Obviously, you don’t want to post if your loved ones will read here.
Years ago, I decided that buying gifts for people just wasn’t feasible if I wanted my kids to get anything – my husband has a brazillion people in his family for whom he feels we must do gifts. Being a talented baker/cook/creative person, I always try to make gifts for those on the fringe of our gift-giving. Funny enough, the ones for whom I sweat and worry and pick out “the perfect gift” tend to get jealous if they don’t get the home-made gifts, too. Go figure!
Last year, I did truffles. Milk chocolate with honey liquer, dark chocolate with ginger liquer and white chocolate with coconut rum – very delish. I also made Christmas pecans (pralines for those in the know), both traditional, and for the diabetics, sugar-free. They were a huge hit.
This year – and I can’t believe I didn’t do this last year, considering my gift packaging was the “Peppermint Snowflake” line – we have a peppermint theme. I am making home-made peppermint marshmallows, home-made white- and dark-chocolate dipped peppermint sticks (my first run turned out ugly, I think I will make them the old-fashioned, butter mint style canes) and of course home-made peppermint bark – the kind that is dark chocolate with white chocolate on top. We will use the home-made peppermint sticks to make the bark, too. I have the most darling nested boxes in which we will be putting said confectionery treats that will be stacked and tied with an exquisite crimson-red bow. I am excited. Everyone at work has hinted that they love me enough to be considered in this sugar-orgy of giving, and since I want the recipe to be absolutely perfect for those I was originally intending to gift to – no problem with making enough for my work-mates.
As for the husband and kids – they all read the dope, so I will keep mum about their gifts. I am just going to say that they will be a bit surprised
I got my Mom a lovely stained glass in a rustic wooden frame.
My Dad is getting some paintballs (my Mom got him a gun) and a three million candle rechargeable flashlight.
My brother is getting a nice wooden Chinese Checkers set.
My other brothers gift needs explaining. When I was 18 my parents were going to take me on a 3 day white water rafting trip. I was so excited., so excited I got Mono and couldn’t go. My brother got to go in my place and gave me souvenirs as a birthday present. This past summer he was planning on going on a weeklong canoe trip but things came up and he couldn’t go, so I went in his place. I got him souvenirs from that trip.
I am most excited about the gift for my fiancé. He is impossible to buy for, but is a bit of a foodie, so I found a local company that gives restaurant tours. The tour is about two hours and takes you to four different restaurants in the historic district of downtown to sample their specialties. I think I am most excited about that one, because I get to go too!
I’m giving my best friends a home energy audit, so that they don’t go broke every winter heating their leaky sieve of a house. The audit will show them what’s wrong with the place–leaks in the walls, inefficient windows, too little insulation–and lay out a plan to fix the problems. There are also federal and provincial grants available to help with the retrofit.
Awww, shucks. The thing is, even though I don’t eat much by way of desserts/sweets, I love to cook. I mean, I absolutely love to cook, so for me, the gift is in allowing me to make these yummy treats and watch others enjoy them. Sounds corny as hell, but it’s true.
As happy as I am to know that both my children have inherited my love of cooking, I see a bleak future as they both start cooking more while I have to sit the sidelines watching and coaching. Le sigh.
For my FIL, who is an avid turkey hunter and is on the Native American Intertribal council, I got a lovely reproduction scrimshaw piece – it is a wild turkey engraved into an arrowhead fitted on a necklace. Very pretty for a reproduction piece. For his wife, who makes jewelry, I got a strand of absolutely stunning fresh-water pearls in shades of blue and green. I am hoping she might make me something with them – how bad is that?
The MIL is getting seeds for her flower garden (she recently moved into a new place and will need flowers come Spring) and a gorgeous framed picture of the kids. Her husband will get something lame, I am sure.
Please, please, please, Litoris, give me these recipes. Please? They sound AMAZING.
As for the gifts I’m giving:
Roommate #1: A Jewelry Box
Roommate #2: She’s been dying to own a certain breed of dog, and I got her a stuffed animal one.
Mom and Dad: I traveled with both of them individually last summer, so I’ve bought picture frames that hold multiple pictures and filling them up with my favorites from the trips. I’m also decorating the frames.
Boyfriend: The DVD of 300 and the Stephen Colbert book.
Truffles are easy –
1 bag of chocolate chips (I use ghiradelli, best quality I have found)
1 can of sweetened condensed milk (Eagle’s Brand is the best)
1 tbsp butter (real, sweet cream butter, unsalted)
1 tbsp vanilla
1 tbsp whatever flavour liquer
Put chocolate chips, butter and SCM into a large, microwave-safe bowl. Nuke 30 seconds at a time, stirring afterward until all is melted. Stir in vanilla and liquer. Pour into a greased flat pan and cool until firm but pliable – roll into balls and coat with your favorite coating.
