Clutter-Free Gift Solution: Think Consumable!

clutter-free gifts

Gift-giving. Seldom do we engage in an activity that invokes so many conflicting values.

On the one hand, we hope our gift will entertain, educate, and amuse.

We dream of seeing our special gift proudly displayed in the home of the recipient.

We hunt and search and shop, trying to find just the right gift to stand for the relationship we're celebrating.

On the other hand, gift-buying brings us up against our limitations. While our emotions urge extravagance, our wallets counsel frugality.

Magic Elf Tradition: Will Santa's Magic Elf Visit Your Home?

elf on the shelf

What would happen if one of Santa's elves came to your house to visit?

He'd arrive sometime before the holidays began. Sent by Santa to check on good little girls and boys, he'd roam the house at night, popping up in the most unlikely places come morning.

Sometimes, elf mischief would take place--and he'd be caught red-handed! Finally, on Christmas Eve, he'd report to Santa and hitch a ride back to the North Pole ... until next year.

If you can imagine it, you can do it: meet Santa's Magic Elf!

Cutting Costs? Try These Christmas Cheats For Frugal Gifts

Frugal Ideas for Christmas Gifts

If the local newscast (egged on by local retail merchants) tells me one more time exactly how many "shopping days" are left until Christmas, I'll scream! No matter what the count, there are never enough days to shop for/buy/craft/bake gifts for family and friends--and this year of all years, disposable income is in short supply.

Mim's Texas Pralines

Pecan Pralines Recipe

Creamy and delicious. this Texas treat dates from the days when Christmas memories had to be made with little more than some nuts from the backyard trees.

Traditionally sent to our family by my grandmother, Mim Miller, these pecan patties spell "Christmas" to me!

Includes both conventional and microwave directions.

Set Up a Wrap and Mail Center

Wrap and Mail Center

Wrapping gifts for the holidays? Repeat after me: "This year, I won't be wrapping gifts at midnight on Christmas Eve!"

If there's a single most-underestimated holiday chore, it's gift wrapping.

Supplies lie scattered throughout the house, while space and privacy are hard to come by.

Translation: late-night Christmas Eve wrapping sessions, grumbling your way through the job.

Almond Pinecone Cheeseball

Pinecone Cheese Ball

It's a pinecone? No, it's a savory cheese spread sparked with bacon, green onions and dill.

So pretty that guests are afraid to muss it, you'll need to dig into this creamy, pinecone-shaped cheeseball first! Add a sprig of artificial evergreen for an easy show-off holiday appetizer.

This Ewer favorite has been served in our family for over 30 years!

Texas Cornbread Mix In A Jar

Texas Cornbread Mix

Golden and sweet, this cornbread mix is a perfect partner for Confetti Bean Soup! Packaged together in a pretty gift basket, they're perfect for thoughtful, frugal Christmas gifts.

Use free printable gift tags to decorate pint canning jars filled with Texas Cornbread Mix, or package the mix inside a holiday-colored paper bag. Instructions included for both packaging alternatives.

Includes free printable gift tags!

Three Tips for Smart Catalog / Internet Shopping

Organize Catalog and Online Shopping

Planning for Christmas, catalog or online shopping has many advantages over the holiday mall scene.

No long lines. No sore feet. No staggering to the car, weighed down by parcels and shopping bags.

Shopping becomes a pleasure, conducted from a favorite chair. Phone in your selections (or place them from your computer), sit back, and wait for the UPS man. Ahhhhh!

Snowballs: Mexican Wedding Cake Recipe

Mexican Wedding Cakes, Russian Tea Cakes, Snowballs

Tender, melting shortbread cookies shaped like snowballs, Mexican Wedding Cakes will brighten holiday cookie trays.

Shaped, baked and rolled in powdered sugar while warm, Mexican Wedding Cakes have a rich, crumbly texture plumped with pecan flavor.

These sturdy cookies freeze well, so long as they're dusted with a fresh layer of powdered sugar after being thawed.

Gifting Guidelines: The Unwritten Rules of Gift-Giving

Unwritten Rules of Gifting

Christmas is coming! Do you understand the unwritten rules of gift-giving?

Each of us carries within ourselves a set of rules about gift-giving. Seldom acknowledged and rarely discussed, these rules determine what we give, how much we give, and to whom we give. Despite living only in our minds and expectations, the unwritten rules of gift-giving govern everything from the office Secret Santa exchange to the family's morning under the Christmas tree.

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