Santa Sack | Gift Your Child Can’t Know is From You

- - Christmas, Kids

Now that I have my son Aiden, it’s so much fun to start our own family traditions – especially Christmas traditions! Growing up, I remember reading stories about Santa Claus pulling gifts made by his elves out of his toy sack and leaving them for children under their Christmas trees. The presents were always unwrapped.

I wanted Aiden’s experience on Christmas morning to be similar to those stories so I got him a personalized Santa Sack. It’s a large burlap sack that says on the front:

Santa Sack Family Tradition Gift Idea SPECIAL DELIVERY
FROM THE NORTH POLE FOR
AIDEN JAEGER
DELIVERY DATE 25th DECEMBER
FROM SANTA CLAUS

My hope is that the Santa Sack will make Christmas mornings even more magical and memorable for my son by making the story of Santa Claus come alive!

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The Gift of Song | Family Recording Studio Session

When Judy, a co-worker of mine, had her grandchildren visit her, she planned all sorts of events for them to do. One of them was a private recording studio session at my oldest son Dustin’s recording studio. He had just started his home recording studio business at the time.

Gift of Song Family Recording Studio Session Gift Idea

Dustin hangs out in his recording studio.

Judy’s granddaughters had the time of their life recording in the studio, singing into a mike with headsets on, and making a real CD. They thought it was the coolest experience ever! What a story to tell their friends and family back home. They gave a copy of their newly released CD to their parents who cherished such a unique gift!

The idea of recording a CD led another co-worker, Tiffany, and her family to record Jingle Bells for their grandmother who lived in a different city. Practice began at the studio because there were lots of starts and stops, goofs and giggles, and funny family fodder during the recording session.

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Homemade Roasted Pecans | Edible Gifts

I love it when it’s pecan pickin’ time and this year is one of them! Right in the middle of my front yard is a pecan tree, and I’ve collected close to 100 pounds of pecans. I feel so proud – like a farmer who’s had a bountiful harvest. Except I didn’t have to sweat or toil or wear overalls or really do any work at all to make it grow and produce.

Homemade Roasted Pecans Edible Gift Idea But I do have to put in some labor of love when it comes to collecting them, shelling them, and roasting them in the oven. But I enjoy that whole process because at the end I have pounds and pounds of roasted pecans to give as edible gifts!

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Premium Olive Oil and Vinegar With State-shaped Cutting Board

My boss Holley and I are kindred spirits in that we both looove to cook. We like to tell each other about the new recipes we’ve tried and if any are rock stars we share them. Well, what do most recipes start with?

Extra virgin olive oil. So I thought I’d get her some premium olive oil this year for Christmas, along with some aged balsamic vinegar and a State-Shaped Cutting Board. OKLAHOMA of course! Represent.

Premium Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar With State-shaped Cutting Board Gift Idea for Cooks I visited a store that specializes in premium extra virgin olive oils and balsamic vinegars and man was my mind buh-lown!  They had their oils and vinegars infused with all sorts of fantastic flavors – chipotle, jalapeno, lavender, espresso, chocolate and on and on. They even had butter infused olive oil. Perfect for drizzling over popcorn. Mmmmm.

It gets better. The store allows you to sample all of their flavors, and they even provide the bread. I was like a kid in a candy store!

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Jesus Candy Cane Poem | Great Gift for the Elderly

Several years ago, my brother-in-law’s mother was living in an assisted living center. It was during the Christmas holidays that I stopped by for a visit. I brought with me a basket full of Red & White Peppermint Candy Canes.

Attached to each one was the Jesus Candy Cane Poem. Orean, who was in her 90s, read the poem and said she thought she had heard every Christmas story told but this was a new one. See… you’re never too old to learn something new!

Candy Cane Poem Gift Idea for the ElderlyShe asked me, “Why so many?” I told her they were to share with all of her friends at the assisted living center. Her eyes opened wide and a smile came across her face. She immediately started handing out the candy canes to the residents and staff who passed by her door.

“Merry Christmas!” Orean would say to each person, hand them a candy cane, and instruct them to read the poem. For someone who read her Bible every day, it made Orean light up with joy to share a Christmas treat and the Lord’s message with all of her friends and neighbors.

