". . . They're gonna build a toilet around the Christmas tree . . . Mom. How would you even do that? Build a toilet around the Christmas tree? And WHO EVEN DOES THAT?"
"It's TOYLAND. Not TOILET."
"Ah! That makes more sense. Toys. What's a toyland?"
I love the English language, don't you? And Wyatt's mondegreen might be the best thing that has happened to "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town." I mean, would they move the toilet? Or would they move the tree? Or would they, as Wyatt also mused, "Get like a dozen port-a-potties and line them up in a circle around the tree?"
This week, we are working steadily to get all the things done before school lets out for winter break on Friday. In case you are (or your partner is) engaged in the seasonal emotional labor of creating thoughtful, pretty, handmade gifts that someone might actually want, look just the right amount homemade, and are low enough value that no one would mistake them for a bribe, this post is for you.
We opted for edible gifts. Here are some ideas.
Apple Butter. Here's a recipe. Personally, I washed the apples, cut out the cores, and then roasted them, unpeeled, in large chunks in baking dishes with about 1/4 inch of water in the bottom of the dish. Once soft, I pureed the apples (skin and all) in the Vitamix. And then I reduced the purée over many hours in the slow cooker on low. I added lemon juice and honey to taste just before canning. The yield is low (just over a half pound of apples made 4 ounces of apple butter), but it's delicious.
Herbed Nuts. These are the best nuts ever. I always use more sage than the recipe says because the dried sage leaves are easily the best part. Also? They keep way longer than 3 days in an air-tight container.
Granola. Granola would also be a lovely gift. I like this recipe a lot.
Caramel Corn Clusters. Yes, we make them every year. If you omit the peanuts, use more salt. This year, we substituted slivered almonds and I used 1 1/2 teaspoons of Diamond Kosher salt, and the result was perfect.
Choose appropriately-sized mason jars and then conscript the other members in your family to decorate and label them. We used a gold paint pen, some address labels, and a snowflake paper punch with a glue stick to make these jars fancy. We also used tie-on tags to personalize them. Double-sided-satin ribbon around the top of the jar looks pretty great, too. (The caramel corn clusters would work in jars, but I usually use treat bags because the shape is more forgiving, and I tie them closed with red and white baker's twine.)