Saturday, November 24, 2018

Living the Pantry Lifestyle - When you think you have nothing to give

When you have been writing as long as I have, sometimes it is best to just repost old favorites.  This has been reposted at Christmas a couple of times but I had a lot of comments and e-mails from readers who said it sparked their imagination for gift giving on a very limited budget.  
In our materialistic society, we most often think we have to make a purchase to give or the gift will not be appreciated. Actually, I have found that not to be true in most cases.

Yes, there are those around who may not appreciate fresh baked cookies but let's be honest... do you want those people as friends? So they are family and you are stuck with them... pray for their materialism and offer them a cookie, anyway. They may learn someday.

Here are some ways I've learned to be a giver, even with a very limited income...

When I do have "extra" cash, I stock the pantry (shelves, frig, deep freeze) with simple items which... when mixed together... create magic (Narnia magic). Isn't it absolutely remarkable the number of recipes which can be made from: eggs, butter, milk or cream, various sugars, flour, flavor extracts, nuts, dried fruit, yeast, etc.?

Throughout the year I'm always looking for inexpensive containers, suitable for giving gifts of baked goods. For instance, one year I hit an after Christmas clearance sale at Wal Mart and purchased a couple dozen pretty red trays for a dime each.

When I can get a good deal on fresh fruits, I like to "can" jellies and jams. People love these. A blog friend once sent me honey and homemade soap from her farm... I LOVED it!

Other gifts I give with little or no money:
  • Books from the book sales or purchased with Amazon credit.
  • Items purchased at garage sales and while thrifting that I know people would love.
  • A pretty mug or teacup from my own collection with a box of favorite tea or hot chocolate mix.
  • A basket filled with a favorite snack (like puppy chow... yum) made "from scratch".

  • I used to make teddy bears, angels, small quilts, and other sewn items.
  • My first gift to my husband (before he was my husband) was a crocheted scarf... which he still has. :)
  • I've given a gift of recipe cards written with favorite family recipes.
  • My daughter received a "cookbook" from our good friend for a wedding gift that she had written with their favorite recipes... all printed from her computer.

Stuff to do as gifts

  • Offer to babysit the kiddies.
  • Sit with an elderly or ill person so their caregiver can get relief.
  • Read to someone who can't read for themselves... young or old.
  • Offer to scrub a floor or paint a room.
  • Trim bushes and trees for someone who can no longer get around easily.

  • Put up a Christmas tree for a friend who is not handy about such things.
  • Share extra decorations with a friend who has none.
  • Hang the Christmas lights for the elderly neighbor who can no longer hang them.

  • Write letters to people who would love to hear from you.
  • Send a pretty card to an elderly relative or friend.
  • Give forgiveness to someone who needs to hear those words.

  • Listen to a teenager, really listen.
  • Ask an elderly relative to share family history and write it down.
  • Collect family recipes and type them into the computer... give copies to loved ones.

  • Encourage your children to draw pictures for Grandma and Grandpa... and send them.
  • Look through your digital photos and fine one or two or three you know someone would love, get them printed... don't worry about a frame... just give hard copies of photos so a loved one will have them available.

If you have a green thumb, take starts from your flowers (in season) and start them in your home, give to a neighbor or family member when they are ready.

Yes, it takes creative thinking but you can give... even if it a prayer.  No... especially your prayers.  How wonderful it is to know there is someone in this sometimes scary world that is praying for you.

So this year, let us get our mind off of Black Friday and Cyber Monday and too much credit card debt.  Give from the heart... and don't ever think you have nothing to give.  ;)

Image:  Artist Lisi-Martin (I have this print hanging in my dining area)


Terra said...

Your ideas are very thoughtful and some of them can be done and will be welcome any time of the year. Buying the trays at a sale for 10 cents each and then filling them with cookies is a great idea, among many in your post.

Deanna Rabe - Creekside Cottage Blog said...

Such great ideas! My daughter is always starting plants and sharing them! They make great gifts!

Thickethouse.wordpress said...

Wonderful and wise ideas!

Suzan said...


Little Penpen said...

These are great and truly are some of the best gifts.... from the heart.

Carol said...

Great ideas! I find that I appreciate items like this much better than I do the "stuff" that people buy!

Vee said...

😁 I still cringe thinking about some of the food “gifts” I have given. I do think that The Lord gives sound and creative ideas for gifts. Speaking of which, time is growing short...

mdoe37 said...

I am an only child, only grandchild on one side, one granddaughter on the other.

I still remember sitting there...I was probably 9 or 10 at the time....after tearing through a huge pile of gifts. And the next morning December 26th, wondering if that was there was.

A couple years ago I took a serious step back to find the real Christmas spirit, not the spending frenzy it had become. I'm 54 now and have finally found peace in a quiet, thoughtful Christmas.

Honing a couple of recipes as gifts is a very personal and wonderful gift!

Making Cents Of It All said...

Most of the people I give my homemade gifts to love them. There is always one or two that don't. I am not spending a fortune on gifts for people that don't appreciate my work. There lose not mine. A few years ago I was sick for several months and din't make my homemade jams for Christmas. Several people said how much they love it every year. They get 2 jars now.