This holiday season, and for good reason, many people are electing to forgo gift giving, crying 'too much materialism, too much stuff!!!' I couldn't agree more. Buying and giving gifts out of a sense of obligation, competitiveness or plain old habit isn't exactly harmonizing with the true purpose of the holidays. Enough is enough.
However, it's also important to not to lose site of the spirit of the season. There's true joy in watching someone opening a gift you've carefully selected just for them, or in receiving something that's exactly what you need right now.
Giving and receiving are powerful teachers, and when we engage wholeheartedly with either one, we are expressing our generosity and gratitude, appreciation and love. (Now these are things we really need!) So the question becomes not whether we should by gifts this holiday, but how do we give and why. What are we trying to express?
The kitchen is a perfect place to explore this. Homemade jams and jellies, cookies and cakes, sweets and savories are gifts that give several times over: the delight in making them, the joy in receiving them and, often, the pleasure passing them around and sharing with others.
These homemade treats say a lot. They are tokens of our time and talents, our patience, passion and vision. They come from ideas in our heads and the efforts of our hands and the feelings in our hearts. When you give a homemade gift, you are literally giving a part of yourself.
Here's a few ideas from The Kitchn and other sources. I'm sure there will be more in the weeks to come!
- Macarons, a challenging but oh so good cookie from France, wrapped in a pretty box
- Quince Cordial in a vintage jar with a handmade label
- Gourmet's amazing 68 years of cookies
- anything by Cannelle et Vanille
- a selection from our Un-Gift Guide 2007
- pear-cardamon butter and a bag of biscotti or a sweet package of granola
What are your plans for gifts this holiday? Do they involve the kitchen? Do you feel connected and excited or bored or obligated about your holiday traditions?