giving: holiday inspiration from the archives.

November 25, 2019
corded wreath with winter greens | reading my tea leaves

This is one of my very favorite times of year for doing the work I do. I love spending much of the months of November and December writing and creating around the themes and giving and gifts, mirth and merriment.

This year, as ever, I have a whole crop of new ideas that I’m bursting at the seams to share with you, but before I do, I thought I’d compile a list of some of my favorite holiday gifts and projects from the archives.

They’re old standbys that I return to year after year—tweaking to meet changing moods or minds or the time available. I thought it might be helpful to see them all in one spot, and so here they are, a few favorites from Novembers and Decembers past. (And above, one tiny sneak peek of what’s to come this year.)

Edible Gifts:

Gifts for a host or snacks for yourselves, here are a few simple, edible treats to make at home and bring along to wintry gatherings or offer to visiting friends:

Candied Orange Peel

Chocolate Hazelnut Spread

Boiled Apple Cider Syrup

Mulling Spices & Mulled Wine

Advent Calendars:

If Christmas is the holiday you celebrate, or if an entirely secular countdown to the end of year sounds festive, here are some ideas from my family’s evolving advent traditions:

A Clutter-Free Advent Calendar

+ plus an updated advent calendar for growing families

A Peace & Justice Advent Calendar

A Book Advent Calendar

+ plus even more wintry book suggestions.

Simple Gifts:

I love to point readers in the direction of beautiful handmade objects, but balancing those special gifts with more affordable options is something most families, my own included, need to do in a time of year that can demand a lot of resources. Here, ideas for simple gifts that don’t require a huge amount of savings.

Stocking Stuffers

Free Holiday Gifts

A Charitable Giving Primer

25 Simple Gifts Under $25, for Anyone

25 Simple Gifts Under $25, for Kids

Gift wrapping:

Taking things from trash to treasure is one of my favorite things to do, especially when it comes to gift wrapping. Here are two favorite posts for making something lovely out of not very much at all.

Make Your Own: Pom-Poms and Tassels

Gift Wrapping Alternatives


I like to deck our tiny halls with bits of nature and otherwise small and sustainable items that can pack a visual punch without requiring much in the way of storage. Here’s some of what we’ve done in the past:

Eco-friendly Efforts at the Holidays

Dried Orange Ornaments

Clutter-free Holiday Decorations

Ice Ornaments and Ice Lanterns

Put Your Christmas Tree in a Crate

And if you don’t find what you were looking for here, feel free to explore the entire collection of the gifts and giving posts.

More soon!

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  • Reply Jessica Neligon November 25, 2019 at 5:11 pm

    This is the best roundup! I can’t wait to try the book advent calendar and ice ornaments! Love love.

  • Reply Bridget November 25, 2019 at 7:29 pm

    What an incredible resource! Thank you

  • Reply Laurie Ljubojevic November 26, 2019 at 12:15 am

    I can’t wait to read your new crop of wonderful & fun ideas!

  • Reply Valeria November 26, 2019 at 5:22 am

    I want to make the ice ornaments, they are beautiful! And I’ve read about your mum’s Advent Angel idea: it sounds incredibly sweet and fun and I will try it for a few days with my husband and kids (3 and 7 yo) between Christmas and new year, when we will all be at home from school and work.

  • Reply Dee Nowak November 26, 2019 at 7:03 am

    Such beautiful and thoughtful gifts! And those ice ornaments are pretty amazing.

  • Reply steph November 26, 2019 at 8:02 pm

    love this roundup, especially the free gift list! last year i received haikus tied with date ideas and they are still the best gift I’ve ever received:
    i’ve finally learned how to sew and am so excited to make some stuff to gift!

    • Reply Jane December 2, 2019 at 10:24 am

      Got so much inspiration from this! Thank you, you provide incredible value.

  • Reply Isabella November 30, 2019 at 8:19 pm

    Such cute ideas! Love this post.


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