Celebrating Holiday Traditions Through Life’s Changes

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure policy.

Many of us grew up celebrating holiday traditions that were taught to us by our parents and families. You may remember some time honored traditions such as mailing out Christmas cards, decorating with natural elements, baking from scratch and even making homemade gifts. Even as we’ve grown up and left home many of us have continued to carry on those same holiday traditions we learned as children.

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However, some of these holiday traditions may have changed with time. Whether it was due to a death in the family or a move out of state, many traditions tend to adapt to the needs of our new families and life changes. But what makes these changes special as we shape our new traditions from old ones is the meaning and the stories we keep and carry on throughout the coming years.

Celebrating Holiday Traditions Through Change

Growing up and into early adulthood, my friend Bambi always made sugar cookies with her grandmother to celebrate the season. These cookies in turn were given to friends and family as homemade gifts. Using family sugar cookie and buttercream icing recipes that have been passed down through the generations, Bambi’s new tradition is making and then decorating those same cookies with her closest friends now that her grandmother is gone.

This year was the second year I able to participate in decorating cookies with Bambi as part of her new holiday tradition. That I’m able to be a part of something so meaningful to her, in turn makes it more meaningful to me. And while there was no amount of prodding, poking, coaxing, bribing or begging to convince Bambi to dish and share her recipes (sorry!) I certainly can’t imagine not participating as the years move forward.

Along with this Bambi also gave me one of the best presents she could gift me with this year – a new holiday tradition. So whether you’re looking to start new holiday traditions with your own friends or a new family, decorating Christmas cookies and holiday cookie exchanges are a longstanding tradition that I can certainly get behind.

So just how to do you go about planning a cookie decorating party? Keep reading to learn how my friend, Bambi, organizes her cookie decorating parties and for some great links to tips for hosting a holiday cookie exchange as well as a few sugar cookie recipes to get you started. Plus learn more about new holiday traditions other people have started and how to deal with holiday celebration overload.

Celebrating Holiday Traditions Through Life's Changes. Plus how to host a holiday cookie exchange and a collection of homemade Christmas cookie recipes.

Celebrating Holiday Traditions with Cookies

Prior to hosting her guests, Bambi prepares for her holiday cookie decorating event a few days in advance. She spends about two days baking sugar cookies using her grandmother’s recipe. Then in between the time she makes them and then everyone gets together to decorate them, they are stored in plastic storage containers in the refrigerator.

Celebrating Holiday Traditions Through Life's Changes. Plus how to host a holiday cookie exchange and a collection of homemade Christmas cookie recipes.

A few days later everyone shows up with a bottle of wine in hand. Typically Bambi also provides some simple appetizers like hummus, crackers and cheese. However, if we “accidentally” break a cookie, it’s like a bonus prize and gets eaten right then and there. But only after it’s been decorated, of course!

The buttercream icing isn’t made until the arrival of all her guests. New batches of icing are then made as we run out.

Annie! No sugar for you!

Posted by Rebecca D. Dillon on Saturday, December 2, 2017

Annie, Bambi’s rescue dog, always manages to walk under “mom” while she’s mixing more icing. Thus we have photos of her two years in a row covered in powdered sugar spots. (My own dog, Jasper, attended this year as well.)

Celebrating Holiday Traditions Through Life's Changes. Plus how to host a holiday cookie exchange and a collection of homemade Christmas cookie recipes.

Once the first batch of icing is ready to go, the icing, cookies and candy decorations are laid out on her dining room table within reach of everyone.

Celebrating Holiday Traditions Through Life's Changes. Plus how to host a holiday cookie exchange and a collection of homemade Christmas cookie recipes.

Then we all decorate our cookies on paper plates to keep the colored sugars and candies from making a mad dash for the floor.

Celebrating Holiday Traditions Through Life's Changes. Plus how to host a holiday cookie exchange and a collection of homemade Christmas cookie recipes.

The cookies are then laid out on the table on top of wax paper as each one is completed.

