The following Holiday Gift Giving post is being brought to you by the new Hallmark movie, Northpole and has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. Of course, all opinions are mine alone. #NorthpoleFun #CollectiveBias
Today we’re going to talk about Perfect Pre-Holiday Holiday Gifts because sometimes you end up seeing friends and family before and after the holidays, and this gift will work splendidly for those you see prior to the big day.
My husband jokes that in a previous life I was a professional shopper and gift wrapper. Giving gifts is definitely my love language and I’m always looking for excuses to shower loved ones with thoughtful “prizes”….and then spending just as much time packaging those gifts as I did shopping. What he doesn’t know is that I really was a professional gift wrapper back in the day. I say “professional” jokingly, but in college I was once paid to gift wrap Christmas gifts for one of Alexandria’s high end small boutiques. There’s a serious method boutiques use to cut the wrapping paper, strategically place the tape, and perfectly tie the bows. Maybe one day I’ll get around to showing you their secrets- if I can remember how. It’s fascinating stuff.
Until then, let’s talk about the art of gift baskets. I love filling gift baskets. Love, love, love baskets. It’s like the most multi purpose vessel you can use to house your Christmas gifts. Use a basket that isn’t necessarily holiday and you’re really giving your recipient 2 gifts. The actual gift and a basket they use throughout the year.
What I also love is gifting holiday gifts that can be functional for the entire family. Especially if you’re seeing a friend or relative prior to Christmas, a family night basket is always a winner. Recently, I was in Walmart and I immediately gravitated toward the Christmas aisles and a section filled with toys and gifts that coordinated with the new holiday movie Northpole.
And when I say coordinating gifts, I’m talking about these cute mixing bowls that look like sweaters:
And this plate and cheese spreader that I immediately used to hold my cookies:
And then I went ahead and grabbed a copy of the Northpole movie because 1. I’m obsessed with watching the Hallmark channel Christmas movies 2. The movie has coordinating Northpole gifts 3. The movie + gifts make the Perfect Pre-Holiday Holiday Gift for the baker who has children they want to occupy while they whip up some cookies of their own.
For the basket (note the generic basket), I tossed in the movie, the mixing bowls, the adorable plate, some sugar cookie mix and because I got carried away, I made some decorated sugar cookies to add as well.
You know, the coordinated kind.
My grandmother said one time when she was opening a gift basket from me, “oh, I hope there’s something to eat in there”, and thus I typically try to add a homemade element into my gift baskets in the form of cookies or candies.
I also grabbed an extra set of the cookie cutters because it’s always nice to attach the cutters to the bow when you’re gifting cookies to someone. What if they really, really think your cookies are fantastic and they go to locate a similar cookie cutter and they can’t find it? That dilemma is solved my friends if you just go ahead and buy your friend a set of their own.
And while I tossed the sugar cookie mix into the basket, here’s my favorite sugar cookie recipe:
- ¾ cup butter, softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon almond extract
- 2¼ cups flour
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- Cream the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the egg as well as the vanilla and almond extract. Mix well.
- Combine all of the dry ingredients in a separate bowl, then gradually add the dry ingredients to the mixing bowl a little at a time. Mix it just until everything is combined.
- Remove the dough and wrap in plastic wrap to refrigerate. Chill the dough for at least an hour.
- When you're ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and remove the chilled dough.
- On a floured surface, roll out the dough into a rectangle about ½ inch thick.
- Cut out shapes and transfer them to a silicone mat or a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 7-9 minutes.
- Allow to cool slightly before removing to a wire rack. Let cool completely prior to decorating.
Oh, and the easiest way for me to decorate cookies being a non-cookie decorator is with the Royal Icing mix. You seriously just add water and mix. I get it from Party Time. You are MORE than welcome to use meringue powder and all that jazz.
What type of gift baskets do you enjoy gifting, or receiving? Useful? Personal? Stuff you can eat?
If you want to learn a little more about the city of Northpole you can do so here:
I was going to gift my copy but I think I’m going to cozy up with some eggnog and watch it this weekend while baking, you guessed it, more cookie swap cookies.