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Even though our December columns feature holiday advice, the beginning of this month marks a pathway to place your creative eggs in one basket (even if your creative bones are non-existent like mine) and ready yourself for inexpensive gifts that might take a few weeks to prepare; hence, this early November start. (I do love Mary Hunt's assistance!)

Decide on the amount you'll spend on each giftee which, obviously, varies upon the person. For example, let's say you plan to spend $35 each for your two best buddies. Even though you've budgeted this amount, the total doesn't mean the maximum amount must be mandatory. While shopping, you come across a gorgeous scarf, originally marked $49.99 but now on half-price sale. Just because you planned on the original thirty-five bucks but are now happily spending a teeny bit less than $25 does not mean you keep searching for another $10 gift to make up the difference. Nope. You've purchased a lovely gift (for which the original amount was your budget) and, even better, saved a few bucks to either put on another present or to shelve away for your rainy-day surplus.

How about family gifts? Rather than buying for each member of your brother's family, why not purchase one gift they'll all enjoy? Board games, DVDs, a collection of hot chocolate mixes, complete with the necessary number of mugs and a bag of marshmallows, a family pass to the zoo, a Bocce Ball set for outdoors - the sky's the limit only so far as your imagination actively soars.

Locate those prized photos from this year or other past years. Depending on the number of pictures you use (and for which recipient), a customized 2021 calendar can become a receptacle and recollection of good times. Grandkids' photos and antics for the grandparents or wedding and honeymoon memories for a favorite couple, for instance, are only the starters. Also include pertinent printed info, such as family birthdays, anniversaries, and other special dates.

A wonderful idea for the chef(s) on your list is to create a personalized cookbook. While this is wonderful memorabilia for family members, such as a new bride or young adults just starting out in their own kitchens, it's also a warmhearted and practical collection for anyone who admires your cooking. Passed-down recipes are especially meaningful.

Many readers know I'm also a professional storyteller. While I thoroughly enjoy "telling tales" of all descriptions, my very favorite genre is the family story. Whether a scrapbook of family tales gleaned from older family members or a DVD/CD of that person (or persons) reminiscing about their past, this type of sentimental gift most assuredly becomes an essential inheritance to pass on to subsequent generations.

C'mon, now, get busy!

Contact Ellen Phillips at consumerwatch@timesfreepress.com.

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Ellen Phillips

 

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