Once all of the cookies are decorated, they are packaged in reusable plastic containers. Bambi then gifts each of her guests a box of cookies and the rest get shipped to her friends and family back home in Wisconsin.

If you’d like to host your own holiday cookie decorating party, The Kitchn has a great article with ten essential tips to know before you begin baking. Additionally, Real Simple also has a great checklist for hosting a holiday cookie exchange that also works for hosting a cookie decorating party. Sugar & Charm as well as Handle the Heat also offer some great tips for hosting a cookie exchange.

Glazed Sugar Cookies Recipe with Buttercream Embroidery via My Name is Yeh Blog! Plus celebrating holiday traditions and how to host a Christmas cookie decorating party!

If you’re looking for Christmas cookie decorating ideas, I am head over heels for these glazed sugar cookies with buttercream “embroidery” from My Name is Yeh. You can find and print the recipe for these cookies here. I also really love the star Christmas cookies recipe from Tell Love and Party.

Printable Christmas Cookie Gift Tags via Cranberry Bush blog! Plus celebrating holiday traditions and how to host a Christmas cookie decorating party!

For gifting your homemade holiday cookies, Cranberry Bush has two super cute printable cookie gift tags. You can find more printable gift tags on my Printables Pinterest board. Or discover great gift wrapping ideas on my Pretty Packaging + Gift Wrap Ideas Pinterest board.

Starting New Holiday Traditions

I know when I went through my divorce from my first husband and my son inevitably ventured into adulthood, celebrating Christmas lost much of its luster for me. So much so that one of the best Christmases I had after getting separated was ice “skating” in my sneakers on the frozen parking lot of Market Square downtown with a friend. It wasn’t until I started making my own holiday traditions, that some of the magic of the holiday season started to come back for me.

If your old holiday traditions are no longer an option for you, then you may want to consider creating new ones. They don’t need to be religious or even fit into any particular winter holiday. They simply need to be something that brings you joy. Having something to that brings you and your loved ones together during what is typically the most depressing season of the year can definitely make cold days seem a bit warmer.

O’Boy! Organic, who moved away from his family in Michigan over twenty years ago, has a great article on the importance of holiday traditions and how they help to build unity and stability. He also shares his top five new holiday traditions. Number four is baking cookies with his kids.

There’s also a great post on HuffPost with ideas for 15 new traditions for families reclaiming the holidays after a divorce. Shared by their readers on their Facebook page, my favorites are creating a guest list for holiday get togethers to try new things, ditching the chaos of the Christmas tree tradition, taking a trip instead of giving gifts and of course, the best one yet, just finally being happy.

Does Celebrating Holiday Traditions Leave You Feeling overwhelmed?

In the midst of celebrating holiday traditions, both old and new, it’s also important to realize there is such a thing as too much tradition. Reluctant Entertainer touches on this in her post “Traditions: When Is It Time to Change?.” Women especially tend to put extra emphasis on holiday traditions which in turn can often lead to a lot of stress and guilt when they are unable to meet expectations. So this article offers some great insight into being able to say “enough is enough.”

Personally I know how it feels to be on this side of things, as I’m sure many of you do as well. And there were a few years that I especially struggled and therefore made the decision to opt out of holiday gatherings completely. And it is okay to do this. After all, your mental and emotional well being matter more than a dinner regardless of the time of year.

So if celebrating holiday traditions feel more like an obligation, it may be time to simply take time for yourself. After all, you’re not really celebrating holiday traditions if you’re spending much of that time trying to avoid a panic attack.

Additionally, if your head space isn’t where it needs to be to even attend holiday functions, much less embark on a new tradition, then you may be able to gain some insight from the article “Family Change: Don’t Cancel the Holidays!

Are you celebrating holiday traditions this year or starting new ones? I’d love to hear how you enjoy the holiday season in the comments below.

Also be sure to follow me via all of your favorite social media platforms including G+TumblrFacebookTwitterBlog Lovin’, and Instagram. Or subscribe to Soap Deli News via email for future updates, DIY projects and recipes.

