Last updated on September 13th, 2019 at 08:07 pm
Take a much-needed break from wrapping all those holiday gifts with a few friends and a homemade hot cocoa mocha. Show up with a Gift Wrapping Get Away Gift Basket and enjoy time with friends.
I want to thank Nielsen-Massey and McCrea’s who sent me the products for today’s post. All ideas, recipes, and opinions expressed here are my own.
Gift Wrapping is tough!
As if the holiday season isn’t stressful enough, trying to find the perfect gifts for everyone and then getting them all wrapped in time, leaves very little room for relaxing and just enjoying this time of year.
My husband and I usually wait and wrap all the gifts for the kids on Christmas Eve. After attending the candlelight service, we go to my in-laws for dinner and family time then the hubby and I head back home to sleep while the kids stay there. We retrieve all the gifts from their hiding places and spend a few hours wrapping them.
That may sound weird like we don’t have any gifts under our tree before Christmas Day but we do, they are just for other people. This keeps the shaking and guessing by the youngsters to a minimum while emphasizing that the holidays are about helping others. But wrapping all the gifts for other people gets stressful too! What if you could take a break and give a gift at the same time? My Gift Wrapping Get Away Gift Basket is the perfect way to do it!
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What is in a Gift Wrapping Get Away Gift Basket?
Well, just about anything you want to give really but I created this one for my girlfriends specifically. It is only a few items but they will give you and the recipient the perfect opportunity to take a break from spastically wrapping gifts, let your paper cuts and scissor wounds heal, and spend quality time with loved ones that are more special than anything you can buy.
My Gift Wrapping Get Away Gift Basket contains just a few precious items but each one is exquisite. Since I will be making one for each of my girlfriends I try to personalize it a little. I start off by buying a basket that is a multi-tasker. This one has a sturdy wood top and a wire bottom this is perfect for books, magazines, toys, etc.
The gift basket as a whole is centered around a homemade cocoa mix for making a Hot Cocoa Mocha so I add in two personalized mugs. Coffee, tea, or cocoa will fill these perfectly.
Then I add a jar of the homemade cocoa mix (recipe below) made with Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Sugar and a small jar of crushed peppermint candies for a garnish. You can really add any candy or garnish you like I just don’t like to give empty jars as gifts. The jars are really part of the gift as everyone can always use a jar to store things in like paperclips, extra salt, leftover mini chocolate chips that need a new home. Your favorite spice mix, like my Homemade Jerk or Italian Seasoning, would work too.
A Hot Cocoa Mocha is a hot chocolate with a little coffee in it. Much like the mochas you get at other coffee houses that are coffee with milk and chocolate syrup, I do this one in reverse. A hot cocoa with a touch of coffee extract! I include a small jar of coffee extract from Nielsen-Massey. Their coffee extract is made with premium ingredients sourced from all over the world. Unlike coffee beans or grounds, this extract won’t lose it’s flavor so your friend can use it for desserts and other baking recipes. Plus, all Nielsen-Massey products are all-natural, certified gluten-free, certified Kosher, allergen-free and GMO-Free!
I received a bottle of their Chocolate Extract in a gift bag and have enjoyed using it ever since!
Don’t forget to treat yourself!
The homemade cocoa mix is the perfect start to your Gift Wrapping Get Away visit. I love a mug of hot cocoa myself, but I enjoy it even more with a nip of bourbon or rum like my eggnog. My friends enjoy a bit of Bailey’s Irish Cream in theirs! If you are a bit of a wild card don’t rule out adding a little red wine to your Hot Cocoa Mocha, you may be pleasantly surprised.
After the Hot Cocoa Mocha items are added to the Gift Wrapping Get Away Gift Basket I like to throw in a few treats too. While enjoying the warm cocoa I like to have a few caramels. McCrea’s Candies makes the most amazing caramels. Founded by husband-wife team Jason and Kate McCrea, McCrea’s has received numerous awards for its caramel and is a Good Food Award winner, an honor given to outstanding American food producers.
McCrea’s quest to find the perfect combinations of smooth, sweet, fresh, and unexpected using the fewest possible ingredients shows in their caramels. Their Rosemary Truffle Sea Salt Caramels are amazing but I am most taken with their Black Lava Sea Salt and their signature Classic Vanilla. I can’t believe they still handroll their caramel and package it in biodegradable containers that are beautiful enough to leave unwrapped.
Add in two containers of McCrea’s Caramels to anchor the Gift Basket and then add a few wood snowflakes and an ornament in a color that will pop. A festive ribbon along the bottom completes the look!
While everyone is relaxing and no longer full of stress, maybe go all out and pop a few of the Black Lava Sea Salt Caramels in your mouth to savor one last moment before you head back to wrapping up the last of the gifts, they are my favorite! Now that you are stress-free, you can get back to wrapping up the gifts and sealing them with pretty bows instead of throwing in the towel and stuffing them in a gift bag with the price tags still on them.
Homemade Cocoa Mix
- 1/2 cup sugar (granulated)
- 1/3 cup Bourbon Pure Vanilla Sugar (I use Nielsen-Massey)
- 1/2 cup cocoa (unsweetened)
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
To make the Hot Cocoa Mocha
- 2 tablespoons homemde cocoa mix
- 1 teaspoon coffee extract (I use Nielsen-Massey)
- 1 ounce optional holiday spirit (I use bourbon or Irish Cream)
- 8 ounces hot milk
- marshmallows, whipped cream, and crushed peppermint (for garnish)
Mix the Homemade Cocoa Mix
- Combine the granulated sugar, bourbon vanilla sugar, cocoa, and salt.
- Mix thouroughly.
- Store in an airtight container until ready to use.
Make the Holiday Spirit Cocoa Mocha
- Heat the milk to your preferred temperature.
- Add 2 tablespoons of the homemade cocoa mix and stir to combine.
- Add the coffee extract and stire to combine.
- Garnish with marshmallows, whipped cream, and crushed peppermint candies.
- Enjoy your time off from gift wrapping with friends and family to celebrate the true meaning of the season.
*If you like this recipe, rate it with some stars!!!
Nutrition Information:Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 109 Total Fat: 1g Saturated Fat: 1g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 0g Cholesterol: 2mg Sodium: 95mg Carbohydrates: 19g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 1g Sugar: 15g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 2g
When you make your Gift Wrapping Get Away Gift Basket don’t forget to tag me on social media so I can see your creations and how you are spending quality time during the holidays. Check out the Nielsen-Massey Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages and McCrea’s Candies Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages and see what others are using in their gift baskets.
I adapted this recipe for use in this gift basket.