Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Frugal Christmas: Food Coupons

I’ve been making notes and stockpiling ideas for creative gift giving for months now….
It’s often a struggle to maintain the checkbook balance and give gifts that will be appreciated.
Sometimes I wonder if I’m the only one who loves homemade gifts? It seems to be harder and harder to give gifts to extended family etc. that don’t empty the account and don’t make the receiver turn up their nose and sending you the look that says “you could have done better by just giving me the cash”.
Its not as if you can put a note in with each gift given that describes your gift-giving philosophy, how you have to be a good steward of your money and cannot therefore in all good conscience buy your cousin a Kindle or explain that you don’t even spend that much on your own kiddos….
And so I’ve learned a few things….
Which I am more than happy to share with you, dear reader.
Gifts of food are most appreciated.
Gifts of time are meaningful too….
Here’s a great idea that incorporates food and time….
Food Coupons…. Either monthly or quarterly….
Use your computer’s desktop publishing or put your coupons together with some beautiful scrapbook paper…. Decide what you’d like to give, can afford to give, what you’re good at making/baking and what your recipient likes to eat… and how often you want to do this during the next year….

Coupon Ideas:
Quarterly Pie Club Gift Certificate- you agree to bake and deliver a pie 4 months of the next year…. Idea: January- coconut cream pie, April- cherry pie, July- raspberry cream pie, Oct- Apple pie…. Any pie will do- you can tailor it to the seasons or that specific month…. Like giving a grasshopper pie on March 17th…. You can also do this with cakes…. 4 cakes a year. Or cookies…. A cookie club membership!
Gift of Dinner Certificate- you agree to cook and deliver a meal…. Including beverage and dessert within the first six weeks of the new year…. You should work with the gift recipient to set up a date for this meal as soon as possible so you don’t forget and call them a couple of days beforehand to remind them again. Make sure to list what the meal is on the certificate so you stay within your budget!
Simple Quarterly Foodie Gift- you can get pretty creative with this one…. Think of which four months you’d like to give the gift and a food to go with it…. Winter month- pot of soup and loaf of homemade bread, Spring month- breakfast/egg casserole, Summer month- homemade ice cream sandwiches (or ingredients for recipient to make homemade ice cream if they have an ice cream maker), Fall month- apple or pumpkin pie or some other recipe made with pumpkin or apple.
Hopefully these ideas will jump start some great brain storming for you and you’ll think up your own wonderful foodie gifts. Now, my ideas above are all quarterly but you can adapt them to monthly if you’d like…. However, from my own personal experience- monthly foodie gifts can be overwhelming and so I’ve found it best to do it quarterly. Also- if you feel you just can’t hand over just a certificate for a gift…. Then make up something yummy…. Like Christmas cookies in a pretty tin to go with the certificate.

Next up:
More foodie gifts to give….

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