The holidays are saturated with sales and materialism, so I like to do my best to bring meaning back into my holiday by including as many homemade touches as possible. I love being able to infuse something personal into my gifts and festivities.
As kids, we would leave a plate of cookies and a glass of eggnog for Santa. Eggnog is a holiday staple, but usually I find the store-bought stuff too rich and syrupy for my taste. When my husband decided to make homemade eggnog, I was intrigued to see how it compared to the store-bought versions. Homemade is so much better. While it’s still rich, the frothiness of the beaten eggs keeps it from having the syrup-like texture of the stuff you’ll find in stores.
Another fun way to personalize your holiday is by making easy hand-stamped wrapping paper. I hadn’t done potato stamping since elementary school, but I love it! It’s so easy and a super inexpensive way to make creative and unique wrapping paper. You also can use found objects to create stamps. For instance, I’ve made wrapping paper with mini polka dots by using a pencil eraser to stamp dots. Simple shapes work best when carving potato stamps. Triangles, stars, circles, even little evergreen trees are relatively easy to cut with a knife. If you’re doing this activity with kids, I’d suggest having them draw their design on a piece of paper, and then you can do the actual cutting of the design into the potato.
- 4 egg yolks
- 1/3 cup sugar, plus 1 tablespoon
- 1 pint whole milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 4 ounces bourbon
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 4 egg whites
- Dash of cinnamon or nutmeg for garnish
- Beat the egg whites to soft peaks. With the mixer running, gradually add 1 tablespoon of sugar and beat until stiff peaks form.
- In another bowl, beat the egg yolks until they lighten in color. Gradually add the 1/3 cup sugar and continue to beat until it is completely dissolved. Add the milk, cream, bourbon, and nutmeg, and stir to combine.
- Whisk the egg whites into the mixture. Chill and serve. Garnish with a dash of cinnamon or nutmeg.
Note: Consuming raw eggs may increase your risk of foodborne illness.
Hand-Stamped Holiday Paper
- Potatoes (I use Russet)
- Knife and/or X-ACTO knife
- Roll of blank paper
- Cut the potato in half, and then use your X-ACTO knife to carve the outline of your design into the flat face of the potato.
- Carve out the part of the potato that isn’t the design, so the only part of the potato that remains is the design. You’ll want at least 1/4 inch of depth between the design and the rest of the potato surface so that when you press the stamp onto the ink and then onto your paper, the only part that gets stamped is your
- Use a towel to dry off the potato as much as possible before pressing it into the inkpad.
- Since my wrapping paper design was plain, I kept the embellishments simple and used baker’s twine for the ribbon and tied on a sprig of evergreen for color!