Each year around Christmas time, there’s always a plethora of wish lists, gift guides and seasonal sales pulling you in and out of shops and sites (hellooOooo Pinterest addicts :) ~ As rewarding as it can be to find the ‘perfect’ gift for someone, I find there’s no comparable satisfaction to giving something homemade. Be it in your own kitchen, the work of local artisans, or your favorite neighborhood curators… There are local ways of spreading joy and this is what I did my best to find this year.

Among too many enticing holiday recipes, I stumbled upon a Gingerbread Loaf in Martha’s December Issue – Between the merry marriage of cloves, allspice and freshly ground ginger and the ambient, molasses color it produced, I was brought right back to an incredible Christmas experience I had roaming around Berlin with some friends, tasting real gingerbread for the first time. All I can say is… It was as close to a magical Hogsmeade experience I could ever wish to have (#harrypotter). This, was the perfect recipe — and I’ve decided to share it with you…and naturally, my favorite Shop Owners of the Southend: Thank you for inspiring me daily with your passions to spread local love!

Stir – My favorite Southend kitchen, home to cozy, how-to dinners prepared by the most talented chefs I know and love.

Follain – The brightest Shop of Soap and all things good for the skin and the soul.

Olives & Grace – The cutest ‘curtsy to the makers’ …. artisanal curated goods and gifts.

Farm & Fable – Here you will find the best of all things vintage kitchen. All those gems you hope to find at flea markets…

Niche – The greenest thumb I know, best for terrariums, air plants and pots of all shapes and sizes.

Home for Christmas Gingerbread Homemade PomPom Garland Gingerbread Gingerbread Homemade PomPom GingerbreadAmong others I’ve sprinkled in some favorites of my Tree this year – Standing proud and tall, covered in *homemade* PomPoms {the most fun, post Thanksgiving Dinner Food Coma craft evs, btw}

How are you spreading joy this Holiday season?

Also, in case you haven’t seen or heard enough of it, a little Boston Ballet Nutcracker Video as we roll into our week of shows…You might recognize a certain blonde snowflake ;)

GinGerBread & Joy ~p.e.