Christmas is in two sleeps! I wanted to create a Christmas cake this year that was nostalgic, easy (critical when baking with a toddler at your heels—see the photographs below! Haha), rich, and moist. This cake taste like SO much more than it looks! Honestly, bundt cakes can be pretty unimpressive. But these dark chocolate orange bundt cake are made with buttermilk, whiskey, and triple chocolate (melted, cocoa, and chips!) plus orange zest and orange flower water for a twist on the traditional holiday combination of chocolate & orange. Trust me on these. They’re the perfect Christmas dessert.
I also made DIY Christmas crackers filled with beautiful party favors! They’ve always been a tradition at my family’s holiday dinner table—paper crowns, bad jokes, and all. So, I wanted to create a personalized version. You can fill them with lovely gifts like chocolates, tea, self-care products, little bottles of spirits, and confetti. And of course bad jokes and paper crowns too! I hope these become a tradition at your Christmas if they aren’t! Read on to learn the details of the recipe, our gift wrapping, and how to make the Christmas crackers! (and you can shop the post!)
Welcome to reality…
In addition to the festivities and dark chocolate orange bundt cakes, real life with a toddler is in full swing, and the whole family was stricken terribly ill last last night. Out of no where! Everyone was fine one minute. And then we started dropping like flies. That means these lovely babies went home with some construction workers that were fixing our roof (another bit of reality!)…so at least the cakes found a home! Into the night there were many tears (and not just Eula!)…But! We all, while a bit shaky, seem to be better this morning, and we’re all hoping it’s a Christmas miracle. Or you know…just a 24 hour bug! Don’t let these photos fool you…there’s a LOT behind the scenes that isn’t quite so picture perfect! And we still have a mountain of wrapping ahead of us. But we’ve got the simmer pots on, I’m warily considering a glass of egg nog, and my favorite Christmas tunes (Frank Sinatra, Peanuts, and She & Him!) are on repeat.
About the gift wrapping…
For years I’ve wrapped gifts in natural materials like muslin and linen and reused it…so not a lot of variation there! But this year we thought it would be lovely to re-use the mini dried bouquets we made for each place setting from our Winter Solstice dinner as gift toppers (a sustainable alternative to throw away bows!), and use brass safety pins instead of tape to make the gift wrapping even more eco-friendly. You can also explore past year’s gift wrapping ideas with japanese paper & silk, floral gift toppers, linen and twine, and craft paper & foraged flora for more inspiration! Especially if you’re a little bit last minute like me…procrastinators unite!
We also used up-cycled paper that I saved throughout the year. Pictured in this post along with the muslin is packaging paper from an Elizabeth Suzann order earlier this year. Even better…the paper was designed by my dear friend & talented painter Rebekka Seale! Because I live in a small town half the year, I do some shopping online. So I make sure to save the boxes, packing paper, little linen bags, string & ribbons, and all that comes with it to use in my holiday gift wrapping. Luckily most of the makers and artisans I love use sustainable packaging that is both beautiful and durable for many uses to come!
And lastly! A couple of years ago I invested in some gorgeous, hand-dyed silk ribbons from FrouFrou Chic that we save and reuse each year or pass on to a new home. I’m in LOVE with them! They’re beautiful for wreaths, the table, styling, gifts, and for Eula’s hair!
A gift for you…
I have very exciting news! I am teaching my first ever, completely FREE online workshop, The Art of Instagram, in early January. The workshop will share the 5 simple steps I used to organically grow my following of 760K+ on Instagram and (importantly!) how I used that to build a 6-figure creative business that allows me to do what you see here (cook, photograph, style, and travel) for a living. By the end of the workshop you will leave knowing how to create an Instagram for your creative blog, brand, or business that translates into a living.
I don’t teach overnight success. I don’t promise to make you insta-famous. I don’t deal in sleazy tactics. But I think what I’ve learned over the years about how to turn creating online into a job is worth sharing! So! If you’d like to receive an invitation to the class (and future classes, retreats, and events!) just sign up to join the free LM Community in the side bar and keep an eye on your inbox for that invitation! If you didn’t know, I actually have a second website where my podcast for all things creative business, the Raw Milk Podcast, lives, a long with tons of free resources for creatives looking to turn it into a living! Merry Christmas!
How To : Christmas Cracker DIY
My neutral holiday table wouldn’t be complete without matching Christmas crackers! These poppers filled with confetti, little gifts, paper crowns, and
What you’ll Need
- Wrapping Paper, kraft paper, or white butcher paper (what we used)
- 4 1/2″ Cardboard Tubes, Toilet Paper Rolls, or Paper towel rolls cut to size (4 1/2″)
- Ribbons or string for tying, cut to 14″ for each end
- Gorilla glue or a glue gun
- Cracker snaps (optional, we found them on both Etsy and Amazon)
- A ruler
- things for filling like little gifts, paper crowns, bad jokes, and confetti!
- Cut wrapping paper into appropriate size. We used 4 ½” long cardboard tubes (cut paper towel rolls to 4 ½ in long) and cut the wrapping paper to 14″ x 7″ rectangles. If you are using toilet paper rolls cut the paper to 12″ x 7″.
- Center your roll at the bottom center on the inside of the paper using a ruler.
- Glue the roll on the bottom edge of the paper where it is centered. Hold the edge of the paper down onto the roll until the glue has dried (5-10 seconds).
- If using, center the cracker snap on the opposite edge of the paper and glue the ends to the paper between 1″-1/2″ from the end of the paper.
- Roll the cardboard tube towards the cracker snap, keeping it tight and straight on the edges the best you can. Lightly glue the right and left ends of the paper to the roll. Roll tight and hold until dry. At this point you should just have a long tube.
- Time to tie the ends! Place an extra cardboard roll inside the paper ends when tying to help them keep their shape. Make sure there is about a 2″ space between the roll you’re using to keep the shape and the cardboard roll inside.
- Using your hands, start crimping down the end gently, being careful not to twist. Just sort of smoosh the paper in between the end roll you’re using to keep the shape and the roll inside. Secure with a ribbon!
- Remove the roll used to keep the shape of the end. Fill the open end with gifts, crowns, jokes, and confetti! And then repeat the process on that end to close!
Shop the Post:
- Nordic Ware Bundt Pan
- Vintage Brass Candle Holders
- Gold Fabric Scissors
- Hand Dyed Silk Ribbon
- Gold Chargers
- Carpet Stitched Cardigan
- Linen Apron
- Copper Measuring Cups
- Taper Candles
- Gold Flatware
- Pink Linen Napkins
- Brass Geo Ornament
- Brass Star Ornament
- Ceramic Ornaments