Celebrating Holiday Traditions Through Life’s Changes

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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.

Pumpkin Spice Body Butter Recipe

I may receive compensation from links on this site. See my disclosure policy.

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This golden glitter pumpkin spice body butter recipe will have everyone raving about how amazing you smell! A must have for seasonal holiday parties, not only does this moisturizing pumpkin spice body butter smell just like everyone’s favorite pumpkin pie, but it also makes skin pop with glitzy eco-friendly glitter!

DIY Pumpkin Spice Body Butter! This party perfect, golden glitter pumpkin spice body butter recipe will have everyone raving about how amazing you smell! This homemade body butter is a must have for seasonal holiday parties. Not only does this moisturizing pumpkin spice body butter smell just like everyone's favorite pumpkin pie, but it also makes skin pop with glitzy eco-friendly glitter!

Plus, this fun sparkly pumpkin spice body butter is a vegan friendly moisturizer so everyone can join in on the fun. Keep reading to learn how to create this party perfect body butter below!

DIY Pumpkin Spice Body Butter! This golden glitter pumpkin spice body butter recipe will have everyone raving about how amazing you smell! A must have for seasonal holiday parties, not only does this moisturizing pumpkin spice body butter smell just like everyone's favorite pumpkin pie, but it also makes skin pop with glitzy eco-friendly glitter! Plus it's vegan friendly!

Glitter Pumpkin Spice Body Butter Recipe

© Rebecca Dawn Dillon

Ingredients:

1.25 oz. refined shea butter
1.5 oz. kokum butter
.25 oz. candelilla wax
1 oz. pumpkin seed oil
.3 oz. kaolin (white cosmetic) clay
.4 oz. biodegradable gold glitter
.05 oz. pumpkin spice fragrance oil
1/2 mL vitamin E oil (optional)

Instructions:

You’ll need a digital scale to make my pumpkin spice body butter recipe as you’ll be weighing out all of the necessary ingredients with the exception of the vitamin E oil.

If you are planning to make more homemade bath and body recipes in the future, I highly recommend purchasing a Baker’s Math scale. Weighing ingredients is not only more accurate than using liquid measurements, but it also allows you to easily re-size a recipe by a percentage and figure the correct percentage of essential oils, fragrance oils and preservatives that you would need when changing a recipe or developing your own.

Begin by weighing out the shea butter, kokum butter and candelilla wax. Combine in a double boiler and heat over medium to medium-low heat until melted. Alternately, you can also combine your ingredients in a glass Pyrex measuring cup or a glass scientific beaker and heat in a microwave until melted at 40% power. (I’ve found that glass beakers come in super handy especially when making cream eyeshadows and lip balms!)

Once melted, remove from heat. Then weigh out the pumpkin seed oil and stir into the melted butters and wax. Follow with the fragrance oil and kaolin clay, weighing each ingredient first, then mixing into the body butter. Using a plastic graduated transfer pipette, measure out 1/2 mL (or about 10 drops) of the vitamin E oil and mix in.

Finally, weigh out the glitter. (I used eco-friendly biodegradable glitter from The Sparkle Party.) Use .4 oz. of glitter for a bold look or half the amount for a more subtle appearance. (Alternately, if glitter isn’t your thing, you can simply omit it entirely.) Whisk the glitter into the body butter mixture with a fork until well combined.

As the body butter starts to thicken, remix, then spoon into an eco-friendly 4 oz. brown paperboard jar with a lid. (You can find these recyclable, renewable and biodegradable brown paperboard containers at SKS Bottle & Packaging in a variety of sizes.)

Vegan Friendly DIY Pumpkin Spice Body Butter! This golden glitter pumpkin spice body butter recipe will have everyone raving about how amazing you smell! A must have for seasonal holiday parties, not only does this moisturizing pumpkin spice body butter smell just like everyone's favorite pumpkin pie, but it also makes skin pop with glitzy eco-friendly glitter!

Once your pumpkin spice body butter fully solidifies, cap and label your container as desired for personal use or gifting. Washi tape and scrapbooking/planner stickers are a simple and easy way to add a bit of pizazz to your jars.

