Quick and Cheap Christmas Basket Ideas

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Many Dollar Stores or craft stores have inexpensive baskets in a wide variety of sizes, over the years I have collected several.

For a young girl: small purse or change purse, a make-up bag could be used as well. A bottle of nail polish, perfume, glitter, makeup, nail file, mirror, earrings, stickers, notepaper, fancy pens or pencils, etc.

A cute basket lined with a new dish towel; inside I placed some very cute shapes for cooking eggs and pancakes in (I found these at a specialty kitchen store for under $5); a bottle or two of flavored pancake syrups, a boxed or bagged pancake mix.

Wine drinkers: small bottle of wine, two wine glasses, box of crackers, small paper plate with cubed cheese and maybe pepperoni or a cheese ball, candles for atmosphere. One can add a wine bottle opener or stopper to this if so desired.

For a couple: two mugs, hot cocoa mix, two spoons, and a light blanket or throw, nice note to cuddle up together on those chilly winter nights.

For your best girl friend a basket full of all kinds of things she would enjoy. I call this one the Pamper your BFF gift basket: A candle or candles, bubble bath, bath soaps, body spray, small box of chocolates, some chamomile or green tea bags or flavoured coffee, some organic body lotion. a loofah or pretty bath sponge, and a little note that says to pamper yourself because you deserve it.

For the serious coffee drinker: 2- 3 small bags of finely ground coffee you can buy from your local grocery store, 2 coffee mugs, & chocolate covered coffee beans.

For the baker: A rolling pin, measuring cups and spoons, a loaf pan, cookie sheet, some cookie cutters and an apron.

For the Writer:
A dictionary, word of the day calendar, pens, and a colourful mug

For the Tea Drinker: A small teapot, 2 mugs, 4-5 different teas, flavoured honey sticks, & a cream and sugar set.

For the Gardener: Mini indoor herb kits are a great idea for the gardener in your life.

When time is running out and you need to get creative:

A few ideas came to mind utilizing some household items that already exist in our homes.

Now a really good idea came to mind using pipe cleaners. Make a tree out of them and then use tea bags as ornaments and give to the tea lover.

Cake in a mug: This is one of my favourites, place a large mug and the directions in the mug and wrap with coloured cellophane plastic wrap with a bow to secure the top.

Cake in a Mug
4 tablespoons flour (cake flour)
4 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa powder, any kind
1/8 teaspoon baking powder (a pinch!)
1/8 teaspoon salt (a pinch!!)
1 egg, beaten
3 tablespoons milk
3 tablespoons oil
2 -3 drops vanilla (optional)

Directions:
1
In a small bowl, mix the flour, sugar, cocoa, tiny pinch baking powder and tiny pinch salt. (This can also be mixed directly into the large mug).
2
Add egg and mix into dry mixture.
3
Add oil and milk and mix well.
4
Grease a tall, large mug, and pour in this mixture, scraping out with a spatula.
5
Place in microwave on High for 2 1/2 – 3 minutes. Time will vary for this recipe – best to keep an eye on it
in the microwave as mine usually is done in 2 minutes.
6
(Best slightly undercooked, so be careful).

** For those that prefer a white cake or perhaps a gluten free cake there are many variations to this recipe via the internet.

Photo: http://www.freedigitalphotos.net

Quick & Inexpensive Homemade Christmas Gifts for Everyone on Your List

This year we decided we were going to make homemae gifts for Christmas.. This might sound intimidating at first. I can hear the groans.. ” But I don’t have the time!”. I think you do and will find the time.

Here is a short list of things anyone can make in a very small period of time.

1. A gift basket ( one can purchase cheaply at any Dollarstore), one can include things you might already have in your home, such as homemade jams, herbs you grew over the summer, popcorn, muffins, brownies, homemade cookies, teas, or chocolates, even plants!  Ever get a banana bread in a jar?

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2. Tins of popcorn: I am sure, we have a seen those tins at the Big Box Stores that sell anywhere from $8.00 to $10.00.

3. If you are a crafter, why not make homemade earrings, broaches or bracelets for the ladies on your list.  If you crochet, make some doilies or make quilts, why not make a pillow sham or tablecloth for a gift using material leftover from another project.  Even better why not make a picture frame or tissue holder box cover.  How about a homemade Christmas ornament?  If anyone makes candles, there is another option, scented candles in a variety of scents.  Gloves, socks or slippers that are knitted or crocheted will certainly be appreciated on those cold winter nights.

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4. The ladies on your list would love some bath bombs or as they are often called bath snowballs.  There are a variety of sites that contain directions on how to make these.  Homemade bubble bath or bath oil made from any leftover herbs would be a great gift.

5.  These ones are for the men.  Homemade BBQ sauces are easy to make and take me on average about 5 minutess to prepare.   Those of you with wine and beer kits why not put those to good use and give those as presents.  You can personalize the labels for each person on your list.

6.  What about the animals?   I found several recipes for organic cat and dog treats that only require time to mix and bake. Dog and cat toys are quite easy to make.  Use organic catnip for the cat toys and honeysuckle for the dog toys.  Cakes appear to be the latest trend for our pets.  The internet has a great deal of information on these, just ensure the ingredients are safe for your animals. Getting back to the knitter and crafters, a dog sweater or collar for your dog buds is a good idea.  Dog beds or cat beds can be given as gifts as well if one has the materials to do so.

7. Yes, we cannot forget the kids: popcorn, cookies and chocolates will certainly be appreciated but in moderation.

8. The picky one on your gift list.  We all have one of those, don’t we?  Make them a homemade Christmas card or make them a caramel dip for apples.  Maybe the wine might be best with this one.  If all else fails chocolate gets them almost every time.

Some other ideas include:  Homemade journals or photo albums can be quick projects for gift making

Have fun 🙂

All Photos : http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/search.php?search=candles&cat