You know how over the past six months or so I’ve started every FF post with an apology for
being lazy skipping a few weeks? Not today, my friends. Sure, I didn’t post last week, but instead of an apology I’m going to say this:
You are welcome.
Because after you get through this list I’m fairly certain you’ll be thanking me.
Today’s FF post is a holiday bonanza! A favorite-a-palooza! A pinata exploding with favorites that you’ll be picking out of your carpet well into the new year! And at the risk of (futher) overselling them, I’ll even go so far as to offer you a guarantee: If you don’t find at least one of these favorites enjoyable or take away at least one nugget of goodness, I will publicly apologize to you.
Over an Appletini later.
Before we get to the good stuff (no, not the Appletinis, for those you’ll have to go HERE) let me just give you a quick, FF weather update, because damn, Minnesota has been delivering these past few months.
Remember the stunning fall we had?
Fast forward a few, unseasonably mild weeks and we woke up to this:
The first snowfall of the season, wisely holding off until December 1st but coming just in time to be met with unapologetic happiness and favorite feelings. Seriously, you know I love to complain about our winters here, but I give it a pass the month of December because it’s so darn Christmasy. And if you think this is lovely, you should see the ‘hood at night when all the outside holiday lights are lit and you can see Christmas trees in everyone’s windows. And by at night I mean around 4:30 p.m.
Don’t worry, in a month I’ll resume my normal complaining. Something to look forward to after the holidays, I suppose.
So let’s get to this list of holiday favorites! Grab a beverage or a snack (although you might want to wait until you’ve read the entire FF list to make your choice), get a pen and paper to make some notes (trust me, you’ll be making a Target run sometime today), and close your office door (or turn your monitor away from your cubicle opening, furrow your brow and make small noises as you nod your head so your co-workers will think you’re reading a Very Important Report).
Here we go-ho-ho!
Pepperidge Farm Ginger Family
This box of crispy, gingery goodness has been a favorite around here for years. When I spy the box on the shelves at Target I get a delicious feeling inside for two reasons: one, I know that the Christmas season is near, and two, I know that it’s finally time for these adorable family members to get in mah belly.
Don’t even try to eat just one; it’s impossible.
In fact, it’s practically a rule around here that if you’re going to have a cookie you have to eat the entire family. And this year I’ve discovered something that has almost made my mind explode with delicious delight; I pair the ginger family with …
TAZO Wild Sweet Orange Tea
You guys, I’ve never been a fan of hot tea.
N*E*V*E*R. It’s blah and watery and makes the back of my throat constrict.
And then I discovered this tangy, sweet TAZO tea and realized that I’ve never been a fan because I’ve clearly been drinking the wrong kind of tea.
A few weeks ago when Thing 2 was getting strep throat (but we didn’t know it yet) we went to Starbucks and she ordered tea. (It was peppermint, I think, which isn’t relevant to this story but I’m adding it for color.) I took the first sip to see how hot it was and my tastebuds tingled to the point of near bursting. (That was a good thing, btw.)
“What is this magical tea?” I wondered aloud.
No one answered me, so I wondered it again in the direction of the Starbucks man.
“What is this tea?” I asked. “And how can I get it by the truckload?”
He lifted up the box for me to see while not even looking at me and continued taking the person’s order which I had APPARENTLY interrupted.
Rude. (Talking about him, obvs.)
The next day when I was ordering a Skinny Peppermint Mocha (don’t be ridiculous, I’d never forego a SPM for tea, no matter how delicious it is) at the Starbucks in my local Target—where the servers know me and ARE NICE—I was told that Target sells TAZO tea, which I did not know because since I do not drink tea I do not shop in the tea section (but knew exactly where it was, because Target).
There are like a million enticing varieties of TAZO tea.
After way too much time deliberating (between cinnamon, peppermint, and orange if you must know) I settled on the Wild Sweet Orange … and by the fact of its inclusion on this list the rest is history.
But seriously, you have to try it with a ginger family. The combination of sweet orange and spicy ginger is insane. It’s my new early afternoon treat and I am obsessed.
Sticking to the foodie section of this list, here’s something else I just discovered at Target:
Santa Hat Hershey’s Kisses
Seriously, how adorable is that? And best of all, they’re the original kisses and not those awful white mint-flecked or stripy ones.
