That’s what’s going on around here this week. Lots of preparing.

I made the executive decision to suspend any and all schoolwork for the week. I do this pretty much every year, and I’m always delighted with how much of my time it frees up. Honestly, I need time off from school BEFORE Christmas way more than I need it after Christmas!

I usually bake something to give to our neighbors, and this year I decided to go with cinnamon knots.

( I like to do something other than cookies or candy, just to be different, so I generally bake something yeasty.)

Fortunately, there were some cinnamon knots left for us after the girls delivered the gifts last night.

It would be sort of sad to give them allll away.

I’m making some progress on my wrapping.

I’ve sort of decided that reusable fancy gift boxes (like on the right side of the photo) are very nearly my favorite way to wrap things. They’re beautiful and easy. And in the off-season, I use them to store ribbons and other wrapping supplies.

As a result of online shopping (oh, how I love the convenience!), there’s quite a bit of cardboard piling up for the recycling bin.

On the whole, I’m feeling pretty good about the progress I’m making on my gift list.

(Even if I did have to fork over $12.95 for hurried shipping to get Mr. FG’s grandma’s photo calendar here on time. I might have procrastinated on that a bit this year. Ahem.)

How’s your holiday prep going?


Joshua’s 365 post: Little Bears


  1. says

    I’m a big fan of fancy gift boxes too (not so much the buying of them, but definitely the re-using of them!). So easy and reusable :)

    I’ve also been preparing for Christmas lately. We leave for my parents’ place tomorrow (I’m flying but Mr Omnivore has to take the train because of his recent surgeries), so we’ve been cleaning up to make sure we come home to a nice clean place in the new year.

    All of the presents have been bought/made (check out my blog for some easy homemade gift ideas, hint, hint!), except for a few bottles of wine which we can buy when we get there.

    Those cinnamon knots look delicious :)

  2. Elizabeth says

    To is a day for baking crumb cakes (lots of sense yummy crumb) for the neighbors. Tomorrow is cookies and treats for the family. It’s a small extended family so less shopping (yay). We’re doing a homemade Christmas for friends and family-canning, jewelry, decorative candle holders. Christmas on a budget with a lot of bonding and togetherness thrown in.

  3. says

    I thought about making that executive decision this week about school, but have opted to do a half-day Friday to get baking done. Enjoy your week off:)

  4. ~Dorthey says

    I’ve Made SnickerDoodles, PB Dream Bars, Toffee,
    & Pb Cookie Cups w- a Mini Reese PB Cup in them ;)
    & I’m making Meringue Cookies Today & PB Fudge
    Sat. & then Sunday 4 more Dozen of SnickerDoodles.
    I made a Lemon Loaf ( Starbuck’s ) but i Failed it
    was to Light. So that got ate here :( it was ok …
    I just wanted it to be like Starbucks ;) cuz I Luv their
    Iced Lemon loaf …. But I don’t wanna pay $2.25 a Slice
    & hv them put it in the Bag UPSIDE DOWN :( cuz the icing
    The best part STICKS to the Bag. Which makes me wanna
    Rip the bag open & Lick it off … BUT now that would be
    Real LADYLIKE …. Huh ? ;)
    But everything else is going GREAT & Nice & Relaxing
    Tonight going to go look at Christmas Lights w- Me some
    Hot Choc w- Marshmallows ( Hm Made , well from a packet
    but made at Hm ;) )
    I Use Cookie Tins I get them for $2- & Under I wait for Sale
    Or Clearance after The Holidays ;) the tins can be recycled or they
    Are giving bk to me for the next yr ;).

  5. says

    We haven’t even started wrapping, but then again, we won’t have that much to do. We keep it simple around here. Want to give a tip, though: for gifts to each other in this house, we use fabric and safety pins instead of wrapping paper and tape. Totally reusable, never tears. ;)

    • ~Dorthey says

      How CUTE ! I like the Safety pun Idea :)
      I’ve used Fabric before but we sewed it into
      Bags then put the Packages in it or Used Fabric
      N tied the ends. LoL I can’t believe I never thought
      Of using Safety Pins…. Bet that would be cute too
      With like a Little Pretend Bling glued to it ;)

  6. says

    That cinnamon knots recipe looks delicious. I may have to try that in the next day or two. I love cinnamon rolls, but can’t take the calories and prefer uniced. So, maybe the cinnamon knots going a tad light on the sugar would be a good way to do it. :)

    • Kristen says

      They ARE really sugary if you follow the directions, but you could always just lightly coat them in sugar if you wanted.

