December 3rd is Make a Gift Day, a day to turn our efforts toward creating a homemade gift just in time for the upcoming holidays! Today gives us the chance to express our creative and crafty sides, but it also serves to remind us that gifts from the heart are the best gifts of all. Many recipeints would rather recieve a homemade gift than a store-bought one for this very reason — it is born from the thoughtfulness and love of the giver.
I’ve always been a big proponent of handmade gifts. In fact, even in the midst of all of our crazy wedding planning, I stayed up late for several nights in order to make a handmade embroidered stuffed owl for each of my bridesmaids, complete with their name and the date of the event on each little owl tush. And every winter Chris and I try to create some homemade gifts to give to our friends and family in conjunction with our traditional Christmas gift exchange. A couple of years ago we stayed up all night to make lavendar sachets, presumabley for everyone’s sock or underwear drawers. It turned out to be a daunting task since I hadn’t realized that sitting hunched over a pound of lavendar for a few hours could have a negative impact on my respiratory system. Now even a faint whiff of lavendar is enough to send my body into a subconscious panic.
Over the past few years we’ve standardized on an annual gift that many of its recipients rave about: our “Polka Dot Brownies” in a jar. I look forward to creating the jars layered with sugar, flour, chocolaate chips, and more each and every year. In fact, to celebrate Make a Gift Day, tonight I started the 2011 batch of jar recipes. The hardest part of our yearly jar project is making sure we have enough of all the ingredeints, but a quick shopping trip at the wholesale club earlier this week yielded twenty pounds of sugar and flour, and oodles of dark and white chocolate chips so I had everything I needed. The first time Chris and I made the jars our kitchen was a mess and the project took several days. But I’ve improved my methods over the years and can now produce several dozen in just a few hours, assembly-line style. With a little love, elbow grease, and maybe even a little magic, the jars are all packed and prettied, waiting to go home with their future owners, to be transformed into delicous brownies.