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  • Hannah Applequist

Countdown to Christmas!

Updated: Dec 24, 2020


On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me.... a Christmas countdown! I am excited to share a new project of mine! In true advent calendar fashion, I am counting down each day until Christmas with a fun and festive look AND a gift idea! Instead of doing gift guides this year, I wanted to make my posts more unique and simple. 2020 is an overload as it is! My gifts won't necessarily be the normal items that you might think of..(a sweater here and some headphones there).. but a mixture of traditional and unique ideas. Stay tuned for more each day this month!


Day 25- Subscription Boxes!

Subscription boxes are nothing new BUT there are hundreds of different ones. From satisfying a sweet tooth to something cute for your furry friends, you can find a subscription box for just about anything!


Here are a few of my favorites (click the pictures or links below to shop):

  1. Brooklyn Candle Delux Candle of the Month

  2. Book of the Month

  3. The Clean Beauty Box

  4. Birchbox Beauty Box

  5. Trade Coffee Box

  6. Candy Club Box

  7. Bright Cellars Wine Box

  8. Stitchfix Women's and Men's Fashion

  9. Unbox Boredom Board Games

  10. Rocksbox Jewelry

  11. Decocrated Home Decor

  12. Dollar Shave Club

  13. Wanderful Wellness Box

Day 24- Personalize Something!

Everyone loves to personalize things, and Etsy is always my go-to shore to find the most amazing personalized gifts! I have linked some of my favorites below and also on the Liketoknow.it app (theemeraldslipper)! There are so many great ideas so make sure you do some digging!


Click the Pictures or the Links Below to Shop!

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Day 23- Make a Memories Book!

I feel like a memory book is something special, especially this year, when we can't see people we love or travel to different places. This gift is great to give to family and friends to relive past get-togethers or trips! I actually made a memory photo album of photos and memories for my mother in law after our cabin was destroyed in a fire a couple of months ago.

Shutterfly is a great resource for this type of project! They have great templates to use/ customize or you can create your own book! I have used it countless times to make my Christmas cards and to make picture books for various reasons!


Click the Pictures/Links Below to Shop!

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Day 22- Something Sweet!

2020 has definitely appealed to my sweet tooth and what a better day to share this gift idea than National Cookie Day! Everyone loves a sweet treat, especially one made from scratch by a loved one. Take some time to bake your friends/family their favorite sweet treats, gift them a gift card to a local restaurant/bakery, or, if short on time, find some yummy hot chocolate bombs for something unique!


Click the Pictures/Links Below to Shop! I am also including a chocolate chip cookie recipe below!

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Chocolate Chip Cookies!


Ingredients

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 tsp baking soda

3/4 tsp salt

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

1 cup packed light brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 large egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 package (12 oz) semisweet chocolate pieces

1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts (optional)


Instructions

-Heat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly coat baking sheets with nonstick cooking spray.

-In a large bowl, stir flour, baking soda, and salt.

-In a medium bowl, beat butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar until light and creamy (about 3 mins.) Beat in egg and vanilla until blended.

-Stir in flour mixture until blended. Stir in chocolate pieces and walnuts. Drop batter by tablespoonfuls onto prepared baking sheets.

-Bake at 375 degrees for 12 minutes or until golden. Cool baking sheets on wire racks for 5 minutes. Transfer cookies to racks to cool completely.


Day 21- Cozy Winter Essentials!

Baby, it's cold outside! Cozy winter essentials like socks, scarves, and blankets are always a great gift, especially for those people who are super hard to shop for!


Click the Pictures/Links Below to Shop!

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Day 20- Vintage!

Today's gift idea is vintage! One of my favorite things to do (pre-Covid) was to go to antique stores to just look at all of the fun things and wonder about the history behind them. Each piece seems to have a deeper story and meaning than something you buy new from the store! Last Christmas, I gifted my brother a neat vintage clock that he actually fixed and uses today! Jewelry and old fashion magazines/books are also some of my favorites. Etsy is a great shop for vintage items as well and you don'e have to go in a store!


Click the Pictures/ Links Below to Shop!

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Day 19- Selfie/Polaroid Kit!

For today's gift idea, I thought a selfie/Polaroid photo kit was fitting since I was posting a selfie myself! This is such a fun gift, especially for younger relatives, but would work for anyone! Photos are super fun and important for memories, so they are always a great option.


