Reflections on life, marriage, and a young woman who is constantly learning how much there will always be to learn!

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Gifts from the heart

It's hard to believe that Christmas is only about six weeks away! I realized this a couple days ago, and felt a brief sting of panic as I considered that I have no idea what Christmas gifts we will be giving this year. Nor do I know where the money will be coming from to finance these gifts! (It should be no secret to anyone who has read my blog more than a couple times that we are currently very much in save-mode:o)

In hopes of turning my alarmed state into something more positive, I'm now setting out on a mission to conjure up some beautiful gifts--meaningful gifts--that will cost more time and imagination than money.

I know from experience that the best gifts don't have to be expensive gadgets. Some of my favorite gifts that I've recieved (not necessarily for Christmas) have been:

  • Our Family Cookbook from my mom. She created--from a simple binder, some family photos, and printed copies of all of our favorite family recipes--a useful keepsake that I will treasure forever. Not only do I have favorite recipes in one place, but I am reminded of my mom and other people who are special to me every time I open the book. Next to my Grandpa's famous apple pie recipe, there is a picture of the time he taught me how to make it. Next to our favorite cookie recipes are pictures of my sisters and I making cookies when we were little. My favorite Great-Grandma's face smiles up at me across from her wonderful Thanksgiving Stuffing recipe.
  • Roses from across the ocean. Micah visited me during my stay in England. When I met him at the bus station, he offered me a beautiful cluster of deep red roses. I wondered, where had he managed to stop between the airport and the bus station? He hadn't stopped. He had bought the roses in Dallas, rigged up some type of "shelter" for them in his suitcase (I'll never understand how he kept them so fresh and unblemished!) and carted them overseas so that he could greet me with my favorite flowers. Those roses lasted radiently for over two weeks...quite a record when you're used to living in the hot and humid south! Another wonderful gift he gave me that week was a "mix" CD of special songs that reminded him of me:o)
  • I love letters. Long and juicy letters. Encouraging letters. It seems that letter-writing has lost it's place in our culture, and that is such a shame! Here I must confess that I still have nearly every letter I have ever received, stowed away in a series of boxes! My letters are gifts that I would feel very sorry parting with. They capture a moment of time in my life, and the life of the friend or family member who sat down to give me their thoughts. A letter is the gift of relationship that does not disappear, but can be cherished forever.
  • Time. I could list countless examples of people setting aside time to spend with me that have really meant a lot! This is Micah's and my ongoing gift to each other. We don't have a lot of extra money, but we try to celebrate special occasions with special "times" together. A simple picnic. A nice long walk. Shopping. Hanging out. A nice dinner at home. A special "thrifty" date. Being together with the ones we love is a TRUE gift!

Keeping all of these thoughts in mind, I'll have to let you know later what I manage to come up with for this Christmas season! Oh, and ideas are most welcome!


Blogger Rene' said...

Your section on letters made me sad. As a teen I got in a tiff with my best friend and I burned every letter I ever got from her. High school was over at that point and the busyness of life began. There were no more letter to save and cherish. :(

I like your Christmas list. Here's another idea for you.

Disposable hand soaps for ladies.

Get some fake flower petals, roses are really nice but any pretty petal. Dip in melted glycerin soap, scented if you like, and let dry on a pleated sheet of waxed paper (pleated like an accordian).

Fill a pretty box or clear baggie with these one-time use hand soaps. :)


10:35 PM, November 10, 2005  
Anonymous Jaime said...

I have a few superb ideas!

Toasted coconut
(toast in 300, sturring often- shouldn't take over 10 min or so.stores well in icebox so a few days in Ziploc)
White chocolate covered decorated pretzle rods.-
Toll House white chocolate chips
Holiday Sprinkles
Long pretzle rods (Randalls?)
Waxed paper, saran wrap,
or foil lined cookie sheets.
a microwave( have a very warm pan of water for it to sit in, to keep it melted
or you could do the double boiler method, a glass bowl over simmering water. the chocolate is melted over med Low- Low
(use a pinch of shortening if your white chocolate is giving you greif melting.

Chocolate dipped oven dried pineapple and merishino cherries
Toasted coconut
Chocolate chips (toll house or hershey)
On foil lined cookie sheet,
Oven 300
Arrange the canned pinapple chunks and cherries (drained and patted dry) Until thick and glossy

Walmart or target have plastic lunch baggies with holiday décor on the Christmas or baking sections)

Holiday Stamps and ink

a box of multi "religious cards" from walmart on the christmas row or in the gardening section.

Teeny Tiney orniments. I am talking featherweight!( like gold trumpets) you can slip into the cards for relitives. (put an exstra stamp just in case.

Glitter Snowfalkes are cheap and come in a bunch at Target or walmart.(Those make good gifts for your husbands work.

With a card in a decorated paper Lunch bag with a "few" treats. a bow.)

I think less treat is more. Because we all tend to overeat on the Holidays. It makes a gracious and kind gesture.

the Dollar stores are THE place to find all sorts of treasures! Just be sure not to buy too much. Make sure you have a viable plan for what you buy!

heres a RICH recipe for Mint Creme cheese Fudge. it's 2 layers. Fudge can be cut Very small. and it can make a beutiful presintation too. just be sure to wipe your knife thuroughly after every cut!!!! You have to keep this fudge in the icebox. It can sit out for up to 3 hours at room temp- 72
then BEWARE! :O(

Your favorite fudge recipe for a 8x8 square pan
3oz Cream cheese
2 ½ cups Powdered sugar- Sifted
½ stick Sweet cream land o lakes butter. softened
2-3 tsp or to taste Adams best peppermint exstract and 1 tsp pure vanilla
Beat with electric mixer and butter.
Add extracts and beat till light and fluffy.
Gradually add 1cup powder sugar, beating well.
Gradually beat in additional 1-½ cups powder sugar till it reaches the desired consistency.

After you chill the fudge and it’s set,
Make the icing, THICK
Then spread it over the fudge and chill another 3 hours or so.
Then turn out fudge and cut quickly into small inch -2 inch squares.
Layer them back in the pan with waxed paper ,Loosly cover and clamp down with foil like a canopy (cover the top of the fudge with waxed paper before you use the foil!!!) and put back in the icebox till serving time,
Or, put in plastic décor lunch bags and store them in the icebox door till your husband takes them to work,
(3days in icebox)

Hope this is usefull to you.
I hope you didn't forget about me?
You must be really busy?
My Birthday was yesterday..

8:22 AM, November 11, 2005  
Blogger Sarah Ellsworth said...

I came across your site this week and have enjoyed your posts.

You can do gifts in a jar. I came across several sites that have "recipes" for you to do this. Go to to find that post. Also I posted on the Flylady. You can go to her site and she has several clutter free gift ideas.

Hope those are of some help.

11:37 AM, November 11, 2005  

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