to listen to snowy music when it is warm and sunny outside.)  In the past (on my other blog) I’ve done a few lists of my favorite Christmas songs from different decades.  This year, I thought I’d share one of my favorite Christmas songs every day on this little blog! So here goes.

My song for today is Happy Xmas (War is Over) by John Lennon.  It’s an oldie and a classic and still one of my favorites.

It has been re-done several times over the years, but nothing really beats the original.


A few years ago, I participated in a Handmade Christmas campaign led by my blogger friend Heather.  I normally try to make as many gifts myself as I can handle, but this campaign encouraged me to take it to another level and make even more than I normally do.  I came out of the experience with realizations about my abilities, and a new appreciation for those who make things for a living.I also took away lots of tips for future handmade gifting.

Handmade Tip #1: It always seems like you have more time than you do.  Time goes by quickly – especially during the Holiday season, so be sure not to overbook your crafty projects.


The term “handmade” has grown so much with the insurgence of Pinterest and other sites that allow you to easily customize things and make them your own. (I am actually kind of glad that Pinterest didn’t exist (I don’t think?) when I did this handmade Christmas project, because there are SO many things that look fun/cute/awesome to make, it may have been overwhelming.)  To me, handmade can mean many different things including (but not limited to): yarn craft, photography, cooking, baking, writing, card making, and personalizing.

Handmade Tip #2: Make sure you make it clear to your husband (or anyone else in your household) that what you are making is to give away as a gift – not for immediate eating.


Since Etsy and Pinterest have come around, I feel like the prevalence of hand made gifts has been more popular than ever.  People that never thought they could give hand made because they couldn’t make it themselves now have an outlet for simple ideas in Pinterest (though, not everything that looks simple is actually that easy!) or a place to buy handmade gifts made by others in Etsy.  There are of course local craft fairs to buy from too, which I think are becoming more popular (and drawing a younger crowd) as well.

Some of my favorite things to give that are handmade:

  • Knit hats.  I love giving these, especially as baby gifts.  They knit up quickly, and what kid doesn’t look adorable in a hand knit hat?!My go-to pattern for gifting:  For infants, I usually just keep it simple stockinette stitch and mix up the colors with some stripes, for adults I like the Gitana Hat or the Pincushion Hat.
  • Knit scarves.  I don’t give these as often, since I feel like most people wear hats but not everyone wears scarves, but these are great for gifting in colder climates.  Scarves also generally knit up quickly and are usually less intimidating that hats. My go-to scarf pattern for gifting:  The Gaptastic Cowl which is a bulky infinity scarf.  (I have one myself and it is the warmest and coziest scarf I own.)  For more advanced knitters, I also love the Volcano Cowl.
  • Baked Goods.  Who doesn’t like muffins, cookies, and/or bread?  (Just make sure you know the dietary restrictions/preferences for the people you are gifting to!) My favorite baked goods options: Applesauce Spice Bread, Chocolate Chip Nutella Cookies, Chocolate Crinkle Cookies, Chocolate Chip Dough Balls, Snickerdoodle Blondies.
  • Granola. Personally, I am not a huge granola fan but it is pretty simple to make, and usually pretty healthy.  My favorite granolas: Chocolate Chip Cookie Granola, and Easy Toss and Bake Granola.
  • Nuts. Again, I’m not a huge fan, but they are fairly easy to make, and to me, roasted/candied nuts are a pretty Wintery gift, generally healthy, and I know a lot of other people who enjoy them.  Some of my favorite nuts to gift: Mexican Hot Chocolate Roasted Almonds.

So, tell me, what are you making for gifts this year?

**portions of this post originally appeared on my other blog, Brownies and Zucchini**