Yearlong Memorable Christmas Gifts

It’s never too early to think of Christmas.  Am I the only one who thinks that way?  Granted, I am not one of those who has the shopping all done and wrapped before Thanksgiving.  I’m usually still scrambling around at the last minute still looking for that “perfect gift”, which is hopefully on sale.

This is sort of a continuation of last year’s post of Memorable Christmas Gifts.  Following are some ideas that may keep you busy the good part of this year; money may be saved in the process, there’s plenty of time now, unless you procrastinate until Halloween, there are benefits to both you and the receiver in these gifts, and they will surely become treasured heirlooms.
1)       Collect various stories and experiences from ancestors of your children (both sides of the family), and bind it in book form.
2)       Create a collage, art piece, or memento that represents your family –
A)      A Generation picture – old pictures combined in a frame, or living family in a portrait (all the family or just the girls in similar dresses).  I have placed the photos of the women in my family in a frame for each of my daughters.   I have learned that oversized family portraits are elephants when they become outdated.  A nice moderate size is good enough, especially when combined with several other family portraits.
B)      A Quilt filled with pictures and/or mementos.
C)      A Scrapbook page filled with traditions and idiosyncrasies about your family, nicely framed for the wall.
D)     Photos or drawn pictures combined attractively in a collage or group frame.
3)       Emergency kits filled with basics.  Take the year to fill and organize, then give as gifts.  Just cross your fingers they won’t be needed during the year.
4)      My married kids are forever asking me for the recipe of a favorite dish.  On-line you can find sites where they will help you create a book if you supply the recipes and even some pictures.
5)      Also on-line, if you supply the pictures and basic story line, you can publish your own family story.
6)      Plan a family or grandchildren’s Christmas party.  Prepare fancy invitations to be mailed; games and activities, take the entire year to plan, collect items needed and make it a special yearly event.
7)      Grow a garden, buy at the Farmer’s Market, or pick at various orchards and farms and can, freeze, dry, and store your produce.  These make great gifts, especially with homemade breads, or a complete dinner package.
8)      Learn a new hobby this year: knitting, photography, writing, something that can be shared.  Make all of your Christmas presents using this new skill.
9)      Clean out your home all year long:  books, clothes, furniture, appliances, etc.  Give found items as gifts, or donate them in the Fall to DI or a charity organization, when they tend to be most needed.  You can get a great tax deduction while you’re at it. 
10)   Spend a year collecting and organizing all of your tips, tricks, and shortcuts about what you’ve learned in life:  Household, marriage, psychology, finding happiness, gospel, hobbies, etc.  Bind and give to your children, or anyone else who might be interested.
11)   Hold a family event in the summer with a specific theme:  Olympics, Pioneer Trek, Scripture Stories, Roughing It, Vacation, etc.  Interview participants before, during, and after.  Record everything, make a DVD, and share with family.
12)   Spend the year writing your life history or organize your best family photos and make copies for everyone.