Easy Homemade Holiday Gifts with Personalized Sticker Labels

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure policy.

Save money and personalize your holiday gift giving this year with these easy homemade holiday gifts with personalized sticker labels from StickerYou! (And a big thanks to StickerYou for sponsoring this post!)

Easy Homemade Holiday Gifts! Save money and personalize your holiday gift giving this year with these easy homemade holiday gifts with personalized sticker labels from StickerYou! #diy #homemade #gift #giftideas #holidays #personalized #diygifts #homemadegifts #ad

If you’ve ever felt like you and your family are just swapping gift cards back and forth during the holidays, then maybe it’s time to mix it up bit. This collection of easy homemade holiday gifts are not only appreciated, but they are also easy to customize with personalized sticker labels from StickerYou! Not only will you not have to worry about fussing with gift wrap, but you’ll actually save money in the long run when making these easy homemade holiday gifts in bulk.

Easy Homemade Holiday Gifts! Save money and personalize your holiday gift giving this year with these easy homemade holiday gifts with personalized sticker labels from StickerYou! #diy #homemade #gift #giftideas #holidays #personalized #diygifts #homemadegifts #ad

StickerYou makes it so easy to create your own sticker labels! Whether you want all your labels to look the same or prefer a variety of stickers on each page, their sticker editor makes it easy to create your own custom designs. Simply choose from their collection of clipart, or upload your own, then add additional elements and text as desired!

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I used 2.75″ round labels for all of my easy homemade holiday gifts to illustrate the many great ways you can use a single label across different gift containers. This sticker size is perfect for everything foaming soap pumps to mason jars and is also well suited for a family monogram!

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Easy Homemade Holiday Gifts

Following you’ll find four great recipes for easy homemade holiday gifts. And, because I know not everyone owns a kitchen scale, I’ve shared both the measurement and the weight for each of the ingredients called for in these recipes.

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Lavender Bath Salts Recipe

Ingredients:

1/2 Cup (4.35 oz.) Epsom salt
1/2 Cup (4.85 oz.) Himalayan pink salt
1/2 Cup (3.9 oz.) Dead Sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoons (.3 oz.) vegetable glycerin
3/4 teaspoon (.15 oz.) lavender essential oil
2 Tablespoons dried lavender or cornflowers, optional

Instructions:

Measure or weigh out the salts and combine in a large glass bowl. Mix well to combine, then stir in the vegetable glycerin and lavender essential oil.

Once the salts are evenly coated, stir in the dried flowers then package in a 16 oz. mason jar.

Now simply apply your custom 2.75″ sticker to the lid of the mason jar and it’s all set for gifting!

Easy Homemade Holiday Gift Idea for DIY Ginger Orange Salt Scrub! Save money and personalize your holiday gift giving this year with these easy homemade holiday gifts with personalized sticker labels from StickerYou! #diy #homemade #gift #giftideas #holidays #personalized #diygifts #homemadegifts #ad

Ginger Orange Salt Scrub Recipe

Ingredients:

1 1/4 Cup (8.24 oz.) Dead Sea salt
1 Tablespoon (.4 oz.) refined shea butter
5 cocoa butter wafers (.35 oz.)
3 Tablespoons (1.15 oz.) sweet almond oil
1/2 teaspoon (.1 oz.) fresh ginger essential oil
3/4 teaspoon (.15 oz.) 5-fold orange essential oil

Instructions:

Measure or weigh out the shea butter, cocoa butter and sweet almond oil. Combine in a double boiler and heat until melted.

Now measure out the essential oils and stir into the liquid ingredients. Set aside.

In a separate container, measure or weigh out the Dead Sea salt. Then pour the Dead Sea salt into the liquid ingredients.

Mix well to combine then package in a 9 oz. jar with a metal lug cap. Finish with a personalized 2.75″ label on the lid and a colorful ribbon tied around the neck of the jar.