Below, I linked a Polaroid camera and photo album, as well as a mini photo printer that connects to your phone! I love this because you can just print photos instantly off of your phone and display them! I also linked a couple small photo albums to go with it and a fun way to display either photos.


Click the Pictures/Links Below to Shop!

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Day 18- Post Covid Travel Kit

Of course, we can't travel right now given the state of things. However, it never hurts to dream and to plan for the future! Dreaming about where I will travel to when this is all over has helped get me through this so far! I have been itching to just leave my home and thought it would be a fun gift to make a post-Covid travel kit. It never hurts to plan ahead, right? Include a luggage set/carry-on, some travel accessories, and a fun travel book and/or journal, and you have the beginnings of a great trip for when it is safe to leave our homes again!


Click the Pictures/Links Below to Shop!

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Day 17- Covid Supplies Gift!

Give the gift of health this holiday season and prepare your loved ones for the winter with some immune support! We are in crazy times right now with a pandemic on top of cold and flu season, so we all could use some extra help. I am partnering with Oliphenol to share its amazing capsules that harness the power of olives to strengthen your immune system and minimize the effects of free radicals! Use code: HANNAH20 for 20% off!

I also linked a few of my other favorites (I have almost all of them!) like some immune boost syrup to add to any drinks, some great hand sanitizer (in a HUGE bottle), and some appropriate gifts to lighten the mood.

Use code:theemeraldslipper when shopping the Goli ACV gummies for a discount as well!


Click the Pictures/Links Below to Shop!

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Day 16- Hygge

I have been living in this amazingly comfortable nightshirt from Cool-jams! I don't know about you but I sleep HOT and Cool-jams are my solution for a great night's sleep. Cool-jams wicking technology keeps skin cool and comfortable all night long. The y are perfect for all year round, especially for warm summer nights or when the heater is cranked a little too high. Give your loved ones a great night's sleep this Christmas with Cool-jams!

Click here to shop!


Today's gift idea is everything hygge (pronounced hoog-ga)! Hygge is a Danish word that means coziness. It is the ritual of enjoying life's simple pleasures and making the ordinary more meaningful, beautiful, and special. I was introduced to this by my husband, who is Swedish American, and is obsessed with all things Hygge. Try gifting cozy items like candles, comfort food, blankets, etc!


Click the Pictures/Links Below to Shop!

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Day 15: Grow a Garden Kit!

I am so excited about today's gift idea! While everything was shut down last spring, Gus and I built our own standing garden! We loved having our own little garden this year. While ours was a much bigger project, you can use smaller pots/porch planters, or even find indoor herb gardens. Gift one of these are you're good to go! The supplies to have fresh fruit and vegetables are a fun and unique gift option!


Click the Pictures/Links Below to Shop!

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Day 14: Self Care Items!

Self care items, like this amazing deodorant from Honestly Phresh, are the perfect stocking stuffers! I absolutely love their new winter scent, Festive Forest. It smells like pine, which is my favorite scent for this time of year! This prebiotic deodorant is free of aluminum, baking soda, and parabens AND is certified organic, cruelty-free, and vegan! The Honestly Phresh formula works with your body to regulate pH levels and get rid of unwanted bacteria. Use my code: HANNAH20 for 20% off your order!

Below I also included several other options of self care items for men and women that would be great gifts/stocking stuffers!


Click the Pictures/Links Below to Shop!

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Day 13: Patio Gifts!

Today's gift idea was inspired by my favorite place to be...my back porch! This year especially, I have been trying to spend more time outside and have had a lot of fun making my patio area an outdoor sanctuary. There's no reason that cold temperatures should ruin the fun! Gift a friend or loved one some fun patio/porch items like string lights, an outdoor projector, heated blankets, etc., for year round patio enjoyment!


Click the Pictures/Links Below to Shop!

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Day 12: Journals/Life Story Books

My day 12 gift idea is a journal/life story book! I stumbled on these kinds of journals this year and love this idea! These books make it super easy for you or a loved one to tell their live story by asking great questions and giving you space to write. There are also options for couples that are fun!


Click the Pictures/Links Below to Shop!

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Day 11: Spa Day Kit

Show of hands...Who all misses the salon and the spa?? I am dying over here, and I'm sure some of your friends or family are as well, so today's gift idea is to bring the spa to them! Gift the works (a foot spa, a comfy bath robe, some bath salts, some masks) and instruct them to turn on some classical music and unwind. Lord knows we need it this year. I have gifted this in past years and it is always well received!


