Gift Ideas for Any Occasion

Gift Ideas for any Occasion

Christmas time brings about the question, “What can I get for….”?  Well if you have run out of ideas or need to get a jump start, I have some solutions for you.

 First of all let me just mention that GIFTS do not have to be expensive or big. Great gifts come from knowing that the person and giving them something that they will appreciate you thinking of them. Gifts also need to come from the heart; something new or created.

 Here are a few gift suggestions:

 Holiday Mugs-Fill with cocoa mix and a candy cane.  Wrap with a holiday napkin or tissue paper and tie with an ornament or ribbon.

 Brag Books-Take your photos and get them printed. Put them in a photo book. Scrap or decorate the inside pages. Wrap and give.

 Offer a Subscription-Pay for a specific magazine subscription and tuck your card inside.

 Go Green-Make a homemade solution for a cleaning product or beauty product with essential oils and scents.  (For ideas and recipes, see “Homemade Solutions.”)

 Pack a Jar-Fill a jar with the ingredients for chocolate chip cookies or a soup. Write the recipe on a decorated card with a ribbon.

 Recipe Book-Hand-write your favorite recipes on colored or decorated index cards. Punch a hole in the corner of each one and tie together with a festive ribbon. Offer a dessert sample with the book.

 Dip Pretzels– Melt chocolate and dip the pretzels in them. Lay to cool on wax paper. Decorate with red and green sugar crystals etc…then package them in holiday-themed cellophane bags with a tie.

 Coupon Book-Create pages that include a back rub, babysitting, dinner, mow the lawn, breakfast in bed, or any other items that the person in mind would love.  Insert book in a holiday gift bag and tie off with a ribbon.

 Honor Gift-You can send a donation to a favorite charity, with your persons name on it-what an honor to think of someone else and give some one else the credit.

 Basket/Box Gift-These are great!  Take a medium size holiday basket or box and fill it with items that are their favorites.  It could be from ART-to-Zoo.  Use specifics and even write a short message about why you made the basket/box especially for them. (For Specific Ideas, see “Gift Ideas.”)

Thanksgiving!

What are you THANKFUL FOR?
As time passes I find that I am more and more thankful of the life I have. Things are not always perfect or go my way or even come about in the timing I would like, but I have learned that sometimes unanswered prayers, waiting awhile, or going through difficult times are “The Blessing.”
Seasons in my life allow me to see the real me~refining, learning, growing, and sharing. Looking at situations in a better attitude and realizing that I am worthy is the peace I have come to know.
Truly surrendering my life and trusting completely in God has brought me so far~I do not blame anyone, I forgive everyone and I love unconditionally. Even though there are times I fail, I am forgiven. I get back up and continue to strive to be more and more like Christ.
I am so Thankful that God had a plan to save me ~ I am so Thankful that Jesus took my place on that cross and bore my sins so that I can be forgiven.  I am so Thankful that on the Third Day, Jesus rose from the grave.  I am so Thankful that I have a Hope and a Future, a purpose with worth. I am so Thankful that I serve a risen Savior!
Sometimes it’s about losing in order to gain~fighting for something even though you are alone in your stance~helping others even when you are in need yourself~being available to serve without expectations~and trusting in the truth even when you can’t see the future.
I am so Thankful for a living God that does not give up on me.  Who loves me and cares for me deeply! A God that is true to HIS word ~ who provides all my needs!
I am so Thankful for the Blessings God has given me~My Husband who loves me for who I am and is my best friend. A son that I adore and is a reminder that God keeps his promises. A daughter that brings me joy with a passion for pursuing dreams. Family that support us. Friends in all walks of life, and a home full of memories to last a lifetime.
I am so Thankful that I live in a country that was founded on Freedom with Christian Values. For the sacrifices of the Pilgrims first winter, that because of their hope to survive on just corn, to our men and women in the service today, fighting for our country. For the people who harvest not only their lands but theirs hearts to make communities strong and keep our land bountiful. For the ones that have gone before us to inspire and lead us to a blessed future. But most importantly for my own family, the love they have for me sweetens my life everyday.
It’s not about money, things that I have, thngs I have done or said, or any recognition. Those things are only temporarly and do not hold much value of life. It is the close realtionships established with people that have become important to me.  I want to leave a legacy, so that when one follows that they do not follow in vain.
Thanksgiving to me is about sharing your life! Where, When, With what food, or What you wear is not relevant in my book. It’s WHO you share it with, and what you GIVE,  EVERY DAY in EVERYWAY that becomes a Blessing!
May God Bless You and Your Families in a very special and real way this Thanksgiving!
“DO NOT BE ANXIOUS ABOUT ANYTHING, BUT IN EVERYTHING BY PRAYER AND PETITION, WITH THANKSGIVING, PRESENT YOUR REQUESTS TO GOD. AND THE PEACE OF GOD, WHICH TRANDSENDS ALL UNDERSTNADING WILL GUARD YOUR HEARTS AND MINDS IN CHRIST JESUS.”  Phillippians 4: 6-7
Something Yummy to Share:
Thanksgiving Blessing Mix
  • Bugles brand corn snacks-cornucopia shape (Horn of Plenty) a symbol of our nations abundance
  • Pretzels-(Arms folded in Prayer) freedom sought by those who fought for our country
  • Candy Corn-(Pilgrims first winter) food was scare and survived on corn
  • Nuts or Sunflower seeds-(Promise of a future harvest) when seeds are planted we will harvest
  • Dried fruits-(Gifts) our Beautiful and Bountiful Land
  • M&M’s-(Sweet Memories) of those who died before us and those serving to lead and keep our country FREE
  • Hershey’s Kisses-(Love) the unconditional love from our family and friends that sweetens our lives
Mix a portion of each ingredient in bowl-serve and enjoy!
Happy Thanksgiving