Easy Homemade Holiday Gift Idea for DIY Foaming Peppermint Sugar Scrub! Save money and personalize your holiday gift giving this year with these easy homemade holiday gifts with personalized sticker labels from StickerYou! #diy #homemade #gift #giftideas #holidays #personalized #diygifts #homemadegifts #ad

Foaming Peppermint Sugar Scrub Recipe

Ingredients:

3/4 Cup (5.6 oz.) white granulated sugar
2 Tablespoons (.8 oz.) refined shea butter
1 Tablespoon (.4 oz.) Castile liquid soap paste
2 Tablespoons (.9 oz.) safflower oil
1/2 teaspoon green jojoba beads, optional
1/2 teaspoon (.1 oz.) peppermint essential oil

Instructions:

Measure or weigh out the shea butter, Castile liquid soap paste and safflower oil. Combine in a double boiler and heat until melted.

Now measure out the peppermint essential oil and stir into the liquid ingredients. Set aside.

In a separate container, measure or weigh out the sugar. Combine with the green jojoba beads and mix thoroughly until the beads are incorporated evenly throughout the sugar.

Pour the sugar into the liquid sugar scrub base and stir or whisk with a fork until the wet and dry ingredients are thoroughly combined.

Then spoon the the sugar scrub into an 8 oz. PET heavy wall plastic jar with a black lid. Finish with your customized 2.75″ sticker on the lid.

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Peppermint Foaming Hand Soap Recipe

Ingredients:

Distilled water
Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint Liquid Castile Soap

Instructions:

Fill an empty 250 mL plastic PET bottle (with a white foamer pump) about two thirds of the way full with water. Then fill the remainder of the bottle three fourths of the way full (so there’s room for the foamer pump) with peppermint liquid Castile soap.

Screw on the foamer pump, then gently turn the bottle to mix the soap and water.

Finish with a 2.75″ round label on the front of your foaming hand soap bottle.

Easy Homemade Holiday Gift Idea for DIY Dead Sea Salt Scrub! Save money and personalize your holiday gift giving this year with these easy homemade holiday gifts with personalized sticker labels from StickerYou! #diy #homemade #gift #giftideas #holidays #personalized #diygifts #homemadegifts #ad

For more ideas for easy homemade holiday gifts, be sure to check out my other recipes for making a whipped body butter soufflé and exfoliating whipped sugar scrub! You can find both of these homemade skin care recipes here along with more great ideas for labeling your easy homemade holiday gifts.

You can also find and follow me via your favorite social media platforms including PinterestG+TumblrFacebookTwitterBlog Lovin’, and Instagram. Or subscribe to Soap Deli News via email for future updates, DIY projects and recipes.

Pain Relief Bath Salts Recipe to Soothe Sore Muscles

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure policy.

Don’t let sore muscles slow you down during the busy holiday season! Enjoy a nice long soak in these DIY pain relief bath salts instead. (And sneak in some quiet time away from the kids and the hustle and bustle of the holidays.)

Pain Relief Bath Salts Recipe! Don't let sore muscles slow you down this busy holiday season! Enjoy a nice long soak in these pain relief bath salts instead. Crafted using Epsom salt, prized for its high magnesium content, these bath salts safely and naturally ease muscle pain, detox your body and promote calm. While a light blend of essential oils offer their aromatherapy benefits and a gentle cooling sensation. #diy #recipe #bathsalts #painrelief #homeremedies #natural

My natural pain relief bath salts recipe is incredibly easy to make and smells wonderful. Crafted using Epsom salt, prized for its high magnesium content, these bath salts safely and naturally ease muscle pain, detox your body and promote calm. A light blend of essential oils also offer their aromatherapy benefits and a gentle cooling sensation.

Even better? You can make my pain relief bath salts recipe in about 5 minutes! So not only are these bath salts easy to make when your body needs them most, but you can also whip these up in a jiffy for last minute holiday gifts.

