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#59376 - 12/22/04 12:24 PM Re: Christmas shopping in this @#$%^&* economy
CheshireCat
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/17/02
Posts: 158
Loc: Ponte Vedra Beach, FL USA

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Shrew, you totally rule for putting that recipe for Hot Buttered Rum up. I bought half pint mason jars to put the mix in and mini bottles of rum from the liquor store, and I also hand drew some tags and cut them in shapes like a steaming mug or a stocking or a fire over logs, with the directions for use. I got remnants of Christmas-y fabric to put over the lids of the jars, and I attached the tags and the little bottle of rum with burlap string. I estimate the whole thing cost me about $6-$7 per person, and it's really a neat and personalized gift. I bought bigger bottles of rum for certain people to make a bit of a nicer gift. Thanks again Shrew!

PS Shrew's recipe fills up about 6 half-pint mason jars.


I'm editing this to add that everyone really loved the hot buttered rum. I was able to give some to all my friends and family members even though I am short on cash as always. And I had enough left over for me and CheshireTomCat to snuggle up with. Oh, how I got spoiled this year too- but that's another discussion!

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#59377 - 12/23/04 10:47 AM Re: Christmas shopping in this @#$%^&* economy
LaSalleUGirl
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/25/01
Posts: 1895
Loc: Philadelphia, PA, USA

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I'm with CheshireCat ~ Shrew, that recipe rocks. I just finished printing out cute little gift tags, and I'm on my way out to get some little mason jars and baby bottles of rum. (Um, not baby bottles, per se. That would be very wrong of me.)

I also made Kivrin's granola recipe, and I'll be lucky if I make it through the next two days without snacking my way through it.

Thanks for all the good ideas!

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#59378 - 10/20/06 08:19 PM Re: Christmas shopping in this @#$%^&* economy
LaSalleUGirl
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/25/01
Posts: 1895
Loc: Philadelphia, PA, USA

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Hmm. Looks like this thread didn't get resurrected last year...

Anyway, I know it's only mid-October, but I'm trying to get a jump on my Christmas shopping. I get increasingly frustrated with shopping for LaSalleUBoy's family. I feel like my family understands when we're having a tight-budget year -- I am always able to find personal and/or personalized gifts for them without having to spend tons of money. For instance, last year, I took pictures of a local park that they had spent a lot of time in as children/teenagers, and gave them framed enlargements as presents. They were a huge hit!

But I feel like the goal in LaSalleUBoy's family is always on the number and size of the presents, not on how much thought you put into them. I'd like to get my mother-in-law a pretty piece of jewelry, for instance, but I hesitate to do that because I feel like our one small box will pale in comparison to the microwaves and DVD players that my sibs-in-law (who, in fairness, all have lucrative jobs) will be giving. It's probably not fair to feel that way, and I might even be wrong...but I don't think so.

What do you-all do when you have to buy presents and you know prestige is a factor?

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#59379 - 10/20/06 08:56 PM Re: Christmas shopping in this @#$%^&* economy
apparently
Gráinne ni Mhaille


Registered: 12/04/02
Posts: 12
Loc: hoboken, nj

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First of all, I know it's hard, but don't try to compete with your LSUBoy's family; it's a recipe for unhappiness. You can give very "prestigious" gifts for not a lot of money if you can figure out what kind of prestige the giftee craves.

Wants to be considered a gourmet: superpremium food item. Depending on your budget, this could be grey sea salt ($9), estate aged balsamic vinegar ($30+), one very nice bottle of wine ($50+), or Wagyu steaks ($100 for 2). The nice thing about giving this sort of item to uppity people is that they HAVE to appear to be over the moon about the gift, lest they appear to be tasteless boors, which they in no way want to seem.

Wants to be considered cultured: museum membership, NPR membership. ("I saw that they were having a show on washi paper/delft pottery/persian miniatures this season and thought immediately of you.")

Just wants something flashy to flash around: Tiffany, Horchow or Kate Spade stationery and a selection of beautiful stamps (easy to get at usps.com). This may not get oohs and aahs when opened, but rest assured the giftee will get off on sending around letters showing how terribly fashionable she is, and you, the giver, will be warmly regarded for this.

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#59380 - 10/21/06 10:14 AM Re: Christmas shopping in this @#$%^&* economy
AlchemyGirl
Ching Shih


Registered: 04/10/05
Posts: 175

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Excellent suggestions, apparently!

