Icing on the Cake, Baby

November 17th

Scene of a birthday baker

There has been a considerable lack of crafty blogging happening around here lately; with travel, the garden and my appetite for baking, I’ve granted my sewing machine and knitting needles on sabbatical. However, with the holidays right around the corner, I have a feeling their respite will be brief. I’ve got the holiday spreadsheet completed and a lengthy list of projects to match the stack of JoAnn’s coupons in my pocketbook. I am very much looking forward to Thanksgiving in Tucson and Christmas in Denver. I will be able to spend more time with my family in that three week period than I have all year.

Cream cheese frosting, whipped

I am learning the sweetest gift of the holidays is time with my loved ones. I can’t wait. We have some traditions traveling with us to Cody’s house in Denver, including stockings filled with fruit and sticky buns first thing Christmas morning. I’ve got some holiday traditions I look forward to starting with my own brood one day, including caroling, handing out baked goods to the neighbors and baking a birthday cake for Christ on Christmas day. To bring some of these into being this year, I’m organizing a giant community dinner where we’ll go caroling afterward and am working on my neighborhood baked good plan.

ET had it right.

Where I live, many of the residents are temporary. Some are college students or retired folk. Very few of us seem to live in the same spot year-round. I’d like to go by door-to-door with little loaves of bread and wish families a happy holiday and introduce myself, but I feel a bit funny doing so. Suggestions? I’ve also thought about gifting them with small tags that read something like, “With the economy down, it’s time to come together. Bread shared among neighbors makes friends. Wishing you a happy holiday season.” It is pretty cheesy, right?

Chocolate joy
Birthday cupcakes
Who's turning 29?

What would you say? I want to be sincere without being ridiculously sentimental. Send me what you’d say on your bread-for-neighbors tag and I’ll make you a stack of handstamped gift tags for your holiday season. {One person will be selected from comments. Woot!}


* Chocolate cupcakes with cream cheese frosting and Reece’s Pieces topping for Ryan’s 29th birthday. I was in a rush and didn’t let these cool long enough; the result was icing that had slid off by the time I reached the party. Lesson learned!

Posted in
Domestic Art, Happy Hippie, Journal, Kitchen Talk
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38 Responses

  1. Sounds like a great gift; I wish I was your neighbor! And, your message is nice.

  2. My 4 year old was looking over my shoulder when I read this post. Now she’s running around yelling “We need to cook those up, we need to cook those up!”

  3. I would just say something like:

    “A small gift from me to you, because I believe in community and wish I knew my neighbors better! Happy holidays! – Kelli”

  4. Edit to read “… believe in the power of community …” etc.

  5. Cool cupcakes BTW … I’ve decided that cupcakes are going to be my new hobby. Love the creative possibilities and the fact that you can’t really mess them up!

  6. This is what I would say:
    “Wishing you a happy and healthy holiday season from a fellow neighbor and friend”
    and then sign your name so they know its not plum full of razor blades from some random weirdo πŸ™‚

    Man I sure wish I was your neighbor!
    Happy Baking!

  7. I actually really like your message. I think it’s okay to be “cheesy” if it’s from the heart, which it obviously is!

  8. I think your message is good, but I’d leave off the economy thing, we all know it’s bad and I’d keep it more cheerful and closer to what you’ve in mind: “Bread shared among neighbors makes friends. Wishing you a happy holiday season, Kelli”

  9. I agree with your words as edited by Pink Sky. Couldn’t say it better!

  10. I was going to suggest the same thing as Pink Sky. I’ve been wanting to share bread or cookies with my neighbors, but have been stumped by what to write on the card.

  11. Jemima and I like your original words, we think that they seem to say exactly what you mean (if you know what we mean).
    Let us know (me, Rachele and my pug, Jemima Jones), if you would like to get together for a walk around Sloans Lake or coffee while you are in Denver! We are always excited to meet a fellow blogger!
    You can contact us at either one of our blogs:

  12. I like you message, but I also love to sign things with quotations, so here’s one I found:

    “Bread for myself is a material question. Bread for my neighbor is a spiritual one.”
    Nikolai Berdyaev

    May the holiday spirit be yours this Christmas!
    With all good wishes from your neighbor, Kelli!

  13. It’s totally cheesy, but I love it! If I opened my door to find you there bearing bread, I’d give you a big hug and ask you in for tea. πŸ™‚ That’s cheesy me. πŸ™‚

  14. For as long as i can remember baking for the neighbors has been a tradition around here. I think I am following my grandmothers lead here.
    I don’t usually make bread, it’s always cookies.
    I fill up a bowl, and put a little card on it that reads “Your friendly wave, your cheerful smile add much to brighten our little corner of the world. These are to thank you for your neighborly gestures, and to wish you a sweet holiday season, Bright blessings, Sorrow and clan”

  15. I love to do this, too – but yeah, it made me feel bizarre to go up to people’s houses and be all “Happy Holidays from your strange neighbor!” when we first moved in.

    So I just put my baking in some kind of contraption that will hang from their doorknob (handled bag, paper cone with ribbon handle, etc) with a little card that says “Happy Holidays” and that it’s from us and our street number. Then they don’t have to feel all awkward being like, “Who the hell are The Vaughans?”.

    You know. Holidays are all about avoiding awkward situations.

  16. “I kneaded to come over and wish you a Happy Holiday. I hope we can be breadly neighbors from here on out.” Ok that is so cheesy, lol. I hope you find something wonderful.

    xo, April

  17. You should be my neighbor! I would definitely love the bread! I don’t think is ridiculous or whatsoever,I like the idea. When I moved here my neighbor brought us lazagna. Delicious. We loved it. I think I will borrow this idea and make 3 cakes or get something else for 3 neighbors. I won’t bother with the others, because I have no idea who they are…

  18. Great idea for starting new traditions. I agree that time with family is the most precious gift at the holidays! How about: “Spreading neighborly cheer at Christmastime and wishing you a fabulous new year.” I don’t think yours is a cheesey idea though. I think it’s great! Wish more people were as friendly to their neighbors! I’m good friends with my neighbors thankfully. I’ll have to think of something for Christmas to do for them!

