150 days until Christmas–Home made gifts

There are simple gifts you can make by repurposing things in your home. Have you some extra glass vases that flowers were delivered in? Hate to throw the vases away, but don’t know what to do with them.

What about those seashells that you couldn’t help picking up on your last visit to the seashore. Combine them into a lovely gift for your friend who loves the sea. IMG_0812

Or fill a vase with soap balls for a bathroom.

Anyone have other suggestions of ways to use old vases? Please share them here.

Make these now, tuck them away in a closet, and come December you’ll enjoy a stress-free, love-filled Christmas.

154 days left until Christmas—A Gift of Poetry, Part Two

You have your list of the favorite things about a special person, (maybe more than one), but have no idea what to do with it. The easiest kind of poem where you don’t have to rhyme or worry about rhythm is a poem with repetition. All you have to do is think of a repetitive phrase such as:
You make me happy, because . . .
I love the way . . .
You are my center . . .

Then arrange it into a poem. Using my list from last week, I wrote this about you-know-who.Santa Claus

How can it be that
you are always thinking of others,
you never get tired of your job, and
you are always kind to your elves?

How can it be that
the twinkle in your eye never disappears,
your cheeks stay so rosy and
your laugh is deep and true?

How can it be that
on the busiest night of the year you remember me with a gift,
you can’t wait to return home, and
share stories of your journey?

How can it be that
you chose me
to share this merry adventure
with you?

Think of your phrase and start writing. You may not get it right the first time. All poets revise. Work on your poem until you feel it expresses your feelings honestly. Then print it up with a pretty font and tuck it in an envelope.

Anyone want to share their poems? I’d love to meet your special people through poetry.

Come back next week for some homemade gift suggestions that are equally kind to your bank account. If you start them right away, you’ll be finished in plenty of time to have a love-filled, stress-free holiday.

157 days left until Christmas

Want to really make your Christmas stress-free?

Shop now!

Don’t wait until Black Friday to join the crowds. Those deals you think you’re getting often are not deals at all. Too many stores up the price before they slash it. Want a happier shopping experience?

Start today!

Make your list of people you plan on giving gifts. If you already have ideas, of what they’d like or need, put those down. Then pick a weekday to go shopping. Plan to get to the stores exactly when they open and avoid even the small crowds.

What a pleasant shopping experience you’ll have!

Let others fight the holiday crowds this season.Holiday-Shopping-Crowds

And be sure to read our next post about writing that poem for your special someone. You relax and enjoy a stress-free, love-filled Christmas.

July 16—162 days until Christmas—A Gift of Poetry, Part One

When it’s frigid up here at the North Pole, and I’m stuck inside, I try my hand at poetry. This one I wrote about my dear, beloved husband.Santa Claus

SANTA CLAUS

Two pink-cheeked words
that twinkle merry,
laugh Ho, Ho, Ho,
smiling on each girl and boy.

Christmas Night
those two words fly
through the sky
carrying a pack filled
with laughter and joy.

Why don’t you write a poem about someone special in your life? It will be the most cherished gift under the tree and remembered long after neckties and nighties are forgotten. Better yet, it doesn’t cost a penny. All it takes is time and because there are so many days until Christmas, you have plenty.

You’ve never written a poem?
It’s not hard.
Make a list of all the good things a person does for you and all their loveable qualities.

Here’s mine of some of Mr. Saint Nick’s finest qualities to get you started:
The way you are always thinking of others,
The twinkle in your eye
Your ho, ho, ho laugh that comes from deep down,
You never get tired of your job.
Your rosy cheeks.
How kind you are to your elves, making sure they have plenty of breaks.
How on your busiest night of the year you always remember me with a gift.
You say I love you, every time you leave
And every time you return home.
You appreciate a good meal.

That wasn’t so hard was it?
Now it’s your turn.
Make similar lists of all the important people in your life.
Next week, I’ll share how to turn your list into a poem—a loving gift if there ever was one!

