Saturday, December 13, 2008

christmas neighbor gifts

I recently heard that neighbor gifts was a "Utah thing," but upon reflection I beg to differ. I grew up in Oregon and Washington and we always gave and enjoyed neighbor gifts. Do a google search on Christmas neighbor gifts however, and a lot of Utah websites seem to reach the top of that list:)

At any rate, I think they are a great tradition. After all, the best part of the holiday season really is the joy of giving. I must say also, that I think it is important to only do what you can. Get creative if you are low on time and/or money, and don't feel bad if you simply can't find the time to do it.

Here are some of my favorites, including some of the most memorable ones my family received growing up, and some I just have seen around on the internet that I thought were clever...

1. Two words. Treat. Plates. I am pretty sure these rank number one as the most common gift given. I think they may rank number one in my books too, just because I am such a sucker for sugar, chocolate, and homemade baked goods. I think my top three treats are 1) fudge 2) almond roca(I make it without almonds) and 3) dipped pretzels.... but really I love it all!

2. The gift of service. Babysitting vouchers are always appreciated. Maybe shovel their sidewalk. Or some future freezer dinners. Make some coupons up to put in a card and make sure you follow through as they may be likely to feel hesitant to take you up on it.

3. Punny, fast and easy ideas found here.

4. I'll never forget when we were given a beautiful basket filled with stuff to make warm winter drinks along with a mini homemade Santa Bag with the True Meaning of Christmas Poem inside with little miniature representations for each symbol. Santa's bag was one of our favorite things to pull out of our Christmas decorations each year.

5. That same family, the following year, gave us one of our other favorite gifts- 25 Christmas stories photocopied and bound. We would read (or try to) a story a day and loved each one. Christmas stories can be found all over the internet and now are easier than ever to copy, paste, and print off:)

6. A personalized cd of your family's favorite Christmas songs. (Get cute fee 'scrapbook-look' cd templates here.)

7. An ornament.

8. An amaryllis or poinsettia plant. We were given an amaryllis to grow two years ago an honestly, I was a little nervous to plant it because (shamefully) my track record isn't that great with indoor plants. But amaryllis' are amazing! They grow so fast and are so beautiful and resilient. We loved our little amaryllis!!

9. Christmas craft kit. Craft or school supplies make great teacher gifts as well as teachers never seem to have enough funds for school supplies. {The craft kit pictured above, though not necesarily Christmas, but photographed beautifully is from Martha Stewart and is on sale here}

10. Design mom, as always, has some fabulous ideas here and here(scroll way down). {Wish I were her neighbor:) }


Anna said...

I heart this blog post.

Ali said...

These are some GREAT ideas! I totally remember the Christmas bag and the bound time we talk, remind me what family gave us those again? So cute. Love the range of choices. I've never ventured outside of treat plates, but I'm thinking (next year), I will.

Alison said...

Great ideas! in Southern Cal (suburbs) we also give "neighbor gifts"...I think that anywhere family and community are priorities neighbors will be generous with eachother.

Em said...

I'm loving your lists although I must admit I want it all for me...oh Santa, I've been so good...