[li]dark chocolate with ginger liquer rolled in powdered ginger[/li][li]milk chocolate with honey liquer rolled in powdered honey (can be bought at bulkfoods.com)[/li][li]dark chocolate with $tarbucks coffee liquer rolled in instand cappucino[/li][/ul]
For as easy as the recipe is, it is divine and just as good as if you spent all the time tempering the chocolate and blah blah blahing. I believe in doing things the easy way if it’s an option, ya know?
We draw names in our families, so that makes it much easier and financially feasible for us. I’m giving:
Husband—Two Xbox 360 games
Mom—Digital camera and accessories (joint gift with sisters)
Dad—Book and probably some sort of clothing or maybe a DVD
Nephew—Makaveli Branded T-shirt (per his request; he’s into Tupac Shakur) and a CD
Grandma #1—Photo book with pics from her 90th birthday party, plus a couple of 5x7s that I plan to frame.
Grandma #2—KFC gift certificate (it’s her favorite)
My husband is responsible for buying for his parents, as well as the two people whose names he drew.
I’m afraid I had to inform my family members that they will get nothing from me this year. As I am far more full of stress and overscheduling than cash, that’s the way that it has to be. My landlord, dentist, and travel agent get my paychecks these days.
Even so, I’m a Secret Santa to two people this year. One is getting a painting, one is getting
Yeah. Nice try.
I still might have the time and resources to get family members something small. I hate to show up empty handed.
And while I’m not obligated, I should get something for a friend, but I have no idea what. I’m open to suggestions. We talked about it, and the expectation is that she’s getting me something small but “from the heart.” A CD or something. I’m going to be her houseguest for a day, she’s transporting me from airport to airport, and her birthday is coming up. All that, plus she’s really special to me.
My husband will be receiving: a Scrabble board game (he played for the first time with my family at Thanksgiving, and loved it. Beat our pants off, too!), a DVD of Pippin, if I can find one, and a whole bunch of brown socks.
My son, 15 in January: a gaming chair (any recommendations?), a leather coat (hand-me-down), a Halo novel and some manga/graphic novel stuff my husband picked out. For his birthday, I’m getting Blue Man Group tickets. I think he’s about the right age.
My daughter, 3 in February: a “real” shopping cart with pretend fruits and vegetables, to go along with the toy kitchen my mother’s getting her, a Play-Doh set of some sort, and some books. Oh! And a Bob the Builder tool belt and hardhat. For her birthday, a tricycle.
Most of the women in my life will be getting hand beaded jewelry, if I get enough made in time!
So this morning, I took a bag of goodies to my $tarbucks people. They got a buncha peppermint marshmallows and the (really ugly, but very yummy) candy canes I made over the weekend. Funny enough, I walked out of the house without my purse, so they gave me my coffee free. This is why I love them – they rock!
tdn – how about a nice little journal/sketch book? Or a cd of some of your favourite music that she might also like? Food gifts are always nice – and very easy, email me if you want some easy recipe ideas. Trust me, if it comes from the heart, gifts from friends are so much nicer than a stupid gift card – especially when said friend is broke.
Stepson - he’ll get money or a bus ticket to move down here with us from Minnesota. We’re still discussing it.
Secret Santas for his family - we need to get two general gifts. Usually we draw names but since we weren’t there at Thanksgiving, no one remembered - we usually remind them. :rolleyes: So, we have to do a general gift - if you put one in the pot you get to pick one from the pot kinda thing. So I’m doing a movie package - theater tickets and a gift card to the concession stand and maybe a movie book (reviews and such), and a travel one - nice travel mug, pound of Dunkin Donuts coffee, gift card for remainder.
Coworkers - nothing. They’ve been particularly annoying this year.
Me - son already bought me Libertad (Velvet Revolver), and husband bought me Rock and Roll Jesus (Kid Rock). They’re also getting me Third Stage (Boston) and Run with the Pack (Bad Company) but we’re (well I’m) ordering those on line.
Doglet of love - he’ll get a new toy and probably a new rawhide bone. We already got him a new Air Dog Squeaker Fetch Stick (he killed the old one) so we’ll probably get him the football.
ETA - I forgot MY side of the family.
My brother and SIL - Bacon Salt and Seasonal Beer.
