Saturday, November 20, 2010

Preparing for two holidays at once

I'm starting to confuse myself! Which is the Thanksgiving list and which is the Christmas list?? This year we are trying to shop frugally and thoughtfully for Christmas. I won't have time to make everyone's gift, and my talents aren't that strong so buying enters the picture.

One gift I've given before that is really easy to make are nice bread boards. Most of the ones for sale are made of strips of scrap wood from China glued together. They tend to split into kindling in my kitchen. In years past, I went to Home Depot and bought a 5/8th inch thick, maple or oak board, 6 to 8 inches wide. My husband was kind enough to cut them to 10 inch lengths on the table saw. A couple of pieces of sand paper and a bottle of mineral oil, combines with a few hours of sitting in the evening and POOF, you have sturdy breadboards. I really abuse mine and only one has split, probably because it was a foot square, which is too wide for a board that gets wet and dried often.

My brother is easy. He loves a type of German Chocolate that he can't get in Boise, so that's his 'big present'. Everyone gets a bottle of dried rosemary from my garden. My sister usually has a list and assigns us a gift. No surprises, but at least you know she won't be returning it. Two lucky winners will get breadboards with nice but small breadknives I found on sale. Maybe only one, if I can't stand to part with the other one...

People at work get this year's wonderful Penzey's spice collection (Total bargain: 4 bottles of either baking or BBQ spices for $8) and a locally made tree ornament. My boss will get a coveted bottle of black currant preserves from my garden, not because I want to impress him, but because he is a good Christian man who works hard for the good of his organization AND he loves black currant jam.

That leaves about 6 people and I'm clueless about them. Three are over 80 and in moderately good health. I'm thinking edibles, but low cal. The others are in their 30's and I'm lost. If anyone out there has a suggestion about this age group, not too expensive, I'd love to hear some ideas. I usually keep gifts under $25 for a lot of reasons, and the recipients are relative conservative people (if that helps). Thanks for any ideas you may send my way!

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