Some people are exhausted just by the thought of the holiday season. I look forward to it all year. To me it is the season of hope, wonder, and childlike amazement. I love everything about it. Even as a little girl I had this overwhelming desire to create the "perfect" Christmas for my family. I'd decorate the house, bake cookies, wrap all the presents (even my own), and play non-stop Christmas carols on our brand-new super fancy 5-disc CD stereo system. My parents humored my efforts, for the most part, but the reality of our dysfunctional family Christmas disasters could never quite match my idealistic expectations.
Having a family of my own has given me a fresh chance to experience the holidays I always dreamed of. Watching my girls experience the wonders of Christmas has given me more joy than I ever thought possible. And so while I am no longer naive enough to believe that Christmas should be "perfect," I still love it all--decorating the tree, putting up lights, choosing & wrapping gifts for everyone on my list, visiting Santa, baking cookies, and creating lots of family traditions all our own.
And I find that inspiration for the holidays is all around me:
(Photo credits: marthastewart.com, bhg.com, potterybarn.com, thedailygreen.com, flowers-cs.com, pomwonderful.com, realmomkitchen.com)
A few weeks ago I was poking around on Etsy.com, an amazing website full of wonderful handmade and vintage treasures--and I came across Soapy Soaps, a shop for the most luscious and decadent-sounding handmade soaps I had ever seen. We have a lot of guests coming for Christmas this year, and when I have guests, I love to set out fresh towels and toiletries for them to use during their stay. Because it is Christmas, I wanted to some nice Christmasy-smelling soaps, and because I am very sensitive to perfumes and dyes, I wanted to find something natural and handmade.
I love Etsy.com because I love the idea of supporting individual small businesses. As a very thrifty shopper, I love a bargain, but I also love quality. To me, frugality is not only saving money where you can, but also spending wisely on the things you do buy. These soaps sounded incredible, and I knew they would be the perfect little treat for my guests this year.
It was literally agony trying to decide which ones to order, but I finally decided on Cinnamon Almond Goat Milk, Oh Christmas Tree, Mulled Red Wine (made with real wine), and Cinnamon Latte (made with real coffee.) Less than a week later, they were in my mailbox. I am not kidding when I tell you that my whole mailbox smelled like Christmas. Even though I had intended to save them for my guests, I couldn't resist putting the Oh Christmas Tree bar in my own bathroom. The smell of fresh pine and faint cinnamon makes me smile every time I walk in the room, and washing my hands has never been such a pleasure. The soap lathers up beautifully and the smell is natural and amazing, not harsh and perfumey like commercially scented soaps. Talk about inspiration for the holidays!
Morgan Lund Yen, one of the sister-in-law pair of soap-making geniuses behind SoapySoaps, was also sweet enough to include 4 sample soap nuggets with my order--Cranberry Fig, Cucumber Vanilla, Pink Champagne, and Fresh Snow. Please believe me when I tell you they are all divine. The Fresh Snow face soap, in particular, was wonderful. I have very sensitive skin, so I was a little wary of trying anything scented on my face. I needn't have worried. It left my face feeling clean and soft and didn't irritate my skin in the least.
But even better than free samples for me is the chance to win free soaps for YOU! Morgan was also generous enough to offer 4 full-sized handmade holiday-scented soaps to one lucky reader as my first 30 days of Holiday Cheer giveaway!
Here is how to enter:
-Visit Soapy Soaps' Etsy Shop and tell me which soap scent (other than the ones mentioned in this post) that you would like to try. (1 entry)
Optional Bonus Entries:
-Become a follower of Living Well, Spending Less via Google Friend Connect, Networked Blogs, or RSS feed. Leave a separate comment below to tell me how you are following. (1 entry)
-"Like" Living Well, Spending Less on Facebook. Leave a separate comment below. (1 entry)
-Follow me on Twitter. Leave a separate comment below. (1 entry)
-Tweet about this giveaway on Twitter or post it on your Facebook wall. Leave a separate comment below. (3 entries)
-Post a link on your blog to this giveaway. (3 entries)
Entries for this giveaway will be accepted through Tuesday, November 23rd, and I will draw a winner at random using Random.Org on Wednesday, November 24th.