If you want to recreate my pumpkin spice body butter recipe to sell, you’ll need to follow good manufacturing practices (GMP) when making your product. You’ll find that the book, Good Manufacturing Practices for Soap and Cosmetic Handcrafters by Marie Gale, is a valuable resource if you’re just getting started making your own homemade soaps, skin care products and cosmetics.

In addition to GMP, you’ll also need to follow FDA guidelines for labeling your products. If you’re unsure about the rules and regulations regarding labeling cosmetics, the book, Soap and Cosmetic Labeling: How to Follow the Rules and Regs Explained in Plain English by Marie Gale, spells out everything you need to know to legally label your products.

Unicorn Glitter Butter! This magical unicorn glitter butter recipe is perfect for parties and summer festivals! Scented with a sweet candy crush fragrance oil, this lavender colored unicorn glitter butter leaves a lovely layer of iridescent sparkly glitter on skin wherever it's applied!

If you like my golden glitter pumpkin spice body butter recipe, then you may also like my recipe for making a fun, kid-approved unicorn glitter butter! Scented with a sweet candy crush fragrance oil, this lavender colored unicorn glitter butter leaves a lovely layer of iridescent sparkly glitter on skin wherever it’s applied! You can find my unicorn glitter butter recipe here.

Orange Mint Body Butter Recipe

If you prefer glitter on special occasions only, then some of my other homemade body butter recipes may be of interest to you. You can browse my full collection of homemade body butter recipes at Soap Deli News blog here. Also be sure to check out my new body butter recipe for making an orange mint body butter at The Nourished Life blog.

For more homemade skin care recipes, be sure to follow my DIY Bath and Body board on Pinterest. You can also find and follow me on all of your favorite social media platforms including G+TumblrFacebookTwitterBlog Lovin’, and Instagram. Alternately, you can also sign up to receive new posts from Soap Deli News blog to your email via FeedBurner so you never miss a post.

In addition, if you’re on instagram I’d love to see photos of your work! Simply add the hashtag #soapdelishowoff when you post so I don’t miss any of your amazing creations!

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Bake up an Exciting Holiday with these Recipe Ideas!

I may receive compensation from links on this site. See my disclosure policy.

One of my favorite things about the holidays is the food! Not only does Christmas mean a lot of great eats, but giving an edible handmade gift is a great way to save money and create a last minute gift that is sure to be appreciated! Here are just a handful of my favorite holiday recipes you can bake for entertaining or gift giving!
White Chocolate Lemon Truffles from Kitchen Simplicity
Delicious any time of the year, this White Chocolate Lemon Truffle recipe is a sure hit. Not only do they taste great, but the recipe is NO BAKE – and the kids can help out by rolling the truffles in the icing sugar as the last step.
1. Candy Cane Fudge Recipe from AllRecipes.com – Candy canes are a Christmas staple. Make them even more amazing by melting them into vanilla baking chips and sweetened condensed milk for a holiday Candy Cane Fudge that will have everyone begging for more!
2. Candied Orange Peels Recipe from Saveur – Everyone loves to give oranges for Christmas. Candied Orange Peels are a great way to use all of your oranges, and turn the previously unedible orange rinds into an amazing, sweetened holiday treat. Use navel orange peels for best results with a little sugar and chocolate. The ingredients when combined with a little heat and love make a candy worth the effort every time!
3. Candy Cane Christmas Tree Cupcakes Recipe from Bakerella – Not only do these Christmas Tree Cupcakes taste great, but they are stunning to look at. These special handmade holiday treats are perfect for a Christmas party or giving as a gift to anyone you visit – or who comes to visit – throughout the holiday season!
4. Crock Pot Apple Butter Recipe from Changing My Destiny – Making apple butter is a favorite past time. But with today’s demanding lifestyles not everyone has the time to sit and stir for hours to create this delicious spread. The answer? Make your apple butter in a crock pot and let modern machinery do the work for you!

Handmade Chocolate Party Spoons Recipe from Delicious Delicious Delicious

Perfect for adding some fun to your holiday party or including in a homemade gift basket as a gift for the holidays, these lovely but easy to make Chocolate Party Spoons are a sure fire hit!

Looking for more edible gift ideas? Then swing by my Unique DIY Christmas Gift Ideas Board and Recipes Board on Pinterest! And be sure to comment below with your favorite edible, holiday treat! I’d love to hear from you!