July 9—169 days left until Christmas—Gifts From Your Home

Instead of looking for gifts in the store, why not look for gifts in your home? That beautiful picture frame your Aunt Alice has long admired? Tuck in a picture of her favorite person, wrap it up and give it to her. The silly cat pen catpenthat sits on your desk would be loved by your grandchild. And what about the cactus paperweight? glass cactus Wouldn’t that go to much better use on your dad’s desk piled high with papers?

The key here is to choose gifts that mean something to the recipient. Giving them something that you both love, makes the gift all the more special.

Then there are always gifts in your house and in other family members’ homes that no one likes or have outlived their usefulness. Those gifts are perfect for a white elephant exchange. white-elephant-with-santa-hat-hi Make this a tradition at your holiday because it adds laughter to gift opening. Everyone contributes one happy-to-be-rid-of wrapped gift, then each participant draws a number indicating their turn do choose and open a gift. The people coming after, can either choose a new gift or take a gift that someone has already opened. I found great rules and variations for this game here.

Any other suggestions about gifts you can find around your own home?

Come back next week and we’ll discuss another free gift idea. I’ll give you a hint, all you need to create it is paper, pen or a pencil or your computer.

It’s a perfect stress-free way to express the love that’s the heart of this holiday.

176 days to Christmas–Giving Fewer Gifts

It’s not too early to think about cutting back on the number of Christmas gifts you give. I’ve tried with my dear husband, but he’s a big man with a heart to match and won’t hear of it. That’s why I’m appealing to you.

We are blessed in this country with an abundance few people in the world enjoy. Yet, come Christmas we add more to that abundance. We’ve allowed commercialization to creep into Christmas. Compare our Christmas to those celebrated in earlier times in our history. Read Laura Ingalls Wilders book LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE little house on the prairiewhere Laura and Mary each received a new tin cup, a stick of peppermint candy, a heart-shaped cake and a penny. The children were thrilled with their gifts. Today’s children wouldn’t be satisfied with those presents, but we must do something to simplify the holiday.

While issuing an order of no gifts may be too drastic, what about giving just one less gift per person?

Maybe instead of everyone in the family giving everyone a present, you might draw names from my husband’s hat. santa-hat

Instead of sending gifts to far flung family members, maybe say this is the year to stop. Many of us don’t want to be the first to suggest cutting back. I beg you to take the lead. You may find your family members grateful not to have to stand in line at the post office again.

Cutting back on giving, won’t take the joy out of the holiday—it will just relieve the stress. Please share any ideas you have to go easier on this year’s gifts.

Next week we’ll discuss another way to cut back on the expense of Christmas so we can all have a stress-free, love-filled holiday.

183 DAYS TO CHRISTMAS!

It’s me. Mrs. Saint Nick, back again.
Already! But it’s summer, you say, the season for swimming, sunbathing (with lots of sunscreen) and barbecues. Not Christmas. That’s six months away.
Imagine if we up in the North Pole left our Christmas preparations until December.
Chaos!
Confusion!
Commotion!
That’s why we begin preparing early.
Most of you don’t. Friday after Thanksgiving, you jam the stores in hopes of bargains. You’re hassled and harried.
christmas calm
Wouldn’t it be easier if when you’re shopping for Jon’s graduation present and see something else he’d like, to buy it and tuck it away for Christmas.
When you’re buying a birthday present for your niece, think Christmas and add that cute tea set to your purchases.
tea set

If you consider books a perfect gift, whenever you read a review and think your dad would love it, don’t hesitate. Buy it immediately.
Think Christmas all year long. Then December, while everyone else is running, hurry, scurry about, you will have time to relax.
Any suggestions of other ways to relieve the holiday stress? Please share here.
Next week we’ll consider ways to cut back on the expense of Christmas gifts, then look for a new blog every Wednesday to help you create a stress-free, love-filled Christmas.