Saturday, December 13, 2008

Christmas During a Recession

I've never really been a spender and could never relate to stories of maxing out credit cards during the Christmas season, but now I'm the most conservative person on this side of the Mason Dixie line. I've resorted to making my own gifts this year, and digging deep into my well of creative thought to present something of value to my dear family and friends. So, I trekked my way to all the spots that my fellow crafters frequent. You know..Michael's, Joann's and Christmas Tree and you know what? I found a bunch of things I could make for less than $10 a gift. At Christmas Tree I found these really classic monogrammed mugs that anyone would love for 2 for $3! I also loaded up on paper gift bags from Michael's in which I will fill with homemade Christmas cookies brilliantly tied with a red and white polka dot ribbon and labeled with a Martha Stewart label. I'll simply write on the label "Stay Sweet! Merry Christmas!" Speaking of Martha Stewart, she is really on the roll. She has a great selection of items at Michael's for parties, crafting and any activity that creates sentiment.

Before I settle down to make my Christmas gifts, I'm reflecting on what this recession means. I think for one it will help us learn how to value money and not to dig ourselves into debt to please an insatiable appetite for material objects. I also think it will bring us back to the basics and help us learn what really matters in life: peace, love and a sense of hope. After all, that's the true meaning of Christmas.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Subtelties That Reminds Me of the Holiday Season

1. Christmas Carols playing in the stores
2. Wreaths hung neatly on front doors
3. The taste of peppermint candy canes
4. A Charlie Brown Christmas televised at least once a week
5. The smell of cinnamon
6. Peppermint Latte at a Starbucks near you

Last but not least

7. Cold weather!!!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Handmade Gifts for the Holidays

Yesterday the government announced that the country is in a recession. I don't know about you, but its felt like a recession since 9/11. So, what to do when you may have lost your job or you may be feeling the crunch from high living costs in the midst of the holiday season? Be creative! Try to tap into your creative side this holiday season. If you know how to bake, why not bake some sugar cookies and package them in gift boxes? Or getting a stocking and filling it with little tid bits that may be near and dear to the recipients heart? Another idea is to purchase one of those cute journals from Target or Borders and filling it with scripture verses, quotes, or poems that relates to the person.

You can also give the gift that keeps giving by purchasing items that makes a difference around the world. Macy's, Shop For A Better World, has a great collection of items from craftsmen in villages in Africa and Asia. At Branch Home ( you can purchase handmade items like the baby elephant above with proceeds going towards men and women supporting themselves and their family in remote villages. Another popular store, Ten Thousand Villages (, has a host of items from Vietnam, Haiti, Uganda, and countless other countries where artisans receive fair trade wages.

Go ahead...dig deep. I'm sure you can find a bunch of treasures for that certain love one without the hefty price tag.