Sunday, November 25, 2007

Gift Giving Ideas

It's that time of year again and I realize that my Christmas shopping is far from done. Usually, I will have about 75% finished by this time. Many times I will start back in July, looking for the summer bargains. However, it is getting harder and harder to buy gifts for my friends and their kids. Especially the kids, so this year, I will probably be giving a lot of gift cards to their favorite stores. Luckily, I started putting back about $400.00/month in August to cover some of these gifts plus gifts for my kids and family.

Since we had to pay a lot for college expenses and car repairs, I decided to also make some of my gifts. One idea was to give a living wreath to some of my neighbors and friends. I found some Christmas green and red pots at the end of summer on sale for $10.00/pot. We had plenty of English ivy growing in our garden. Got some berries from Michael's. Will add a bow later. But here is what they look like:Also got some Christmas tins on sale for 50% off. Will fill them with my soft peanut brittle. I've made it two years in a row and it has been a big hit. Here is the recipe:

Peanut Butter Peanut Brittle
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1-1/2 cups light corn syrup
  • 2 cps salted peanuts
  • 2 to 2 1/2 cups peanut butter
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1-1/2 tsp baking soda
Combine sugar and water in heavy saucepan. Bring mixture to full rolling boil over high heat, stirring constantly. Stir in corn syrup. Cook to hard crack stage, 300 degrees.

Meanwhile,mix peanuts, peanut butter and vanilla. Remove syrup from heat; at once add peanut butter mixture and soda; stir. Working quickly, pour onto buttered cookie sheet; spread
with fork, break into pieces.

For my women's group of 10, I have been working on some wirewrap jewelry. I am making them all matching ankle bracelets signifying our circle of friendship. It's my first experience making this type of thing but after a couple of days of practice, I think I have got the hang of it. Definitely much better than buying them each a gift and much more economical too.

Just a few ideas for the holiday season.


Leigh Russell said...

MMMMM peanut brittle! But seriously, shopping for Christmas already? You mean it's not compulsory to wait until the last minute to find everything you wanted has sold out so you have to queue for hours to overspend on stuff nobody wants? Why didn't you tell me before? ! Happy Thanksgiving for last week.

palette48 said...

Thanks Leigh,

We did have a nice Thanksgiving. I am not a very good last minute shopper and even though we have a month left until the holidays, I would like to have most of it taken care of. I will be shopping tomorrow.

BetteJo said...

I feel very behind, but I don't have that many people to buy for so it's not as bad as all that. The ivy is beautiful - you are SO creative! And I love peanut brittle, I'll bet you're pretty popular when it comes to gift giving!! :)

Catherine said...

I love your gift ideas! The ivy is really lovely and your bracelets sound wonderful. Will you post a picture of them? You've got really lucky friends!

The peanut brittle sounds yummy. Unfortunately, son no 2 has a serious peanut allergy so no nuts in this house, well, not the edible kind anyway!!

palette48 said...

Thanks bette jo,

I do like to come up with ideas for gifts. Not all the ideas work though but it is fun when they do. I just went Christmas shopping today and I think I am about 50% done now.

palette48 said...


I am not done with the anklets but maybe I will post when I am finished. They are pretty simple in design. Sorry to hear about your son's peanut allergy. That must be difficult and scary as I know lots of food have peanuts in them.

Catherine said...

Sorry - I meant anklets! I was making a bracelet yesterday and I've got it on my brain!

chronic chick said...

Thanks for the peanut brittle recipe.

palette48 said...

chronic chick,

You are welcome. I like the recipe because the brittle is not like rock.
It won't break your teeth.