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Christmas Gift Ideas and Traditions

Surprising New Year’s Traditions in Italy

Happy New Year! This is the perfect time to celebrate the year you’ve been through and reflect on all the beautiful things that have happened, the lessons you’ve learned, and the people you’ve met. Ringing in the new year with friends and family is a feeling like no other, and Italians definitely know how to do it. We’ve put together an article about New Year’s traditions in Italy that will have you planning to spend your holidays there!

New Year's Traditions in Italy : Glass Flutes of champagne on a gold background with white gifts and gold ribbons

Summertime Noel – Celebrating Christmas in Brazil

Christmas traditions in Brazil have a rich history and are always lively and exciting, much like Brazilian culture. Christmas in Brazil is one of the most important days and the Brazilian people wait anxiously for quality time with family, food, and celebration. 

Being a predominantly Catholic country, Brazil celebrates Christmas the way most Western European countries and the US do, with just a few interesting and fun details that are unique to the country’s vibrant heritage. If you’ve ever wondered how people celebrate Christmas in Brazil, you came to the right place. 

Christmas in Brazil: Snowy Background with countdown clock and ornaments.

Orthodox Christmas Traditions Around The World

For hundreds of millions of people around the world, Christmas is one of the most important holidays of the year. While those in the US and Western Europe celebrate the birth of Christ on December 25th, over a hundred million Orthodox Christians celebrate Christmas on January 7th. Today, let’s take a closer look at unique Orthodox Christmas traditions around the world. Many countries – including Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Egypt, Ethiopia, Macedonia, Serbia, Montenegro, Georgia, Moldova and Kazakhstan – observe Christmas according to the Julian calendar which is 13 days behind the Gregorian. Even though all these countries are Orthodox and share a common thread in their Christmas celebrations, there are also many varied traditions from country to country.

 

Favorite Winter Holidays Recipes From Around the World

When it comes to Christmas dinner in US, it can feel like there’s not much variation. We know the traditional dishes, roast chicken or turkey, stuffing and mashed potatoes are usually followed by a slice of pie (or two) and maybe another dessert, to be polite of course! While this food is delicious, it can be easy to find yourself in a holiday rut. Tradition is great! But let’s spice things up a bit.

Around the world, people tuck into all sorts of wonderful and delicious festive fare. Given the upcoming celebration, we’d like to share our 3 favorite holiday recipes from different parts of the world and give you an idea how you can add an exotic flare to your Christmas dinner.

Let’s start with a recipe inspired by traditional Jewish cuisine. As you might know, instead of Christmas, Jewish people celebrate Hanukkah, the Festival of Light, and there’re plenty of amazing Hanukkah recipes worth borrowing and incorporating in your holiday menu. Potato Latkes are the easiest to make, but they aren’t at all lacking in flavor.  Made just in a few simple steps, they will make a great appetizer for you and your family.

What you’ll need:
1 small onion
3 tsp salt
1.5 lbs potatoes
2 eggs
¼ cup flour
Oil for frying

Directions:

  1. Dice the onion and sauté with a little salt until golden brown.
  2. Grate the potatoes and leave them in cold water.
  3. Put the eggs, flour, fried onion and 2 tsp. salt in a bowl. Drain the grated potato, add it to the rest of the ingredients and thoroughly mix everything together.
  4. Heat 2-4 tbsp. of oil in a frying pan, over medium heat. Scoop the batter with a table spoon (about two spoonful) and gently drop it into the oil. Press down gently with the back of the spoon to flatten. Fry 2-3 minutes until golden, then flip and fry additional 1-2 minutes on the other side.
  5. Repeat Step 4 until you run out of the mixture (makes about 16 latkes). Make sure to add more oil to the pan every couple of batches. Enjoy as is, or with a little sour cream or applesauce to taste.

The next recipe comes from Milan but is enjoyed for Christmas and New Year all over Western Europe as well as South America. Italian Christmas bread, Panettone, is deliciously sweet and will become a great alternative to the traditional Pumpkin or Apple pie on your holiday table.

What you’ll need:

For STARTER:
3/4 cup Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
A pinch of instant yeast
⅓ cup of cold water

For DOUGH
2 1/4 cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/4 cup lukewarm water
2 large eggs
4 tablespoons soft butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tbsp instant yeast
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup chopped dried pineapple
2 tbs grated orange or lemon zest

Directions:

  1. To make the starter: combine the starter ingredients in a bowl, cover, and allow to sit overnight at a room temperature.
  2. To make the dough: Combine all the dough ingredients except the fruit. Mix and knead them together until the dough is elastic and smooth.
  3. Cover the dough and allow to rise for 60-90 min, or until puffy.
  4. Gently “punch” the dough down with your fist and knead in the fruits and zest.
  5. Shape the dough into a ball and place in a tall straight-sided 2-quart pan. Cover the pan and let the dough rise for about 1 hour (until it’s just crested over the rim of the pan).
  6. Preheat the oven to 400°F and bake for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to 375°F and bake an additional 10 minutes. Then reduce the heat again to 350°F and bake for 25 more minutes.
  7. Cool down completely before serving. Serve immediately or keep wrapped at a room temperature for up to a week.