Click the Pictures/Links Below to Shop!

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Day 10: Crafts/Activities to Do Together

Today's gift idea is more for the people inside of your household or for families! It is always fun to do things together like building a puzzle or crafting. I included some of my favorite crafts and activities!


Click the Pictures/Links Below to Shop!

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Day 9: Treat Yourself!

2020 has been hard for all of us, so, during this busy season, don't forget to take some time for yourself! Whether you just give yourself some quiet time to watch your favorite show, take a bath, or read a book, or you buy that dress you have been eyeing for FOREVER, or you splurge on dessert and eat that piece of cake, it is so important to treat yourself. I try to take some time each day to do something that I love, like cuddling with my puppies, crafting, or playing a game. Even things like painting your nails or changing the sheets on your bed are amazing!


Click the Pictures/Links Below to Shop!

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Day 8:Shop Small

As Christmas is fast approaching, don't forget to support your local (and non-local)small businesses who are struggling this year with the pandemic. Also use this time to check out and support BIPOC and women owned stores! Shop on Etsy for unlimited choices. I am lucky to live close by to many small shops and can just drive a couple of minutes to shop! There are so many options and so many neat gifts to be found.


Click the Pictures/Links Below to Shop!

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Day 7: Zoom Party!

It is officially ONE WEEK until Christmas! I can't believe how fast time has flown... Because Christmas is so soon, my last week of gift ideas do not involve shopping at a store per se, but are more experience based! This time of year can be lonely for many people and this year, even more so. Feel more connected with your friends and family by having a Zoom get together! I know, I know... so original, but I thought I would include some activities as well!


-Trade some of your favorite wines and cheese and have a virtual wine tasting party (rate the wines/foods and figure out the group favorite!)

-Sing/listen to Christmas Carols. You can even do the rating idea with these as well!

-Watch a Christmas movie together. (Don't forget popcorn and holiday treats!)

For more fun, do the Santa Hat drinking game! Step 1: Put a Santa hat on the corner of your tv/laptop. Step 2: Whenever the hat looks like it's on a character's head, drink!

-Do the "Nailed It" Challenge!

Step 1: Get a little inspiration from Pinterest by searching “Nailed It! Christmas Baking” and choosing a baking project. Step 2: Figure out what supplies everyone will need to complete the challenge, and email or text a shopping list to all participants. Step 3: In preparation for the event, make sure the cakes (or cookies) are baked and fully cooled. Step 4: Invite everyone to decorate and frost their cakes together on Zoom. After the time is up, have everyone reveal their creations and see who “Nailed It!

-Ugly Sweater Party/Contest!

-Play Holiday Trivia!

-Holiday Bingo

-Holiday Jeopardy


Day 6: Hand Make Something!

Today's gift idea is to hand make something! Making something by hand, whether that is cooking something, painting an ornament or something similar (I am making coasters!), or making a candy cane sleigh or snow globe, is always such a sweet gesture and a great gift. Everyone loves the thought and time behind it!


Check out some of these DIY's below!


  1. Stencil Coasters!

I am making these coasters for my family this year and am about halfway done! I got the idea by seeing these great blank coasters at Hobby Lobby and figured I could make them look super cute!

Step 1: Find some blank coasters (mine are from Hobby Lobby) and sand them for a smoother finish.

Step 2: Stain the wood the color of your choosing. I chose a Dark Walnut color!

Step 3: Using a stencil pattern of your choosing and a paint pen, fill in the pattern of the stencil on the wood and let dry.

Step 4: Finish with a clear spray paint coat to protect.

2. Cookie Cutter Tea Towel!

This one is super easy and cute!


Use Christmas tree, gingerbread men, and snowflake cookie cutters to cover an all-white tea towel with Christmas cheer.


3. Candy Cane Sleighs

Wrap small white jewelry boxes in thin holiday ribbon, holding it in place with some double-sided tape. Attach two candy canes to the bottom of the box with hot-glue. Fill with candy of your choice!


4. DIY Snow Globe

Step 1: Clean mason jars thoroughly and dry.

Step 2: Use sandpaper to scuff up the underside of the lid. This will help the glue hold.

Step 3: Attach chosen figurines to the underside of each lid using a dollop of epoxy.