Speed Cleaning Tips For the Holidays

1. Clean as you go
2. Rinse off plates and glasses, then immediatly put in the dishwasher. (use paper plate and cups often.)
3. Wipe up microwaves, stoves, and floors immediatly when spills occur.
4. Put several trash bags in the bottom of the trash can to quickly empty and refill.
5. Keep alcohol wipes, or paper towels with a spray bottle of vinegar and water mix, in cabinets, for a qucik clean for the mirrors, sink, toilets, countertops etc…
6. Hang or put up clothes right after the dryer stops.
7. On items consumed alot, but 2 instead of one, so that you do not run out as fast. Ex. toliet paper or eggs.
8. Keep a jar or small basket, for cell-phone-change-keys-sunglasses, in a space of convienence for going and coming, so that you won’t forget them.
9. Set out items needed for cleaning in one place.
10. Toss out junk mail, old reciepts, or trash asap.
11. Clean air filters often-helps with allergies and your bill.
12. Put up appliances from countertops, not used in 2-3 months. Clean first so when used next time-makes it nice.
13. Before going to bed, do a quick pick up, straightening, and sweep. Also, get clothes or other items ready for the next day.
14. Have a sense of humor and get your family involved.

**Keep positive and reward yourself for the things you do!**

Getting Ready for the Holidays

Getting Ready for the HOLIDAYS  Holiday Table

Can you believe that Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years are just around the corner?

Nope, neither can I, but I have some Great News! I have  a very simple list to help ease the stress from all the Holiday mess.

First of all, please note that these tips and suggestions are just tips and suggestions. If I did not touch on a subject or if you need more details, please feel free to ask!  Who knows you may also help me!

There are 7 main categories that I would like to address:

  1. Calendar-there are many different ways to do this~Print them out with your computer, use your computer program, a desk type or a smaller type that can fit in your purse, Day-Timer or car.  We will concentrate on November, December and January of the New Year.
  • For all three months, list all activities with times and places that you know now.
  • Have your calendar easy to find so that all can see it often or have it in a place that you can get easily to jot down a note or date that comes up after today.
  • Now is the time to limit activities and opportunities; it is OK to say “NO.” You need to make room for YOUR HOLIDAY!

2. Lists-Compile a few lists to help stay organized and focused (this will help eliminate mind stress and help you remember things that are easily missed because of rushing or situations change.)

  • Make decisions on where and what time is spent do what and with whom.
  • Plan a budget for food, clothing, decorations, gifts and misc.
  • Food-if your holiday is at your home, plan on having a turkey or a ham and some side dishes along with a few desserts. Don’t overdo! If you are going to anothers home, you may want to ask ahead of time or volunteer and bring what is needed. (If you need more details let me know on this one)
  • Clothing-don’t waste too much time on the “Perfect Outfit.” Instead, wear something that is festive but comfortable. Especially for shopping~tennis shoes and sweet pants are awesome!  =)
  • Gifts-remember “it really is the thought that counts.” **Do Not** try to out do the heart. Have fun! Try giving something you made or write something like a poem or special story about that person.  Make a gift basket with their favorites. Gifts are from the heart and do not come with a price tag.
  • Decorations—keep it simple. Use what you have with a smile!
    • Toss broken items out and add one or two new things
    • Linens and Dishes can be from colored paper plates to fine china. Or you can mix and match for a new look! White is a great color as a base. Then the reds, greens, golds, silver, purples or whatever color you choose “POP” out.
    • Don’t compare your decorating with others and keep in mind that it’s just pretty stuff.

