I was blessed enough this week to speak to a local MOPS (Mother of Preschoolers) group. These women were inviting and inspiring. I presented “Simplify the Season” and it was a wonderful time of interaction. I promised to have a list of gifts posted this weekend and you will find the (rather lengthy) list at the end of this blog.
Since we are now in Nov, we definitely need to begin talking about Thanksgiving, Christmas, and how to keep it all SIMPLE, right? Let’s start with planning Thanksgiving. This gathering of loved ones should be like any other special event. If you were to send out an invite for such an event, you would need to include the “Who, What, When”. In thinking of planning a large dinner, let’s look at these W’s.
Who? – Who is hosting? Who is coming? If you aren’t hosting, offer to help the hostess by making your favorite dish or two. If you are hosting, it’s time to start getting that head count.
What? – This is menu plan time. What is everyone bringing? It is perfectly fine to delegate dishes. You still get to make your favorites (if you wish) or you can just be the hostess with the mostess by concentrating on preparing your home.
When? – Thanksgiving Day or some other point near the actual holiday? Lunch or dinner or somewhere in between? If you have a large family or if your family is separated on the actual holiday, you can make the actual dinner (or if you are so motivated, a second dinner) on a day other than Thanksgiving Thursday. Because of my dad’s work schedule, growing up my family NEVER had our Thanksgiving Meal on Thanksgiving Day. Dad was usually off from work the Sunday following Thanksgiving and we would have our dinner and family celebration on that day.
Whatever day you choose and what ever plans you make, remember that this is often a stressful season, but it doesn’t have to be. Thanksgiving in and of itself is a time to be THANKFUL! Don’t let the stress of this season rob you of that. I am so thrilled that you are starting on this journey with me! As we continue the process of Simplifying the Season comment with your questions, your stories, and what is/isn’t working for you. I always look forward to hearing from you! Now let’s breathe and get started.
Oh, and here’s that list!
Wow what a long list it is! No, I'm not this creative on my own. I had help.
Are you’re tired of the same old bottle of wine? Sure it’s a classic, but some tee-totalers may not find it all that useful. Here is a list of some fun, cheap, and cute Christmas gift ideas for neighbors, hostesses, teachers, and friends. As I have said before, consumable gifts are my favorites for this type of gift-giving! No clutter! Practical gifts to help out are a great (and novel) idea as well.
• Christmas balloon bouquet — "Uplifting" wishes for a fun-filled holiday!
• Bouquet of flowers or cookies — We're sending a "bouquet" of Christmas wishes your way!
• Bag of pistachios or peanuts in shells — Don't go "nuts" this Christmas! From your "nutty" neighbors.
• Fresh grapes — A "bunch-ful" of wishes for a "grape" holiday!
• Frozen lasagna — "What's for dinner?" During the holidays we hear this a lot, just heat this lasagna until it is hot!
• 7UP — (great for Holiday punches and tonics!) There's "seven" reasons why you are "up" on our list of favorites! Merry Christmas (list seven reasons).
• Christmas plates — Hoping you'll "arrange" to have a wonderful Christmas this year with a "plateful" of fun! (You can even fill with homemade cookies!)
• Christmas paper plates, napkins, cups and plastic utensils — A bit of "disposable" Christmas cheer! What could be better? No dishes, my dear!
• Bag of salad and dressing — "Tossing" out a wonderful Christmas wish to you and yours all "dressed" up with Christmas cheer!
• Magic Markers — Friends are the "magic" of Christmas!
• Roll of wrapping paper — "Wrap" yourself up in a wonderful holiday season!
• Bolt of Christmas ribbon — This simple gift is meant to help you "tie" up those loose ends this Christmas season!
• Mittens (fill with tape, scissors, tags and pen) — Let us "lend" you a "hand" this Christmas season!
* Kitchen Towel and oven mitt sets -- For a "warm" hand of friendship just as you've given me, and the wish for a joyous season with love aplenty under the tree!/ "Hot" holiday wishes for you! Merry Christmas!
• Note cards or Post-It-Notes — Take "note!" We're thinking of you this holiday season! (Add a pretty pen!) – Perfect for a Teacher!
• Package of pens — Whenever you need them, they're never around, so here is a supply ... 'cuz you're Christmas bound!
