Thrifty Christmas - Part 6

After reading about my family's Christmas gift of giving do you think we are nuts? Well, if so you are not alone. We had proposed this idea to the Mr.'s side of the family since it worked so well for my side. To say that it was meet with resistance is the understatement of the year. Some family members felt very strongly about NOT giving to the poor and that we HAVE to have presents under the tree for the adults. Of course, sticking my neck out there like I've been know to do. I offered to instead of giving it to the poor we could pick a different charity and just give the cash. That went over as well as a lead balloon.

I realized really fast that we were not going to be able to change his family's opinion on what a Christmas gift should look like. However, I was not going to go out and drop a lot of money on an item that they really don't need and will likely not be used. The Mr. and I had some work to do but we came up with some great gifts to give. Some of them might have been a little shock to the system.

Want to hear what we gave?

The year of the "no giving to the needy" episode we really hard on us. Of course my first instinct was to give them a piece of coal and tell them to stick it. But that would be to nice and expensive. So instead we bought Dave Ramsey's book "The Total Money Makeover" in bulk and wrote a personal note explaining how getting out of debt and living within our means had changed out lives. I can only image the conversations on the drive home. But that's alright. They should have been grateful that the Mr. had talked me out of the many not so nice gifts that came to mind first.

Then the next year I had more time to come up with a good gift. The gift of food. Everyone loves home made food and most people don't have the time and patience for it. All summer long while I was canning for my own family I would can some extra to give away. Then I picked up baskets at garage sales to put all the jars in. By the time Christmas came around it was so easy to just go down to the basement and pull it all together. We had jars of apple pie filling, apple sauce, apple butter, peach syrup, peach butter and more. I also made homemade chocolates and the Mr. made his famous sun-dried tomato bread and hot and spicy chex-mix.

Everyone was happy to get the yummy food. We even had several people return the jars so that I could reuse them for next years gift. Hint, Hint... The gift went over well and we felt like it helped to keep our budget in check while thinking "green".

For now we will stick with this gift. Maybe in a few years we will try something different but for now homemade preserves and baked goods seem to be the best way to go with the Mr.'s side of the family.

Do you give any home made goodies as gifts? What do you make to give?


Ms. May said...

You are a great sport when it comes to your extended family. Reminds me a lot of my own family...

Jonathan @ Master Your Card said...

Peach syrup!


Stef said...

Just wanted to drop by and say hi :) I read your blog occasionally (thanks for all the great ideas!) and wanted to share some ideas for homemade goodies that go over well as gifts for my family.

biscotti (especially chocolate dipped)- this year I'm doing cranberry biscotti dipped in white chocolate...yum!
pickles (canned over the summer)
banana breads
chocolate dipped pretzels
homemade mixes in jars- hot cocoa, bean soup, cookie mix, etc.

Mrs. (not) the Jet Set said...

Yummy, cranberry biscotti dipped in white chocolate! I'm wishing right now that you were my sister-in-law b/c that beats the store bought gifts I get from my current sister-in-law hands down.

I have to admit that the peach syrup is REALLY REALLY good. I like watching people put it on their pancakes super thick. It makes me feel like I got it right.

Donna Freedman said...

If I join your family will I get peach syrup too???
I'm in the middle of wrapping up jars of homemade jam to ship. The jam cost practically nothing to make (free fruit, on-sale sugar, jars that cost a nickel each); mailing will run me about eight bucks. I'll also be making and mailing some Christmas cookies.
People DO love to get homemade stuff. At least my friends and family do, judging from the comments.
I know that every family is different, and I admit I haven't read your previous entry -- just found this one! But my gut reaction is that you should do what works for you, with respectful but firm explanations of why you're doing things this way.
If people want to grouse about getting a money makeover book, well, that's their prerogative.
I hope you have a great Christmas.

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