Be creative with gifts, decor this Christmas season

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The countdown has begun and stores are advertising their best sales of the season. But since they keep using the term "the best" I am beginning to wonder if we have yet to see the best of the best, which will probably occur on Dec. 24 at 6 a.m.

Those of you who intend to attempt the "last-minute-shopping-gotta-have-those bargains" need to seek some kind of therapy. Simplify things. Make life easier. Take your time and enjoy the holidays, yadda, yadda, yadda. You realize these thoughts are brought to you by someone who is not ready for the holidays but has a good handle on it, whatever that means.

Your gift giving can be handled right in the comfort of your own home through your own creativity or the computer. And let me tell you, when it snows, these ideas are very welcome.

For example, you can make up your own gift certificates. Get a child's snow shovel and make a certificate shaped like a snowball, or use a Styrofoam ball with a certificate attached that says you will shovel the gift receiver's snow for the season. Don't be too magnanimous. Two times will be equally received. You, of course, will immediately begin the novena to keep the snow away from our area.

A similar gift can be put together using a lawnmower or a little rake. Are you starting to get the picture?

How about this? Pick a night and send a pizza, beverage and dessert to someone, or get certificates for the same and include a certificate for a movie rental. Add some microwave popcorn and put it all in a popcorn or pizza box. The gift will be welcome on one of those "I don't feel like cooking" nights.

Food gifts can always be appreciated. Have a favorite dessert you make well? Get all the ingredients together, arrange them on a baking tray or pan wrap it in festive holiday cellophane and, voila.

Oh, don't forget to include the recipe, and don't leave out any of the ingredients or steps. Many a friendship has been spoiled by omitting something from a recipe. And, of course, there is nothing wrong with making the dessert and delivering it in person and including some holiday coffee, tea or cocoa to complete the gift.

This would make the Kosey household happy and grateful, so why not your friends and family? It showed you took the time to do something personal, slip in some candy from Aunt Diana's for that extra touch.

Need an easy idea for holiday decorating? You probably have everything you need or can pick it up fairly cheap. And, if you go artificial, the decorations can last for years.

I like to cut felt or "snow blanket" material to fit end tables in the living room. It keeps holiday decor that may be breakable from danger, because it will fall on a soft padding. In addition, it covers your table and you won't have to continually dust (that's my favorite part).

Crystal vases can be filled with holiday potpourri and holiday stems for a fragrant and decorative look. Fill bowls with different sizes of round Christmas ornaments or pine cones. Garland (especially the beaded ones) can be coiled loosely and put into clear bowls or vases too. Green garland can be placed on tables in various ways to make a centerpiece, while candles can be used to accent the garland. Now, haven't I just had a Martha moment?

Season of giving

In the "it's better to give than receive" category, Scott Zimmer and his crew from the Chew Chew Cafe will be hosting a holiday party for the children of El Valor Guadalupe Reyes Children and Family Center.

Bring toys to the Chew Chew so that others may have a happy holiday. In exchange, those who bring toys on Dec. 17 between 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. can have their picture taken with Santa and kids get cookies. I hear Santa will be a "Surfin' Santa" and bringing the beach to town and, hopefully, some warm weather. Bring a toy and come see for yourself.

The Chew Chew crew and conductor Scott will make their way to the El Valor Center on Dec. 19 to celebrate with those there. Now that's the real spirit, and you can be part of it!

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