Monday, November 19, 2012

12 Simple Neighbor Gift Ideas {even the Grinch would like})

Christmas on the Porch- Day 1

Honestly, neighborhood gifts are one of those Christmas things that can make me feel down right grinchy! I love my neighbors, and of course I want to give them something that shows I care and want to wish them a Merry Christmas.  The problem is that I tend to feel like if I give gifts to certain neighbors, then I must give them to other people in the neighborhood, and then if other people find out that I didn't give anything to them, then they'll think I don't like them, and on and on and on and on!!

 I start thinking about the money that it will cost to give everyone in the neighborhood a gift, and the time to make the gift on top of that, uuuuughh! Some years, neighborhood gifts would have taken up my whole Christmas budget and drained me of all money and time. At least that's how I've felt some years!

Different years bring different circumstances... here are 12 ideas that will work depending upon the time, energy, and money you have this year.

 #1 Nothing!!!
No one will remember next year! Some years, neighbor gifts are lower on the priority list.  I'd rather have my friend put her time and energy into making Christmas great for her family than stressing about a sugary treat to give to me. I've got enough sugar anyway. (Not that I don't appreciate it, I do, but you get the point).

#2 A Christmas card... even add an inexpensive ornament
Image: Martha Stewart

If you send Christmas cards anyway, just give one of those to all the neighbors. Or let the kids draw the pictures... they'd love it. At the Dollar Tree, they sell ornaments in packages of 10 for $1. Attach one to each card. You could afford taking one of these to the whole neighborhood if you feel that you need to do so :).

#3 A book that you bought on a great sale
 Christmas books make great gifts. They're one of my very favorite Christmas decorations. In July I found these books for &1.60 each (they retail for $19.99). Having Christmas in mind during other times of year helps score great deals!

#4 Dollar Store veggie tray with yummy food 

After reading Jan's post about all the great things to do with veggie trays, I saw some fun trays at the Dollar Tree! I snatched a few up, and thought what a great Christmas gift this would be for the close neighbors. Go to this post for some great ideas. Do some baking (or buying) and fill it up.

#5 The Fastest Fabulous Peppermint Brownies
I promise these are soooo good and soooo quick! I'll post the recipe later today!
Whip up a few batches of these goodies, put it a treat bag with a bow. Fast, easy & really yummy.
Update: find the recipe here!

#6 Fill up some dollar store chip and dip trays.

Offsets all the sugar!  Buy salsa on sale or even make your own.

#7 Paper Whites 
Photo from Wisconsin Made
(This is one of my VERY favorites... it even takes the grinchiness out of me).
Home Depo sells paper whites for about $1 per bulbIkea sells cute little flower pots for 79 cents. Paper whites will grow in pebbles or gravel, they are so easy to grow and almost grow right in front of your eyes. They just bring happiness. Kids can even help plant them, and then help pass them out to neighbors. Inexpensive, no calories, and lovely = total winner.

Before we continue the rest of the list, I must admit that I love the Grinch. This is my favorite part of the story: 
(Right click, save to your computer and print if you would like)

Inspired by the Grinch, the rest of this list are things that require pretty much nothing bought at a store, and would make Christmas mean a little bit more.

#8 Do a random act of kindness for all the neighbors on your list.
Photo Source: Flikr

Then leave a little note wishing them a Merry Christmas from your family.

#9 Organize a neighborhood charity project instead of neighbor gifts.

I know this one isn't low in energy, if you're the one who organizes it. So, find the person in the neighborhood who would love to take this on, and then contribute!!

#10 Go Christmas Caroling 
Image Muncie Downtown

If you're short on cash, this will let all the neighbors you love know you're thinking about them. Leave those cheap candy canes too, if so desired.

#11 Organize a neighborhood Christmas Elf Game
image: mysavings

Ask everyone in the neighborhood who wants to participate in this instead of neighbor gifts. The organizer assigns each family to be another family's Elves. It's a secret. Each week in December, the Elves give secretly give something to or do something for that family. The Elves reveal their true identities the last week. It's really fun!

#12 Create a blizzard 
image: Martha Stewart

Make lots of snowflakes. For each neighbor, write something you like about them and/or their family on the snowflake. Tape them (carefully) to your neighbors' doors, and leave a not saying, "There's a blizzard of reasons we like you."  Knock and run {like the traditional 'heart attack'}. Of course, leave your name so they know you gave them a "neighbor gift" :).

If you're having a Grinchy or a happy year, I hope you'll find a way to make this holiday season mean "a little bit more".

XO, Nancy 

P.S. Here is my new favorite:
Find the recipe and a gift tag HERE .

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1 comment:

  1. My favorite idea is number 8. I think that brings us back to the real meaning of christmas which is the birth of Jesus Christ. His whole life was about service. If I had kids I think that would be a powerful lesson to teach them.


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