I don’t know about your family, but we go through bags and bags of Hershey’s kisses this time of year. I can’t explain it. I mean, other than the fact that the cone-shaped morsel of silky Hershey’s chocolate is the perfect size to roll around and melt in your mouth right down to the little pointy tip, I’m not sure what makes them especially Christmasy. Did Jesus like chocolate? #ponder
Speaking of sweets, I have a tip for you to make all your treats extra delicious!
Wilton Sugar Crystals
I often use these tiny nuggets instead of regular sugar to top my sweets and add some pizazz … and extra sugar, obviously. (I get mine at Michaels only because Target doesn’t have it. #DearTargetBuyer)
The crunchy sweetness adds so much more than regular old sugar … plus, it looks pretty.
*BTW, that pumpkin muffin is a huge favorite in this house and comes from Krusteaz … and Target.
And while you’re now thinking how much you want to eat that peanut butter kiss cookie up there, how’s this for easy? Betty Crocker (and Target) has your back.
My bag actually had a picture of a peanut butter blossom on the front, but I threw it away before remembering to take its photograph. #bloggerfail
Same mix. You get the idea.
I’ve made these cookies from scratch for years and I promise you, this mix is better. Do I say that because it takes 1/16 of the time and uses only two ingredients, one of which comes from my kitchen sink? Of course, but just take another look at that cookie up there and tell me it doesn’t look like it wants to live in your belly.
And speaking of things that smell good (segue reach, but let’s just go with the aroma of the cookies), I finally found a way for my house—or at least my family room—to have my favorite sweet pine smell 24/7.
Pier One Holiday Forest Diffuser
While I usually have a 3-wick Bath & Body Works holiday candle burning at some point during the day, it’s nice to still have a yummy holiday pine scent hanging around even when I don’t. The Pier One Holiday Forest scent smells almost exactly like the Thymes Frasier Fir collection you see (and smell) in a lot of boutiquey gift stores this time of year which is unbelievably fabulous … and unbelievably overpriced. At $13 (on sale), this little Pier One knock-off is a huge new favorite.
Speaking of Bath & Body Works, you know I can’t leave out a couple of items from that year-round favorite store. A couple of Fridays ago I mentioned a new body cream that I love so much I want to spread on toast. It’s a holiday scent (which means I have three to get me through the year) called Frosted Winter Woods and it’s light and citrusy with just enough sweetness to make me smile … and everyone I come into contact with tell me I smell good.
I adore their thick body creams as opposed to their lotions, especially this time of year when my skin resembles Dumbo’s mother’s.
And that 3-wick candle I mentioned? I always have a couple of B&BW’s Balsam Fir burning, but my favorite scent this year is “Dashing Through The Snow,” which adds in a sweetness to the harsh pine, and wouldn’t you know, smells almost exactly like my new Pier One diffuser.
That sweet pine scent isn’t the only thing I like to overdo it on this time of year. I’m pretty predictable when it comes to my tunes, as well. Of course I’m a fan of Michael Bublé and The Carpenters and Nat and Frank and Dean (and if you’re not, I’m not sure we can be friends), but when I’m working (i.e., pretending to work but trolling Facebook instead) or especially in the late afternoon when I have my candle lit and am enjoying a cup of tea and an entire ginger family, I’m listening to Jim Brickman.
Jim Brickman’s Christmas CDs
I’m a big Brickman fan regardless of the season. Piano music is my go-to genre for relaxation, and Jim Brickman is one of the best. His holiday CDs are simply beautiful. (He has more than the three in the photo, but my hand is only so big.) These three are my favorites and are always on my CD player during the month of December or on my laptop’s playlist, providing background music to my
Imagine yourself here, listening to the soothing sounds of Jim Brickman with a nice
cup of tea glass of wine.
I’ll bring the treats.
Believe it or not, that will just about do it. And you’re welcome (again). I think I may have taken us all the way from tea time to an acceptable Appletini time!
Which reminds me, don’t forget to check back next week for YMFT’s annual Santa’s Little Helpers post. I’ll be sharing my new favorite martini concoction, which will come just in time to help get you through the madness.
Hope you found something to smile about in this favorite-a-palooza—I’d love to hear from you in the comments! And if you didn’t, I’d love to hear from you, too.
Either way, it’s a win for me (see: “apologize over an Appletini”).
Have a wonderful, delicious, relaxing weekend!
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