If you can see the happiness in my face, you would know Christmas is on its way! It's almost December, my most festive month of all and I am excited! I love Christmas (who doesn't)! I love the entire holiday season, completely and absolutely. Visiting the local tree farm to cut our own tree, decorating the house, the lights, the movies, the warmth of the kitchen, the concerts, the music, the baking, the friends and family gatherings, the GOODNESS in the air - everything!
Rod Stewart on the record player is rekindling my Christmas spirit "Let your heart be light, next year all our troubles will be out of sight..." A mug of hot cocoa is waiting to warm my hands and body. Through the window, the first light snowfalls peacefully marking the beginning of winter. Sugar cookies are in the oven, the fragrance of vanilla and spices scents the air. I can't imagine the season without the ritual of Christmas cookies: making the dough, rolling it out, cutting with cookie cutters and waiting for the bells, and doves, and the stars to transform into sweet, soft goodies for eating. This year I am leaving aside all these cutters and stamping my cookies with a cookie stamper "HOMEMADE". How cool is that! Self-described cookies! I am wrapping up these imprinted treats beautifully, writing the recipe on the gift tag made out of my holiday photos, tying the bag with hemp ribbon and will soon knock on the neighbor's door on the left. For my neighbor on the right, I am combining dry milk, cocoa powder, sugar, miniature chocolate morsels and marshmallows in a jar, wrapping the jar with a ribbon and a tag, sticking it with Reindeer Candy Cane and I am ready to offer the ultimate drinks for warm holidays. For the house on the other side of the street, I am preparing a fruit and nut oatmeal mix. For my friends, I am grinding herbes de Provence and lavender and combining them with fine sea salt in a jar to make a scented salt present.  
"Gifts from the heart" is what I remember my childhood Christmas in my grandparents' house with. I had learned back then that gifts don't have to cost a lot and the simple homemade presents are the best because they embody the giving human heart. Their true purpose is to warm us with kindness and love. Do you remember Dr. Seuss' brilliant and enduring tale when Grinch learned about the true meaning of Christmas? "What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from the store? What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more?"
I agree!
I couldn't ask for a better start to the holiday season. 

* To all of you who want to make these adorable Reindeer Candy Canes, you need to twist brown pipe cleaner under the neck of the candy and bend it on both sides into Z shapes to make the reindeer's antlers. Glue two eyes and a miniature red pom-pom for the nose. Tie a short length of ribbon and a mini jingle bell below the crook of the candy cane. They can hang from the tree or be used as a stick for your mug of hot chocolate. Whatever you decide to do with them, they will bring a smile to anyone's face. One Christmas I, myself,  with a little help of my 8-year-old son then, made 21 of these cuties for every student in my Gr.3 class. They were a hit...!

Dear Friends, how are you kicking off the holiday season?

I am joining Home Sweet Home , Inspired for Christmas , Inspiration FridayStuff and NonsenseSetting for Four Party