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Creative Giving Ideas

 

Related Resources:
CatholicMom.com Advent Index

 

Here's a great gift the children can make and present to that special someone.  Present this Mocha Mix by itself with serving directions, or as part of a fun gift basket with holiday themed mugs and other goodies.

Mocha Mix
prep. time 5 minutes

2 1/2 cups nondairy creamer
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup instant coffee granules or crystals
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa

1.  In a large bowl or container, combine all ingredients; mix well.  Spoon mix into decorative jar or airtight container.
2.  To serve, spoon 1/4 cup mix into mug; fill with 1 cup boiling water.  Stir to blend.  5/14 cups mix; about 21 servings.

 

Is there a gardener on your list?  She will love a "bulb kit" which will enable her to "force" a bloom in a month and let her enjoy a taste of spring in the cold winter months.

Give a festive gift that will help your recipient think of you first thing in 2002!  Prepare a "happy new year" basket with goodies to celebrate the big night...bubbly, or sparkling cider, party hats and blowers, an ice bucket, and fun confetti. 

For neighbors or your hostess, bake a loaf of fresh bread and include with it this wonderful "Citrus and Spice Honey Spread" and a cute holiday spreader.

Citrus and Spice Honey Spread

1 8 oz. container honey butter, softened
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon grated orange peel

In a small bowl, combine all ingredients; blend well.  Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate until serving time.  Makes 1 cup.

Running short on time to shop and ship?  Most online vendors can get it there on time (or even a day or two early) if you shop now and have the gift sent directly to the recipient.  Visit our Shop to Help  page for a variety of quality online vendors. 

This one's not very "creative", but here's a reminder...for the person on your gift list who already has it all, why not consider making a donation in his name to a special charity?  A gift to his parish, alma mater, or even a local Religious Order would be a double blessing.  Make a beautiful card to accompany a "gift certificate" announcing your donation. 

Use gingerbread men to liven up your Christmas!  They can be used as fun tree ornaments, gift tags, or even "place cards" for your holiday table - use decorative icing to write your guests' names or decorate the cookie to resemble the guest! 

For the "correspondent" on your list, or an older individual who may have trouble leaving his or her home, put together a gift basket including note cards, greeting cards, a nice set of pens, a book or roll of stamps, personalized return address labels generated on your computer and a special mug with herbal tea.  You'll be at the top of their "thank you" list! 

For the history lover or student on your gift list, consider purchasing the Lord of History Playing Card set.  This 24 card set features beautiful artwork and significant information on the lives of the saints.

Is there an ice cream lover on your gift list this year?  Create a fun gift basket for them including a gift certificate for their favorite parlor (or better yet, homemade ice cream from you!), a scoop, fun toppings, and a cute set of sundae dishes and long spoons.  This one's sure to be a winner! 

Make your gifts even more special this year by focusing on the wrapping, and save money while you're at it.  Purchase leftover blank newsprint from your local newspaper and turn the kids loose.  They can use rubber stamps (find the rolling type for fun and colorful designs), markers, or paint.  If you're the proud mom of a toddler, paint your child's feet with washable poster paint and let him run free all over the paper.  For parents of preschoolers, recycle works of "art" made at school as wrapping for grandparents gifts...be sure to explain first what will be happening with the artwork and how much it will be enjoyed by the recipient.  Finish off with ribbon or raffia for a special touch. 

Looking for a fun gift for your favorite male teacher/coach/scout leader?  Find out his favorite team and purchase a baseball cap with the team logo.  Turn the cap upside down and fill the cap with home-baked cookies or candy or a magazine subscription to a sports or news magazine.  Wrap in clear cellophane.

  Here's a gift your children can put together and give themselves that will provide many wonderful mornings.  Help them to prepare the "Perfect Pancake Mix" by providing ingredients and a clean workplace and let them do the rest!  Place mix, a special syrup, fun pancake shapers, and a big wooden or plastic spoon into a mixing bowl and you'll have a wonderful gift in no time. 

