Pumpkin-Pie Bars
Christmas ideas



This is going to be a very lean Christmas for us and I am trying to think of creative gift ideas for the girls. I would love to hear any interesting ideas anyone has. Do not worry that the girls are in their teens and might not like something. They are not the type of girls to only like certain or "cool" things. they are like their mother, they love everything !!! Even though money may be tight, I know I can still make this Christmas magical. After all magic is in the heart. Thank you for any suggestions you may have.


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Karen cox

Hi, I am also making Christmas gifts like we used to when I was young. Money is tight and one of the things I am making this Christmas is tussie mussies in the theme of the Nutcracker. I have a sample on my blog right now. I am filling them with small things that each of my sisters and daughters love and some chocolate foil wrapped Nutcrackers. I found one small nutcracker to fit inside. For my sisters, I am putting in a favorite ornament. Christmas ornaments are so nice because every year them bring back such nice memories.

If you do take them to the nutcracker putting the tickets inside the tussie mussie is nice too.

Blessings, Karen


Most of our Christmas gifts were always homemade --- my mother was gifted in this area! Some of my favorites were:

1. when mom would 'take' my doll for a week or two and give it a make-over. I would receive the doll back at Christmas, all wrapped in pretty giftwrap. Inside would be a new homemade wardrobe and usually a new hairstyle for the doll. One time she took a doll who's hair had all worn out (the rooted type) and she'd made a new wig for the doll --- out of my own hair! I still have that doll and the hair is still there and stays on just fine (with the help of lots of hairspray!).

2. mom would make 'kits' for sis and me and we loved them. She would take a pretty container and cover it with fabric or ribbon. Usually these were lidded baskets. Then she would fill them with craft things --- I remember the sewing kits the most. They would be filled with ribbons, braid, trims, pieces of fabric, sewing needles, thread, etc. Sometimes the contents were for baking kits (small scaled dishes, recipe cards, ingredients for baking).

3. in our home we have a formula for Christmas gifts for the boys: something fun (a toy or game), something to wear (an item of clothing), and something educational (usually a new book). Frequently the new books were the favorite items. Have you discovered Henty as an author yet? I think A would especially love his works.

:) LaTeaDah


The clutch project from Bend the Rules is really simple, works up quickly, and is relatively inexpensive. And, you don't need a lot of fabric--I've been using leftover fabrics or fat quarters from my stash. I'm making a lot of these for Christmas gifts.

Dee (www.Xanga.com/GraceatHome)

I don't have any suggestions right now but I wanted to say I believe you, of all people, will be able to make your family's Christmas 'magical' even if money is tight. Especially if money is tight! I look forward to reading about your holidays...I know it will be lovely. Even if cash is in abundance, magical is what I want for my girls, not quantity of gifts. I have a feeling you are the same. :)


Do you knit? My girls love those long fuzzy scarves. They're right easy ro make. You can also burn cds of their favorite music. I love the photo album and tea party ideas.
Would they think embellished sweatshirts were cheesy? This is something else my girls love. The shirts can be purchased at family dollar for around $5. You just need stitch witchery, embroidery thread, Fabric paint, glitter etc. I avoid holiday themes so they can wear them all winter. I hope this helps.


Wow, so many great ideas! (It's going to be a lean Christmas at my house as well.) One idea I have, that my daughter has been asking for, is fabric belts. Creative Little Daisy has a great tutorial here: http://creativelittledaisy.typepad.com/creative_little_daisy/2006/08/belt_tutorial.html
Have a great weekend Clarice!


Hi Clarice,
I made my daughter a journal using one of those cardboard kind for $1. I covered it with beautiful images, ribbon etc. Maybe you could make a sort of diary or journal.
Make one of those cardboard cones and fill it with little trinkets. Very fun!
I think that is what Christmas is all about, not so commercial.
Have a great weekend!

Thanks for stopping by. I love choclate, of course, so you can keep on "reading"me. I was thinking of maybe you could make a cookbook of some of the girls' favorite foods. It is something they could keep foreve and maybe you could add to it over the years as their favorites change Maybe you could make an online cookbook (of different recipes) and sell them on your blog for some Christmas Treat money. I first found your blog when you published the BLT pasta, which I have yet to make BTW, but will some day. Maybe do some Menus of the Week for publication.

Whatever you do your girls will have a wonderful holiday because you continually give them the gift of yourself as you teach them each day.

karla nathan

I like Lena's ideas. If I had daughters, I would have enjoyed doing that with them. With my boys, all they cared about was video games!

When they were small, and money was really tight, we used to do all the free activities around town, the Christmas tree festival, driving around and looking at lights, window shopping downtown, etc. We tried to soak up all the Christmas atmosphere that we could without spending any thing. We even went to the mall on Christmas Eve to watch the crowds finish their shopping and would splurge on lunch at the cafe court. They thought it was so cool to do, even though we weren't even shopping ourselves!


Hello Clarice,
I have been pondering this question over the day, and came up with the following ideas ( which I see are mostly duplicates now...)

A prettied up tray or basket with a selection of pretty soaps, lip balm and scent etc, perhaps wrapped in vintage handkies or rewrapped by you in special paper (I am thinking of the downloadable chocolate wrappers...got to be a Martha version somewhere!)

I also thought along the sewing line... do your girls have their own sewing baskets/boxes? These are pretty special and can be handmade in various ways. (Take a look at the Cath Kidson website or catalog for a cute and easy to copy idea) An individual "hussif" is another possibility...a pincushion/needle book and pair of embroidery scissors joined by a ribbon (or tape measure) to be worn around the neck when sewing.

