As you receive holiday cards in the mailbox this season, check carefully: you might notice an interesting post-election trend. Minted, your source for stationery, art and home decor designed by independent artists, is also a cutting-edge analytics company with extraordinarily rich data regarding design trends, cultural trends, and anonymized consumer behavior.
In fact, as reported by Ellen Byron at the Wall Street Journal today, Minted Labs — the company’s research and analytics arm — unearthed interesting shifts in the holiday card greetings that consumers are choosing this year before and after the U.S. presidential election.
Use of the word “cheer” is down -14% compared to 2015 orders, and ”peace” and “hope” are up +14% and +9%, respectively, compared to 2015.
It’s fascinating to see the geographical differences when it comes to holiday card preferences this season. In Hawaii, “Mele Kalikimaka” and “Sand and Snow” are messages on photo cards in our top five sellers. In California, customers prefer “Happy Holidays,” while in Alabama, “Wonders of His Love” and “O Come Let Us Adore Him” are two religious greetings among the top five bestsellers. But what’s really interesting is the trend we’re seeing around non-photo cards. In Washington, D.C., one of our best-selling designs this year is “Floral Peace” by Baumbirdy, a non-photo card which depicts a peace sign created out of holiday greenery. This is the first time in our company’s history that a non-photo holiday card has been a top-seller. Typically, designs featuring photos on the front of the card dominate our holiday card sales. This is another example of how some customers are taking a more contemplative approach with their holiday card this year.
Minted Labs investigated the greeting trend when customers contacted the company after the election to ask if they could change the message on their recent holiday card orders to be more sensitive to the feelings of friends and family. In response, we took care of these customers and also created this special product page featuring holiday cards with “peace” messages. Customers may also customize their cards by choosing the perfect greeting to express themselves.
To learn more, please read Ellen Byron’s full Wall Street Journal story here.
One of my favorite flavor combinations is peppermint and chocolate. And luckily, the holiday season is the perfect time of year for baked goods featuring this tasty pairing. These easy-to-make peppermint fudge brownies have a great mix of dark, fudgy chocolate and brisk peppermint. Thanks to a dressed-up boxed brownie mix, they are super easy to make, but they’re so decadent that no one will ever know you used a baking shortcut!
This hanging display of fresh eucalyptus is a modern way to display your Christmas cards and holiday cards. Best of all, it’s simple to make—all you need is fresh greenery, wire, and a nice long branch you can probably find in your backyard.
One of my all-time favorite holiday appetizers is the ubiquitous cheese ball. I’m not talking about the store-bought ones, but rather the irresistible homemade versions that taste a million times better. I have a couple of cheese ball recipes I love, and this easy one from my beloved Nana is among them. Back in the 80s, my grandma made a little cookbook to give to her children filled with all of her go-to holiday recipes, including her favorite Christmas fudge, the herb bread she makes every holiday season, and this tasty cheese ball. A few years ago, she reprinted the cookbook and gave all of us grandkids our own copies. It’s really fun to read through it and think about our family’s holiday food traditions.
This cheese ball is as easy to make as it is delicious. It takes about 10 minutes to put together from start to finish, and you can make it ahead of time and keep it in the fridge until party time. It tastes great with all kinds of crackers and breads, looks pretty on a serving plate, and gets rave reviews from everyone who tastes it. I’m excited that cheese ball season is here again and can’t wait to take this to one of my holiday parties this year!
Click through for the ingredients and instructions…
Coming up with a unique, personalized holiday gift year after year is no easy feat. Why not start a new tradition by gifting yummy home baked goods from around the world? Minted has partnered with Sweet Paul Magazine to offer you three delicious easy curated recipes to whip up this holiday.
Don’t let the name fool you, Berlinerkranser, “Berlin Wreaths”, are a traditional Norwegian cookie! Seen here paired with Minted’s Custom Recipe as Art Print, these delicate morsels are a must-have for any Scandinavian-inspired holiday cookie plate. Perfect for holiday gift giving, the Berlinerkranser recipe makes 40+ cookies, can be prepared ahead of time and frozen until needed.
To make Sweet Paul’s Norwegian Berlinerkranser, you’ll need:
2 hard-boiled egg yolks
2 raw egg yolks
¾ cup sugar
2 sticks butter, room temperature
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 egg white
½ cup sugar or pearl sugar decorating
Place hard-boiled and raw yolks into the bowl of a stand mixer and mix together with a fork.
