I love the Holidays but there can be some stressful situations that come up.
I have done some research for you on everything from easy and unique gift giving to the simplest party planning, decorating, entertaining, games and traveling gifts as well. I came up with so many things to share that I have decided it would be best to break all the info up into a few different category posts.
So for my first post we’ll focus on gift giving & shopping which needs to be happening as soon as possible.
Gifts can be easy but still personalized & that makes it seem like you put in extra effort.
I totally fell in love with this site-
Personalized blanket – This is a great gift for grandma or a mother.
Personalized Makeup Bag – perfect for any girl or lady on your list.
Wine bottle labels – personalized wine labels for that wine lover! I have gotten these before & as a wine lover I just thought they were magnificent! They are only $5.99 each & you get discounts the more you purchase!
Welcome state mat – Great for anyone
Beer or Wine Me Socks – These are great & there are many options. Beer, Wine, Coffee Lovers!
Bulk Item Gifts
This is something I do every year & everyone loves it. Plus I think it's just a smart idea. If you don't end up giving them all away, they keep well & can be given another time throughout the year.
These are great to give to clients or people who stop by unexpectedly with a gift & you want to give something but didn’t realize they were giving you anything.
Chai Tea or Coffee & Spiced Tea
I usually quadruple the recipe & make a bulk bunch of these on a Sunday when you can set aside time to make at least a dozen of each of them.
You’ll need 8oz mason jars w/lids ( I usually buy 2 boxes of a dozen of them at Walmart for a good price. Usually get a dozen for under $10.) While I’m there I pick up some pretty paper to print out mixing direction tags & some festive ribbon and material from the sewing section to cut squares of fabric to put between the lid & the ring of a mason jar lid. It’s really very easy to assemble. Just set aside a couple hours to do it & maybe enlist the help of a child or a good friend!
You’ll want to print out some directions for mixing tags from your computer or even handwritten & tied to the neck of the jar. Simply punch a hole & slip a ribbon through & tie on.
And if you are making a stash of gifts like this to give or as take alongs to last minute parties or whatever, Trader Joes has a great selection of inexpensive wines you cab pick up for $5.-$6. a bottle, why not grab 8-10 & have them on hand. If you don’t give them, you can always drink them!
CHAI TEA OR COFFEE
Here's the directions. The first measurement is for 1 batch that will only make you a couple jars, in parenthesis I have given my quadrupled measurements for a large batch that will easily fill 12 small jars plus a little extra for yourself!
-1 cup (4 cups) nonfat dry milk powder
-1 cup (4 cups) powdered non-dairy creamer
-1 cup (4 cups) French vanilla flavored powdered non-dairy creamer
-2 1/2 cups (10 cups) white sugar
-1 -1/2 cups (6 cups) unsweetened instant tea or coffee
or for a decaf option use instant Pero (coffee/tea alternative)
-2 (8)teaspoons ground ginger
-2 (8)teaspoons ground cinnamon
-1 (4) teaspoon ground cloves
-1 (4)teaspoon ground cardamom
In a large bowl, combine milk powder, non-dairy creamer, vanilla flavored creamer, sugar and instant tea. Stir in ginger, cinnamon, cloves and cardamom. In a blender or food processor, blend 1 cup at a time, until mixture is the consistency of fine powder.
To serve(and put on your attached label): Stir 2 heaping tablespoons Chai tea mixture into a mug of hot water. ENJOY!
The recipe I use for the mix is one that my Mom gave me.
We were given this anytime we had a cold or sore throat when my sister & I were kids & it was soothing & delicious. Almost made being sick tolerable to look forward to this drink.
1 (4) Cup Instant Tea (unsweetened)
2 (8) Cups Tang
1 (4) Cup Lemonade Mix (Countrytime, etc)
1/2 tsp (2) Ground Cloves
1 tsp (4) Ground Cinnamon
Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl mix well.
Distribute to jars with spoon or funnel.
Serve 2 TBS mix in a mug of hot water. Mmmmmm, good!
Here’s another link I found to make gift bags for odd shaped items
Having your gifts shipped directly to the place you're going to be, instead of traveling with gifts is the way to go! Especially if they are large, heavy or odd shaped items.
Whether you shop the stores yourself or do it on Amazon, this is a great way to get your gifts there safely without traveling with them, especially if you are flying.
This is the perfect time to sign up for Amazon Prime for the 30 day trial period. Free shipping goes a LONG WAY this time of year. Free shipping & all kinds of other perks! Get it NOW & order everything!
Even if traveling out of town, especially if flying, gifts cards given with flair will make it easy but not seem thoughtless. You can plan to wrap those cards in boxes once you get there, or like the photo above, stuff a few items along with the gift card into another less expensive gift. Like a gist certificate to a spa in some slippers with nail polish & bubble bath. Or a Starbucks gift card taped to some Starbucks coffee beans or inside a Starbucks travel mug. Surely whomever you are staying with can spare some wrapping materials or you can ship that stuff too. Things from Amazon will need to be wrapped once you arrive at your destination.
If you are staying with family & you know the layout of the home & want to play a little fun Santa secretly, I have another idea for you.
This can obviously be done at home but is especially unexpected if visiting somewhere else.
A Scavenger Hunt!
Here's how to do it!
Gift 1 - envelope with a bow (make it pretty) put under the tree or in the tree
Open & it's a note- ask questions like “Where would you find something to dissolve snow?” Answer: salt (they & everyone else goes to the kitchen until they find next gift/envelope to open) where would you use something to shovel snow? (Garage & there's a note on the snow shovel) and it could all be a theme that goes together or just random. I recommend 3-5 envelopes hidden in different cabinets/drawers/rooms.
I did this one year for my sister because the gift was a gift card (boring to open) but once we all traipsed through the house anticipating what was next it was in a huge box filled with peanuts in a spare room!
This breaks up the gift giving & keeps things from going so quickly if you want to drag it all out a bit.
Then there’s always the Small gift in a big box option to make opening a gift card or small gift more fun to open!
Instead of gift tags here’s a unique option for wrapping your gifts.
I thought this was so special!
Well This is my first post for Holiday Hacking, I hope it's given you some good ideas! It sure got me in the holiday spirit when I was doing all my research to share with you. I will post again in the next couple days with more ideas on some DIY gift ideas, decorating, entertaining and travel!
The Happiest of Holidays to you & yours!