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Topic: My Christmas Plan

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Subject: My Christmas Plan
Date Posted: 8/30/2010 9:58 PM ET
Member Since: 10/31/2007
Posts: 157
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I'm going to pair up with my daughter this week and start thinking Christmas.   We always say we are going to make Christmas gifts instead of buying for our list, but we never do, mainly because we start too late.   Her list is much bigger than mine, but that's ok 'cause her friends love trendy homemade stuff and maybe this will help me get my - always talked about- never done - Craft Business going.   What do you all think?  How many people  have  tried this?

Date Posted: 9/5/2010 1:26 AM ET
Member Since: 4/2/2010
Posts: 911
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Yeah it's fun to make things.  You save money, have fun, and end up with a better-crafted item then you'd find in a store.  So you want to start a craft business?  www.etsy.com allows you to sell your stuff.  it's free to setup a shop.  You probably already heard of it though.

Mom used to sew us clothes when I was a kid in the 70's.  You'd buy the patterns for 50 cents and then use the Singer sewing machine.  It was fun picking out the fabric that we wanted.  Don't see sewing machines in people's homes anymore.

Date Posted: 10/25/2010 10:59 AM ET
Member Since: 4/7/2007
Posts: 335
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I would love to hear everyone's ideas for homemade gifts, especially any that don't require sewing or knitting skills. Christmas is only two months away, and I need some new ideas.

I like to give homemade holiday gifts, and in the past have given:

cookie mixes in jars, with recipe for cookies and wooden spoons attached;

movie night baskets filled w/ popcorn, cocoa, and blockbuster cards;

muffin mixes in brown bags, with recipes and whisks attached;

infused oils and vinegars;

pasta and sauce baskets;

fruit cakes;

flavored popcorn;


theme baskets w/ cookbooks n ingredients.


Date Posted: 10/25/2010 3:42 PM ET
Member Since: 7/8/2009
Posts: 11
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I love baking cookies and putting them in cute tins from the dollar store.  They look great, taste wonderful, and my gift recipients can start enjoying them right away!  I tried the cookie mix in a jar gift about three years ago and was shocked when I visited a friend recently and saw the jar (cookie mix, spoon, ribbon, and all!) sitting on top of his refrigerator.  He said he hadn't had time to bake.  I think I'm going to continue to just cut to the chase and bake my own gifts this year.

Date Posted: 10/30/2010 7:14 PM ET
Member Since: 8/24/2008
Posts: 1,362
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Every year my list is about 1/2 and 1/2.  I make things for some of my friends, and buy things for others.  A couple of years ago, everyone got homemade scarves, last year all the women got jewelry bags. One year everyone got rag quilts.   I also do candy and cookies for the guys.  This year, I'm doing family gifts.  For one of my brothers' family, I'm putting together a "Night at the Movies" package with popcorn, a popcorn popper (boughten), seasonings and a few other things.  They're not getting individual gifts this year, the teenagers are just too hard to shop for. 

One easy thing to make that goes over well is kettle corn, everybody loves it.  I also make ritz crackers with peanut butter covered in chocolate and peanut clusters.  I take a big tray of this to work and then I don't feel like I have to give out individual gifts. 

Date Posted: 11/1/2010 1:21 PM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2005
Posts: 2,359
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I love homemade gifts when they are things I like.  I put this forth because a lot of what I read suggests assembly-lining homemade gifts and everyone getting exactly the same, no thought to the receivers.    If you know someone hates nuts, don't give them a cookie mix jar full of nuts just because it's what you are making for everyone else.  If you've never ever seen someone wear a scarf in the decade you've known them, maybe think twice before giving them one.

More vitally: Please, please, PLEASE include an ingredients list for any food you give.  Food allergies and intolerances (or just flat food preferences) can be sneaky and the holidays are a bad choice for someone to guess wrong what's in the food.    It's a very simple thing to include that can avoid problems on the other side and is much appreciated!

Don't misread this--I'm all for homemade gifts. I love cookies. I really love things I can use up such as food and soaps (because I have way too much stuff).  I think they often show more care than store bought gifts.  I just don't they inherently are more thoughtful gifts and one still needs to think while picking and preparing them about where they are going.  

Date Posted: 11/6/2010 10:01 AM ET
Member Since: 4/7/2007
Posts: 335
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Thanks for the tips Kayote. You're right, of course, that every gift should be thoughtful. And it is a good reminder to list all ingredients in foods given, too.

Vitalia: ritzcrackers covered in peanut butter and chocolate sound delicious!

