Saturday, December 17, 2011

My Christmas Gift Plans This Year

 It's just over a week until Christmas - which seems to be the point every year where I wonder if I have everything I need to "pull it all together" gift-wise for the season.

So I thought I might as well share my gift plans for this year - it will help me sort out how well prepared I am (or not), and perhaps give you some last minute ideas as well!

WARNING: GIFT SPOILERS AHEAD! If you're on my gift list, please stop reading NOW :)

Hubby is getting a dress watch (which is not a surprise as he helped me pick it out!) and a 10 class pass for my hot yoga studio (he has come with me a few times in the past and hinted more than once that he might like to come with me occasionally).

My 14 year old son is getting a Nerf gun and a pair of slippers (two items he specifically requested).

My 12 year old son will also find a Nerf gun under the tree, plus a toque with his hockey team's crest on it (again, both items were specific requests). Extra bonus: the hat is made by a local company that is owned by a family in our neighbourhood!

Both boys will also find a new pair of gloves under the tree, which they did not request but definitely need!

In addition to the above, I'm going to be making up a "gift certificate" for a family night out (dinner and a movie). We rarely eat out *or* see movies in the theatre, so this will be a special treat (my kids still talk about the last time we did a whole dinner-and-a-movie evening as a family, which was several years ago!) 


We all love our stockings around here! One year when things were really tight, my hubby and I decided not to do stockings for each other - and we really missed them. So I don't think we will try skipping them again :) 

For the boys: mini-flashlights (for camping), some of my homemade lip balm, $5 gift cards for Tim Hortons (we have one in our neighbourhood and they love to go there with their friends), vouchers for tickets to a Hamilton Bulldogs (AHL) game (my husband got these for free!), plus assorted candy (some will be homemade, and some will be leftovers from what we bought to fill their Advent calendar). I also have a deck of "Things Every Teen Should Know" cards for my older son and a stocking-sized book of challenging mazes for my younger son, both of which I picked up at yard sales this summer. It's a tradition in our family that an apple and a couple of clementines go in the very bottom of the stocking, so that should just about fill them! Santa will also be leaving each of them a book beside their stocking (both of which were yard sale finds). 

For hubby: He will also find lip balm and homemade candies in his stocking, plus the "His" soap from The Guelph Soap Company (which is made less than an hour away from me). I still need to track down a few other things for him - he's pretty well stocked up on toiletries so I'll need to get creative - suggestions welcome :)

My sisters-in-law are getting my homemade lip balm. Last year I gave them all a little pampering gift of some homemade cleansing grains, and I want to make it a new tradition to give them a little nurturing treat every year (we don't officially exchange gifts, so I want to keep it small!). I am going to have them all packaged up fancy with cellophane and ribbon like the one in the picture in the bottom right corner. Doesn't that look like an elegant little gift for 25 cents?

My dad and grandmother will both be receiving photo calendars that I bought through an excellent deal on Groupon (I got two high quality calendars for a total of $20, including shipping!). They will also be getting copies of my book, of course :) I have been making each of them a gift basket of baked goodies and canned goods for years and years, so this year will be no different in that regard (the top right photo shows one of the baskets from a couple of years ago). This year's baskets - which are usually repurposed clementine orange crates - will include Sweet Potato Pound Cake, Cran-Raspberry Jam, dill pickles, sweet pickles, salsa, Candied Peanuts, Coconut Neapolitan Candy and Christmas Granola.

Most of my friends and I don't exchange gifts through mutual agreement - we'd rather just enjoy each others' company, and relax with some cookies and hot beverages! We also stopped buying gifts for our nieces and nephews a couple of years ago since we all felt the kids already got way too much "stuff" and we didn't need to add more. Since we've scaled down the gifting, I've noticed that our gatherings feel more relaxed and enjoyable without the present-opening frenzy - and the cousins have plenty of fun just spending time together.

I do have one close friend that I've maintained a gifting tradition with, and we also buy gifts for each others' kids as well. I always do up a big food basket for her and her family, and usually give her a modest personal gift or two. This year, it will be my book plus a basket of assorted personal care goodies - some Apricot Citrus soap from the Guelph Soap Company, plus homemade lavender-grapefruit sugar scrub and a little sample size of my homemade deodorant (which I'll also do in the lavender-grapefruit scent). For her kids, I have some good hardcover books plus some Christmas activity and colouring books. 

Wow, I think I am actually almost ready for Christmas - I still have a couple of things to whip up in the kitchen, and I haven't started wrapping yet, but I definitely won't be running around in a last minute shopping frenzy!

If you still need a few ideas for easy and inexpensive gifts, check out my Ten Quick and Easy Homemade Christmas Gift Ideas. And my book is now available on (still waiting for it to go up on - sorry, fellow Canadians, I'll keep you posted!) 

Are you "ready" for Christmas? What's going under your tree this year?

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