Ready, Set, SHOP!!!

With the holiday season fast approaching, many of us will begin to panic about the sheer amount of gifts we need to purchase or make for family and friends. There are numerous websites and commercials advising us on exactly what to buy. The new, fantastically popular toy MUST be bought for our kids in order to fulfill our parental obligations. An expensive little bauble is the perfect gift for that special female in your life. There are numerous advertisements out there telling us to buy this product or that item otherwise our holiday wish list is lacking in some way.

Hand-made Pin
So here are my two cents. Relax and breathe. One option for gifting is to make homemade treats like cookies or cakes. This can be time consuming, but rewarding. If you have the time, this is definitely the way to go. It makes everyone feel really special that someone out there took the time and energy to create a present specifically with them in mind. I have been given homemade cookies, cakes, savory treats, decorative pins, ornaments, and even jewelry. It is priceless when someone uses their time and energy to create something just for you.

Scarves
If you do not have the talent or time to make and create, buying gifts is the way to go. Online shopping is the fastest and easiest way to complete your list of gift recipients in a matter of a few clicks. However, shopping the old fashioned way is one of my favorite pastimes, especially around the holidays. I enjoy the sights, the smells, the decorations, and especially the sales! Some stores have incredible prices that you will not see all year round. I love the hunt for the perfect gifts at affordable prices. I really enjoy giving something I absolutely love to those on my list ... just in different variations. If I buy a soft, silky scarf in gray for myself, I will buy one in green, light blue and cream to give away as gifts for friends and coworkers.

Also, I think that we tend to overspend when giving gifts. The thought is that the more expensive the present, the more appreciative the recipient will be. That is not necessarily true. Giving a set of pajamas to all the kids regardless of age and gender has become a tradition in my family. They are not that expensive and will definitely be used. One year, they all got different superhero pajamas. It was so fun to see all of them in their favorite superhero pajamas having breakfast together. Another year, we went with different animal print pajamas. Not only are these useful and fun gifts, but they have become some of our favorite memories, as well.

You will find amazing gift ideas for all occasions in some of my favorite books. Whether it is a hostess gift for a holiday party or an extra special holiday present, there are tons of suggestions. There are some easy-to-make crafts that make priceless gifts for all your loved ones. I definitely cannot bake but I can surely assemble the ingredients for a good batch of brownies in a mason jar. That makes a simple and fun gift to give a neighbor or friend. A good hostess gift can be an elegant arrangement of flowers or a beautifully packaged assortment of chocolates. Savory or sweet walnuts baked in your own oven can be a budget friendly alternative to the more expensive versions found in specialty stores. Even store-bought goodies put together in a cute basket can make the perfect gift.

The Mercer County Library has information to help with all your gifting needs. Check out some of these titles, or ask a librarian to assist you in searching for the perfect recipe or craft. If your friend is a book lover, read Nita Mathur’s posts on the library blog. Her annual Holiday editions will give you great ideas.

More Titles

The Perfect Basket: How to Make a Fabulous Gift Basket for Any Occasion by Diane Phillips

The Jewelry Recipe Book: Transforming Ordinary Materials into Stylish and Distinctive Earrings, Bracelets, Necklaces and Pins by Nancy Soriano

The Mason Jar Soup to Nuts Cookbook: How to Create Mason Jar Recipes Mixes by Lonnette Parks

Sweet Christmas: Homemade Peppermints, Sugar Cake, Chocolate-Almond Toffee, Eggnog Fudge and Other Sweet Treats and Decorations by Sharon Bowers

—Kaneeze H.

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