If the size of the gift is a factor, try a gift tower -- 3 or 4 boxes stacked according to size and tied together with a fat, elegant ribbon. The larger boxes can be things like gourmet chocolate, a box of Williams-Sonoma muffin mix, a scarf, or other relatively inexpensive things, and you could put the nice jewelry in the smallest box on top.

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#59381 - 10/28/06 01:03 PM Re: Christmas shopping in this @#$%^&* economy
Libby
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/06/02
Posts: 292
Loc: UK

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I like to give bouquets at Christmas and if you make them up yourself it's cheaper than buying ready-made from a florist. Red tulips with holly and ivy tied with tartan ribbon are always popular.
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#85030 - 12/04/07 11:18 AM Re: Christmas shopping in this @#$%^&* economy [Re: Libby]
LaSalleUGirl
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/25/01
Posts: 1895
Loc: Philadelphia, PA, USA

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I saw a commercial the other day (for Burlington Coat Factory, I think) in which a woman at a fancy Christmas party asks a little girl if she believes in Santa. The girl, who is maybe 8 or 9, replies, "I believe in cashmere." Ugh. So much for the true spirit of Christmas.

So, what do you give people for Christmas when you don't have the $$ for cashmere? We're making a bunch of donations to various charity organizations (Heifer International, World Vision, Make-a-Wish, Southwest Indian Foundation) rather than presents for some people. LaSalleUBoy also got bitten by the fair trade bug big time this year, so we're doing a lot of shopping at Ten Thousand Villages. I think I've sort of reached the point where I don't care so much what people expect as presents. I still try to get something they'll appreciate (e.g., trying to match up a donation to something they care about).

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#85058 - 12/09/07 06:45 PM Re: Christmas shopping in this @#$%^&* economy [Re: LaSalleUGirl]
vanillabean
Ching Shih


Registered: 04/12/06
Posts: 123

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Christmas shopping should be fun and easy, but it turns into a nightmare for me by the time exams are finally over and I actually muster the energy to look for gifts. I want to give unique gifts. There are some great options on CafePress that I'm going to look into this year. Typing in Jane Austen generates hundreds of fun t-shirts, coffee mugs, etc. I'm tempted to get something for myself!
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#86856 - 10/24/08 07:36 AM Re: Christmas shopping in this @#$%^&* economy [Re: vanillabean]
LaSalleUGirl
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/25/01
Posts: 1895
Loc: Philadelphia, PA, USA

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So, I'm thinking that this thread has never been more relevant than it is right now. We're planning a host of time-consuming, but relatively cash-neutral presents for our families. In particular, I'm going to be spending the next few months scanning LaSalleUBoy's family's completely disorganized photo collection (I'm already mostly through the 1980s, but I see no end in sight...). Every member of his immediate family will get a DVD slide show of the entire collection (complete with tear-jerking music, 'cause we're like that), plus digital copies of every photo. Each of his sibs will get a smaller DVD featuring their own children (I figure since I'm doing all this scanning anyway, it's hardly an inconvenience to pull out a subset of the pix).

I'm also planning to organize the piles and piles of photos into inexpensive albums after I scan them, to help preserve them and to allow people to actually enjoy them in hard copy.

We've got lots of little nieces and nephews, and homemade presents aren't going fly there, sadly, but we set a budget and we're sticking to it. Each kid will get a book (for which I've already comparison-shopped) and a small toy/game. I probably won't win the coolest aunt and best present-giver in the world award this year, but what are you gonna do?

We'll also make some donations as gifts again this year, but we'll have to give somewhat less than we managed last year.

I'm looking forward to browsing through this thread for additional ideas. What are you all planning to do about the holidays this year?

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#86878 - 10/28/08 12:05 PM Re: Christmas shopping in this @#$%^&* economy [Re: LaSalleUGirl]
VegetarianOnHiatus
Ching Shih


Registered: 07/18/02
Posts: 1089
Loc: Somerville, MA, USA

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My plan is to start early and spread out the pain. My generation usually doesn't do much about presents for each other, but I want to give something to my mom, and also my sister and her two kids, since they always struggle financially.

As for inexpensive gifts, one year I took some leftover empty jars and put mixed nuts and dried fruits, and covered the tops with tissue paper and wrapped ribbons around them. That was easy and looked festive.

My co-workers usually hand out small things at holiday time as well. I'll have to get a-thinking about what to do for that. I think a small baked good would be ideal.

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