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Hartselle Enquirer

Last minute gift ideas

Dear Mom’s Corner:

Do you have any cheap last minute gift ideas? I have two children and it seems that they have so many people to give gifts to I have trouble keeping up. I don‘t want to give people junk. Also, I can’t sew and I don’t really enjoy crafts.


Dear PL,

I understand. Since I have six children and it seems there are multitudes of special people in their lives, I have had to be creative over the years. Oftentimes I find ideas in magazines and on the internet. Here are a few of my favorites.

I love to give “jar recipes.” All the dry ingredients to make a recipe are put into a large jar and all that has to be done is adding the “wet” ingredients. The web site, http://www.thatsmyhome.com offers many different recipes for muffin mixes, brownie mixes, seasoning mixes, cookies and many others.

This year I found a variation on this idea called “cone mixes.” It’s much the same idea as the jar recipes. The ingredients are layered into a large uncut cake decorating cone, then the top of the cone is tied up. The web site www.budget101.com has many different recipes for cone mixes. To add a special touch use paints, ribbons, glitter, or whatever you can think of to decorate the cone.

Another quick gift is stirring sticks. I take candy canes and dip them in melted almond bark or chocolate bark then coat with sprinkles. I’ve also seen plastic spoons used for this gift. No matter what I use I dip them several times allowing the almond bark or chocolate bark to dry in between so I have a nice thick coating.

Speaking of dipping things, I almost always give candy coated pretzels or candy coated bonbons. The easiest bonbon recipe that I have ever come across is one bag of coconut mixed with one can of sweetened condensed milk and chilled in the freezer for about 30 minutes. Next roll the coconut mixture into bite size balls and set on wax paper, return to the freezer for several hours or overnight. Melt the almond bark or chocolate bark and then remove a few bon bons at a time from the freezer and dip them. I usually let the bon bons set out on wax paper while the coating dries. However, I do refrigerate leftovers. Well, if I had any leftovers I would refrigerate them with eight people in the house we rarely have any leftovers.


However, food isn’t the only inexpensive gift you can gift. For ladies, budget 101, has recipes for all sorts of beauty type products. Don’t want to “make” anything? That’s fine to. There are many inexpensive gifts. Knowing the person your buying for really helps when you want to pick out a inexpensive, but thoughtful, gift. Here’s some suggestions:

1) A nice package of pens with a small notebook or journal.

2) Know someone who likes hot teas or coffee? A mug with a selection of different flavored teas or coffees would be an ideal present.

3) One of my personal favorites is candles. I love them and it doesn’t matter how many I have. They keep and I can enjoy them at my leisure.

4) Remember chocolate makes everything better!

5) Is the person an avid reader? A gift card to a book store would be terrific.

6) For someone who enjoys scrapbooking, any of the supplies that go along with that craft would be appreciated.

7) Are you buying for a couple with children? How about a free night of babysitting? (Guess how I thought of that one!!)

8) There are many things that can be done quickly on a computer. For example, one year I picked out some pretty office paper and made letterheads for each one of the kids’ teachers.

9) Know a stressed out Mom? A small basket with a candle, bubble bath or bath salts, some chocolate, a good magazine and a gift certificate for an afternoon of free babysitting is a very thoughtful gift.

10) Another gift that is a personal favorite of mine is an ornament. There are so many. One can be found to fit almost any hobby or interest.