Add the sugar and mix well on medium.
With the mixer on low, add butter and flour a little at a time and mix until smooth.
Form dough into a ball, cover with plastic wrap, and rest in the fridge for 2 hours.
Heat oven to 350F.
Roll the dough out into 3/8 inch thick “snakes” about 4” inches long. Twist each one into an overlapped wreath shape and place on a parchment lined baking tray.
Lightly brush with egg whites and sprinkle each with a little sugar.
A crisp texture with lightly sweetened taste, these traditional Italian cookies are as easy to make as they are to gift for the holidays. Seen here paired with Minted artist GeekInk’s Merry Little Lines Christmas Card, Pizzelle can be served flat or folded into cone shapes that are filled with ice cream and other sweets. Recipes makes 12.
To make Sweet Paul’s Italian Pizzelle, you’ll need:
3 large eggs
1 /2 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
few drops of vanilla extract
In a large bowl mix eggs and sugar and beat until light and creamy.
Mix in oil and beat until well incorporated.
Add flour, baking powder and vanilla and stir until you have a smooth batter.
Heat your Pizzelle iron and bake the cookies using about 1 heaping tablespoon of batter at a time.
Bake until golden and let them cool on a wire rack.
3. Nanaimo Bars – British Colombia, Canada
Saving the most decadent holiday recipe for last, Nanaimo Bars (pronounced nah-NIGH-moe), hail from a city on Vancouver Island in British Columbia. These no-bake 3 layered bars start with a crumb base, followed by a layer of light custard buttercream, and finish off with a smooth layer of semi sweet chocolate. See what makes Nanaimo Bars a famous Canadian treat by making your own now.
To make Sweet Paul’s Nanaimo Bars, you’ll need:
Melt in top of double boiler:
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup sugar
5 tbsp. cocoa powder
1 beaten egg
1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup finely chopped almonds
1 cup coconut
1/2 cup softened unsalted butter
2 Tbsp. plus 2 tsp. cream
2 Tbsp. vanilla custard powder
2 cups icing sugar
THIRD LAYER (Melted over low heat):
6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate
3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
For the bottom layer, melt the butter, sugar, and cocoa in a double boiler.
Add the beaten egg and stir until everything thickens. Remove from heat.
Stir in graham cracker crumbs, almonds, and coconut. (if you want you can first pulse all three of these items together in a food processor to get them very finely chopped up!)
Press firmly into ungreased 8 X 8 inch pan.
For the second layer cream together all ingredients and beat on medium until light and fluffy.
Spread evenly over the bottom layer and put in the refrigerator or freezer to set for at least 20 minutes.
For the third layer, melt chocolate chips and butter over low heat. Allow to cool until it’s just warm and still spreadable. If it’s too hot it will melt the custard layer when you try to spread it.
Spread chocolate evenly over the second layer and refrigerate until totally cold and set.
To serve, have a large knife soaking in HOT water, wipe it dry, and make each cut, heating up the knife between each cut. They’re VERY rich, so you might want to cut them on the small side.
When it comes to holiday decorating, I like to come up with a fresh, new take on last year’s decorations—it’s a fun way to repurpose embellishments you already own. For this project, I turned my strand of red and white felt balls from last year’s Christmas tree into a festive garland of holly to drape over a mantel or wall.
My DIY felt holly garland pictured with Minted art print “A Deer Friend” by Andrew McClintock
Every holiday season we love to make ornaments. Last year we shared a few faves: a personalized initial ornament and our fabric-covered tree ornament. Today we’re excited to share the latest addition to our DIY ornament obsession, these modern and colorful tree adornments made from one-inch wood blocks. We chose bright, unexpected colors to add some fun and flair to the tree—choose your favorite color combinations to match your holiday decor.
Even though we haven’t set up our Christmas tree yet, that hasn’t stopped me from crafting some ornaments ahead of time! These gem ornaments are super simple to make— plus, they have a secret compartment for candies and holiday treats! Check local packaging stores (or jewelry-packaging sites online) to track down plastic boxes and keep reading to see how to turn them into colorful ornaments for the holidays!
On my to-do list this week: Find bits and bobs to fill my advent calendar with. That and eat leftover pie, of course. Here’s an advent you can put together in a couple of hours and enjoy all of December.