TTu: Simple Gifts

Tackle It Tuesday Meme

This week I’d like to share some pics and recipes.  I love the idea of making homemade things to give at Christmas (any time, really) but it’s been hard to find things that are simple enough that the children can participate and useful.  So these are some of our favorites.

Christmas Potpourri

I found this recipe online somewhere, but I don’t remember where!  We make this one at the beginning of December, as the scents need time to combine.

  • 1 pound orange peel (dime size)
  • 1/2 pound lemon peel (dime size)
  • 1 pound whole star anise
  • 1 pound small cinnamon sticks (1 inch)
  • 1 pound whole allspice
  • 1 pound whole cloves
  • 4 ounces fixative orris root, cellulose fixative
  • 1 or 2 ounce bottle with dropper of orange, cinnamon, or christmas oils

We used a plastic craft storage container to mix this.  It will smell like the spices and oils for a long time!

Mix all the ingredients, then add half of the oil.

Cover and store in a cool, dark spot.  Stir every few days.  After about a week, add more of the oil if you like.

According to the instructions I found, this recipe cost $55 for the ingredients and filled about 52 snack sized zip bags, for a per-gift cost of $1.06.  (When we made it ourselves, two years ago, it cost about $63.  I haven’t yet added up what it cost us this year.)

Christmas Granola

Another simple, easy recipe.  This one is even less expensive than the potpourri.  I adapted a recipe found here, based on what we had available and liked.  This year, we quadrupled the recipe (multiply every amount by 4) so it took longer to bake.

Gingerbread Cookies

Another good recipe from Quaker Oats.  A few tips, though, based on our experiences:

  • Grease the cookie sheet (the recipe says ungreased) or you may have difficulty getting the cookies off.
  • The recipe says to cool on the cookie sheets for 1 minute.  It may take longer if your pans (like ours) hold the heat longer.  You want the cookies to be firm enough to hold their shape and not ooze off the spatula (thereby having a pile of cookie goo, still tasty but nowhere near as pretty as the stegosaurus or saw or star shaped cookies.)
  • Finally, remember that this is one of those recipes that has to be chilled before rolling . . . oops, I forgot this time.  Thankfully it was a cold day and I just set them outside for a while.  🙂

I made five batches of the recipe, one with Splenda for friends who need sugar free treats, and four with plain old white sugar.

I forgot to take pics of this one as we were making them.  A friend came to visit and helped me by playing with the kids in the living room while I worked with one at a time cutting out the cookies.  This worked very nicely.  Another great idea?  Let each child pick one cookie cutter and use it to make all of his/her cookies, so that it’s easy to identify who made this cookie (if that is important to you.  It was to us, as the kids always want to give the cookies they made.)

We could have decorated them using icing and candies, but we ran out of time.  And I ran out of patience, after five batches!!


Another fun, easy task for the kids.  All kids like stickers, right? 😉  We used zip sandwich bags for all of our treats.  They were filled with one cookie, or 1/2 cup of potpourri, or 2/3 cup of granola.  (And I forgot to count the bags so I have no idea how many treats we made or what the cost per treat was.)  I printed labels on the computer with ingredients (helpful for those with food allergies) and The Bull helped the boys label the bags and fill with granola.


The kids didn’t make these, I did.  But they are simple enough that children could do it.  One nice thing about this one is it is a simple, use-what-you-have kind of project.

I wanted to make a special gift for two new little girls.  I googled to find an angel picture that I liked, then cut around it to make a pattern.  Then I cut the felt.  The fancy ornament took one felt cut out, the other one took two (one white, one pink.)

Then I cut a pink face and purple dress for the one on the left.  The arms and feet are bits of wide lace; the halo is yellow glitter paint (and not fabric paint, either, as I didn’t have any gold or yellow-ish fabric paint!)

For the simple ornament, I cut two angels and used embroidery thread to whip stitch around the edges.

The fancy one needed something more, so I cut another piece of ribbon for “hair.”  A black permanent fabric pen supplied facial features.

I also wrote on each the girl’s name and “First Christmas 2009.”

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

All in all, it was a nice, simple gift plan.  For next year, I’d like to find another simple craft or food gift idea, maybe a gluten free snack?  Any ideas?

You can find more ideas and share your own tacklings at the 5 minutes for moms blog.


One Response to “TTu: Simple Gifts”

  1. debi b Says:

    So many wonderful gift ideas!
    I will definitely be trying the granola! Looks wonderful!

    Have a very blessed Christmas!

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