Pain Relief Bath Salts Recipe! Crafted using Epsom salt, prized for its high magnesium content, these bath salts safely and naturally ease muscle pain, detox your body and promote calm. While a light blend of essential oils offer their aromatherapy benefits and a gentle cooling sensation. #diy #recipe #bathsalts #painrelief #homeremedies #natural

Pain Relief Bath Salts Recipe

© Rebecca Dawn Dillon

Ingredients:

17 oz. Epsom salt
.7 oz. fractionated coconut oil (or other carrier oil of choice)
.1 oz. polysorbate 80 (optional)
1 mL tangerine essential oil
1 mL peppermint essential oil
1 mL eucalyptus essential oil

Instructions:

To make these pain relief bath salts, begin by weighing out the Epsom salt into a large glass bowl. Set aside.

In a separate container weigh out the fractionated coconut oil and polysorbate 80. Mix well.

(Polysorbate 80 is a solubilizer that bonds with oil. It will keep the essential oils and fractionated coconut oil from sitting on top of the water in your tub. While this product is optional, it is recommended especially in the absence of a carrier oil so that your skin isn’t coming into contact with the essential oils undiluted in bath water when adding essential oils to bath salts.)

Then using graduated plastic transfer pipettes, measure out and add the essential oil. Stir to combine.

Now combine the wet ingredients with the Epsom salt and mix until all of the ingredients are incorporated evenly throughout the bath salts.

DIY Pain Relief Bath Salts! Crafted using Epsom salt, prized for its high magnesium content, these bath salts safely and naturally ease muscle pain, detox your body and promote calm. While a light blend of essential oils offer their aromatherapy benefits and a gentle cooling sensation. #diy #recipe #bathsalts #painrelief #homeremedies #natural

Package your pain relief bath salts in your container of choice then label as desired for personal use or gifting.

To use your pain relief bath salts, add 1/2 to 1 cup to warm bath water as desired and soak for 20 minutes.

Arnica Pain Relief Salve Recipe for Sore Muscles and Inflammation! Whether you suffer from pain due to the occasional the bumps and bruises or sore muscles or more intense pain from chronic conditions such as arthritis or carpal tunnel, this arnica pain relief salve recipe is the perfect natural remedy for muscle pain and inflammation!

If you like my DIY pain relief bath salts, then you may also enjoy my natural sore muscle salt scrub recipe as well as my arnica pain relief salve recipe for muscle pain and inflammation.

For more natural remedies be sure to follow my Natural Home Remedies and Herbal Health Care Pinterest board. Or follow my DIY Bath and Body Pinterest board for more homemade skin care recipes.

You can also find and follow Soap Deli News blog on all of your favorite social media platforms including PinterestG+TumblrFacebookTwitterBlog Lovin’, and Instagram. Or subscribe to Soap Deli News via email for future updates, DIY projects and recipes.

Beautiful DIY Gift Wrap Ideas for the Holidays and Last Minute Gift Ideas

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure policy.

 I love this DIY gift wrap idea with cut out mistletoe via the Swedish blog, At Home with Helena.

Need ideas for wrapping the perfect gifts for Christmas tomorrow? Try out this DIY gift wrap idea with cut out mistletoe via the Swedish blog, At Home with Helena here. Then discover even more beautiful DIY gift wrap ideas on my Pretty Packaging board on Pinterest here. Or check out my Printables board for seasonal printable gift wrap and gift tags.

This pastel deer themed Christmas printable gift wrap from Craftberry Bush is one of my all time favorites!

This pastel deer themed Christmas printable gift wrap from Craftberry Bush is one of my all time favorites! (Repin it here.)

This homemade coffee scrub recipe without coconut oil is inspired by the Frank Body Original Coffee Scrub. Scented with a fresh blend of orange, coconut and cardamom, my coffee scrub recipe contains naturally emollient sweet almond oil, mineral rich pink Himalayan salt, anti-inflammatory blood orange essential oil, brown sugar, and ground coffee to exfoliate, smooth and brighten dull, aging or acne prone skin. Plus there are free printable labels for gifting!