  19. You should so go for meeting the neighbors. It’s a creepy thing at the beginning but you should have a few new friends by the end. Who knows maybe some of the college kids are staying around for the holidays. There’ll be at least one I bet. I’ll have to think about the bread tag so I’ll get back to you.
    *You should try and make dairy free frosting next time. I need to give it another try myself.

  20. I think Pink Sky’s got it about perfect.
    And any way you say it, it’s a lovely gesture.

  21. “Sharing bread can feed your hunger. Sharing good will toward neighbors can feed the soul. Wishing you all kinds of nourishment this holiday season”.

    I think your gift idea is wonderful!


  22. I think your idea is wonderful and not at all cheesy. There are no wrong words…your thoughtful gesture will speak for itself. I am thinking of doing cookies for my neighbors. Have fun!

  23. My friends are like family to me and the street behind me is ALL ABOUT community. They invite us to the block party every year even though we’re not technically on the block, so I plan on saying something like “Wishing you peace, health, contentment, and community this coming year.”

  24. “Bread from my hearth to yours, wishing you a wonderful holiday season. From your neighbor…(name, address, whatever)” But I like what you wrote, too.

    As for the caroling, I know that it is tradition to offer carolers something after they sing for you, but anymore people either don’t expect you and aren’t ready, or just don’t know. How about turning that tradition on its head and leaving a little bag of cookies behind after you sing? Just a thought…

  25. I like the one from Its a Wonderful Life that goes:

    Bread – that this house may never know hunger.
    Salt – that life may always have flavor.
    Wine – that joy and prosperity may reign forever.

    That’s what my tag would say.

    Kelli- You are very kind to take them time out to make someone’s day bright. You rock!

  26. Something simple always works “I’m glad we met”
    “knowing you adds spice to my life”

  27. Tina in Duluth November 17, 2008

    Kelli, you are a sweet spirit!

    Those cupcakes look luscious and I’m sure your haste didn’t stop anyone from enjoying them!

  28. Seriously, who cares about the icing sliding off, they look yummy.

  29. You are very sweet! I always do a plate of cookies or tin of fudge for our neighbors as well. I never think of cute sentiments though. Here’s a couple of quotes I found that I might use:

    We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men. ~Herman Melville (May this bread feed the fibers of your being — also very cheesy! :))

    β€šΓ„ΓΊWhen strangers start acting like neighbors… communities are reinvigorated.β€šΓ„ΓΉ – Ralph Nader

    Not very original but I like quotes. I’m excited for you that you will get to spend lots of time with family for the holidays!

    As always – very thoughtful Miss Kelli!

  30. My tag would say “Wishing you peace, love and joy this frugal holiday season! Love, your neighbor.” I like the play on “Love your neighbor.” πŸ™‚

  31. Kelli,
    We should be neighbors! This is the stuff I love to do!
    I love reading your blog, you always have interesting things to say and you do cool things! I just started by blog, I’ve been so busy lately with working full time and going to night school. It’s hard to keep up! My blog Name is Marlton Jul on blogger.com.
    I would say “Wishing you a cool Yule-and have a rocking healthy and Happy New Year!” Take care, Julie

  32. The best part of holidays are spending them with family. I feel so blessed to have my two boys and one daughter in law here in Tucson. Feeling the distance with my daughter, son in law and grand-daughter so far away, but trying to see the glass as half full. Your idea of sharing bread is wonderful. Bread has such a spiritual presence to it. It makes me think of Jesus and how he shared bread with his friends. I think whatever you say will be perfect because of the spirit in which it is given.

  33. I like what you posted, but if you want to go short and sweet you can steal what I use for our neighbors…pretty simple:

    From our home to yours, Happy Holidays!

    Good luck with the baking and gift making too!

  34. I love ytour own words Kelli because they are from your heart and that is what your neighbors will see. However, I agree with a few otf the others and wouldn;t mention the economy. I go door to door baring holiday goodies baked in my kitchen, and no one is a stranger anymore. It may feel strange when you first start out, but whern you see the surprise and smiles on your neighbors faces you lose the feeling quickly. Enjoy the moment. I I am sure your neightbors will.

  35. We were of a like mind this weekend! I made Guinness chocolate cupcakes with vanilla cream cheese frosting. Surprisingly, they were delicious! Who would have thought beer would be good in baked goods. It was hard for me to wait for them to cool down enough to frost them too. Hehe. I also always cut brownies too soon and make a mess of those too. Who can wait for such deliciousness??

  36. My mom usually takes around bread/rolls a bit before Thanksgiving with a note that says “Giving thanks for good neighbors”. I love the idea and I think it helps kick off the holiday season, as well as giving you the option of the Christmas season not being as hectic. If time permits, she’ll do something at Christmas time. I sometimes do Christmas, and sometimes it’s New Year’s, after the hectic holidays are over. At New Years Eve, I take bottles of sparkling cider/grape juice around to neighbors and wish them all the best in the new year.

  37. I love your cooking photos

  38. that time with family at the holidays is so wonderful… i’m excited about seeing both biological and chosen family (old friends from louisiana) this week and then spending our first white christmas together in upstate NY. baked goods, i think, will be a large part of both festivities πŸ™‚ i love the idea of bringing bread to the neighbors. i usually do baked goods for a few neighbors that i know (too shy!) but i think the tag is very sweet! happy weekend kelli!