Simple Gifts

Christmas tree season at Oakland Nursery is one of my favorite times of year. I love coming home smelling like Christmas after schlepping trees for customers. Everyone is in a good mood, enjoying (or enduring) the endless cheesy Christmas music!

A favorite non-cheesy song of mine (and yet to ever be heard at one our locations…) is Simple Gifts. The lyrics of which I’m also constantly trying to abide by. ‘Tis the season for love, giving and warmth – but also for many, the season of being easily overwhelmed.  As a self-proclaimed terrible gift giver, I tend towards the easily overwhelmed side of the holidays. Knowing this, I try to keep things simple. But in recent years things have gotten more complicated….not only is there pressure for a great thoughtful gift for my husband, but also his parents and siblings and their children, my parents – who already have everything – and a difficult brother. Then there is my children, who are both old enough and young enough to want everything, right now! I realize this is very quickly turning into a “woe is me”, first-world problem.

But true simplicity has been gained… I thought of a great SIMPLE gift! And in the spirit of the giving season, I thought I’d share my first-ever good gift idea with you!

Flavored simple syrup. (you get what I did there, right?!)

It’s the easiest, or shall I say, simplest recipe on earth:

1 cup of water

1 cup of sugar

Heat water in a sauce pan and add sugar. Stir in sugar until it has melted.  Add flavoring. Take pan away from heat and let cool. Strain out any solids and bottle up. And refrigerate.

Flavoring is where you can make things interesting. I like to make use of the remaining herbs left in the garden, usually thyme or rosemary. If you’re feeling experimental, try pine (a sprig of white pine to be exact). Or if you want to enhance the old gin and tonic, throw in a sprig of juniper. Basil or Lavender are also surprisingly good, but you’ll have to make a trip to the store for those.

If you take the time to pour the syrup in small decorative bottles, you can easily turn this homemade simple gift into something to be treasured. These syrups can enhance a mixed drink or a cup of warm tea! Your friends and family will love it, and if they don’t, they’re just being impossible. And you can always blame me: the terrible gifter! You’re welcome.

Happy Holidays! Cheers!

written by Kate Wilson

If you’re looking for some more gift ideas from the terrible gifter, check out these ideas!

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