I’ve been thinking a lot about Christmas presents. Those from the heart gifts. Handmade gifts that are useful and appreciated.

Times are tough, everyone’s cutting back. I’ve been kind of moping around about our need to spend less on gifts for loved ones this year, when I suddenly realized; this is not a negative. This is an opportunity. A chance to put some real thought into coming up with creative ideas that are personal and special. So that’s what I’ve been doing.
Let me tell you, it’s not easy.

I was thinking about those coupons, you know for a back rub, a special dinner, shoveling the driveway. But no one ever redeems them! My friend Sue writes little notes and funny sayings on the squares of a calendar. Maybe I could do that for some people.

I also like theme packages. Ones that call for buying a few smaller items, but putting them together creatively. I sometimes make cooking baskets with some teas, or crackers and jam. My friend Joy gave me the idea of a movie night gift set. Put some movie candy or healthy snacks in a microwave popcorn bucket, and write a coupon for a cozy night together on the couch in front of a movie of his/her choice.

I’m not real crafty, and I am not fond of making nic nacs that just take up space and cause clutter. But some decorations are appreciated. Every year when we decorate the tree, I enjoy the many handmade Christmas ornaments friends and relatives have given me over the years. It’s like getting a present every year. So I just recently thought of these wonderful aromatic ornaments the kids made in nursery school. They are made with a cinnamony dough. After all these years (One kid’s in college, one is married) the ornaments still look nice and smell Christmassy. Here is the recipe:

1/2 cup cinnamon
1/2 cup applesauce

Mix together. Roll out dough to about 1/4 inch thick.
Cut with cookie cutters. Use a straw to make a hole in the top for hanging.
Let dry for 24 hours.
Use pretty ribbon, yarn, raffia, twine or etc. for a hanging loop.

What are your ideas for “from the heart Christmas gifts?” I’d love to hear!

Christmas like a dog: Give unconditional love!