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1 In holidays

Holiday Baking & Cookie Box Inspiration

Sugar cookie dough, rolled out and cut with various cookie cutters for holiday baking.

I’ve finished all my Christmas shopping (cue sighs of relief), and I’m moving on to Christmas movies, gift wrapping, and holiday baking this week. The kitchen smelled of toasted pecans and butter last night as I kicked off baking with Pecan Sandies from Ina Garten’s Foolproof. I knew Ina wouldn’t steer me wrong, and the recipe turned out perfectly. My cookies even looked like the one’s in her photo!

Pecan Sandies on a cake stand with the recipe in the background.

Cookie boxes have been showing up all over my Pinterest feed recently, and then Tieghan from Half Baked Harvest shared this stunner on Instagram. Lauren Conrad’s cookie box also came across my feed on Pinterest this week and looked like the perfect way to contain all the holiday baking I plan on doing.


Here’s what I’ll be baking this week:

hot chocolate cookies  //  salted milk chocolate & peanut butter blondies  //  santa claus cookies  //  butter cookies  //  my grandmama’s oatmeal cookies  //  my chocolate chip, cranberry, walnut cookies  //  peppermint bark cookies


Need more recipes? Check out this post of Christmas cookies I did a few years ago!

1 In holidays

Etsy Gift Guide 2020

A compilation of handmade gift ideas from Etsy.


Central Park puzzle  //  linen robe  //  hydrangea needlepoint canvas  //  Tree Shopping puzzle  //  macaron gift box

felted wool slippers  //  linen apron

french rolling pin  //  winter pine wreath  //  custom cutting board

ceramic mug  //  druzy earrings

rolling backgammon set  //  Indian block print floral quilt  //  soy candle set


It’s my first ever gift guide, and so appropriate that it’s an Etsy one! Over the years, I’ve gotten so many custom embroidered shirts for the kids for various holidays and birthday parties. Etsy is the perfect place to shop for one of a kind decor items, too! There’s something for everyone, which makes it the ultimate one-stop place to shop for Christmas this year. As I was putting this list together, I had a winter at home in mind. We’re all spending much more time at home these days, so why not make them feel a little more cozy and special?


Picture a slow, winter morning spent wrapped up in this linen robe and these wool slippers while sipping coffee from one of these handmade mugs. Sounds like a luxurious way to start the day!

One of my favorite winter activities is baking. A linen apron and french rolling pin are the perfect tools for the job. Solid wood cutting boards are great for serving fresh baked items or creating a beautiful cheese board. Customize these to include a last name, couple’s names, or a special date like an anniversary. Would make a wonderful gift for newlyweds!

If you’re not the baking type, or just don’t feel like messing up the kitchen 😉 try these macarons! They come in a box of 10 – perfect for sharing, or sneaking off to eat them in bed while you read a book.


While we’re at home this winter, we might as well make home feel extra cozy. I’ve shared winter wreaths before, and this winter pine wreath is a beautiful addition to that collection. And what gives a space a more cozy feeling than candles burning? This soy candle set even smells like winter with their scents of California Pine and Christmas in a Jar.


Now imagine a little afternoon needlepoint with this adorable hydrangea canvas while curled up with this gorgeous floral print quilt. Later on, pair these puzzles based on covers from The New Yorker with a big bowl of popcorn for a perfect evening in. Or roll out the backgammon board for a game night at home.


To add a little sparkle to our winter, I’d wear these sparkly blue druzy earrings. My daughter, Brilee, started her Etsy shop this year and has spent hours making earrings over the last several months. I might be partial, but I just think they’re stunning!


Those are my picks for Christmas gifts from Etsy this year. Of course, there’s so much variety on Etsy and so many more wonderful shops I could have included in here. If you have some I should know about, let me know in the comments!

In holidays

Custom Invitations from Basic Invite

An assortment of custom stationery including invitations, thank you card, and business card.

This post is sponsored by Basic Invite.


Hosting and entertaining is something I love to do. Although the pandemic has certainly put a hold on gatherings for many of us, there are milestones we all want to celebrate. There have been so many creative ways people have thought up to still come together and make loved ones feel appreciated during the special moments in their lives. We were a part of several Birthday parades this Spring and the kids all thought it was so much fun. I’ve seen socially distanced outdoor weddings and backyard come-and-go baby showers. No matter what the event, though, there is one thing they all start with: the invitations.

I’ve spent hours searching invitation websites trying to find the perfect invitation for a party. Basic Invite makes it easy to have personalized party invites customized just the way I want them. I went on their website to create an invitation for Brilee’s Easter brunch she is planning for the Spring. Finding cute invitations to customize was easy -narrowing it down to just one was much more difficult. Over 180 colors means your options for customizing are nearly endless. Plus, you can choose the color for every single element to get exactly what you want. I really liked the instant preview feature so I could see exactly how the whole invitation would look before ordering. We ended up with a beautiful invitation that perfectly matches the custom color scheme Brilee chose.

An assortment of custom stationery including an invitation, thank you card, and business card.


Whether you’re looking for 1st or 21st Birthday invitations, Basic Invite has something to fit every theme. Their peel-and-seal envelopes come in 40 different colors, so you can match the envelope to your custom invites!

Birthday invitation for an ice cream parlour themed party with candies laying on a table.

Making staying connected even easier:

Another feature I really love is their Address Capturing Service. Basic Invite will create a link for customers to share a link on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or any other social media to request their friends’ and family’s addresses. Looking ahead a couple months, this will make sending Christmas cards so much simpler!

Fun fact: I used to help my aunt at her Hallmark store imprinting Christmas cards for her customers with foil signature lines. Hand imprinting cards with foil is a slow, methodical process. Each letter is hand placed into a metal block to create a custom stamp. That stamp is then heated and pushed into foil that is laid on each card. Although hand imprinting with foil is a painstaking endeavor, the result is beautiful and adds a nice little extra sparkle. Basic Invite has foil cards available in gold, silver, and rose gold. The raised foil option would be so pretty on a red and green holiday card!

Basic Invite has a full range of customizable stationery, from “thank you” cards to monogrammed note cards. Right now, Basic Invite is offering Darling South readers 15% off with code 15FF51 .