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Every January 1st at Midnight, I make my annual vow to watch what I eat.  However, on the days between December 24th and the 31st, I figure it's fair game to enjoy all those little goodies I might normally deny myself.  I think a good number of people feel the same way, which is why treat food baskets, at least in my book, are always a winner for Christmas presents.

The other day here in San Francisco, it was so windy and cold it took me back to my childhood in Pennsylvania.  Winter days spent sipping hot cocoa with my cousin in front of my grandparent's fireplace. Some of the fondest memories I have. 

My cousin and I would come in from a day of building snow forts, cross-country skiing, or climbing snow covered trees to shake the snow on one another and enter into the warmth of my grandparent's home. 

The heady smells of spiced cider enticed our senses as warm towels soothed our chilled fingers and toes.  

Here's my antidote to the hectic holiday season.  Rather than shopping for gifts and decor this year, how about taking some time to sit with your family and friends and create something for your holiday tree or table.  Here are some of my favorite holiday ideas.  I hope these will inspire you to create your own handmade memories.


I live on a hill near San Francisco.  For those of you who have ever visited our beautiful city, you will understand that living on a hill is nothing special.  I would guess that over 50% of our residents live on some sort of hill or another, seeing that our City is made up of over 50 hills, and second only to La Paz, Bolivia for "hilliness".