Saturday, December 20, 2014

Living the Pantry Lifestyle - Last minute gifts!

Tea lights and washi tape, inexpensive and appreciated!
This is the most "off the top of my head" post I think I have ever written.  But I had to squeeze it in between running errands and buying the Christmas ham!  As I told my daughter, anyone who decides to go to a store the Saturday before Christmas should have their head examined!  So, sorry if it is a little... or a lot... jumbled. ;)

Most of my Christmas gifts for people have been either prepared partially (as in cookie dough) and frozen or baked and frozen.  A couple of items are best prepared at the last minute, those like the Reindeer Chow I plan to add to a couple gifts baskets (a Pinterest idea I saw, simply Puppy Chow with Christmas M & Ms added).

Gosh am I glad I got an early start this year.  Doesn't it seem it was just Thanksgiving and now here we are the weekend before Christmas?

My Christmas treat to myself this year was a bottle of Mrs. Meyer's dish soap purchased at the health food store on Senior Citizen discount day.  I was hoping they had the lovely cranberry fragrance I've heard so much about but I had to "settle" on their geranium scent.  Which is Springtime in a bottle.  :)

But it got me thinking about today's Pantry post and ideas for gift giving one might not have thought of.  For if you do not know what it is like to be on such a tight budget that Mrs. Meyer's dish soap is a luxury, you would most likely not think of it as a nice gift for a friend!

Although, one must be considerate when it comes to such products.  I'd give my daughter any item from the Mrs. Meyer's line of products but I don't think I would gift my daughter-in-law with their cleaning supplies.  As a young wife, she may think it is a comment on her cleaning skills, hehehe.

But think about those items you love but you know a friend would not purchase for herself (or himself).  Those things which are not all that expensive but not in their budget.  Items like liquid hand soap in a wonderful scent or a lovely rich bath soap.

Cooks on a budget would love a small bottle of very good olive oil, or a good sherry vinegar, or a good sea salt, or dried Hatch peppers if they like a Southwestern flavor.  You know, those things that foodies love but may not buy for themselves.  My husband and I were gifted with really good pecans recently.  They were like gold... we carefully divided them into his half for munching and my half for baking.

Just think a little bit and I am certain you can come up with an idea that is "out of the box".

One of my friends has told me she wished her children would give her a subscription to her favorite magazine.  It would be far cheaper than items she didn't want or need and each month she would think of them. A wonderful gift!

Of course, with some magazines these days just purchasing the latest issue and slipping it into a gift bag is all that is needed to bring a smile.  I adore the Stampington & Company magazines (Artful Blogger, Where Women Cook, Where Women Create, etc.) but they all begin at around $15.00 an issue.  There are a variety of cooking, design, crafting magazines that fall into this category.

They really are soft covered books if you think of it that way.  And if one should add a tin of tea or a package of Starbucks instant VIA coffee (which is actually quite good, I keep a couple packages in the pantry for emergencies), it would be a celebration in a box.

Do you see where I am going with this?  Use your imagination and you will come up with your own ideas because you usually know the individuals you are buying for.   You probably know their likes and dislikes and hobbies and such.

I'm a person who loves gift cards and I know many who are the same.  So if you can't think of anything for most men, a gift card for Sears Craftsmen tools would probably be welcome.  Or a place like Menard's.  My husband can get lost in Menard's.  He has also hinted to our son that gift cards to the local car wash would be absolutely wonderful.

Last year my son's gift to his dad was a "coupon" for tickets to a future football game at the University.  Since it was given in December, it was not fulfilled until the following football season but just as appreciated.  I think the team actually won that time.

If you know the gift recipient well and they still say they want nothing but you know they need everything (you know the type), then there are creative ways to give a gift.  I don't follow into that category for God has taught me to be a good receiver through the years (I would rather have been taught to be a good giver but that is another story).

But if you have a friend or relative that has a water softener (and in our area you had better have one), then find out what kind of softener salt they use and buy a few bags.  This would be especially helpful for an elderly relative!

Do they have a dog or a cat?  Find out what kind of food or kibble the animal uses (for they do tend to like a particular kind and stick with it) and then make the gift to the animal and not the person!  Better yet... from your dog to their dog, or your cat to their cat, etc.  It is a way to help the person on a tight budget in a loving and "not in their face" manner.

Fruit baskets make wonderful gifts for families on an extremely tight budget because they probably are not getting enough fresh fruit.  But not the fancy smancy fruit that has been cut and shaped and some dipped in chocolate.  It looks lovely and it would be temporarily good but it is just that... it must all be eaten right away since it is cut.  Leave that gift for the gourmet.

Last year my son was thrilled with his gifts... a battery operated camping lantern, a good flashlight for home, and a flashlight for his car.  I got the idea earlier that year when Hubby said he needed a flashlight at their place and they didn't have even one in the house.  Even a good flashlight can be inexpensive and a camping lantern can be an emergency light at home and a lantern for umm... camping.  Those with LED lights are best and are now quite affordable.

So if you do nothing else but purchase a small bottle of great olive oil or a bottle of Mrs. Meyers great dish soap for a friend on a tight budget, it would be a very good thing.  Just think... what is a luxury item that doesn't cost much but you know your friend or family member on a budget cannot buy for themselves?  Hmmm...

Come on, use your imagination.  Movie tickets and a bag of caramel popcorn?  Your favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe and all the ingredients (that happened to me recently when a friend sent me baking ingredients, including butter, in the mail It was just what I needed at the time!).   A garden magazine and gardening gloves (pretty much still available at many stores).  A little car emergency kit put together for your child.  Cute bandages for the kid's stockings?

There are a lot of last minute gifts available if we stop and think and it is not out of the question to ask God for His wisdom.  ;)


Anonymous said...

Your last minute gift suggestions are so easily interpreted for any of us to help make gift-giving more personal and practical. Wonderful ideas. Christmas Blessings to you and your family this week!

Rebecca said...

These really are great ideas! Right up my "alley".
I have sworn off shopping in the city - went over to a small, neighboring town this morning to pick up a few last minute items. Our shopping malls are a zoo. I don't even venture into Meijer these days for groceries! :)

Anonymous said...

I love those practical types of gifts you've suggested! I hope my giftees do too because that's what I'm doing this year. And the always welcome cash for cash-strapped young folks. :)

Happy Christmas to you and yours!


Deanna Rabe - Creekside Cottage Blog said...

I think this is good!

Unusual gifts but often really needed and appreciated. It's a joy to give these kinds of gifts and to receive them as well!


Cheryl said...

What lovely, practical ideas! This is a great post to bookmark for future reference.

My favorite part? The reminder to ask God for His wisdom!

tree said...

I love the little gifts! What an awesome idea.

Jonell w Harrison said...

How and why did I ever lose track of you and this blog?

It seems I had you on my 'honor roll of blogs" at one time..shame on me - I promise myself some quiet time in front of the tree after Christmas to soak in some of this wonderful cyber space [you & your blog]