And the last but not least is a very popular and surprisingly easy to make Russian salad Olivier. Even though the name might tell you otherwise, this recipe is traditionally Russian and is made for the winter holidays by every housewife.

What you’ll need:

6 large potatoes (Yellow Finn, Yukon Gold, or red potatoes)
2 carrots
6 eggs
4 pickles
1/2 lb of your choice of cooked meat (ham, beef or chicken) or mushrooms (for vegetarian version)
1 can of sweet green peas
salt and pepper
mayonnaise (or sour cream to taste)

Directions:

  1. Boil potatoes, carrots, and eggs until cooked (20-30 min).
  2. Peel and cut all the vegetables and eggs in small cubes. Chop your choice of meat and pickles.
  3. Mix everything together. Add peas.
  4. Dress with mayonnaise or sour cream until evenly coated.
  5. Add salt and pepper to taste and enjoy!


Now, You’re Almost Ready for Christmas Dinner – What’s Next?

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Image #1 by Meal Makeover Moms
Image #2 by Nicola
Image #3 by Ivana Sokolović

Happy New Year 2016!

May your New Year 2016 be the best one
filled with infinite happiness,
tremendous success and
love of your loved ones
Happy New Year 2016!


GiftBasketsOverseas.com team

GiftBasketsOverseas.com Wishing You Merry Christmas!

During the rush of the holidays, take time to slow down and enjoy the things in life that really matter. Take in the serene moments spent with friends and loved ones, and may the wonder of Christmas surround you throughout the holiday season. GiftBasketsOverseas.com is wishing you much happiness today and throughout the New Year!

Merry-Christmas

This Christmas,
may you have the fulfillment
of seeing around you
the people you love the most.
May you have the satisfaction
of creating special memories
they will remember with pleasure forever.
This Christmas,
may you feel peaceful and contented,
knowing what Christmas means,
and celebrating it your way!

Shop New Year Gifts & Save!

The countdown to the New Year has begun! Time to make sure your liquor cabinet is stocked, and your friends are bursting with excitement. This year, make your invitations interactive. Send a sweet treat to your friends and family with a note telling them where the party is. It’s the perfect way to make sure that even if they can’t make it, they’re starting their year off with a bit of your love.

Shop Now!  

Order now and make sure your gift makes it before 2016. Use code GBNEW16 and save $8 on your gifts until December 21, 2015.

Tuscan Feast Gift Basket | Wine Gift Basket to USA

Coffee and Sweets Double Team | Christmas Gift Baskets to Canada

Power of Nature  | Sweet Gourmet Gifts to UK

  For more Winter Holidays Gift Ideas please visit www.GiftBasketsOverseas.com

Top 5 Christmas Gift Ideas 2015

Christmas is right around the corner, which means you are probably running around trying to find that perfect gift for your family members, friends and business associates.

For all of recorded history people have been giving gifts for a various reasons: to show affection, fulfill a family duty or promote the business. There are only few holidays a year that are suitable for both personal and business gift giving and Christmas is definitely one of them. But often figuring out how to translate your love and respect for someone else into that perfect surprise can be stressful. Here are some tips for making Christmas gift-giving a joy for both the giver and the recipient.

1. Wine Baskets & Spirits

Throughout Christmas season, people come together as family, whether by blood or friendship. Our thoughts turn to making each day special with the most important people in our lives, and we greatly enjoy festive meals and celebrations we look forward to all year long. As with any significant occasion, glasses are raised and toasts are made to the fortunes of our dear family members, friends and colleagues. These good tidings and well wishes can’t be considered complete without raising a crystal glass of great red or white wine.

A holiday collection of our wine gift baskets suitable for any budget includes only bottles from the world’s best wineries and some great complimenting treats you can customize to fit a particular person or group of people. From savory cheese selection and gourmet snacks to sophisticated chocolate there’s everything that will help you spread Christmas cheer to your family, friends, and business associates.

2. Fruit & Gourmet Gift Baskets

There’s nothing that screams Christmas like a festive table bursting with delicious dishes. Help your family members or co-workers create a perfect holiday meal to share with dear ones by sending a thoughtful and delicious surprise they are sure to appreciate. A selection of great cheeses, smoked salmon, salami, dried nuts, fresh exotic fruit, exquisite cookie assortment, best chocolates and other gourmet and finger foods from all over the world are complimented with best tea, coffee or wine. All gourmet gifts are made only with premium ingredients and are presented to the recipient in all its glory, in elegant gift baskets, boxes and gift towers finished with hand-tied bow for an extra special touch.

   

3. Sweets & Chocolate Baskets

Christmas sweets are the highlight of any celebration and it’s hard to disagree. They easily transform the holiday table into a winter wonderland. Our fabulously festive dessert selection includes everything your recipients can only think of from traditional gingerbread, pies, chocolate fudge or almond-butter toffee cookie, candies and chocolate, to Christmas inspired cakes and cupcakes.

