Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Christmas Post - Take 2

Okay, let's try to get this one done nicely, yes? LOL

It is about 90 days until Christmas - yep, only 90 days!!!!!!

Now, we have already started planning and preparing for our Christmas Gifts to friends and family. Why? Because we have to.

If we don't, we run the following risks...

A) Running out of time
B) Running out of money
C) Running the risk of giving people crappy gifts (or none at all)
and the most important one of all
D) Totally NOT enjoying it and it becomes just another greedy ME ME MEMEMEMEEEEE day!

So, in this household, we do Hampers. We have been doing them for about 4 yrs now and we LOVE them!! I know not everyone we give them to does, but *shrug* you can't please everyone - lol.

For us, it started as a way to give to everyone, yet not spend too much money as we were desperately broke. Then, because we had so much fun doing it and the response was overwhelming, we decided to do it again (I won't confirm nor deny that money May have been a factor - lol) now, it's just what we do.

This blog started as a forum post - well several, so in the interests of being lazy, I will cut and paste those posts here.

So for anyone wanting ideas or hints, here are ours.

I love hampers. I have been doing hampers as Christmas gifts for about 4 years now. I have found that people really like the personal touch that seems to go with hampers.
We do the same thing - over the year, pick up bits and pieces as I find them that I think people will like (watch expiry dates)
DVDsBooksPhoto holders - coasters, books, mugs, etcPamper stuffAlcoholTreats
Basically, anything can go in a hamper - limits are only $$ and what the recipent would like.
I also do home made things
Bath Bombs (I can tailor them to suit the person getting them - generally I go very safe, no harsh chemicals, etc)Alcohol Soft toys/clothingFood - Rocky Road, White Christmas, Muffin/Cake/Slice/Hot Drink-In-A-Jar, Macaroons, different sorts of biscuits - sugar, coconut, chocolate, stained glass windows, different shapes, different colours, etc, Cherry Ripe Slice, Christmas Slice - tons of them.Christmas Decorationsand of course, the kids make stuff for those that want it - Grandparents, family friends, etc.
We have already started - lol, I love it
Quick Edit in - we are also even making our own baskets this year biggrin.gif

 Then followed by 

most of my recipes are now on paper format as I have juggled around with qualities and quantities, but I have linked some of the original recipes (and those I *think* were the originals or just damned near enoughlaughing2.gif ) and typed out a few from my computer folder/recipe book
Any questions, feel free to ask - and if you find any new recipes you think might be cool, please, share laughing2.gif! - for my In-A-Jar mixes - I do either a jar or make them myself. - more gifts in a jar sort of thing - this one is a favourite, but eewwwww I can't stand rolling the balls (so sticky and needs constant washing of hands so that mixture doesn't stick to your hands instead of together) so will sometimes cheat and make it into a slice. Not as nice, but still yummy as!! Also I like to use little patty pans as well - makes everything neat and tidy
Cowboy/Cowgirl/Christmas Cookies Mix from Bakerella - I just change the M&Ms to the Christmas colours and make the biscuits and wrap them in food safe cellophane
Chocolate Dipped Coconut Macaroons
Martha Stewart's Biscuit Recipes for Stained Glass Window Cookies (and heaps more)
Old Fashioned Sugar Biscuits
Rocky Road Slice - sorta like my recipe - tweak until you like it
Mini Toffees - I prefer to use the tiny little foil cups/patty pans so that you avoid the tearing/sticking paper when removing them from their patty pans/cups- you also get a lot more out of the recipe that way.
No Idea where I got this one from - if anyone knows, please let me know as I need to reference it in my recipe book.But it is REALLY nice if you love brownies apparently (I don't, can't stand them personally) I have had nearly everyone ask for more of these

