Friday, November 25, 2016

My 5th Annual Christmas Gift Extravaganza

Merry Christmas, dear friends near and far!

I'm all excited to share my 5th annual sampling of truly lovely and thought-filled goodies for you to scoop up for those loved ones on your shopping list ... especially those hard-to-please types.

And don't call me Scrooge, but I think #12 isn't all that bad an idea ...

#1.
  ornaments


Those sweet little hangings, some given decades ago, last forever and bring back the most poignant memories.  Unpacking them each December does nothing but bring a flood of warm thoughts and fond memories.  Especially those fragile oh-so-imperfect ones made long ago by eager little hands.  


#2.
  books


If something you've read has enlarged your borders or turned your life around, that's always a gift worth sharing.  {Click here to see my absolute favorite book this year!}


#3.
edibles


Gotta-eat-the-whole-loaf fragrant cinnamon bread ... warm from the oven cheese danish ... crunchy homemade granola ... a plate of lusciously decorated cookies ... a box of decadent homemade fudge ... nutritious soup still hot in the pot.  

{Here's two of my favorite go-to recipes for piping hot fresh flaky scones and my mom's surprise meringue cookies!}


#4.  
experiences


Think tickets to a play or a dinner theatre, a spa or a local restaurant.  How 'bout handcrafted gift certificates for free babysitting or snow shoveling, errand running or a relaxing massage.  Perhaps a couple of house cleaning sessions ... or a bunch of car washes?  

And wouldn't you just love to see your favorite someone airborne?  Or how 'bout opportunities for the kids to learn a new sport ... maybe ballet or art lessons?  Their parents will rise up and call you blessed.


#5.
  candles
Stress-reducing lavender vanilla, zesty mango peach salsa, or sweet raspberry burn bright around here most evenings three seasons a year.  But right now I love the aroma wafting from our Yankee Candle Balsam & Cedar candles!  

The house smells like a fresh-cut tree dragged home from the farm.  Which is nostalgically lovely since our brightly lit tree is a fake as they come.


#6.
  photographs


Matted and framed ... etched onto a mouse pad ... worked into a scrapbook ... printed on a calendar, loaded onto a digital picture frame?  Photos are always a surefire winner for any grandparent or a far away loved one. 

{Shutterfly is fairly easy to navigate ... I'm working on a little project over there even as we speak}.  


#7.
  subscriptions


Daily, monthly, or once a quarter, those magazines, fruit baskets, newspapers, flowers {or whatever!} remind the recipient of you each and every time your regularly appearing selection makes a welcome arrival on their doorstep.  


#8.
  gift cards


Do you truly know their specific size, favorite color, unique style?  Probably not.  Save on endless hours trolling the mall and horrifically long lines for returns ... and allow your savvy shoppers full advantage of those frenetically fabulous post-holiday sales.  

Meanwhile, I do love shopping from home in my robe and slippers ... especially at amazon.com.


#9.
  heirlooms


Few things are more pitifully obnoxious than family members pawing through your belongings like vultures after you've left this world, arguing over who gets what.  How much more meaningful to give those family heirlooms now with your love, hugs, and the opportunity to share the story behind the chosen gift.  

You receive the huge rush of joy that comes with giving these carefully selected, priceless treasures in person, sooner rather than later.  And your shelves will say 'thank you' for letting them breathe again.


#10.
heirlooms for kiddos


For generations, Radio Flyer has been crafting the most beautiful investment toys for tots.  These gifts will be around for awhile, I promise you.  Along the way, we've purchased a couple of impressive horses {not quite as pictured on the link}, a very fun little scoot-about, and at least one classic red wagon.  

Meanwhile ol' Pa is cleaning up a granddaughter's cute little scooter which is being sent to its new home to be enjoyed in a year or two by her second cousin.  I just love this!


#11.
  livestock


Who needs yet another pair of socks or a boring old tie that will hang there unused forever? You can choose to honor the recipient by gifting to those in need. 

Samaritan's Purse Gift Catalog is a longtime favorite ... your donation purchases livestock, chicks, blankets, hot meals, fruit trees, bicycles, you name it.  You can even feed a baby for a week.  It just doesn't get better than this.


#12.
  nothing
Get the full size, ready to print holiday gift exception certificate right here.

