Tuesday, September 27, 2011


It's only 3 months until Christmas.  Did I already bust out the news that I will be going BACK HOME for Christmas this year?  I must have...it's the biggest news besides Clara learning to crawl :-)

Except, I have a couple "help me's" to throw out into the blog-o-sphere about the gift giving portion of the holidays this year.  It's September...nearly October...and I have no gifts purchased.  This is the first time in practically my whole life that this has happened to me.  Usually I pick up treasures here and there allllll year long for my loves...but this year has been a lil hectic.  And...well...there really isn't any "letting up" in that schedule until I'm on that plane headed for the desert!

Not only is "time" a factor in my Christmas shopping...or lack thereof...but so is $$$.  Ugh.  I so wish I had serious cash to buy the RADDEST stuff for my family and friends.  But it's just not in the cards this year.  Last year we made applesauce - which was great fun and fairly economical (until it came to shipping it...that was just stupid...we clearly should have sent something else in the mail.)  But the applesauce was a hit with our New England family...and I hope to do something like that again....perhaps this year we will zest it up with something exciting like...umm...cranberries?

Any ideas for hand crafting gifts that are nice, appreciated and don't weigh as much as a bowling ball (I swore last year I wasn't going to ship anything ever again...but if I am smart about it I won't be a Grinch this year.)

Ideas I had:
- embroidering napkins (we only use cloth napkins around here anymore...love them!)
- picture frames with Clara's cute mug (obviously, only close family would appreciate something like that...umm...maybe even only Grandparents?)
- homemade toffee (nope, I never made this...but one of my co-workers swears he makes the best toffee in the world and he promised to show me how - hummm....is toffee expensive to make?)
- subscriptions to magazines (I think this could potentially be cool - what do you think??
- *frown* I am already out of ideas

Any tips, hints or suggestions??


  1. I was thinking of making this (http://prettybyhand.com/blog/2011/9/21/across-the-pond-pouch.html) for friends this year or at least girlfriends. They seem like the perfect size for a cosmetic bag. As for toffee, it's super easy. I made it one year and used this recipe (http://www.cookingforengineers.com/recipe/159/English-Toffee). I am an engineer so maybe I appreciated it more than most, but I like how clear the recipe is written. Just a note though, at the end it says to keep it in the fridge, I didn't, but my mom did and she said that keeping it in the fridge made it soft rather than crispy... Hope this sparks some ideas.

  2. One word . . . pinterest. I have accumulated quite a few ideas for Christmas presents on there. Also, we use a lot of daily deal websites for shopping throughout the year. We are in the same sort of boat, most of the family is across the country and shipping items gets to be so incredibly expensive. Another thing we are doing, only buying for kids under 18 and our parents. We are both from HUGE families and while it kills me to not buy for everyone, it does make it more enjoyable to narrow down that shopping list and keep my wallet from spontaneously combusting!

  3. Shopping sights like Etsy are always great for finding unique and reasonably priced gifts, and supports the Artistic community. As well, I think that home baked cookies or squares, packaged up in a pretty jar or tin always go over well.

  4. Try the toffee recipe on Orangette! (http://orangette.blogspot.com/2004/12/with-my-own-two-hands.html)

  5. Since the money thing hit us last year too- we chose to do "elfster" its a secret santa website. We do this for matt's family and mine. We all live in different states so its hard to coordinate a secret santa in real life. Where we just have one person to buy for on each side of the family(seeing how we are all adults, we don't need gifts, but its fun to give) and then we have a cap. I think it was $50/gift...I want it to be a little higher this year like $75 or $100. But thats just because I love buying & making multi-part gifts. But I love the idea that SMM has- to buy for kids too.

  6. I saw "experience gifts" on another blog today. (think movie tickets for the fam, a season pass to the zoo/museum, etc). Kind of a neat idea.

  7. I'd go with pictures of Clara. Or maybe even a family picture of you three so that everyone will want one. It's relatively inexpensive, and won't take a lot of time- which I think would be good for a busy working mama like you! :)

  8. Homemade granola in a cute package/bag. Cheap, easy, light!

  9. I love the idea of a magazine subscription. Inexpensive, and very personal. Plus you don't have to deal with shipping. You could do the mug thing for the grandparents with a picture of Clara (and maybe another picture you took for others, maybe a nice scenery from Flgastaff) and put a note letting the recipient know about the magazine subscription. Plus, its a gift that keeps on giving throughout the year!
    But make sure to spend time writing a nice Christmas card. I always buy blank Christmas cards and write in how much I appreciate the gift recipient and the joy they bring to my life. You'll find that more often than not, a nice, personal card is more appreciated than a nice gift!!

  10. @chelsea, what a great idea! I was going to suggest cookie bars (not individual cookies, they break) in "disposable" tupperware. Also, the fixed rate priority mail boxes at the post office can be a great deal if you send really heavy stuff. But, if you're going home for the holidays, make whatever you want and check a suitcase!

  11. Something my aunt does is make bundles of cards. She folds a piece of card stock (I'm sure you could find some recycled ones or seeded paper) and affixes a picture she has take to the front with those old fashioned photo-corners.

    They are usually botanical or landscape. Then she bundles them with matching envelopes. Just a pretty ribbon with a gift tag would be all the wrapping they need. You take such beautiful photos, they would be useful presents!



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