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By April 11/17/2005
This year draw names except for the parents and grandparents. Just get every one else a scratch off ticket.
Do you have a theater in the area that sells matinee tickets? My supervisor did this for his crew one year and I thought it was a great way to give many diverse people something they would enjoy, since everyone could pick a movie they liked.
Crafts and food are thoughtful gifts at this time of year. You can make several to leave under the tree for those last min. gifts you never got time to shop for. Last year my two children and I made these 5 quick and easy gifts all in one day for about 25 people. We sat down with a bag of flour, brown sugar, salt etc and made brownie jars. Easy to do. Get your favorite receipe and layer all the dry ingredients in a jar. (Pick a jar that will be filled to the top or close to it so it looks nice.) Then put a clean lid and band on it, attach a handmade (or computer made) card that tells what else needs to be added, pan size to use, temp. to cook for how long and attach with a ribbon. You can add stickers to the jar or hot glue some lace around the top etc. We also made a hot tea mix we found on the internet that had red hots in it that we put in fun jars with a different tag for adding it to hot water and enjoy. Another one we did was get a clear snowman candy dish (the type you see thru but opens on the top for a dollar at the dollar store), we filled with min. mashmellows and added a poem about it being filled with snowman poop. (This is a really cute gag gift for those office parties. Got the poem off the internet too.) Or make some bath salts useing epson salts (walmart), a few drops food coloring, and a few drops of potpourri. Put into a clean dry 2-lt bottle and shake well. Then fill a pretty jar and add a cute label about haveing a relaxing soak. For the kids mix a few table spoons of oatmeat with some small glitter and add a note saying to feed Santas reindeer sprinkle on the yard on Christmas eve. (It looks pretty and if you do not use to much it will collect the dew and disappear by the next morning.)
For Children: How about McDonald's Gift Certificates? Or a comfy fleece blanket? My husband and I never go anywhere without our "bwankies" and the grandkids love them, too. We find them to be such a "comfort zone". Look for them to go on sale at Wal-Mart, Target, K-Mart, etc. I never pay over $10.00 for them. You can also make them yourself for even less!
For Ladies: Perhaps a box of all occasion cards and a book of stamps; photo album, Bible, (Bible cover) or maybe a silhouette of their children or grandchildren. You can also make a quick and cuddly shawl out of fleece with very little fabric. Add pockets if you like.
Teenagers: Videos or software for computers, calculators, gift certificates to the movies, Bible.
For Older Folks: THE GIFT OF TIME! Make up coupons that say such things as "Good for a hour of yard work" or "This coupon entitles you to 1 free ride to the (grocery store, doctors, library, church, friend's house, etc.) or "One hour's work of house work." A lot of older folks just can't do for themselves as they once did and these often mean more than anything you can purchase. You might also consider gift certificates at a grocery store.
For men: Work gloves, a nice pen, bullets (for hunters), a fold up nylon chair (can be used for fishing, at auctions, sports events, picnics, etc.) When you have a lot of family, sometimes it's easier to just draw names and set a price limit. You might also consider having a "Home-made" theme, where everyone can only give something they made (or grew, baked, or sewed) themselves.
Don't forget the art of rebating! I have a closet full of items that were totally free after the rebates! It may cost you a little up front but can be very rewarding.
Janet McClain - Abilene, TX
1) Good old Lottery ticket each
2) Go to the thrift store and get baskets, or tin cans and fill them with homemade candy or cookies.
3) How about creating a christmas ornament - here are two different ideas -
A) Get three different colors of acrylic paint. Last year the colors that I used that were really pretty were purple. light purple, and white. Also buy some glass balls. Now take out the silver hanger and rinse out the balls with vinegar and water. Let drain overnight to make sure that they are dry. Now, put a blob of paint of all three colors in the opening.
Here is the boring part - every 15 - 20 minutes you need to turn the balls until it is all colored. Then turn once or twice a day for about 2 more days. Turn the openings upside down to drain any wet paint. Put right side up in the tray. I like to wait a week and then glue the caps back on and add a bow. Awesome gift that will last for years and they will think of you while they are decorating their tree.
B) Get 12 small stryofoam balls. Take those cd's that come in the mail and cut into different small pieces. I spray paint the ball silver. Next glue all the little pieces of cd on the ball. add a ribbon and you have a GREAT ornament that will add color to the tree.
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