 3. Cleaning-Yep, we get crazy with this too, so here is a plan to help.

  • Start with the guest bedrooms and bathrooms-clean well now and then maintain. About a week before guests arrive, have clean linens on the bed and in the bathroom.
  • Pantry and Closets. Declutter to make room. Trash expired items and re organize to be able to us space for new stuff. Put items that will not be in use for the holidays on top and easy access items at elbow height.
  • Master Bedrooms and Everyday Bedrooms-put things back in their places. Put clean linens on all beds and clean comforters and pillows one week before. Feather dust now and maintain, but the weekend before each holiday, polish furniture, clean all mirrors, ceiling fans and lamps. Add clean linens and a special decoration for that Holiday!
  • Bathrooms-heavy cleaning now and the weekend before. Add fresh towels and stock up on toilet paper, tissue and soaps. Main Bathroom may want to add a few decorations for fun!
  • Playrooms/study/dens etc…. Do some Decluttering-trash things that are broken, box up things not used in labels container and take them to places where they can be used, toss things back in their places and then do some organizing.  Put likes together and find homes for things in labeled containers or clear container for easy access. Assign each person in the family to do a daily cleanup and then a big cleanup all together on a day that goes with your schedule.
  • Kitchen-make sure you have all the cook wear, serving pieces, spices and necessary items needed for cooking. Stock up on groceries each paycheck and buy fresh items 1-3 days before each holiday.  Keep as much as possible off of your counter. Clean your stove, microwave and refrigerator 3-5 days before each holiday. Have kitchen towels cleaned and ready 1-3 days before as well. 1-2 days before each holiday gather items and place them by day or event so that you have them in order of what needs to be done first.  Stock up on napkins, paper towels and cleaning supplies the week of the holiday!Clean floors, cooking areas, sink, and counters 1 day before to insure readiness.
  • Entry and Decorations-this one is more of a personal suggestion. Thanksgiving (usually the first few days in November) set out what you really want for Fall and the actual day.  Less is more! Christmas, a majority of people decorate the day after Thanksgiving and finish by that weekend. Personally I take it a take is a little slow to enjoy it more. Here is what we do: The day after Thanksgiving my family puts up the tree with lights, and decorations outside the house. Over the weekend, we finish the tree talking about each ornament and decorate the rest of the inside of the house. We also make sure that the entry way is festive and the main bathroom is tip top.  Finally and most importantly, we set up the Nativity scene to remind us what Christmas really means~Jesus! Within a week, my family is ready for Christmas to come!

 My suggestion: do what you can when you can-do not make it a time issue or a competition. Just have fun and enjoy every moment!

 Final thought on cleaning: no ones house is perfect, especially around the Holidays.  Use your energy on being Merry with the one you love!

4. Wrapping-I love this one!  Have a wrap night.  Use what wrapping you have and only get a few new ones for special gifts!  You can also you magazines, newspapers, tissue paper etc…Order pizza, gather your tape, scissors, bows, name cards and gifts, sit down with the family and wrap. Focus on expressing how nice the gifts are and what the person means to you as you wrap their gift. Keep from criticizing if the wrapping is not just right. Love comes in all forms and packaging.

5.  Bake day-Ok so I love this one too!!! Set a day or some time aside to bake with your family. Even if it’s a small batch of cookies, it’s such a nice time to laugh and giggle and enjoy the sweet things in life. Bake a few extra things to have on hand for those unexpected guests or last-minute trips to finish shopping.

6.  Parties-every year seems to bring on more and more parties.  I love parties but sometimes you can have so many events that you are tired instead of being Merry.  Don’t feel like you have to please everyone or make a show. Limit yourself to a few and enjoy! 

7.  Gift and Shoopping-sometimes you look and look and time begins to run out for a gift.You can always take a basket and fill it with items that that person loves. It could be from an Art basket filled with paints, brushes, paper, etc…to a Zoo basket filled with tickets to the Zoo, a stuffed animal, and a t-shirt with the favorite animal on it….there are so many basket ideas that anything is possible. (If you need help on this –let me know).

And for the teacher or friend or a party gift —a gift card is always nice!

Also online shopping is great as well!  Just make sure that you order in plenty of time and that there are no backorders.

 OK, so that’s as simple as it can be to help stay focused. There is always so much going on, but take time with your family because tomorrow is not promised, and making memories is the the gift that keep giving!

 I BELIEVE, that if you make time for God first, then Family, everything else will fall into place.  May God bring you sweet memories to be Thankful for and a special gift of peace this Holiday Season!

 If you have a specific question, or if you would like more information on any topic, please email me your thoughts to:  aroyal1@comcast.net.

In HIS LOVE and SERVICE,

~~~Renee Royal