I thought as a little addition to my blog, a few helpful gift tips might help get you in the spirit this holiday season. If anyone knows how to get through this happiest, but stressful of seasons without spending too much, it would be me. I am a maker and a lot of the time the gifts that I give are made by myself, but that should not stop you from cutting costs without cutting the snaz this season. Here is a good example of a really easy and lovingly made gift:
Home made bread in a bag:
It sounds silly right? but coupled with a bottle of wine or maybe some home made dipping sauce, you have yourself a great gift here. If you can sew, all the better because then you can make the bread bag yourself. I go to the local Wal Mart and buy the fat quarters for $1.00 a piece. I choose 2 contrasting squares and whip up a simple bag. I use the scraps for sewing a simple draw string and voilà! You have a bread bag your friend can reuse over and over again. You can also cut up that blouse that hasn't fit you in years, but has such pretty fabric-oh yes you can! In the age of new, new, new I am a HUGE advocate for a good recycle. It does not make the gift any less special, if anything it's even more.
Now, if you can't sew, do not despair. The local dollar stores have very pretty wine bags that work just as well. During the Christmas seasons they are very festive, though the choice in fabric are not my favorites (velvet and satin) so when you place your bread inside these bags, I would put your bread in a plastic bag first. I only suggest this because velvet and satin are not as easy to clean as cotton.
If your not too keen on that idea, I have another suggestion: Buy a nice big cotton dish towel from the dollar store. and wrap your bread gift on the diagonal. You can even decorate your plain white towel with fabric paint. Use your imagination! You only have 1$ invested so far!
As for the bread, there are a ton of wonderful bread recipes on line that are very doable. Pick something out of the norm and braid it into a pretty log before baking, shape it into a long baguette or keep it a round loaf. Whatever you do keep it out of a bread pan and keep it rustic and hand made. It will add to the charm of your gift.
So, you have your bread, wrapped in your tea towel or tucked into your bread bag. With a cute tag, that could be enough. Like I said though, I'm a maker and I would probably add some dipping sauce, either home made (again, the Google gods know all about home made) or you can buy some for only a couple of dollars from the store. Try to buy some in a glass bottle and if your not in love with the label, with some warm water, a razor blade and some Goo Gone, you can take it right off. Tie a bit of raffia around the top of your bottle with a pretty tag stating what it is and your gift is still sweet as pie. If you have a basket laying around, put everything in there on top of an extra tea towel or 2 and add a couple of tiny glass dipping bowels (again 4 for a $1.00 at the dollar sore) and the most you have just spent for this sweet gift is 5-$6.00. The recipient will LOVE it. She can reuse the towels, basket and bread bag so it will be the gift that keeps on giving.
And you thought you weren't crafty!!! Happy holidays!