I’m about to give you the best neighbor gift idea of the holidays. It’s simple, inexpensive, colorful, fat-free, and nobody has to find a place to hang it on the wall.
I received this very recipe as a gift from a neighbor probably seven or eight years ago and have been re-creating it ever since. As soon as the autumn chill sets in, I get out my saucepan and grab these simple ingredients from the counter and cupboards.
A few slices of lemon
A few slices of orange
One or two cinnamon sticks
One bay leaf
A trickle of whole cloves
A few cranberries (Totally optional. It adds some cute color.)
Step 1: Slice up a lemon and an orange.
Step 2: Add your cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, and a bay leaf.
Step 3: Put everything in a saucepan and fill it with water. Set the pan on a warm stove and let this simmer. Your home will be filled with a wonderful sweet and spicy aroma, and your neighbors will think that you are a freaking awesome cook just from the fumes that waft into their open windows.
Of course, if you are giving this as a gift or favor, skip Step 3 and simply tie all of this up in a cute cellophane bag with a tag. But please—FOR THE LOVE OF CHRISTMAS—don’t write something dorky on the tag like, ORANGE you glad the holidays are here? or, Just wanted to SPICE up your holidays or, A sweet and spicy holiday stew for someone sweet and spicy like you! The only thing worse is when the key words are “put in quotation marks” so that everybody “gets the joke” because I guess everybody thinks their neighbors are “below average” or something.
As you can see, we’ve stumbled upon my worst holiday pet peeve: annoying word play on cheap gifts. Please don’t try to disguise your cheap gift with some cute-sy wording. Don’t kid yourself; everybody knows you only spent seventy-nine cents on the gift. That’s all they spent on yours. Cheap gifts are fine. Dorky tags are not. Are you listening, Universe?
How about something like this: “[Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays/Happy Hannukah] from the [YOUR LAST NAME HERE] family”
SEE HOW EASY THAT WAS?