Why homemade Christmas gifts are better
With the Christmas season ahead, I thought that it would be interesting to give you some of my homemade Christmas gift ideas. I have always loved the holidays! To me, it’s the perfect occasion to spend quality time with the people that I love and cherish. Unfortunately, that’s not the case for everyone. I actually read on the web recently that the Christmas season is one of the most stressful times for most people. Without even realizing it, they put so much pressure on themselves to get the best gifts, to cook the best meals and to be the best host that they actually forget what the Holidays are really about spending quality time with the most important people in our lives. Well, Christmas isn’t stressful for me at all. I actually relax during the Holidays. I take my time and I make my own gifts. It seems as though my family and friends appreciate that much more. Taking the time to make something for someone seems more like a gift from the heart than a gift purchased at the mall just a few hours before Christmas Eve. You know, the “last minute shopping” that everyone always complains about? That’s only my opinion but for some unexplained reason, I am willing to bet a jar of my Elderberry jelly that most of you agree with my way of doing today.
My favorite Elderberry Christmas gift idea
There are many ways to make this nutritious jelly but honestly, I really believe that my recipe is the best. OK, I know, I am bragging a bit, but hey, I have to be honest with you don’t I? Now, it is really important that before you begin anything that you make sure that you have the sweetest Elderberries out there. Not only is the jelly tasty and delicious on toast in the morning, but it can actually cure you of the cold if you are feeling a little under the weather. The nasty flu may just be going around right now. As a precaution, you can always keep a jar of Elderberry jelly in your fridge, just in case.
We know that Elderberries are a delightful fruit, but as I mentioned in my previous article, some are poisonous. So, it’s important to pick them while they are in season (July to September). It’s also important to make sure that you are picking the bright blue kind, not the red kind. They are way too sour and are poisonous if they are not cooked properly.
Depending on how many jars you want to make and depending on how many you want to offer as a gift, the quantity is really up to you. Assuming that you want to offer 5 small pots and keep one for yourself, get yourself 3 pounds of Elderberries. You will also need the entire juice of one big lemon, 5 cups of sugar, one box of fruit pectin and my two secret ingredients, ginger, an inch of it to be precise, freshly chopped by the way and cinnamon, 1 teas spoon of it.
I realize that it’s winter and Elderberries are currently not in season so if you didn’t get the chance to go picking them last summer and you don’t have any frozen ones in your freezer, you can order them online if you can’t find them at your local market. There is always the dried kind but I suggest the fresh ones that you actually picked yourself. Oh, and don’t forget to purchase a cheese cloth if you don’t already have one. You will need it to drain the liquid out of the cooked berries.
Take the 3 pounds of Elderberries and cook them at low heat until you notice that the juices are starting to come out of the berries. This should take approximately 20 minutes. Then, put them aside of another 20 minutes. Let them simmer. Once that is ready, it is time to strain the juices from the berries in the cheese cloth. This may take some patience but please don’t worry, it’s all worth it in the end. Once that is done, squeeze the lemon juice out of the lemon and mix it with the Elderberry juice that you gathered. Add 1 cup of water, the pectin, the sugar, the ginger then the cinnamon. Let all of that boil a little bit, not too long though, about 7 minutes or until you feel that the liquid has become a ‘’jelly texture”. Pour the jelly into the jars and then cover it with paraffin. This will help preserve your jelly for a much longer time. There you have it! It’s that simple. You have yourself 6 small jars of Elderberry jelly ready to offer as a Christmas gift to whomever you desire.
I guarantee that your friends and family will so appreciate this gift. Mine most certainly do.
The True meaning of Christmas
I guess what I am trying to say is that Christmas is about love, sharing, about giving and about spreading the joy. God sent his son Jesus Christ to save us. That’s what we celebrate on Christmas. I don’t believe that spending tones of money, stressing out over your Christmas menu and over what you are going to wear is really necessary. I don’t believe that that is what God really wants us to do. He wants us to spread the love by helping the less fortunate and by being a good neighbor. We tend to do this mostly throughout the Christmas season, however, God thinks that it’s perfectly OK do it that all year long! That’s why we really celebrate Christmas. And then I always thought Linus in the popular Charlie Brown Christmas special always said it more perfectly when he recited Luke 2:8-14
If you are spending the Holidays with the people that you love, if they are all healthy and happy, that’s the only thing that matters. The rest all comes naturally. Anything that you make for Christmas dinner will be delicious and appreciated. All of the gifts that you offer will be acknowledged and anything that you wear will make you feel beautiful because what’s truly beautiful, in the end is that God loves us and we love him. No matter what gifts we offer, it’s the intention behind them that matter.
Merry Christmas and Happy Elderberry jelly making!
Hannah Walker is a Christian, wife, mother, and writer. She lives in Charleston, South Carolina and loves to learn every day about what it truly means to be a divine homemaker. She and her husband are zelous about living a self sustaining life style that is pleasing to God.