Yes, there are only 44 days left, but no worries, you’ll be fine. Instead of stressing over the gifts, planning and shopping, remember to take the time to enjoy friends and family and celebrate the gift of Jesus. It’s easy to get caught up in the world’s frenzy this time of year, but you really can give some wonderful gifts without breaking the bank, focus your family on the true meaning of Christmas and enjoy the festivities, instead of fretting over them.
In 2005, I started a tradition in our family that was so well received and was a thorough joy for me to produce and give. I made a family cookbook and you can do it, too. It’s simple, personal and something that continues to give throughout the year. Each year, I make new pages for the recipients to add to their book.
All you will need is:
- a 3-ring binder with the plastic pocket on the front
- your favorite family recipes
- sheet protectors
- a computer with word processing software
- images of family and friends
- the stories and memories that your recipes evoke
For the first edition of my cookbook, I wrote to family members and asked for recipes that had significance or meaning to them or for ones that I remembered from childhood and did not have copies of. I also used my own recipe files.
As I typed up the recipes, I added pictures of the people who made them or loved to eat them, and added memories about the recipes or people in anecdotes on that page.
All that’s left after you layout your cookbook, is the assembly. Print it out and put it all together in the binder. I slipped two pages, back-to-back, into a sleeve protector and inserted that into the 3-ring binder. It preserves the pages and makes cleanups simple if something spatters when assembling a recipe.
Each cookbook had a personalized cover with the recipient’s name and a graphic that was representative of their own tastes. Every Christmas, I can put additional pages under the tree and share more great family memories. Here is a link to the first cookbook, so you have an example of how I put it together. FAMILY COOKBOOK (This file is the entire first cookbook, so give it a minute to load. It should open a new window, so you can come back here and read some more, while you wait.) The cover was not included in this example, since each was customized to the individual recipient. Get creative and you’ll come up with some great ideas for your covers. Slide them in the pocket on the front of your binder and your project is complete. This gift is simple and inexpensive to produce, plus it’s bound to be a hit at a family gift exchange.
The second idea I am using for Christmas, this year, is for our 7 yr old daughter and two granddaughters. All of them love to be in the kitchen and are great “helpers”. Our 7 yr old has requested her own apron, because mine are “too big” for her. I spoke to their mom and she concurs that the granddaughters would love these, too. I found these adorable patterns for vintage aprons on Ebay and now with a trip to my scrap bag, I can wrap three more great Christmas gifts without spending a ton of money. Once the sewing is complete, I’ll post pictures of the finished products.
I hope to have time to post other ideas for inexpensive Christmas gifts that will be warmly received by those you love. In the meantime, any of you that have ideas are welcome to post them here, in the comments. We can learn and save money when we help each other.
Get creative, have some fun and make some memories for your Christmas morning celebration. I’ll be back soon with more ideas.