Still need a few last minute gift ideass? Homemade body scrubs and lip balms are super quick to make and always a treat for the recipient! My friend, Bambi, and I made twelve of my coffee body scrubs – recipe here – in under an hour. From start to finish each batch took us about five minutes to weigh, mix and package!

We put ours in 8 oz.Black PET PCR Jars with Black Smooth Lined Caps from SKS Bottle & Packaging with simple strip of washi tape across the lid. (Bambi and I LOVE the washi tapes at Cute Tape! You can also visit Cute Tape for both gift packaging ideas as well DIY projects!)

Learn how to make your own homemade rose sugar scrub and homemade hibiscus salt scrub with two easy to create body scrub recipes from Soap Deli News blog!

Other scrubs you might love include my homemade hibiscus salt scrub recipe and my homemade rose sugar scrub recipe. Both of these projects include super simple labeling ideas that you can create yourself!

This sea salt face and body scrub recipe is loosely inspired by Lush's Ocean Salt Face and Body Scrub. Made using fine dead sea salt, this emulsified sea salt face and body scrub recipe has a creamy texture and is gentle enough for even sensitive skin. Ingredients like mango butter, fractionated coconut oil and lanolin help to condition and protect skin while dead sea salt lends its natural healing properties.

My sea salt face and body scrub recipe is also very popular and is is loosely inspired by Lush’s Ocean Salt Face and Body Scrub. It even comes with free printable labels for your finished scrubs making gifting even easier!

My recipe for homemade cranberry body butter makes a great homemade Christmas gift! It’s non-greasy and smells simply delectable.

My recipe for homemade cranberry body butter is also very popular this time of the year. It’s non-greasy and smells simply delectable. If you prefer not to use a fragrance oil or don’t have a suitable one on hand, my lavender version of this recipe contains a few more ingredients, but uses lavender essential oil, and is one of my top pinned recipes of all time.

For all of my homemade recipes and DIY projects that include free printable labels, visit Soap Deli News blog here. For more DIY Christmas gift ideas, you can discover 50 of my favorite DIY holiday gifts here. Also be sure to check out my Pinterest boards for thousands of projects. My unique DIY Christmas gifts board and my DIY stocking stuffers board are both great resources this time of year.

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season!

DIY Christmas Dog Treats

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure policy.

Treat your furry best friend this Christmas with these DIY Christmas dog treats!

Remind your pup how much you love him this holiday season – as if he doesn’t already know – with these DIY Christmas dog treats! Made with peanut butter, banana and brown rice flour, these fun Christmas dog treats are colored with beet powder for that holiday red! You can find the recipe to make these Christmas dog treats over at Sprinkle Bakes blog here. (Or, search for dog treat cookie cutter ideas here.)

Remind your dog how much you love him this Christmas with these homemade Christmas dog treats! Plus learn how to make your own homemade dog Christmas cookies with a recipe via Sprinkle Bakes!

No time to make your own? Shop from some these amazing DIY Christmas dog treats on Etsy: Mini 8-Piece Dog Treat Assortment from Dog Park Publishing / Grain Free Organic Star Wars Inspired Dog Treats from Pawbaby Biscuits / Pup Truffles Dog Treats from Linda’s Bowwow Biscuits / Winter Wonderland Christmas Dog Treats from Bobby + Bambi’s Gourmet Dog Bakery.

For even more homemade Christmas dog treats as well as gift ideas for dog lovers be sure to check out all of my pet related favorites on Etsy here. You can also follow my For the Dogs board on Pinterest for more pet related products, recipes and DIY’s.

50 Unique DIY Christmas Gift Ideas

Need gift ideas for your human companions? Then check out this blog post with 50 unique DIY Christmas gift ideas you can make for friends and family! Or for more homemade holiday gift ideas, be sure to follow my DIY Christmas gift boards on Pinterest.

You can also find and follow me on  G+TumblrFacebookTwitterBlog Lovin’, and Instagram for more great ideas. Or sign up to receive new posts to your email via FeedBurner so you never miss a post.