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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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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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Art That Imitates Life

My friend Janet and I enjoy visiting museums. One of our favorites is the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. There are literally thousands of paintings by artists of various time periods.

Art That Imitates Life GiftsThere we were walking from gallery to gallery when we came upon a painting that took up an entire wall. Although painted in 1879, the colors were still amazingly vibrant.

We both stared at the massive painting in awe when I said, “That’s you and me!”

It was a painting of two women – one with red hair and the other a brunette – living in a palace overlooking the sea. It was named The Favorite of the Emir by Jean Joseph Benjamin Constant. We laughed and joked of being pampered as royalty then moved on to the next gallery.

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Nostalgia of Owning a Volkswagen Bug

My boss Dennis and I have compared many stories of our Volkswagen Bugs we drove during our college years. There was no better car for poor college kids. They were inexpensive to buy, inexpensive to maintain, and inexpensive to fill up with gas. The key word here is inexpensive! And when other fancier vehicles were stuck in the snow, the Bug could travel on by.

Volkswagen Bug rental car gift

My boss Dennis gets ready to drive down memory lane in his Volkswagen Bug rental car my co-workers and I bought him as a Christmas present.

The nostalgia of owning a VW Bug is a strong and wonderful feeling. Imagine giving someone the gift of reliving such a feeling!

We did just that for Dennis. Last year for Christmas, my co-workers and I gave our boss a VW Bug rental car for the weekend. After locating a rental car service that had a VW Bug, we had to be flexible with the timing.

You can rent a car anytime, anyplace but asking for a particular vehicle, you may have to wait for availability. Thankfully, a couple of weeks before Christmas, the rental car service called that a VW Bug had become available.  Perfect!

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An Aloha Christmas | A Surprise Family Vacation

Our family tradition is to open presents on Christmas Eve. But in 1998, we opened gifts a few days earlier. We told our children there were family members going out of town, and they would not be here for Christmas. Luckily, they did not ask which family members because it was US!

For weeks, I had shopped for summer clothes in the winter. Not an easy feat trying to find bathing suits because Internet shopping wasn’t really a thing yet back then.

Hawaii Family Vacation Gift

My sons parasailing over the ocean.

I purchased brand new suitcases for my two boys and packed shorts, t-shirts, snorkel gear, beach towels and sunscreen. On top of that, I placed what I wanted my children to first see – brochures and airline tickets of where we were going to be on Christmas Day!

That evening at my in-laws, we did the usual holiday ritual of eating, visiting and opening gifts. We had our children open their gifts from us last. When they opened their presents and found suitcases containing clothes, they were puzzled. The look in their eyes said, “Uh, what’s this? Clothes? Really?”

We all know 17 and 13 year old boys hate getting clothes of any kind. For any occasion.

I couldn’t believe they missed the brochures of beaches and surfers!

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Let It Be Known That This is My First Blog Post Ever

- - Catch All

Queen Darlene (Darlene Drew) co-founder of Sunburst GiftsUnlike Diana, I do not have a favorite holiday. New Year’s, Valentine’s, the holidays you are off work, Easter, Birthdays, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and everything in between are all equally wonderful to me.

My family celebrated on every occasion because it was deemed important that family and friends get together to share stories, have fun, laugh, give gifts, take pictures, give hugs and kisses and genuinely show love for each other.

You see, for most of my life the only way my family could communicate was face to face. My grandparents on both sides were deaf, as well as my parents. There were no computers, video phones or cell phones to text. You could not call to wish someone a Happy Birthday or Thanksgiving. You physically had to be there in order to communicate through sign language.

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