Christmas Treats (the joy of sharing)

I wanted to share a Christmas Idea.

Something that has helped us enjoy this holiday a bit more.

Why not think about giving out holiday treats?

We started sharing holiday treats about eleven years ago and it has really been a rich part of our holiday.

 

When we moved to Richmond in 2003, we decided early on that we were NOT going to travel for any more major holidays.  We were just tired of backed up flights and crowded highways with congestion and stress.  We might travel again for some holidays, but drawing this boundary helped us enjoy a holiday peace that has been refreshing.

We adjusted our expectations and started new traditions. One of the things this led to was delivering treats to our neighbors and community workers.

 

About six years ago, I started to grab a quick photo of some of our deliverables – and I am glad I did!priorhouse holiday treats

Each year it changes as to what we deliver and the recipients sometimes change.  The first few years we gave out homemade “peppermint bark” in baggies with huge bows. Another year we made mixed goodie bags with five dollar gift cards and gourmet coffee. Sometimes we add an ornament, stocking, or holiday towel – it depends on what I find that year.

 

priorhouse holiday treats 2

Sharing holiday treats is different than giving goodies to family members – because instead – when you reach out to give to people in the community -(who are not needy or destitute) well it has a special feel because it is unexpected and can bring a certain joy that is hard to describe.  Sometimes it can lead to making a few closer acquaintances. Also, it models giving – which is so important in a culture that consumes, takes, and accumulates!  I knew we were onto something special when the one year (think it was ’05) – my son came to me a week before Christmas and said that when we delivered our plates this year, he wanted to deliver to the cul-de-sac in the back.  There was something rich about the way he was prepping his delivery plan – and the “holiday treat shares” became an official annual tradition after that.

store bought pie for a neighbor
Don’t worry if you do not have time to bake (or just don’t want to bake) – because store bought items work wonderful for treat sharing too!

 

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A few years ago I started adding some tea bags to our plates – and added some into into our Christmas letter (yeah, we still snail mail out about 70 holiday letters each year). I stopped adding the tea bags last year, but when I was down in Florida in February, one of my cousins told me how much she loved the tea bags with the letter -and she suggested I keep doing it! 🙂

tea for holiday letters

So I am going back to adding tea bags with our mailed Christmas greeting, which is actually why I bought Talbott tea last month – I was hoping it would be a lightweight, gourmet bag of tea that would be a pleasant treat.  But the Talbott tea was SO terrible I decided to use a different brand.  Seriously, I would rather send NO tea rather than send something they would not enjoy.

In closing, sharing holiday treats each year has brought our family much joy.  Such a little thing, but it has been little things like this that have helped us enjoy life more. Contentment is cultivated and peace is sometimes something we intentionally bring in.  We save money and reduce stress by not traveling during the horrible holiday bustle.  And we have some stories to tell, like nine hours on I-4, snowed in overnight at O’Hare, a day on the Pennsylvania turnpike, standstills on I-95, stuck at DIA, etc.). We have less stress in our lives because we visit family during off season times – where we can sit and talk more.  Also, the little bit of money we use for outreach treats, well it brings a special joy that is priceless.

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The holidays can be fun, but too often the Christmas season is NOT the “most wonderful time of the year” – and so without becoming too detached – try changing your traditions, try adjusting your expectations, and try finding new ways that you can enjoy this “mixed” holiday.

short pump chirstmas tree 2012

Linked to Kan’s Joy is challenge (20)  – because joy for us – has been sharing holiday treats!

 

 


74 thoughts on “Christmas Treats (the joy of sharing)

    1. Hi! and you are so right, I forgot to mention that the joy of the recipient – because the receiver lights up and sometimes we get multiple thanks from folks because the simpleness of the treats does not usually make folks feel uncomfortable – and whew, sometimes the smiles stay with us long afterwards… thanks Musings

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  1. This is a wonderful tradition Y. For us the giving to those who we may not know and those in need is a very big part of Christmas. Wishing you and your family a wonderful season.

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  2. I love this!!! We (and I mean people here in general) try to buy something for everyone including the neighbors and coworkers, so this type of thing is perfect.
    Sharing feels awesome and what a great tradition to pass on to the next generation 🙂

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      1. speaking of living nearby – it is so cool that you live near some of my husband’s family in Colorado – – and it is a treat to see some of your pics (like the one with Pike’s Peak in the background – ahhhh rocky mountain high!)