Pancake Mix
Ingredients:
5 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup cornmeal
1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons salt

Measure all ingredients into food processor and process for 15 to 30 seconds or mix by hand until thoroughly mixed.  Spoon mixture into 2 quart jar.  Include mixing directions:  "Stir 1 1/2  cups of pancake mix, 2 eggs and 1 1/4 cups of milk in a mixing bowl until smooth.  Cook over medium heat, approximately 2 to 3 minutes on each side.  Serves 4."

 

HailHQ2H.jpg (36276 bytes)To commemorate the Feast of the Immaculate Conception and our giving  recommendation is truly one of a kind.  For your most special loved ones, consider a Rosary or Chaplet from Terra Cotta Originals.  Each bead is artfully hand crafted to create a unique treasure.  Our Lady called us to the devotion of the Rosary.  Your family member or friend will be truly inspired! 

 

Use your personal computer this year to personalize your Christmas gifts and greetings:  create your own gift tags with photos of your family or children, or of the gift recipient.  Another fun idea:  create return address label featuring a small picture of your children or family near the Christmas tree or another special holiday spot.  Your friends and family will love the card even before they open it!  To share family news on the web, create a free web site at MyFamily.com and share the site URL on your Christmas card.  And while you're at it, invite fellow Catholic parents to join us here at Catholic Mom! 

To celebrate the Feast of St. Nicholas who has been popularized as one who gave to children.  Send a friend a St. Nicholas e-greeting today or share Santa's Christmas Prayer (thanks Stephanie!) with loved ones.  While we know that today's "Santa Claus" bears little resemblance to St. Nicholas, but today is another wonderful opportunity to savor the joy of giving.

"Don't wait until Christmas To Open" Present Basket:  create a basket of goodies for your friends to enjoy before the holiday.  Include your favorite Christmas music, a cherished Christmas story book, a few of your favorite holiday season recipes and an ornament or two featuring photos of your family or children.  You might even include stamped thank you notes with a Christmas theme if this is going to a homebound friend.  Encourage them to open and enjoy this gift early as they prepare for the big day.  And for next year, consider being a real early bird and include an Advent calendar and goodies! 

Little fingers will love the gift of a "Smelly Play Dough" bonanza!  Follow the recipe below for great home made play dough and send along plastic "tools", a mini rolling pin, cookie cutters, or even discount kitchen gadgets. (December 4)

Smelly Play Dough
Mix 2 1/2 cups flour (more if dough is too sticky), 1/2 cup salt and 2 teaspoons cream of tartar.  Add 3 tablespoons oil, 1 3/4 cups boiling water and 1 to 4 packages of Kool Aid.  Stir until sticky dough begins to form.  Remove from bowl or pan and knead with hands until lumps are gone and dough is smooth.  Store in ziploc or covered container.

For a favorite family - create a "game night" basket for an evening of family fun.  Include a board or card game, deck of cards, dice, pad and paper for score keeping, favorite snacks, a homemade tape of family music and a list of your favorite games.  Divinity Religious Products offers a variety of Catholic game products for family fun and learning.

For your neighbors - instead of the usual tray of homemade cookies, give a "gingerbread man kit":  pre-bake one gingerbread man per family member (or two if it's a small family), include a small tube of white decorator's gel, and small bags of decorations (thin licorice whips, mini m&ms, tiny chocolate chips, etc.).  Tuck all the fixings into a disposable (Glad -type) container and your neighbors are ready to decorate and eat their creations. 

Giving books for Christmas?  Have your children create book marks and have them laminated or create a collage of pictures of your little one into a book mark shaped size and laminate.  This will be treasured for years to come!

 

Thanks to my Fresno friends Vaughn and Michele for the great ideas!  Do you have a tip to share?  E-mail Lisa at lisa@catholicmom.com today.

 

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