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Turns out, we live in a very outgoing neighborhood. Since we moved here six months ago, we’ve had the pleasure of attending neighborhood potlucks on the Fourth of July, Labor Day, and Halloween. In this holiday season, we’ve received a homemade hot cocoa mix, two plates of cookies, peanut brittle, and the songs of adorable little carolers.

In the spirit of the holiday season and of this neighborhood, my husband and I decided to make simmering potpourri packets to share with our neighbors. A few years ago, a friend gave us one of these, and I thought it was such a clever idea. Sometimes you need a gift that’s more than a card but less than an “actual” gift, if you know what I mean. These potpourri packets fit that category perfectly. This year, I’m totally copying my friend’s idea. Now you can too. 🙂

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Ingredients for each packet:

1 fresh orange, as flawless as possible

2-3 cinnamon sticks

2-3 star anise

1 whole nutmeg

1 T. whole cloves

1 T. whole allspice

Here’s how we put together our packets. First, we assembled our supplies, which included all the ingredients above, as well as cellophane gift bags with twist ties, ribbon, miniature ornaments (a 9-pack on sale for $1.24 at JoAnn!), and printable labels (adhesive mailing labels work well).

We printed the following instructions on the labels:

Holiday Simmering Potpourri

Slice the orange. Add the orange slices and as many of the spices as you wish to boiling water in a saucepan. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered. This potpourri can be left simmering for hours at a time, but be sure to add water as needed. Please do not leave unattended. Enjoy!

Before stuffing the gift bags, we trimmed the labels to size and attached them to the front of the gift bags. Then we placed an orange and the appropriate amount of spices in each bag and sealed the aroma inside with a twist-tie. Finally, we strung a miniature ornament on a piece of ribbon and attached it to the bag.

(We also decided to also include a holiday photo-card, but this is totally optional. To do this, we simply punched a hole in the photo and strung it through the same piece of ribbon, making sure that the photo and the ornament were on opposite sides of the gift bag.)

Here we are, ready to deliver a bit of holiday cheer to the neighbors:

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