  7. Amanda says

    Oh my gosh! I have been making calendars for my grandparents the last year or two (they are a chore!), and last year I had to rush shipping. This year I started early, but just finished last week and still they are not going to be here by Christmas. Bah! It was fun to read you had something of the same experience :)

    • Kristen says

      This is very true. And yet, they often seem more special to the recipient than candy or cookies. It’s quite a winning situation!

  8. Tina Ray says

    I am giving our neighbors Chex Mix. I really don’t do cookies but I like salty snacks so that is what I make. I haven’t wrapped a thing (or rather Mr. Ray hasn’t…we won’t go there on what my wrapping looks like). But we are down to getting one gift and the rest of the material to make my gift for the family party! Whoot!

  9. says

    Great blog! Found you via a youtube video about you done by “cbnonline” a few mins ago. Have bookmarked it and read it more, at length, this coming weekend.

    Smiles from NW Illinois,

  10. says

    Wrapped gifts Tuesday. Baked on Wednesday. Today is family shopping day, where the siblings get each other gifts and gifts for mom and dad. Meeting with a friend today for breakfast and a gift exchange and two friends for dinner Friday for dinner and a gift exchange, by the weekend our family should be in relax mode with the exception of a bit of house cleaning.

  11. says

    I’m done with everything except making the fudge I promised my Husband. That happens today. I made cloth gift bags after Christmas two years ago. I use them for gifts I give in person (family) so I can get the bags back to reuse the following year. They CHANGED MY LIFE this year. I can come home from a store, wrap the gifts and have them safely hidden under the tree in 5 minutes instead of doing a stressful gift wrapathon.

  12. says

    Our holiday prep is going pretty well! Our gifts are bought, we have quite a few items wrapped, and now we are just enjoying a week with different low-key Christmas activities for the kids (today they helped wrap the grandparents’ gifts, this afternoon we will FINALLY be making Christmas decor for our door). Other preparations that need to be done include getting all the groceries needed for our Christmas and Christmas Eve meals, and de-cluttering some toys and clothing so that when the gifts roll in we have space for them.

  13. Ruth says

    Kristin, I feel really good about my holiday prep, I have you to thank for it. Your posts back in October helped me think about simplifying things this time of year, and I made some goals. I wanted to be finshed with shopping early by the start of Advent this year, and I finished most of it. I did almost all my shopping online, which to me is so great because I didn’t have to drag my two-year-old into stores with me, AND I could read customer reviews and make better decisions about what I was buying. We limited what we were buying for the kids. We had just added a bathroom to the lower level of our house, so my husband and I decided that would be our gift to each other. I made a donation to my church’s youth group and received in exchange two teenagers who came to my home and wrapped most of the gifts while our three kids were at a kids-only church event. (My husband will do his part by finishing the wrapping this weekend!) I really wanted to focus on the parts of Christmas that were the most relaxing, meaningful, and fun. I had a stressful week or two earlier this month while trying to finish 3 photo books and order Christmas photo cards (lesson learned: start much earlier on those next year, even doing a little bit at a time as photos are taken). But this past week have been pretty relaxing. I did some baking so I had some goodies to share at events. We attended one party right in our neighborhood. We went caroling with a group from church at the retirement center down the street. The Christmas cards are 99% mailed. There is usually Christmas music playing in the house. We are able to relax and watch Christmas movies with the kids. A friend from college is coming to bake with me on Saturday. (Love the baking!) This weekend we plan to take a drive and look at lights–the two-year-old loves lights! I feel like I will be able to relax and listen during the Christmas Eve and Christmas services. With fewer gifts to open, I can really watch and enjoy seeing my kids’ expressions, and then have fun trying out some of their new things with them, or maybe we’ll go sledding in the afternoon. Meals will be simple–not pizza ordering-simple, but ham, green beans frozen from our garden, a simple salad. And birthday cake for Jesus, at the request of our two-year-old. I have never felt so relaxed at this time of year. Thank you, Kristin, for suggesting that I take a look at what we were doing, make priorities, and simplify. Thank you to your readers, too, for their great ideas. It was so fun to read about what others do!

  14. says

    I made the cinnamon knots today. :) I made the knots, then sprinkled a bit of the cinnamon sugar over them and baked. Yes, I can tell I went light on the sweetness and cinnamon, but very good. I made 32 with some other modifications and I typed in all ingredients and it came to just over 100 calories each! Woohoo!

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