TREATING YOUR FRIENDS RIGHT
Back in my university days, during a longago Christmas season, some friends and I gathered in one of our kitchens and, thinking that many hands made light work, teamed up to crank out a few holiday treats to give as gifts to friends and family. I think there was some sort of chutney, and—this being the ’90s—sundried tomatoes were no doubt involved. I do recall we burned the first batch of spiced nuts, likely because our attention to detail waned a bit as the conversation became more animated (and more glasses of wine were consumed).
This gift-making gathering was partly motivated by budget—my gig at the student paper hardly made me a high roller—but mainly it was a way to enjoy each other’s company with the thrilling end result of some beautifully packaged presents that we had made with our own hands.
These days it’s hard to find the time to repeat such an endeavour. Whatever free moments I can find come holiday season go toward knitting my niece and nephew their annual handmade gifts ( last year: shark and mermaid tails; this year: cat and bear hats)— and, as usual, I find myself cranking those out in far too short a time frame. But after seeing Julie Van Rosendaal’s recipes in this issue (“Twice as Nice,” page 85), I think it’s time for me to get the gang back together. We may be several thousand miles apart these days, but that doesn’t have to be a problem anymore: Skype and FaceTime—along with a virtually shared glass of wine—will make it feel like old times again as we create batches of Julie’s “hot sauce with cranberries” for our upcoming Christmas parties.
And for those of you who will be undertaking the same effort, our associate art director, Natalie Gagnon, has created gift labels for you so you can pretty up each package you lovingly create. Head to Westernliving.ca to download your set—and send us a pic of your final creations while you’re at it.
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