Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Christmas in July

Alright people, these blog posts are not chronological-- or timely for that matter.

I think about things I’d like to write about during the day when I’m busy and then by the time I stop being lazy and actually write it, it’s a long time later.

Since it’s hot as hell outside, and everyone is cursing summer and counting down to sweater wearing months, I figure it’s a good time for a taste of Christmas. In July.

This past December, my friend Gretchen and I realized that we knew very little about office gifting etiquette in our big girl jobs. We were not longer broke college girls, but we were still broke. Gretchen’s mother, who happens to be a real life Martha Stewart—the kind of lady who shops at King Arthur Flour—gave us the wonderful idea to use those adorable little mason jars to give “gourmet,” home-made hot chocolates out to our co-workers.

So we gave it a shot.

About $30 and 4 hours later, we managed to make enough hot chocolate gifts for all of our co-workers—at about $1 a pop—not too shabby! Granted, it takes more patience than Gretchen and I had, times three, because about 20 minutes in, we wanted to quit.

We made two batches:

1.       Mint hot chocolate

2.       Mexican hot chocolate with cayenne pepper and Madagascar-an vanilla sugar

The mint hot cocoa was kid friendly and the Mexican hot cocoa was a kick in the back of your throat. It took a few terrible taste tests to get it down.

Each mini mason held one regular or two small serving of hot chocolate mix, layered to look pretty, and covered with mini marshmallows.  We even bothered to dye the sugar with green and red food coloring to make it more festive. Believe me, that crap was painstaking and laborious, and afterwards our fingers were an ugly shade of red/green/brown.

Little circles of spare fabric served as lid covers, wrapped with a ribbon that tied on a tiny card cut out of card stock that informed the receiver what kind of cocoa to expect. Apparently, many of the people who were given the Mexican hot chocolate didn’t get the memo, but after the first confusing but delicious sip, they caught on.

It was our first try so they weren’t exactly Pinterest worthy, but it was a good effort, and everyone in my office appreciated them. I even got a super cute thank you card from the daughters of one of my co-workers raving about it—so Booyah! I’m still a fan of the mason jar gift—because you can put ANYTHING in it! It was an inexpensive thoughtful gift that’s handy when you have 20+ co-workers and now clue about the gift exchange process at a new job.

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