I personally think it is so satisfying to make handmade holiday gifts for loved ones vs. purchasing clothing or items that...let's face it, no one really needs.
It's sad to see people making long lists of material items with expectations of 'more, more, more'. Ugh. When I see people do this, I immediately want to hug them and tell them they don't know the true meaning of Christmas (but I would never do that -haha)!
In a season of such gross excess, I wanted to share what I will be gifting my loved ones this year!
I love to bake, create delicious meals or schedule quality time together. So, I typically choose from those three options.
There is absolutely nothing better than hot chocolate by the fire with loved ones, a homemade meal of your loved ones favorite foods or wrapping a big bow around a jar of moist warm chocolate chip cookies.
Here is what I am whipping up this year:
Homemade Cookies + Homemade Almond Milk:
Is there anything better - truly -than homemade cookies & almond milk to wash them down? I think not. My favorite cookie recipes are from Oh She Glows.....particularly Angela's Gluten Free Snickerdoodle Cookies (so crazy good)! And the easiet & delectable homemade almond milk is by Deliciously Ella - a must try!
Munchie Bowl for Mom Friends:
My friends who are mom are like superwomen! They do it all and make it look completely effortless (when I know the level of effort they are putting into raising a child and children)! I am in awe of them!
So I came up with this idea to gift them 'Munche Bowls'! It's a rather simple prepared meal in a bowl - quinoa, mashed sweet potatoes, glazed carrorts, sun dried tomato crackers, kale salad, etc. The whole thought behind a 'Munchie Bowl' is that they often do not have time to cook or eat themselves because they are so busy feeding their families. It's SO wonderful to receive an organic homemade meal prepared for you. It just is. Put a big festive bow around a Munchie Bowl and make someone in your life happy!
Simple Mills Banana Muffins:
It does not get any easier or healthier than a basket full of freshly baked Simple Mills Banana Muffins. And there are so many products to choose from (here). I think Simple Mills products are crowd pleasers because they are all delicious with the added benefits of being gluten free, soy free, paleo/vegan friendly (you can use an egg subsitute) and gum free. You cannot go wrong and the muffins take about 8 minutes to make and 12-15 minutes to bake! Easy peasy & yummy!
Angela Liddon of Oh She Glows has THE BEST dairy free hot cocoa recipe! Making some over the stove while you & friends or family bundle up in the living room is pure bliss. It also serves a dual purpose of treating them not only to a scrumptious hot coca but also, spending quality time together.
The pace of the holidays is pure madness so, a festive night w/ loved ones, by the fire is the best gift of all.
Indulging in a healthy workout together is yet another idea!
Grab a friend and walk the 606, hit the gym, choose a pilates class (Chi50 Megaformer Chicago in Bucktown is supposed to be incredible). I first heard about the latter from Ashlee Piper of The Lil Foxes.
Get moving together!
And finally, spend quality time together strolling through the city feeling the magic of the twinkling lights overhead! There are numerous events in the city that do not cost a dollar to attend. I even think watching ice skators at Millineium Park raises the holiday spirit!
December & Christmas are fast paced & the holidays 'could' be such a special season to gather together and love on those you love! Choose peace, choose togetherness, choose less materialism & choose love!
Grab a cup of hot cocoa. It's been awhile. Let's chat.
What a season folks. This last quarter of 2016 has the country riding waves of massive change.
Where do I begin today.
I deliberately made the decision not to engage in discussions via the election on Snapshots of Wellness or elsewhere via social media. I genuinely believe that at such a sensitive time across the world, discussions need to be taking place face to face, over coffee, in living rooms & across tables. My hope is that as President Trump is inaugurated in January, people take a step back and observe their own behavior through the election and presently. My hope is that people make decisions to spring into action to better the lives of others by being of service. I pray that people push 'pause'...amidst their emotional reactions.....and that by self reflection, real lasting change emerges.
We all want change. But, so many are completely unwilling to do the work to create that change. Because change can be excruciatingly difficult and we are a country who values comfort, materialism and success to a degree that change isn't our thing.
It's hard to write about holiday gifts and recipes when people in Syria & elsewhere are being tear gassed and losing their lives.
So, let's talk about 'If'....
What if everyone reading this today donated to Save The Children which provides enormous aid to Syrian children......wow, what if.
What if each of us, instead of talking so much about President Trump and where 'we stand' with him being President, asked one another what we are going to do to make this world a better place. And then we actually listened...and then followed through.
What if we each listened to one another to 'understand' vs. simply responding to defend our righteousness. Hmmm, what if.
What if we each took the money we were going to use to buy our loved ones holiday gifts we don't even need and donated that money to a charity whose dollars go 100% directly to the cause. Ponder that. Can you imagine if we ALL did that.......wow, what if.
What if we gathered together.....communally......on weekends and became strategists together via how we can 'give back' to those in need. Can you imagine if we chose to do that? What if.
What if we actually followed God's Word. What if we actually obeyed Him. Do you think your relationships would change? Do you think you would change? Do you think you would know Him better? Yeah....hmmm...what if.
What if we all lived with less. And shared the rest with those who are hurting. What if we did that....what if.
What if we loved one another the way God intended. What if.
What if we spoke out and SPOKE UP about social injustice when we see it? Scary I know but, what if.
What if we EACH protected the voiceless. I am thinking the world might shift....what if.
What if we each got educated on health, wellness. climate change, sustainability. Yes, even those of you who already think you've mastered these topics. What if you opened yourself up to learning even more. What if your health improved as a result? What if your families lives improved? What if your neighborhoods improved? What if.
What if we stopped seeking comfort. And we stopped seeking what WE want and desire. And we started seeking what God is seeking. What if.
What if we all stopped being so self involved and started being selfless. Would your day to day life change? What if.
What if....as a result of so much change, we all lived in a brand new world where no one felt alone and no one was left behind.
It is possible to become discouraged about the injustice we see everywhere. But God did not promise us that the world would be humane and just. He gives us the gift of life and allows us to choose the way we will use our limited time on earth. It is an awesome opportunity. Cesar Chavez
Created and curated by Kelly, Snapshots of Wellness encourages all of you to cultivate your 'joie de vivre': Compassion for Animals via food, style & lifestyle.