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  3. I’m so with you on the not-travelling-during-the-holidays policy. However, this year will be the first time in over a decade that I’m spending Christmas with my family in Germany… I hope I won’t regret it. And I’m just freaked about the travel chaos, not the family per se. Still 😦

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    1. well it sounds like this will be worth any hustle and bustle – and maybe the good news is that with phones and wifi everywhere for laptops – well we can work (or read, blog, play, etc.) if we get stranded or held up – but safe travels LOC!

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  4. It’s such a lovely tradition 🙂 Reading this took me back to my childhood years, we used to do something similar – whenever we’d visit neighbors, friends and acquaintances around Christmas, we’d also bring them various holiday treats. Most of them did the same, it was often a baked goods exchange 🙂 But it was nice and it felt a lot more personal than getting them some symbolic trinket from a store.

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    1. oh how fun Ana! And we have had some reciprocation too – early on we got invited in for some food – but we explained we needed to go – and Chris and Aretha send us goodies often –
      but you are so right – it is more personal than store bought gifts – and can be um, so disarming…. ❤

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  5. what a fun tradition Yvette – I love the idea! I have a friend who brings me a pecan pie every year. It’s a very southern tradition and she’s a native Charlestonian (very rare indeed) so it’s a perfect gift. Unfortunately my husband and I still hit the road for the holidays but at the end of the day, travel nightmares notwithstanding, we still feel it’s worth it. Maybe because it’s the only way for us to enjoy the lights in the eyes of children as there are virtually none of them here on Kiawah! Anyway, happy holidays to you and yours!

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    1. Thanks Tina- and glad you find it worth it to keep traveling – that is why it is still congested because it really can be the one time everyone comes together – ❤ ❤ – and did you say southern pecan pie – oh my – because there is pie and then there is "southern pie" and I bet it weighs like 20 pounds too. O_o

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  6. That is such a sweet and thoughtful delivery goodies, Yvette! Truly beautiful and how wonderful to keep the tradition. It make me smile. I came a little later, didn’t see it earlier from my reader. Have a great week ahead. 🙂

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    1. well thanks for dropping by Amy – and the nice thing is that when I knew we were going to it each year, sometimes they have Christmas in July sales – where I can get ornaments or goodies that might work for our plates – which keep growing in number. 🙂

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  7. (EN)Carry on Y 🙂 That’s my mother way to enjoy and to mean “holidays”:-) Happy to see it here again. Thanks
    (IT) Continua Y 🙂 Quello è il modo di mia madre di festeggiare e intendere le “feste” 🙂 Felice di ritrovarlo qui di nuovo.Grazie

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  8. Love the wisdom and flexibility you share here. This idea that you can change up routines and that it’s not only okay but good sometimes is finally sinking in. You’ve got it down to an art. It’s a high pressure time of year, though sure, it can be wonderful and you’re sharing that spirit with so many lucky recipients.

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    1. thanks K – I mean b-cubed ❤ – we are still learning as we go too. 🙂 and they have given us stuff too – like one lady is a banker and she sent her daughter down with unused RIR tix – and in our cup-de-sac, J & C give us plants — Deb gave us a huge fruit basket last year and one year she gave the boys a gift card – so I am not the only one playing Santa! but I guess it really diid start something…

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  9. Hey Yvette, I love the Christmas tradition that you and your family have created 🙂 It is joyous for sure and so heart-warming. Joy truly is in giving and sharing! I love the words – “Contentment is cultivated and peace is sometimes something we intentionally bring in”. Thank you so much for this beautiful entry. Here’s wishing you and your family a lovely holiday season. <3<3<3

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    1. Thanks so much Kan – 🙂 – and I just heard a recent book title – called “From survival mode to thriving mode” (something like that) and I guess this staying home for the holidays is one thing that just helped us do that…
      have a great day K

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  10. I’ve said it before, and I just have to say it again! You are a thoroughly nice person, Yvette. 🙂
    If the world only turned in your style a little more, it would be a happier place. Christmas hugs to you!

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  11. You all have wonderful joy in your hearts and spread it so gleefully! And as such, I am happy for everyone around you! Staying at home, too, helps your family enjoy each other and friends as well. Indeed, I am not fond of following humanity to destinations… Go when it isn’t crowded and weather predictable!

    ps Even if you say you purchase on occasion, that’s still a lot of baking!

