Tuesday, December 8, 2009

{It's the most wonderful time of the year}

It's been a while since I have posted all because it's been a little busy in my house. My family took off to the hills of Virginia to visit family for Thanksgiving. We had a great time with my brother at his little "cabin" and spent Thanksgiving at my Aunt and Uncles in Knoxville, TN. All the ladies were in the kitchen cooking and baking... Now, usually if there are more than 2 women in a kitchen at one time someone ends up in a huff. I am happy to say that we ended up with 4 1/2 (the 1/2 was my daughter) in the kitchen and managed to get the food on the table at the same time, with everything warm and big smiles from everyone. YES, all the "cooks" helped each other out. We made lots of memories and hope to make it a tradition each year.

The Friday after we got back I was scheduled to be at a show. This usually isn't a problem but I had no clue how much jam to bring. I went for overkill and decided I should have 150 jars. I spent the entire week making jam and getting ready. I think the total was 75-85 jars in 3 days. After working a full work week and making jam all night, I was pooped.

This week has settled down and my house is in full swing Christmas mode. The tree is up and the lights are on the house. We have our manger on display and oh...Gifts??? I like to give, my daughter likes to give and my husband likes to save ;) You see Aaron and I are geared differently. I would give everything I had away and he makes sure we still have a place to sleep at night. I am glad that God knew what he was doing when he put us together. We truly balance each other out. Since we are trying to pay off debt (only 1 year left on our car and another small loan) and are working toward me being able to stay at home with our children (1 here, more to come) we have to keep our budget in check. We spend about $10 on our close friends, $20-$30 on family, and buy something we need for each other (I already received my pots and pans this year). My husband also has employees that we do something for. We usually spend around $500. To some this might seem cheap and to some it might be generous but it works for us and our budget. I also like to give a little something to people in our lives that are special or we think might need cheering up. You don't have to spend much money to show someone you care and appreciate them.
Here are some gift ideas:

When doing your holiday baking, just bake a little extra. Your neighbor that snow blows your driveway or the widow down the street would love receiving a home baked treat from you. Cookies and bread can be frozen, so bake in bulk then freeze. You will have it on hand when a person comes to mind.

If you sew, crochet, or knit make some dishcloths or towels. I love getting these each year. Not only does it keep me from buying them throughout the year, I think of the person who made the gift and say a quick prayer for them when I use it.

I have several friends that started a business on the side. I like to use them as a source for gifts as they are local and I am helping to support their family. Beth has been a dear friend for several years. She is very artistic and that shows in the jewelry she makes. I have bought many items from her and love each one. Stop by her site to check out some of her items. Melissa has just branched out and started a photography business. I know that I can't "buy" something from her but I can put money towards someone to have pictures taken by her. She is awesome to work with and I love her photos. You can check them out here.  Patricia over at Primele can offer custom gift tags and calligraphy for you stationary needs. Personalized items are fun gifts. Maybe you have a friend that has something to offer. Call them up and see what they have to offer.

Hand written cards:
Never under estimate the power of a hand written note. Since email and texting came in the picture our lives seem a little less personal. Pick up a pack of cards from the $ store and write out a note to someone special. They will appreciate the time you took out of your busy life to think of them.

I hope this gives you some ideas for inexpensive gifts. You don't need to have a large budget to warm a heart this Christmas season.

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