Do you exchange gifts with your neighbors at Christmas? Rather than a traditional cookie plate, try giving the gift of a yummy smelling house. A Christmas simmer pot kit is a simple to make, inexpensive, and useful gift that anyone can enjoy.
What do you give for neighbor gifts? Or do you give them at all? The ideas for simple, made-in-bulk gifts abound on Pinterest, and it seems like many families have a favorite to give. I know that every year I am going to get homemade marshmallows from one neighbor, and English toffee from another.
I love all the treats (seriously, do not stop bringing me toffee, Lacey), but there are A LOT of them this time of year. So for the past several years, I’ve opted to gift my neighbors something a little bit different. Variety is good, right?
I give the scent of Christmas.
More specifically, I give an orange, cranberries, cinnamon, cloves, and sometimes pine (or rosemary) all packaged up nicely with directions for how to make a Christmas simmer pot.
What IS a Christmas simmer pot?
A simmer pot basically means tossing some simple aromatics into a pot with some water and simmering it on the stove until your house smells absolutely AMAZING.
There are lots of options for ingredients, but our classic Christmas scent of oranges and spices is my favorite. In fact, each year my husband always reminds me that I can’t just give them to other people. We have to make one (or several) for ourselves, too.
Bonus: If you add all the ingredients to apple juice instead of just water, you get some yummy cider (don’t use pine for this kind). Smells and tastes good…even better!
So, today I’m sharing with you all my secrets for how to create an inexpensive, practical, and easy neighbor gift. I love that it’s simple enough that I can have my kids help me assemble the bags. We’ve actually gotten a pretty good conveyor belt-like system going the last few years.
I’m also including a couple of cute free printable gift tags you are welcome to use. When I started making these gifts a few years ago, I designed a really cute round tag. However, I have since realized that it is a pain in the rear to cut out circles and try to make them perfect without one of those fancy (and way overpriced) circle punches. So, I redesigned the tags this year using some beautiful Scandinavian-inspired artwork…and the only cutting needed is straight lines. Hooray! You can download them at the bottom of the post. Enjoy!
Christmas Simmer Pot Neighbor Gift
What you need for each simmer pot kit:
- 1 small orange
- 1/2 cup fresh cranberries
- 1 tablespoon cloves
- 2-4 cinnamon sticks
- 1-2 sprigs of rosemary or pine (optional)
- packaging (cellophane bag, ribbon, tag, etc.)
Tips on where to buy your ingredients:
I always wait to make my kits until the grocery stores start putting Christmas food items on sale. Usually, there is a week or two where I can get oranges as cheap at 3 lbs. for $1, and I can get a bag of cranberries for .99 cents. If you buy things at full price, you’re likely to pay closer to $1/lb. for oranges and $2.99 for cranberries.
Don’t buy cinnamon sticks at the normal grocery store. They are SO expensive. I buy mine at Costco. They are extra long sticks, so I break them in half and package two in each kit.
You can buy cloves (and allspice if you want to include it) in bulk at Sprouts and it’s much cheaper than buying the bottle at the grocery store.
You can decide if it’s worth going to three different stores to save money. If you’re only making a handful of kits, it’s not a big deal, but if you make 20+, you will save some money. I just pick the ingredients up when I’m doing my normal grocery shopping in the weeks leading up to Christmas, so it’s not a big deal for me. You can definitely opt to just get everything at one store to simplify.
If you want to use my printable gift tags on your gifts, feel free to download them below. Enjoy!
Vicki @ Babies to Bookworms
This is an adorable idea! I would love to receive this and it sounds pretty easy to make!
Super easy, Vicki! And the oranges just started going on super sales this week, so check your grocery store for deals!
I love how simple this is. It is such a cute gift to share.
Thanks, Lyndsey. Simple is my motto these days.
Thank you so much for the idea and printables – I’m so making a few of these!
I hope you enjoy them! I have been smelling my simmer pot (left over from taking pictures for this post) all day and loving it! For some reason, I always seem to give it to other people and forget to make one myself.
This looks lovely, I’m not sure why I never get any nice homemade gifts?! Note to self… get new friends.
Maybe it’s just where I live, but a lot of people around me give neighbors little goodies and such. If I lived near you, I’d totally bring you a simmer pot. 🙂
that’s such a cute idea! what a unique gift idea, thanks for sharing
Thanks, Lesley. I always like giving things that are useful.
The design is so nice! Awesome idea 🙂
Cute! I do the same thing but put them in mason jars with apple cider and water as the liquid. Such a crowd pleaser!
Does this help preserve the fruit? I want to make these and sell at a month long craft stand. thanks~
I love this simple gift idea! Thanks so much for sharing!
Thank you for the cute tags!
You’re welcome, Michelle!
How long do the cranberries last in the bag?
They are perishable, so I try to assemble and deliver the gifts within a day or two. If you live in a cold climate, keeping the assembled bags in a cold garage will help preserve them.