The Simple Life
Yesterday morning as I drove to work, the sun was just
coming up, bathing the snow laden trees and landscape in a pink-
golden glow. It followed me all the way to work where it faded to
blue skies. It was just magical. That's how I want my holidays to
be. We just sit back and watch the glow. Not much effort on my
part, but just enjoyment and relaxation. Easier said than done.
The only way I know how to do this is get it done ahead of time.
Make lists and get my gifts in a row.
For those special people in our lives, a card isn't enough
and we give out cookie plates. Or, some years I baked several
batches of cinnamon rolls and take them around to the neighbors.
Muffins are good, too. Or for something really easy, a decorated
sheet cake cut in pieces and arranged on a strong paper plate and
wrapped in cellophane with a bow.
Christmas cards are kept on an ongoing list, and sent with
cards purchased the year before, and the week after Christmas.
Always with a REAL Christmas message, unlike some of the major
department stores who are forbidden to say "Merry Christmas!" Can
you imagine not being allowed to say "Merry Christmas" in this great
country God has given us? I make sure to say "Merry Christmas" to
all my customers and I hope I never have to work where it is not
allowed. J.C. Penney and Sam Walton would definitely not approve.
Now the real fun of Christmas is picking out something you
just know your loved one will get a tickle out of. Each year it is
a task to find something my husband would really like. But last
year was easier than some. A few months before Christmas, he walked
by a saw in a store and said "that might be something that would
come in handy". That's about the biggest tip I've ever gotten.
When he got it for Christmas, he wondered how I knew he could use
that, and didn't ever remember the remark. All the better! He
always says he doesn't need anything for Christmas, but I'd be
disappointed if I couldn't surprise him. I know a saw doesn't sound
too romantic, but that is my husband's hobby, and he loves almost
nothing better than to be in the garage with his tools.
We all know a special hobby that our loved ones have. How
about a basket of goodies that will be special to their hobby? For
a family movie night a basket (left over from something else, or
bought at a second hand store or a yard sale), maybe spray painted
in a festive color. Filled with a new or old release movie, puzzle
or game, popcorn packets, movie candy, and a two-liter bottle of
their favorite beverage and tied up with a bow?
For a quiet time, a basket, complete with cocoa, mugs,
chocolate covered pretzels, or cookies, cinnamon apple drink
packets, a nice candle, and some fire starter sticks, and a good
How about a car care basket for a first time driver,
complete with car wash, wax, wash cloths, and air freshener and
anything else you can think of? Maybe car wash coupons or kids
might give a coupon for a car wash and clean up job they will do
themselves for mom and dad!
For a coffee lover, a couple mugs, some biscotti, creamer
and sugar, and some various flavored coffee, and maybe even a coffee
Dollar stores are a great source of inspiration maybe a
personal care basket complete with nail clippers, polish, travel
tooth brush and paste, etc.
Dollar stores may not be the least expensive though, if you
can buy a large package that can be divided between several
baskets. If you are buying food, you might want to buy at very
large amount, say cheese and sausage and package it in smaller
amounts to put in several baskets.
For a fisherman on your list, use a tackle box instead of a
basket. If you are not a fisherman, ask a sales person what might
How about a sewing basket, art supplies, stationary, a dog
or cat basket, a spa basket, cook or baker's baskets, or how about a
coupon for a special dinner at your house (even if you would do it
anyway it's fun!), a coupon for dog watching, (during a
vacation). Grandkids can use their imaginations when it comes
helping their grandparents with just about anything from household
maintenance to snow shoveling, or lawnmowing.
For the Ice Cream Lover - Place tissue paper on the bottom
of a basket. Add sundae dishes, an ice cream scoop, nuts, hot fudge
sauce, butterscotch sauce, chocolate syrup, Maraschino cherries and
a gift certificate for two gallons of ice cream.
Or, for a simple evening dinner, a Soup Basket - In a
basket, stock pot or bean crock, add large soup mugs, 7 bean soup,
cornbread mix, cookie mix and oyster crackers wrapped in cellophane
bags and tied with a ribbon.
Ingredients and a recipe for a favorite dish or dessert will make a
great basket for anyone who says "Can I have your recipe for that?"
How about a Pizza coupon for pizza and a movie to spend an evening
with your favorite friend tucked in a Christmas card? Time spent
together is the best gift!
Recipe for a Simple Water Bottle Shoulder Bag
This year for Christmas, I've been making these for some of
my favorite friends who always carry a water bottle, or other
beverage. Since I crochet, that's how I make them, but if you knit,
you can knit them. You can use a coffee mug, or use the size water
or juice bottle that applies. With your friends favorite yarn, chain
5 and join. Double Crochet, or, using your favorite stitch, crochet
around increasing until the appropriate base size is achieved. Now
crochet around, for this round, in the back of the stitches, to
start moving up. Decrease a few stitches, and then continue up until
you reach the right height, probably 6-8 inches high. It should fit
around the bottle well. Since these only take a few minutes to
make, just rip it out and start over until you get it just right.
Now you are ready for the shoulder strap. Crochet 4 or 5 stitches.
Go back and forth until your strap is the right length. Directly
across bag, slip stitch and chain off. Now you have a nice and
Simple water bottle shoulder bag a gift that only takes a few
minutes to whip up!
There are alot of gifts you can do that are very nice, but
not expensive. Even a babysitting coupon is a great gift.
Keeping it simple,