Step 4: Fill your jar just short of full with distilled water.

Step 5: Add the tiniest drop of glycerin to the water. This helps the "snow" fall slower.

Step 6: Add your glitter to the jar.

Step 7: Insert your figurine and screw on the lid firmly.


5. Chalk Paint Ornaments

This one is super easy! Take some chalk paint and paint some globe ornaments. Let dry. Take a chalk pen and draw whatever you want or let the person you gift it to customize their gift!


Day 5: Make a Donation in Their Name!

Today's gift idea is really special and fun to do, especially this time of year! While it might not be the most fun gift to receive, it is one of the most rewarding. Giving a donation to charity is a great way to give back to your community as well as giving to your family. There are fun ones for kids, like the World Wildlife Fund, where they get to "adopt" an animal of their choosing! They get a cute stuffed animal and the money goes toward the conservation of that animal!

Take some time to think of a local food bank, an animal shelter, etc. that needs donations this holiday season!


Day 4: Host a 2020 Secret Santa!

Christmas 2020 looks VERY different this year! Instead of getting together, we are doing a Zoom family Christmas. We just spent the morning dropping off presents and baked goodies! For today's gift idea, I thought a secret Santa gift exchange would be a fun way to give gifts in your friend, coworker, or even neighborhood group during the pandemic! Draw names like normal and pick a price point. This is such a fun way to include everyone! Instead of sharing the gifts in person, drop it off on their front porch!


Day 3: Homemade Dog Biscuits!

Today's Christmas Countdown gift is for the dogs...literally! Do something special for your best friend and bake them some homemade doggy biscuits! Check out the recipe below by Mom On Timeout.


Homemade Dog Treats

Ingredients

  • 1 cup pumpkin puree

  • 2 eggs

  • 1/3 cup peanut butter natural, NO Xylitol or sugar substitutes

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour all purpose can be used instead

  • 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon (check your pumpkin pie spice or make your own - NO nutmeg, can be toxic to some dogs)


Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350F. Line a large baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.

  • In a large bowl, combine pumpkin, eggs, and peanut butter. Stir until completely combined.

  • Add in flour and pumpkin pie spice (or cinnamon) - stirring just until combined.

  • Lightly flour a flat surface and roll out dough to one quarter inch, using flour as needed to keep dough from sticking.

  • Cut shapes out of dough and place on prepared baking sheet.

  • Bake for 20 to 40 minutes - depending on desired level of crunchiness.

  • Remove treats from oven and let cool on a cooling rack. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 month in the refrigerator or 6 months in the freezer.

Day 2: Random Acts of Kindness!

With only two days left until Christmas, I thought today's gift idea should be a random act of kindness! Shovel snow from your neighbor's driveway, help someone with their groceries, give away some flowers, or just hold a door open for someone! A small act of kindness can make someone's entire week. I challenge you to do one random act of kindness this week and will do the same myself!


Random Acts of Kindness 1. Open the door for someone

2. Do a chore you normally don't do for your spouse/significant other/parents

3. Take a trash bag on a walk and clean up any trash you see along the way.

4. Leave a big tip

5. Send someone flowers for no reason

6. Bring food to share at work

7. Send care packages to someone who is away (soldiers, college students, etc.)

8. Give a compliment to a stranger

9. Pay for someone's bill

10. Foster an animal


Check out this awesome article for even more Random Acts of Kindness!


Day 1: Covid-Safe Activities

My last Christmas Countdown gift idea is to do some Covid-safe activities, for example, making a snowman and playing in the snow, touring Christmas lights in your car with a thermos of hot chocolate, or caroling with family/friends over Zoom! The last one is hard to do singing all together but if each family/Zoom group does a song, then it works much better! When viewing Christmas lights, create a scavenger hunt or a bingo card. Whoever sees the most items on the list (think giant snowman, trains, icicle lights, Christmas trees, etc), or whoever gets a bingo first, wins!

This holiday, we have had to get creative and have experienced things that are new and, honestly, scary and sad. My prayer for all of you is that you find peace and joy this holiday season. Even though we can't get together in person, we are so lucky to be able to see each other through Zoom and talk over the phone. I pray that this Christmas, we can focus more time on our immediate family and relax since we don't have holiday parties to host. I pray that this Christmas is a unique one and we can go back to "normal" next year. Blessings to you and your family and stay healthy!

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