Great ideas. Please keep them coming.

Date Posted: 11/6/2010 11:03 AM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2006
Posts: 14,634
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sometimes though a person can put a food gift to use by using it at a party or get-together..I've been on diets around the holidays and took candy/baked goods that were gifts to share at work...it gave me pleasure seeing the gift enjoyed so we all benefited from it.

I go back and forth with the homemade gifts...I know some like to get a quilt..found out a sil preferred the fleece throws so I mostly do those for her whenver she asks.this year she asked me to make my brother some pillowcases(dallas cowboys) which I still need to do. I'll probably try to finish quilting a quilt top for my mom for this year. finding time is key LOL but I have some vacation in december and it shouldn't take too long I don't think. I just don't use a lot of omemade items..a lot of quilt retreats involve homemade crafts that are cute but I don't use most of them though think they're cute.

a friend of mine is pretty creative with purses..she makes small holiday purses..just a good size for carrying around with the 'basics' and they're really cute.. themed pillowcases are cute and easy as well. tote bags/grocery bags..I'd like to get on the ball and learn to make some of these. also homemade jelly and one friend did lemon curd once year and OMG that was some good stuff! I read somewhere about this woman saving free samples and buying trial size stuff but most was free I think and she bought a container of some sort of found tins at garage sales, etc and put together gift baskets..thought that was pretty cool and think something like that would be nice to get.

Date Posted: 11/23/2010 3:23 PM ET
Member Since: 7/16/2008
Posts: 1
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Last year I made homemade laundry soap, foot scrub with a foot file and scrubber to go with it.  Also included a bottle of vinegar, a squirt bottle, box of baking soda and homemade cleaner recipes.  I put them all in large baskets that I got from goodwill.  We spray painted the baskets and I bought some cute ribbon and gave them to several people in our family.  THEY LOVED IT!!

Date Posted: 12/6/2010 1:10 PM ET
Member Since: 3/19/2009
Posts: 91
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In my family we've had some pretty amazing cooks and bakers. As the years have gone by and family members have moved away, passed away, etc. Some of our favorite foods have dropped from our menus since we don't have the recipes. There are often emails/phone calls between family members asking for if anyone knows who has this or that recipe. I decided that it was time to have a family recipe book; a collection of all of our favorite dishes/desserts. I've been tracking down and typing them up for weeks now. I've also included some of the current favorites that other family members might like. At the start of every recipe is memories specific to that recipe as related by different family members. A little like family history through food. So far there has been a lot of interest in the project. I'm getting a lot of requests to track down specific recipes and a lot of recipes sent to me via email for inclusion.

Staples makes photo copies for as little at 5 cents per page. Binders and dividers are inexpensive as well. For the younger more tech savy family members I'm putting their copies on CD, (even cheaper then printing). that is what members of my family are getting in their homemade goodies gift baskets this year. it takes some time, but its an inexpensive thoughtful gift.

Date Posted: 12/6/2010 1:40 PM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2006
Posts: 14,634
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oh man I want one Terri! That's a neat present! my aunt should do that since she has pretty much all the recipes..my mom tried a nice broccoli salad last year for thanksgiving and my aunt told everyone not to bring so much for christmas and my asked what she should bring and my aunt told her she reckoned she could leave that broccoli salad out! um ok..I happened to like the broccoli salad and Ithink given a few holiday rounds others would come to like it as well - the only broccoli salad I like by the way.

that foot scrub sounds nice too but I dont' know enough people who'd appreciate something like that.

Date Posted: 12/24/2010 4:01 AM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2010
Posts: 1,540
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I love to feed the birds, and so do most people I know.

I have found baking is getting expensive now, we pay 9% tax on food here.

I buy 20-40 lb. bags of sunflower seeds, peanuts, "chop" which is ground up corn, etc.  Then, I mix my own batches.

I save really handy containers with handles from my cat food, and fill those up, tie a ribbon around the handle, and that is my xmas gift to people.

I hate giving "stuff" that gathers dust.  This gift brings pleasure to people, as well as feeds all the beautiful birds thru the winter. 

Best part:  It's GONE by spring, so nothing to take up space and more "stuff".


Besides, if you buy this bird feed by the bag, already mixed, it is really expensive now!

Last Edited on: 12/24/10 4:04 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 12/24/2010 4:03 AM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2010
Posts: 1,540
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Nicolee, how do you make homemade laundry soap?

I hate buying it in the store with all the dyes and perfumes