Friday, October 7, 2011

Start Planning for Christmas!
by Shelly Burke, Editor

[NFT] When you plan ahead for Christmas gifts you’ll be able to enjoy creating the gifts, decrease your stress in getting projects completed, and ease your budget by spreading out expenditures. Here are several ideas for gifts, along with ways to start planning now.

  1. Pesto, salsa and other garden treats. If you have an abundance of tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, herbs, or other garden products, consider making gifts of salsa, pickles, pickled veggies, pesto, and so on. These items can be frozen or preserved through canning. Collect recipes from the internet or cookbooks and prepare the treats now! Use fancy labels or fabric covers and you won’t even have to wrap your gifts.
  2. Baked items. Consider baking biscotti, truffles, candy, fancy cookies, and other baked goods as gifts. They’ll always fit and are never the wrong color. Start collecting recipes from the internet or cookbooks; your local library will have a large selection of specialty cookbooks if you don’t find the recipes you want in your cook books. If you enjoy baking, try some new recipes! Once you’ve collected the recipes, make a master list of ingredients. Purchase several every time you go to the grocery store, and watch for sales to spread out the cost of “fancy” ingredients.
  3. Make photos into lasting gifts. Collages, photo books, posters, mugs, coasters, mouse pads, ornaments, key chains and refrigerator magnets are just a few of the many things you can create with your favorite photos. Depending on your level of craftiness you can purchase supplies at a craft store or with just a few clicks, order online. Online photo stores and craft stores have weekly sales, so make your list and order or purchase supplies when they’re on sale.
  4. Theme baskets. Create a basket according to the recipient’s interests or hobbies or needs. A college student will love a selection of snacks. A busy mom might enjoy a “taking care of mom” basket with soft socks, a good book, and a selection of chocolate and bubble bath. A scrapbooker will enjoy scrapbook tools or supplies. Plan baskets now so you can purchase supplies when they’re on sale. Remember to check the clearance aisle in any store—I’ve bought fancy chocolate and scrapbooking tools on clearance in an office supply store!
This article appeared in the October issue of the Nebraska Family Times. For a FREE sample issue of the Nebraska Family Times e-mail me at or call (402) 993-2467.

1 comment:

  1. One suggestion if you have lots of people to exchange gifts with- consider buying or making everyone the same thing. Get everyone a gift card or make everyone a similar theme basket. It's much easier than trying to pick out a lot of individual gifts.


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