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Socks and Underwear for Christmas | Family Traditions

My grandparents never forgot the Great Depression. Granddaddy talked about not having “one red cent!” Everything was bartered. They traded farm-raised pigs, cattle, chickens and what they grew in their garden for sugar, flour and other necessities. Necessities were all they thought about. There was never any money leftover for extras.

Christmas Socks Gift IdeaEven as their lives improved after the Great Depression ended, my grandparents never stopped being frugal with their money. It was a way of life. They purchased a home and paid it off in five years. (Unheard of these days!)

They purchased new cars every three to five years with a note to pay them off in a year. Everything else was paid in cash and what they did buy was always very modest. Like I said, no extras. Not even for their grandchildren.

You always knew what they were getting you for your birthday and Christmas – socks and underwear. What kid looks forward to that?? At the time, we just didn’t understand where they were coming from.

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Birdseed Ornaments for Bird Lovers

My mother Robyn has always been very hard to shop for. She likes to lead a simple life and doesn’t desire many material things. I think she’s really cool that way. Because of that, I have had to come up with very thoughtful gifts to give to her over the years. Looking back, it really prepared me to start this blog. Thanks Mom!

Some people love dogs and cats. My mother loves her birds. In her backyard, she has created a bird sanctuary. Bird houses, bird feeders and a bird bath (and a cat free zone) attract all sorts of birds year round, and it brings my mother joy to watch them from her large kitchen window.

Birdseed Ornaments for Bird Lovers Gift IdeaMost people put up their bird bath in the winter but my mother keeps hers out year round, and she uses an immersion heater to keep the water from freezing. She also doesn’t just feed them bird seed. She has a special bird feeder that holds apples, and she peels off part of the skin so they have an easier time eating it. Moms think of everything!

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How to Make an Ice Scraper Someone’s Favorite Gift

I’ve been trained all my life in gift giving. I just did not realize it. My mother always asked me to help her come up with ideas for birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, and special occasions for family and friends. She loved giving gifts, and she was great at gift ideas too! Watching someone open her gift thrilled her as much as the person receiving the gift.

This next gift idea was my mother’s Christmas gift to her grandsons.

Icescraper Money Holder Gift Idea

Braden still uses the ice scraper that his grandmother gave him for Christmas. She had hidden money inside it to his surprise and delight!

Dustin and Braden were in their early 20s and she asked me what they wanted for Christmas. I said, “Money.” Dustin was saving for a new guitar and Braden wanted a new computer.

Even if the adults had pooled our money together to purchase these items for a surprise, we had no idea on the make or model they wanted. So money it had to be.

But Mother never just gave money. She always found a clever way to do it.

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Santa’s Naughty or Nice List – Add Names of Family

- - Christmas, Family

In 1996, I purchased a print of Santa Claus holding his Naughty or Nice List. The artist was there to write the names of who you wanted on either list.

On the Nice list, I had the artist write my husband’s side of the family – his dad and mom, his sister and her children, his brother, and my husband and our two sons – the lineage of the Drew family. On the Naughty list was my brother-in-law David and me since we were the “out-laws” of the family.

I framed the print and gave it to my in-laws as a Christmas gift. They thought it was a hoot!

Santa's Naught or Nice List Gift IdeaYears later when my in-laws decided to downsize and move into a retirement home, they had the “kids” go through their items and keep what we wanted. I chose the print and and it has been sitting in a box at the bottom of my closet for more than 10 years.

As luck would have it, I recently rediscovered the print of Santa. After looking at it, I realized my husband’s brother has since married and his wife and son were missing from the list. This gave me a Christmas gift idea!

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Refillable Advent Calendar | Christmas Family Tradition

- - Christmas, Experiences, Kids

Something I’ve learned about myself. I enjoy starting family traditions. Years before my husband Kevin and I even started our family, I already had several family traditions on stand-by.

One of them was a refillable advent calendar. I wanted to be able to customize the treats inside for my family each year. Plus, advent calendars started as a German tradition and since Kevin’s side of the family (their last name is Jaeger) is from Germany, it seemed like a perfect fit! It’s also a fun way for the entire family to count down the days until Christmas Day.

Refillable Advent Calendar GiftI bought a wooden advent calendar with larger compartments so I had more flexibility with the size of my treats. I specifically picked this one though because it shows the Nativity Scene – a wonderful reminder of what Christmas is supposed to be about.

For treats, I like to include a variety of edible treats, small gifts, quotes and family activities. The activities I write down on cute paper.

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