Posts Tagged ‘Christmas cookies’

Mindful Gift Giving

Friday, December 5th, 2008

Plateful of Christmas Cookies

I'm excited to introduce you to a wonderful guest blogger today. Janine Adams is a professional organizer in St. Louis, Missouri and the president of the St. Louis chapter of the National Association of Professional Organizers. Check out her terrific blog at

Janine's post helps us focus on thoughtful, creative giving at a time when many of us are trying to find more meaning in the holidays. Thanks, Janine.

The horrifying tragedy at a Wal-Mart on Long Island
the day after Thanksgiving represents holiday shopping at its worst.
Folks waited in line for hours, then broke down the doors, actually
trampling an employee. All in the name of getting a good deal, I guess.

I like a deal. But this year I’m encouraging myself (and you) to
practice mindful shopping when it comes to the holiday season.

Here are some guidelines for mindful gift-giving this holiday season:

  • Take
    a good look at your holiday gift recipients list.
    Are there people on
    it you could propose to just stop exchanging gifts? Taking the pressure
    to give off a friend or family member might be a gift in itself.
  • After
    you’ve pared down your list, think about each person, one at a time.

    What are their interests? Their passions? Is there anything you can
    give that would really speak to those passions?
  • Consider
    creating a gift.
    Bake something delicious and give it as a gift. Or, if
    you’re crafty, create a one-of-a-kind gift for a favorite person. (But,
    please, make it something they’d really enjoy, because you’re giving
    them something they’ll probably have trouble parting with.) Even if
    you’re not crafty, maybe you have an ability they don’t have. You could
    offer to help them clean out their files. Or paint a room. Or trim
    their dog’s toenails.
  • Give the gift quality
    time together.
    Could you go out to lunch with a favorite friend or
    family member, rather than exchanging tangible gifts? Splurge a little
    on the lunch and make that the gift. Or maybe you could see a movie
    together. Or even have a fun night in with DVDs and popcorn.
  • Look
    for gifts that aren’t mass-produced.
    Sure, you could give the Hottest
    New Thing. (I’m so out of touch, I don’t even know what that is this
    year.) But even more special are hand-made gifts, even if you don’t
    make it yourself. If you don’t have a local craft fair you can attend
    before gift-giving time, check out Etsy, a marketplace for hand-made items. There’s great stuff there.
  • Consider
    a donation.
    In this difficult economic environment, non-profit
    organizations are surely suffering. Perhaps you could carefully select
    a charity to make a donation to in the name of your gift recipient. Or,
    you can let the recipient choose his or her own charity. Jeri Dansky
    has put together a fabulous post on donations as gifts on her wonderful organizing blog.

it really is the thought that counts. The thought and care you give to
selecting a gift, not the physical item itself, is what makes it

Get Thee Behind Me, Halloween Candy!

Friday, October 19th, 2007

It’s coming. In just 12 days and 3.5 hours (but who’s counting?)… Butterfinger. Milky Way. A Hershey’s kiss or two (or six). All the wonderful things that my son collects in his trick-or-treat bag will call to me as I work in my home office the week after Halloween.

Normally, I sneak a few pieces here and there, and it’s no big deal. I just don’t get on the scale until, uh, January. But this year I’ve lost 18 pounds since May (14.8 of it blogging over at, and I want to keep it OFF!

Happily, the good folks over at Keeping The Castle have some terrific suggestions for using all that excess Halloween candy that tends to hang around until Thanksgiving. Just a few of their great tips:

* Melt caramel squares to use as drizzle over apples, ice cream or cake.

* Instead of jam, put mini Reese’s cups in thumbprint cookies.

* Freeze the candy for use as decorations on gingerbread houses in December.

Of course, I realize that doing these things will fill my kitchen with caramel sauce, thumbprint cookies and gingerbread houses. But at least those are the sort of treats that I tend to make with Matt to share with friends and neighbors. Sneaking Halloween candy at 1 p.m. on a Thursday, while Matt is at school? That’s a solo act of taste buds over common sense.

OK, twist my arm. Bring on the thumbprint cookies! Hey, I can freeze ‘em and be that much more ahead of the game when I get invited to a cookie-exchange party. (Hint, hint.)