• Symphony candy bars — Just a "note" of "sweet" Christmas tidings! (Music Teacher gift, anyone?)
• Starbursts — We are "bursting" with wishes for you to have a "starry" bright Christmas!
• Jolly Rancher soft chews — We "chews" to wish you a "jolly" holiday season!
• Christmas taffy — We're "pulling" for you to have a very merry Christmas!
• Christmas Rolos — "Rolo-long" with a Christmas song, spreading good cheer at the time of year!
• Werthers Original Butter Candies — "Original" Christmas greeting for no "butter" friends around.
• Reeses Peanut Butter Cups — There are so many "Reeses" why we like you!
• Mint M&M's — These are "mint" to wish you a "Magical" and "Merry" Christmas.
• Big candy bar or candy cane —"Enormous" Christmas wishes to you!
• Package of Milky Way reindeer — For won-"deer"-full friends from the whole herd!
• Poinsettia — Our friendship is forever "blooming." Hoping you have a wonderful Christmas!
• Ice cream roll or frozen drink concentrate — Happy "freezin'" season! Have a happy Christmas!
• Animal Crackers or Teddy Grahams — This neighborhood/family would be a "zoo" without you! Merry Christmas to a "beary" "grrreat" neighbor/granddad!
• Ritz snowflake crackers and a can of cheese — Have a "ritzy" Christmas season and "spread" around the joy!
• Townhouse crackers and cheese ball — From "our house" to "your house" with love. We hope you have a "ball" this Christmas!
• Cheese Nips — We're going to "nip" it in the bud and wish you "cheesy" holiday wishes!
• Jello Mousse Mix — Merry "Chris-mousse" to you!
• Frozen item — You're the "brrr-y" best!
• Frozen cinnamon or orange rolls — "Rise" to the occasion and celebrate the holidays in a "tasty" way.
• Pancake mix and syrup —We're "pouring out" Christmas wishes and hoping you have a Christmas to "flip over!" (What a bonus for a Christmas Breakfast!)
• Eggo Waffles and syrup — For a "quick-o" breakfast that will be just fine, when running late this holiday time! Merry Christmas from our house to yours!
• Toaster Struedel or English muffins — May your holidays be warm and "toasty" Merry Christmas!
• Frozen or refrigerated turnovers — The holidays are wrapping up, there is still one thing we want to do. We couldn't go another day without this holiday wish for you. May the new hear "turn over" with health, wealth and happiness, too!
• Baked item — It's a Christmas miracle ... I baked! Warm Christmas wishes to you and yours!
• Pepperidge Farm cookies — Homemade cookies would be so fine, but these are so much better than mine! Merry Christmas! (We love the little ginger men!)
• Bagels and cream cheese — "Spreading" a little Christmas "shmear" to our friends who are so dear!
• Soup mix — We wish you a wonderful holiday "simmering" gently with love!
• Bean soup mix — You've "bean" such good neighbors!
* Popcorn and flavored seasoning -- Just "popping" in to wish you a Merry Christmas!
• Fritos Scoops and bean dip — Here is the "scoop" for "bean" so nice. "Dip" into fun!
* Tortilla chips and and Spinach Dip -- Gifting you with some "Green" this Christmas Season!
• Apples and caramel dip — To a most "a-peel-ing" family. "Dip" into a very happy holiday season!
• Snack mix — Here is a "mix" of holiday wishes for you! (or) May your holidays be "Chextra" special!
• Bag of mini carrots and veggie dip — We know you are 24 "carrot" neighbors! What a treasure! Have a happy holiday!
• Flashlight — We love how you "light up" our lives. We've come to depend on your "glow." Here's a "flashlight" to store, so you'll always be sure to create "light" wherever you go!
• Batteries — "'Twas the night before Christmas and Santa was worried, he had an emergency. Boy was he flurried! The power was off, and his flashlight was dead. He didn't buy "batteries" when Mrs. Santa said. We don't want you in a similar plight, so we give you "batteries" to "lighten" your night! Merry Christmas to you. May you walk in the "light"!
See all the helpful solutions? Who doesn’t love dinner or breakfast provided during this busy time of year? How easy is it to write a cute note to stick on a bag of candy before heading out to a party?
Thanks to a mom of four from Utah for helping me compile this list.