Double Fudge Brownie Mix
Jar Ingredients: 2 cups sugar 1 cup cocoa (not Dutch process) 1 cup all-purpose flour 1 cup chopped pecans 1 cup chocolate chips Mix all the ingredients together and store in an airtight containerTag Instructions: Double-Fudge Brownies 1 cup butter or margarine, softened 4 eggs 1 package Double-Fudge Brownie Mix Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Grease a 12 by 9 inch pan. In the large bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the Double-Fudge Brownie Mix & continue to beat the mixture until it is smooth. Spread the mixture into the greased pan, & bake for 40 to 50 minutes.
White Christmas (a really common recipe, so find one that you like)
1 1/2 Cups of Rice Bubbles1 1/2 cups of Powered Milk1 1/2 cups of Desiccated Coconut1 1/2 cups of icing sugar250gms of Copha3/4 cup of chopped Glace Cherries3/4 cup Sultanas
Melt Copha, mix everything well, press into tray or patty pans or shapes and refrigerate until set
I also trickle melted chocolate (white or milk, doesn't matter) over the top or pour it into the patty pans first for a nice chocolately base.

Others I use that don't require a recipe - 
Chocolate dipped Marshmallows - literally dip marshmallows in chocolate, set on waxed paper to set, sprinkle with Christmas coloured sprinkles if so wish while chocolate is still wet. Kebab sticks work best for this so that you don't get tempted to lick your chocolately fingers after every dip roll2.gif
Chocolate Molds - pour melted chocolate into Christmas molds and let set - make sure you get cooking chocolate and taste test first - I also add, nuts, cherries, sultanas, M&Ms - all sorts
Chocolate/Sugar covered Mixed Fruit - get mixed fruit (or dried fruit of your choice) and place in bag with sugar and shake, then portion into food safe cellophane packets. Chocolate version - line a waxed paper tray, spread into a thin layer and pour/trickle melted chocolate over and shake gently to even mix out (then spend 1/2 hour after licking wax paper roll2.gif )

Everything I make gets put into it's own food safe packets/baggies with ribbon ties and added to the hamper. I usually give 4 pieces for everyone the hamper is intended for. Sometime the packets get quite big so make sure that you have lots of wrapping stuff and take the time to work out how it looks best to you.
To finish off - as many people don't know every singles persons food issues/needs/avoidances, I also print these off and tie them to the hamper as a little roll. That way people can check what is in each thing before they eat it. I also make sure that everything is washed and cleaned between each and every session.

I also make flavoured Alcohol, but its best if you know the people you are giving too and that way you can find the most accepted drinnk and do a few of those - heaps of recipes online.
I have more, but my Christmas Hamper Folder is packed away in the Christmas box and I'm not quite ready to dig it out yet (the kids will want to decorate the house....nnnnnnooooooo! grin.gif )
But if you hunt through the links I gave, there are heaps of idea to try - always try first if you can.
Good Luck and have fun!!! biggrin.gif


Ohh, I almost forgot - I also do these - 
Candles (scented, coloured, plain, containers, pillars) Soaps (scented, coloured, plain, smooth, rough)Salts - different flavoured salts and cooking rubs in little jars are always nice to get (example - get rock salt, lemon grass, pepper, etc in a grinder, grind until its the consistancy you want, put in a little decorative jar with a descriptive label - ta dah!! biggrin.gif)Home Made Jams
Sew (simple things as I suck at sewing - you might be a wizz biggrin.gif )
ApronsSoft toys (I just found Spoonflower , they have some pocket dolls that look really easy, I have ordered some and just waiting now! ddance.gif P.S. I don't get anything for referrals, just sharing the love biggrin.gif ) I used to just buy patterned cloth from Spotlight and cut and sew, but these look promising as well! There are also Felt toys that work well for people.Placemats/napkins/oven mits/table runners/ mini quilts/ whatever the person might like - no point wasting time on someone who will think "WTH?" if you give them a handmade tablerunner laughing2.gifCross stitch - raw stock vs kits are cheaper and easier to personalise IMO

lol, do you think I spend a lot of time thinking of handmade gifts to give??  

 LOL - so yeah - we like hampers here!!

Here's an example of one years worth of hampers - We had approx 50-60 hampers to give out. Overall, including the personal bits and pieces we bought for people, we spent approx $300 all up. That worked out to be approx $6 a hamper and those hampers were PACKED!!

I guess you can see why we like to start early here - and with the Hatchling due in Nov, I really have to have some idea of what I am doing this year...I think we might be lucky if we have a small hamper this year - LOL

If you have any ideas that you use and love, feel free to let me know - share and share alike :D

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