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let's do a bit of show-and-tell!
fill us all in on the presents you love to give & receive 

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scroll down to the very end of the post 
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40 comments:

  1. Great ideas that help to stimulate the gift buying start.
    Blessings!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I expect to see some super ideas crop up in our conversation this week!

      ;-}

      Delete
  2. Great list! And I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

    I'd add one more thing - making a donation to the recipient's favourite charity, or buying the kind of toy that the recipient would have wanted as a child and putting it into the Toys For Tots box.

    A few years ago our WalMart had an 'Angel Tree', with kids' requests you could take down and fulfill. Most were for games, or things like that...but one card was a request for a bicycle. So Barbara grabbed it, said "This is OUR Christmas!" and ten minutes later she was paying for the bike to go for the kid who probably never expected a dream to come true.

    I was and am so proud of her, and that is the greatest gift.

    http://blessed-are-the-pure-of-heart.blogspot.com/2016/11/your-dying-spouse-237-no-surrender.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Don't you just love it when something just reaches out and grabs you ... 'pick me! pick me!'

      Bless you and Barbara. You guys are a real team in all the ways that matter most ...

      Delete
  3. For several years our main gifts to our family have been from the Samaritan's Purse Gift Catalog.

    Two of the families are large so this gift works well.

    {via email}

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're so right, when the family morphs and grows, gift-giving can get a bit unwieldy.

      I do love that Samaritan's Purse Gift Catalog!

      Delete
  4. I love all your suggestions, Linda! My husband and I stopped exchanging gifts years ago; we spend that money on a get-away to a mountain cabin. I'd much rather have the experience than any "thing."
    We do try to keep Christmas gift giving as simple and uncomplicated as possible. One tradition my grown children still enjoy is opening stockings. I try to include fun treats, but include practical items, too, like a new toothbrush or scented soap. All are so much appreciated, and not at all expensive.
    Blessings to you, my friend!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes and amen to experiences, Martha. Our spaces are crammed full with more objects than we'll ever appreciate. Experiences let us carry sweet heart memories with us as we move ahead.

      And that is a grace I can say 'yes!' to ...

      Delete
  5. You've inspired me to think about Christmas shopping! These are great ideas- it's always nice to give something meaningful. Theatre tickets are always popular in my family and I love giving handmade gifts too. I've just been working on some decorations, and I'll have to check out your recipes!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Theatre tickets. Yes. What a wonderful experience to share!

      Sure beats a pair of socks, yes?

      ;-}

      Delete
  6. Hi Linda! The greatest gift my dad ever got the year before he died was a subscription to "Cookie of the Month". My sister gave it to him, and he LOVED it. Not only fun mail, but it was always a surprise as to what kind of cookie it was, and he would also have treats to share with visitors.
    I know what you mean about cutting down on presents. As I get older, I really don't need anything. I like the idea of the animal, I get quite a few magazines where I can purchase one for a poor family overseas. I bought a goat once!
    Great list Linda. I hope you had a good Thanksgiving too.
    Blessings,
    Ceil

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Ceil! 'Cookie of the Month!!' What a cool gift to give someone who's no longer able to bake anymore {although I wouldn't mind being on the receiving end of this gift even though I can still make my way around the kitchen.}

      Bet your dad anticipated that arrival each and every month.

      Lovely. Lovely!

      And yes ... let's hear it for a goat or two. And maybe someday, we'll be blessed enough to meet those we were able to give to across many many meals.

      ;-}

      Delete
  7. I'm bookmarking this page, Linda! I'm looking for different kinds of gifts this year, and this fits the bill. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Perfect, Lisa! My mission is accomplished!

      I hope you'll come back and let us know what goodies you end up choosing ...

      Delete
  8. Yes! Yes! And yes! To all of these! I especially love subscriptions as well as your last one- we can al, do with less!

    ReplyDelete
  9. I love these thoughtful, more personal gifts, Linda. I'm for #12, too. :) Over the years, we have reminded our kids and grandkids that their presence is the best gift. It's a joy just to gather together. :) Although, I know it's fun to give to others, too. This is such a great list. Blessings and hugs to you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm with you, Trudy. #12 is just fine with me. Really.

      But a sweet little something is ok, too!