Make gift-giving extra sweet this year, surprise your loved ones, kids, friends, corporate clients and pretty much anyone on your list with special Christmas sweet gifts that are meant to bring holiday cheer to any home or office.

4. Spa Gifts

One of the best gifts you can give the hard-working and ever-so-deserving people in your life is the gift of relaxation. Help those on your Christmas gift list needing a touch of stress relief by stocking them up on the best bath products that will make any bathroom feel totally spa-like. We’ve rounded up the best spa gifts to give, from scented candles and plush towels to cozy robes and the perfect accessories designed to calm body, mind, and spirit.

Scented candles included in our spa baskets not only set the mood and create ambiance, but also add warmth and comfort with its golden glow. Handmade fragrant soaps offer a luxurious and personal touch, especially when wrapped in pretty papers, bows and topped off with a wax stamp. Nothing says luxe spa quite like super plush, thick towels. Amazing bath towels can make every day feel special, whether you’re treating yourself to an at-home spa treatment or sticking to your regular routine.

5. Flower Baskets, Arrangements & Plants

Christmas is the most flowerful time of the year. Flowers can be used in wonderful ways as decoration. They can be a part of any special occasion and during Christmas season they play a significant role in spreading holiday cheer. They bring out the essence of the festivities, add color and freshness wherever they are displayed.

From timeless roses and orchids to traditional decorated mini Christmas trees, poinsettia, amaryllis, holly and mistletoe, Christmas wreaths and everything else in between, we have you covered with premium Christmas flowers and plants to fulfill all your gifting needs.

 For more Christmas gift ideas please visit www.GiftBasketsOverseas.com

Top Hanukkah Gift Ideas 2015

The bright eight day Jewish festival of Light, Hanukkah, is almost here. Starting this year on Dec, 6 it commemorate the triumph of light over darkness and spirit over material. Each night of the long festival Jewish people light a candle on a special nine-branched menorah candelabrum and sing holiday songs or play games while watching them burn. Other Hanukkah traditions include spending time with dear ones and sharing Hanukkah gifts with family, friends, and business associates.

Gourmet & Wine Gifts

Because of the great significance of oil in the history of the holiday it is customary to eat oily foods. Special potato pancakes, jelly doughnuts and many other dishes fried in oil are particularly enjoyed during Hanukkah. An excellent pairing for classic holiday dishes is wine. From light soft burgundy wines full of creamy fruit flavors with fresh acidity and dry white wines with delicate sourness that balances the taste and a pleasant finish, to full bodied Cabernet Sauvignon there’re plenty of choices to choose from.

 

Kosher & Fruit Gift Baskets

There are few gifts given for any holiday in the Jewish calendar that you can’t go wrong with and kosher baskets are one of them. They are not only healthy and nutritious but also delicious and full of vitamins. Usually presented in a wooden box or stylish keepsake hamper they are filled to the brim with both fresh and dried fruit, crunchy roasted nuts, gourmet cheeses, vegetable spread, homemade bread and cookies, honey, jam, assortment of organic teas and so much more. If there are foodies on your list don’t hesitate to send a flavorful gift that will have something for everyone to enjoy either at a home gathering with family or at an office party with business associates.

 

Sweets & Chocolate Baskets

If you’re looking for a Hanukkah gift for little recipients or those with a sweet tooth go for something extra sweet and delicious. Beautifully presented in a keepsake basket, festive paper box or bright gift tower your surprise will include the whole assortment of all time favorites. Dark and milk сhocolates of different flavors, fresh сookies, candies, as well as more healthy choices like halva (a Middle Eastern confection made of sesame flour and honey), dried fruit, honey and more delicious treats to any taste.

 For more Hanukkah gift ideas please visit www.GiftBasketsOverseas.com

3 Best Reasons To Send Employee Gifts

Everybody loves to be generous during the holidays, but businesses can tangibly benefit from sending great gifts for employees during winter festivities. Here are the three best reasons to be generous this season – other than just being nice!

1. Reduce Turnover – Employees who feel appreciated stay at the job longer. Engaged employees are 87% less likely to look for other jobs, and well-timed gifts can reduce employee loss by 24%. Send personalized gifts to add a warm touch to the office that keeps employees happy.

2. Make it to the Finish Line – Holiday distractions make it difficult to meet Q4 goals, but motivating employees with an appreciation gift gives them the morale boost needed to finish tasks at year’s end. Companies who do this regularly report success rates of nearly 80% in meeting their goals.

3. Increase Profit – Happy employees equal happy customers. Giving your employees impressive gifts will lift their spirits, helping them provide top-notch customer service, even during stressful times. This will motivate them to close sales and upsell customers, making your profit margin wider.

Download our Bulk Order Form, fill it out, return it to [email protected]com. A corporate specialist will process your order as quickly as possible, and you’ll already have the holidays – and your hard-working employees – taken care of for the year!