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  12. Oh Yvette,
    This was a beautiful post full of sweet notions (and treats) from a great lady. I should call YOU mama joy!!
    I’ve always loved giving treats for the holidays and used to do it when I worked at the hospital (pumpkin cake rolls!). I fell out of habit when I started having babies. Just this year, my best friend and I are going to start a new tradition. We are going to bake our gifts together. She’s such a hoot and makes me laugh everyday…I’m sure that we won’t have any fun at all 😉
    Now, I must know….what brand of tea did you settle on???
    Happy Holidays my friend! xoxoxox

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    1. thanks Mamma joy – and your day of baking sounds fun – I know a few gals that do it around here – and one lady (Jen N) – well they make a factory load of stuff and it takes a few days to prep for their huge day (oh my goodness) –
      yet for me, any holiday baking really also doubled with what the kids needed – and I bake and cook less and less the older they get – ha! I like it a little – but not an area I love for “me” – but more as a mom with kids (ya know), but for a short while (about 3 years in a row) when they were younger – we met up with 2 other families and all made cut-out xmas cookies- rolled, cut, baked, iced, etc. For a few years in a row, we also used to have an ornament making party we went too in early Dec. – but I am actually glad to move into the older kid seasons – but oh the small traditions that can be fun, (maybe do it again with grandkids someday wayyy later – lol)

      oh – and the tea – well for mailings “this” year – going with the Tazo (fun names – like Rest, Focus, Thrive) and they are tasty – but way too aromatic for me to personally drink regularly – and then Ahmad (nice green and red wrappers) and fine quality. 🙂
      but for future xmas cards – going back to STASH teas – lightweight, tasty and they have christmas themed blends – so cool.
      thanks for your visit and see you soon. ❤

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      1. Love Tazo tea…loathe rolling out sugar cookies!!
        LOL! The problem with sugar cookies is that I eat too much of the dough!
        I know, I know! Salmonella!
        I have absolutely no self control….

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  13. I’m nodding my head in agreement all the way through here Y! Many years ago, back in CA, I used to make plates of goodies and treats up for friends and neighbours for Christmas and the kids and I loved it but somehow, as the years went by, I got out of the way of it. Not sure why, just other things sort of took over. Hmmm…should do it again…we do all put Christmas cards through our doors though which is nice (and we live on a cul-de-sac too!). So nice too to stay put for the holidays and not have to travel. I leave that to the boys to travel to us, but then they are getting fed and watered for free for days at a time so it’s a fair trade, LOL 🙂 Oh , and about the most wonderful time of the year, today, while doing a mammoth Christmas food shop, feeling stressed, hot and things falling out of my shopping cart, that very song was blasting out from the speakers. I was not amused :/ But you are right, we can do a lot of good by changing our expectations, especially at this polarising time of year. You always make me think 🙂 I hope your Christmas brings you and yours joy, peace and love in abundance mon amie ❤ ❤ ❤

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    1. thanks Sherri – and glad I get those cognitive wheels turning – just like those “roundabouts” that still make me think of you – anyhow, regarding how you said got away form doing things – I bet it is also partly to just evolving with the maturing family –
      and oh I can picture that song playing – and blaring! lol –

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    1. well if could bring you a plate dear Z – it would be these organize protein bars (for your mind so you can keep studying and keep al those brian things firing) and then some cocoa and coconut manna (for flavor and taste) and some other goodies just for Z to keep flying by and visiting us!
      💞💫🎄

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      1. Awwh so very sweet of you Y, Would love to have those bars. My mom gives me almonds every morning to sharpen my brain 😀

        I would love to have whatever goodies you send but nothing will keep me from visiting you ever! 😉 ❤

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  14. I have been doing this for years, as I love to bake & share! Even this year, as tight as our budget was, the grandkids & I (they’re still kind of little, so mostly I!) baked cookies for the neighbors and a few others. Like you, different years bring different goodies and the recipient list may change a bit here & there . . .
    When my daughter was small, we actually knew who our mailman and garbage collector by name and made them containers of goodies, too! These people made a difference in my life & made it easier – I wanted them to know I appreciated their contribution to my life, regardless if they were paid or not.
    You are a good woman, Yvette!! (Yes, if that sounded Southern, I am . . . 😉 ) I like the way you think. Been catching up with you today 🙂 If I ever met you in person, I can tell we’d be great friends! Hope you are enjoying your Sunday!!

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    1. wow – we have some stuff in common – and we also take care of the mail carrier & trash guys – and have made some friends – and I agree = we do have a lot in common – except I am a Northerner my friend, but I have become an adaptable yankee who might even use ya’ll once in a while. ha!

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