      ;-}

      Delete
  10. I wish I could get away with #12, ha! More so on the receiving end, though. For me giving is easier than receiving :) These are all great ideas, Linda. Several, if not most are going to be under our tree this year. I pray you're finding peace this first week of Advent.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Peace, peace. Yes, that's where I am.

      You, too, friend?

      Delete
  11. I like #12 best of all too! A really comprehensive list you have provided though, just in case #12 doesn't work :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have a feeling more of us would like to embrace #12 than would admit it. Why is that?

      Do we feel like Scrooge? Or fear we come off looking like a cheapskate?

      Delete
  12. So #12 is my favorite...does that make me a Scrooge too? My husband and I decided no stocking stuffers, no gifts, absolutely nothing this year except the focus on Jesus and serving others. I think it will be our best Christmas yet! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your willingness to go there is so refreshing, Nicki ... and that your man is good with this, too? Love that! I don't think your choice makes you Scrooge ... I think this frees you up to love and serve and experience all that Advent truly was meant to be.

      My hat's off to ya', girl! Will you write about your experience?

      Delete
  13. Ah ... Christmas. Time to bring out the Christmas cards and post them in good time. What I do to save money is save the Christmas cards we have received from the previous year. I then stick a piece of paper over where the sender left a goodwill message and I write our new message for this year on the paper. As long as you make sure you don't send the same card to the person who originally sent it to you; you're OK. It's re-cycling, it's cheap (actually virtually free) and none of our friends or family has complained. You can also use Birthday cards for this. Just cross out where it says "Birthday", write "Christmas", and you have a new card that says "Happy Christmas". Clever, don't you think?

    God bless.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ;-}

      You always make everyone around here smile big and laugh hearty. Thank you for sharing laughter and hope wherever you go, Victor.

      And may I be the first to wish you a Merry Christmas?

      ;-}

      Delete

  14. Great ideas! Thank you. Going out to get that book.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'd love to read your review, friend ...

      Enjoy!

      Delete
  15. Merry Christmas my sweet friend!! I always end up gifting photos (framed and album forms) for Christmas.. memories are the best and sweetest gifts IMO!! - http://www.domesticgeekgirl.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Trust me, the older you get, the more those cherished photographs become your hands-down favorite all-time gift!

      Yes, even more than cookies ...

      ;-}

      Delete
  16. Love the list, Linda. And #12? It's a winner. ;-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You've got that right, Kristi! Of all the gift ideas, #12 looks to be the most appreciated suggestion.

      Wonder why?

      Delete
  17. Here are some 'specialized' gifts for a spouse-as-caregiver...

    https://blessed-are-the-pure-of-heart.blogspot.com/2016/11/your-dying-spouse-238-gifts-for.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. HEY READERS - if you're gifting a caregiver OR are one yourself, don't miss Andrew's superb shopping list in the link above!

      {Thanks, pal, for stopping in again and sharing your savvy ideas ...}

      Delete
  18. I am definitely giving a few on this list. :)
    My uncle makes us ornaments every year and it is fun to pull them out to hang! My oldest daughter this year is fascinated by ornaments she has made over the years. I keep hearing things like, "I can't believe my hands were ever so little!" Makes me smile.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. All I can say is that I wish I had saved more of those precious little Christmas hangings ...

      Those little hands grow so quickly, don't they.

      Delete
  19. Oh, what a fun list, Linda. Less stuff with number 12 is definitely a winner. Especially since I know I'll be decluttering come January. Books always make my list, and your favorite is on my to-read list. Thanks for sharing. xoxo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Can't wait to hear about your decluttering project, Crystal! Will you be sharing on your blog?

      What fun!

      Delete
  20. LOVE #12!! Along with downsizing our lives by selling our home, one of our cars and getting rid of so much stuff from all the years, our gift giving/receiving has also been reduced. And we are loving the freedom! All the best to you and Tim with warmest wishes for a Merry Christmas and very special 2017 <3

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Sheila, how very wonderful to see you today! Thanks for sharing the joys and freedom of downsizing and minimalizing. I couldn't agree with you more.

      Advent's sweetest blessings to you and Michael ...

      Delete

'I want the people in my life to know that when they come to me, with whatever is on their mind or heart, they will be heard. I am dedicated to hearing the hearts of those around me.'
~ Adam McHugh, The Listening Life

Linda