That little bit extra …

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Now is the season where everyone is gift shopping – hoping to find that bargain – and, in some cases, hoping to find something special — just the right thing. I would submit, however, that you often don’t need to look for ‘just the right thing.’ You can easily accomplish your goal by taking time to enhance those holiday memories.

Here’s some ideas:

For younger children –

Make a decoration together – one to take home and one for you, Make sure you have all the supplies ready to go. This one also doubles as a treat – because they are edible. Just fill cookie cutters with peppermint candies (placed a cookie sheet with wax paper);  melt in the oven on low heat (200 degrees); remove from the wax paper, punch a hole in the top, add a ribbon – and, behold, you have a decoration or a treat.

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Make a fun veggie display. There are so many ways you can do this. Here’s some examples to spur your creativity.

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Have a special treat  – one that don’t always get at home – but don’t overdo. Just a few. Simple is often a good choice. I have grandkids who would be just as happy with dollar buns.

For your ‘adult’ children –

Did you keep decorations they made as children; if so, display them. (And for those of you that have way too many decorations – consider donating your commercially made decorations to a home for veteran’s and keep only those that have special meaning to you. Then you can also downsize or eliminate the need for a Christmas tree. You can also display the decorations in other ways – on mantels, on houseplants – be creative.)

Did you keep sketches or drawings? Frame one and give as a fun gift.

For your spouse –

Some of us in the older crown really don’t really need anymore ‘stuff.’ We are trying to eliminate stuff. So, for this group, you can …

Make a meal that you don’t make very often – perhaps something that you really aren’t supposed to eat – (those pesky restrictions on salt, etc) or something that your spouse’s family used to make. I keep getting a request for klebba – a family version of potato dumplings. The dumplings are made from raw, grated potatoes that are combined with flour and cooked in boiling water; then the dumplings are drained and put in milk – along with potato pieces, heated and served (like soup). I haven’t found a recipe yet but family members tell me this is how you make it. I do remember my husband’s Aunt Agnes making them in a similar manner. If I recall, the potato dumplings have the interior consistency of a golf ball and, once they hit your stomach, they stay for a long time. However, we are going to try them – one more time (and maybe for the last time).

And for the ‘older crowd’ … 

As I mentioned, most of us oldsters have more stuff then we need. What most of really want is to have you spend time with us, make a handmade gift, help us with a chore, but beyond that – really nothing more. A little time with family and friends is the best gift of all.

Just remember – gifts are okay but memories last forever. This year, remember to make some memories.

Thanks for reading. I hope you return. 

The scary part of Christmas …

As each year goes by, I get more and more nervous about getting the ‘right’ gift for everyone. In general, people already have a lot of ‘stuff’ – and it’s very hard to know – even if you have an idea of what they might want or need – which model, color, size, brand, etc. is the RIGHT one. In addition, it gets harder and harder to spend days shopping. And this year, the weather didn’t cooperate – at least on the days I wanted to go shopping.

What to do? I decided to make a lot of the gifts this year. That itself is risky business. Some people like handmade gifts; some don’t.  Now, for any guys reading this, you may think this a girly post – but just bear with me.

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For my friends, I made candy jars using pint canning jars decorated with ribbon and other decorations and fill with chocolate treats. Once the jar is empty, it converts to a low-light candle by inserting a LED votive candle. I used papercrafting and stamping sdkills and enjoyed every minute of the major mess I made to my desk.

For many of my friends and family, I simply gave a ‘cash’ gift card. Using papercraft skills, I created the holders, a ‘Happy Christmas’ tag for the front (which were hand stamped ) and a card for the inside (computer skills) which simply reads “Treat Yourself or Someone Else.” This gift was probably the best of all worlds – hand made but with cash that lets you get anything you like.

hatscollage.jpgFor family members, I put my knitting skills into high gear. This is also a gift for me – because I enjoy my time knitting. I made hats, scarves and doll clothes. The bonus – I already have requests for more – but chances are they won’t have to wait until next Christmas.

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Lastly, GUYS –  you, too,  can make gifts. Woodcraft gifts are always good. Or you can simply take some time to fix something or help with a household project. For those of us who aren’t as agile as we once were, a helping hand is greatly appreciated. As we get older, gifts of time often mean much more than a physical gift.

 

I hope you had a Happy Christmas! As for me, I’ve already started the next knitting project and have lots of other gift ideas for the next year. It’s never too early to get started.