Jen’s Top 10 for the Holidays – Best Holiday Baking!

Isn’t it funny how the holidays sneak up on us? Suddenly it’s less than a week until Christmas, and we are already in Hannukah! If you are planning on bringing something to a holiday gathering – or hosting people at yours – I thought I’d share with you my top 10 holiday baking ideas. All of them are total crowd-pleasers, and lots of them are super quick!

1. Festive Shortbread Bites

Who doesn’t love a small cookie? Hard to resist, and just so cute, these will get snapped up in no time. Recipe can be found here.

2. Candy Cane Brownies

Chocolate and a refreshing candy cane crunch- a perfect combo! These are wonderfully decadent, and if you like chocolate and mint together, there’s really no other time of year to make a recipe that is as appealing as this. Recipe can be found here.

3. Soft Baked Gingerbread Cookies

With a sparkly sugar coating reminiscent of fresh snow, these gingerbread cookies are incredibly soft and hard to resist. What are the holidays without a bit of gingerbread? Find the recipe here.

4. Peppermint Bark

It doesn’t get much easier than this wonderful chocolate peppermint bark! Melt chocolate, swirl on wax paper, sprinkle with finely crushed candy canes and cool. perfection! Recipe is right here.

5.  M&M Christmas Cookie Bars

Cookie bars are one of those baked treats that seem to instantly conjure up childhood memories. With all the best bits of a cookie but in a thick cut squares, these are sure to go really quickly at your next get together. Recipe is here.

6.  Christmas Sugar Cookie Truffles

If you are looking for a giftable food item, these would be a perfect hostess or holiday gift.  a wonderfully soft sugar cookie truffle center, dipped in white chocolate (or you could do dark chocolate if you prefer!) Recipe can be found here.

7.  Eggnog Cheesecake Cookie Cups

For something really special and decadent, you must try these eggnog cheesecake cookie cups. Rich and incredibly delicious, they are perfect for a special dessert table. Find the recipe here.

8. Dark Chocolate Candy Cane Cookies

What is fantastic about this recipe is that you could easily substitute any kind of cookie (even slice and bake store bought cookie dough!) and then dip them in white chocolate and finely crushed candy canes. They look perfect for the season, and taste amazing! Recipe is right here.

9. Salted Caramel Pretzel Bark

For those who loves their treats to be sweet AND salty, this salted caramel pretzel bark ticks all the right boxes. Find the recipe right here.

10. No Bake Thin Mints

This is a great recipe for anyone who says that they ‘don’t bake’. Starting with store bought wafer cookies, you really just melt a bit of chocolate melts and start dipping! Find the step-by-step right here.

These are my favourites, but we have loads more recipes and last-minute holiday ideas over on our Holiday Cheer Pinterest board- check it out! Have a wonderful holiday season, everyone!

How to Host a Gift Wrapping Party

Everyone is busy buying presents at this time of year, but wrapping  them can be another chore on a long list of to-dos that crop up in December. Thinking of planning a get together to see your friends before everyone starts disappearing for holiday travel and family time? Why not host a gift wrapping party, and turn a chore into a fun, festive gathering with friends?

Step 1: Set a Date

Ideally, you want to set it at least a week before, so that people have a chance to do some of their shopping in advance. It’s unlikely everyone will have ALL their shopping done, but it doesn’t hurt to get a jump on all the wrapping!

Step 2: What Guests Can Bring

Suggest everyone bring a roll of wrapping paper, one type of gift label, and one spool of ribbon. If each guest brings a little bit of the wrapping supplies, everyone can share and have a wide variety of wrapping paper and ribbons to use on their gifts. Oh, and of course they should bring anything they want to wrap! You can even make it themed – wrapping paper and labels need to have snowflakes on them, or focusing on blue and silver paper and ribbons, for example.  This will make it easier to coordinate ribbons, bows, labels, and paper all together, even if you only brought one or two things.

Step 3: Clear the Decks

If you have a large dining room table, clear it off and set out as many pairs of scissors and rolls of tape that you have. Don’t forget pens or markers for labeling! Also bring out your contributions for wrapping paper, ribbons, and gift labels.

Step 4: Snacks &  Drinks

Keep the snacks simple, people are going to need clean hands for wrapping. A festive drink like hot chocolate or a cocktail is a great idea, as well as snacks like pretzels, veggies, and cookies. Be sure to have a lot of napkins on hand!

Step 5: Organization

Put a basket or two in the center of your table, and keep all the tags in one, and all the ribbons in the other.  You might even want an extra basket for other fun gift topper ideas, like pom poms, bows, or decorations. If you have room to keep the wrapping paper together, that’s great, too!

Step 5: Cue the Music!

Put together a fun festive playlist, or use a service like Spotify or Google Music that already has lots of holiday playlists to choose from. Or you can turn on the radio and let luck be your guide!

And that’s it! A fun, festive gathering that not only helps you get your holiday wrapping accomplished, but you’ve had fun with friends, too.

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Free Knitting Pattern: Eucalan Lattice Cowl

We have something special for you this holiday season- a FREE knitting pattern for a gorgeous two-colour cowl, designed by Julie Crawford of  This is the Eucalan Lattice Cowl, which is knitted up in two colours of worsted weight yarn and shown here in Kristin Omdahl’s Be So Brave yarn, 100% American wool (worsted weight) in colours ‘Picket Fence’ and ‘Plymouth Rock’.

The cowl can be worn loose, or you can loop it around your neck twice to really amp up the cozy factor:

Not to mention that it is a pretty quick knit, so there is still time to knit one or two before the holidays- either to give as a gift, or to keep for yourself.  The main colour (Picket Fence) requires two and a half skeins of Be So Brave Yarn, and the contrasting colour (Plymouth Rock) uses only 2 skeins. And the best part? The cowl is super easy to knit! All the stitches are knit, purl, or slipped. The stitch pattern is easy to memorize, and is both written and charted.

You can get your free pattern right here, just by signing up for our newsletter!

Want to tell everyone about this awesome free cowl pattern? Share it on Pinterest!