Wednesday, December 17, 2008

More gift ideas...

Many of us are in the final days of Christmas shopping and some have hardly started. While you're considering those left on your list and the possible debt already incurred, I encourage you to consider creating some gifts with your own two hands. For many, there is nothing quite as delightful as receiving a handmade gift!

For the coffee or hot chocolate lover:

Consider a "new" mug filled with single coffee or hot chocolate packets. There are many flavors available at the market or you can throw some together you're own. (See "Another Gift Idea" for a quick cocoa mix.) The added benefit here would be that you could customize each serving for the individual gift recipient.

If your friend loves Mocha, Mint, Cappuccino, or any of the other popular flavors, this website has hundreds of recipes. Pick their favorite flavor and have an economical batch in no time.

Or, you could whip up some flavored stir sticks. You'll need some clear or white heavy duty plastic spoons, which can be found at the many dollar stores in large quantity, candy and/or chocolate. May we suggest peppermint patties, peppermint candies, butterscotch, Hershey chocolate bar, Butterfinger, dark chocolate or caramel.

Simply melt the candy or chocolate over a double-boiler, to prevent scorching.

Once the item has melted sufficiently, insert a clean spoon into the mixture to coat the base of the spoon.

Place the spoon face up on a piece of plastic wrap or waxed paper until hardened.

    After the candy coating has hardened, wrap them individually in plastic wrap.

    Secure each wrapped spoon with a twist tie and include one in the coffee mug with coffee mix. Or, fill the coffee mug with multiple flavored spoons!

    The mug you choose to gift can be a brand new mug, one they've always chosen to use at your home, or one purchased from a thrift store. Thrift stores have mugs that have hardly been used just waiting for a new home. Many of those stores, such as Goodwill and Salvation Army, reuse the money in your community to help others. What a fantastic bonus!

    For the movie critic:

    Pick up a movie for them from the bargain bin at WalMart or another discount store. I have recently found many top 80's and 90's releases for $2-$5 each, brand new. Make sure to tailor your choice to their taste (comedy, horror, romance, etc...) perhaps tying the choice to a childhood memory or memory of something you may have experienced together.

    Pop the movie into a bag with some microwave popcorn and 2 sodas. You'll give the gift of a movie night to celebrate with the person of their choice. If you're crafty, you could even print up some fake movie tickets to include or use as the gift tag.

    For the music fiend:

    Make a contemplation CD of their favorite songs or songs that bring back memories for them. You could included songs that were popular in their childhood, teen years, or college. There are many sites on the web that you can make them at, utilize your own collection, or the gift recipients.

    Most computers come preloaded with the appropriate software. Roxio, Microsoft, Nero and My Music Tools are very popular for this application. If you don't have these services on your current computer you can normally download them at their respective websites.

    Many software programs also have the capability of printing out CD labels or imprinting directly to the CD. Follow that up with a custom insert that details the contents of the CD. Be sure and include a special message! Use the space to note why you chose the songs you did or why you believe the recipient will enjoy your choices.

    Whatever your gift choices make them thoughtful and remember that the smile upon the recipients face will be payment for your time and effort. NEVER gift with thoughts of a return gift. It takes away your joy of the moment!

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