Nieces - Gift Cards
Nephew - haven’t decided - he’ll be two. I have time to thinlk about it since I won’t even be seeing that side of the family until March.
Kid Kalhoun took the whole fam damily to see Blue Man Group last New Year’s Day. It was awesome! My niece was 13 at the time and just loved it.
Not that this has anything to do with christmas, but my son’s g’friend’s little guy just had a birthday (he’s 4) and one of his gifts was the fake food. Well, we happened to be watching Super Bad while he was playing with the food. Just at the moment the guy in the movie was talking about ‘dick-shaped food’, The Little Guy handed me the fake hot dog. I guess you’d have to be there, but it was hilarious!
Sunspace, if you ever decided to travel to the Netherlands, and wanted to stay a few nights in Hollands oldest and second most beautiful town, (Maastricht, duh ) and would accept our guest room and sightseeing advice, I only want to say that such an audit would be the perfectest guest gift ever.
Husband-- I’ve already given him the Bluetooth headset he picked out. To unwrap, he’ll have a drill, some pistachio nuts, and possibly a new belt. Plus anything else I can think of, but I truly suck at this.
Daughter-- A new iPod, though it was really beyond our budget. The traditional pajamas and stocking. Something else, I don’t know what.
Son-- Some game system I’ve already forgotten the name of. The traditional pajamas and stocking. Something else, I don’t know what.
Mom and Grandma-- The traditional framed pictures of my kids, taken at Sears in November. Something else, I don’t know what. (Do you see a trend here?)
Co-workers: Small candy filled trinkets for the most part.
Young cousins-- Books!
Aunts and Uncles-- Nothing, I’m totally stumped, and if they get me something I’ll just have to regift whatever I might get from people at work.
Stepdaughter-- Nah, I’m going to let her dad handle this one. If she’s still with us at Christmas, I’ll provide the traditional pajamas.
I am giving my husband a remote car starter, a Bourne Ultimatum DVD and a Zippo lighter with a Marine Corps logo on it.
My son is getting a pressure cooker and a gift certificate for a new area rug. Oh…and a cookbook. I may also get him a deep fryer.
His girlfriend is getting a Motown’s Greatest Hits collection (and the rug). I’m thinking I’ll get her an Ulta card too, as my son said perfume would be a nice gift for her.
The kids got all sorts of cool toys, including Barbie, dinosaurs, crafts, and a dash of Spiderman.
My sister is getting some CDs she wants. I may also get her movie tickets.
Niece is getting DVDs, music, clothes and a totebag.
I have no clue as to what to get my dad. He’s so hard to buy for.
For my husband’s family… we did donations for each sister to the World Wildlife Fund, for which they give a little stuff animal of the critter you are symbolically adopting. I’m also giving each of them a gourd.
My MIL wanted a creepy little Marie Osmond doll. I hope she opens it in another room. It’s kind of scary.
:: tempting me with those double vowels :: breaks into sweat ::
Does that mean I can come visit you then?
Are these audits available in Europe? Here’s the Ontario site about them.
My friend hasn’t booked his yet (of course I had to tell them about it beforehand–I think I’ll give them a card with a little drawing of their house on it). Basically they close all the windows in the house, put a fan in the front door, blow air into the house, and measure the resulting inside pressure increase. From that they can find the leakage rate.
When I was in architecture school, they told me that all the leaks in the average house, if brought together, would make a hole about half a metre on a side. In my friends’ case, I think the hole would be about the size of the front door. (At least then, you could nail a piece of plywood over it…)
I’m not sure whether they will also do a thermographic scan to find all the heat leakages; I suspect the house has substandard insulation as well.
They did have their furnace checked. The secondary filter on the inline cooling coils (their ductwork is fitted with central AC) was blocked so much that it was like a mat. The furnace guy cleaned it and suddenly air was blowing out the registers in the rooms in volumes that it never had before. I suspect that they will be using a lot less oil each winter just from that ($700 to fill the tank).
Personally, I say stay the hell away from bath smellies unless you know for a fact that she likes said brand and smell. I love nice-smelling stuff, but anything from Avon, Mary Kay or Victoria’s Secret makes me gag, wretch and hurl. It smells great on other people, but something in it makes me sick. Those items, while nice, are always re-gifted unopened.
If you have a Ross store nearby – they always seem to have a nice selection of journals for very little (I got my daughter the absolutely most adorable “Squished Fairies” notecards and journal for her bday back in August for under $5) – or of course any bookstore.
Don’t hesitate to email me – I have a lot of quick & easy (and cheap) food gifts you can do.