I recently found directions online for making circular skirt and made one in about an hour. My dd loves it! A meter of holiday fabric and a ribbon for drawing it up at the waist (she is still quite short however... maybe your girls need more than a meter!)

Continuing the sewing theme, you could use some of the girls baby or outgrown clothes to start a quilt for them each (I know that this is a more long term project...but it doesn't have to be huge...how about crib size for their futures!) or even a favorite sweater that is too small or worn out transformed into pillow covers or a hot water bottle cover.

Another thought was to start a collection for them...I mean of holiday ornaments/ nativities/ special Christmas china plates or a tea set. You could then chose to either buy a piece each year (purchasing next year's gift in this seasons post- holiday sales perhaps) or have an eclectic collection in which pieces can be new, gently used or handmade according to desire , treasures found in thrift shops, or finances available each year. Over the next few years a teaset could be built up, with the more expensive pieces such as the teapot bought when on sale or money is not so tight. Or start embroidering a set of table napkins, with a promise of a matching tablecloth next year! A special holiday set would be lovely. www.patternbee.com has lovely downloadable patterns.

Well, thats my 2 cents worth. I look forwards to reading others ideas and finding out what you end up doing. Gill.


Hi There! Thanks for coming to visit me. I must say I LOVE your blog banner, it's one of my favorite ones i've seen, and so fitting to the title of your blog!

As for gifts for girlies... I had this same issue with a young cousin recently. I bought her a pack of cool embroidery patterns, hoop, set of needles, a couple of flour sack towels, and floss. Also I included a couple skeins of yarn and crochet hooks in more modern colors. I then downloaded and printed instructions off the internet, and put all of it in an inexpensive canvas bag that she could decorate. She really liked it and has made a granny square and embroidered a tea towel.

And I hear ya about the lean Christmas, but your right, it's the spirit that counts. And the atmosphere. As long as I get to put out my decorations and smell some cookies baking, it's a good one.

Linda Harre

Hi....I am new to your blog, but know about lean Christmas's:D They are usually the MOST FUN!!!! Do you sew? If so, twirly skirts are a great idea. Throw pillows for their beds....made in unusual shapes like basketballs or flowers....or initial pillows. WHat about a cute little fabric lined basket with beauty needs like nail polish, files, buffers and cuticle remover:D Bake their favorite treats...candies and cookies and cakes and package them up. Handmade earrings and jewelry should be a hit and is easy to make....not too expensive. Recently I have collected vintage sheets from the local Goodwill and made them into quilts, shirts and book bags. Thrifting is a great way to find material to make things:D Hope this helps....can't wait to see what you come up with!


My Christmas tradition with the GD (now 10) is to spend a day shopping together. She gets to buy one thing for her Mom and Dad. Something small, a book for Mom, a CD for Dad. Something like that.

We examine all the decorated trees. We go out to lunch, it doesn't have to be a fancy place. Time spent together is the important thing.

Maybe an afternoon with each girl alone?


Pearl Maple

One of the nicest presents my mother has given me was a simple photograph album. She is not a scrapbooker but had copies made of all my baby pictures and wrote a litte note next to each page about the events surrounding the photos.

Gumbo Lily

I don't know if I have any better ideas than these clever ladies. What about the gift of putting on a special tea party or theme party for the girls and their friends or a couple of families that you enjoy being with? I know you are an awesome cook, Clarice, so this could be really fun for them -- picking special foods, table settings, games, etc.

Your girls might be too old for this, but what about thrifting for some beautiful vintage clothes (my first thought was for "dress up"). Special gowns, gloves, hats, purses, etc.

How about making them a "cooking kit" with a homemade apron, hot mits, wooden spoons, recipes, ingredients, etc., and cooking lessons from Mom?

Have fun with it and please share your ideas if you can. I'd love to know what you're "cooking up" for Christmas.



I recently found your blog - you're such a creative person that I'm sure you have lots of ideas up your sleeve.

What about a handmade album, full of memories of each child, favourite recipes and family traditions?

Or a collage depicting what you love best about each one?

Cosmetic bags stitched from scraps and filled with samples - often free in the mail or from drugstores?

A crafting kit - something they can make together with you, along with a coupon for a 'play date" with Mom. (even though they are teens)

A collage kit filled with scraps of paper, ribbons, tickets, labels, etc that you can collect. Decorate (paint, collage, fabric) a box in which to present the items. If you have an old chocolate box with dividers you can coil up the ribbons and sort beads or buttons to fit into each small section.

A decorated journal for them to record their thoughts and dreams. Maybe sprinkle some of your favourite inspirational quotations throughout the book.

Your girls sound like mine - now in their 20's, but we still share many of the same interests.



What a lovely old image this is. I love the sentiment....snowflakes are one of my favorite things.
I will give this some real thought, but one of the first things I thought of, was thrifting for old dishes and doo dads to use for mosaics to fancy up other things. Like mirrors, lamps, frames, ect. for their bedrooms. Scrabble letters and little leftover childhood things are great for personalizing things too.


It may not be super duper cheap, but I always loved an experience with my parents more than a long forgotten gift. Going to see ice skating or the nutcracker or something like that.

Around here the colleges put on a Christmas Carol every year, and it is a lot cheaper than our "big" theater.

The feathered nest

I'll have to give it some thought and get back to you. Thanks for the recipe below. It looks good!


Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)