Christmas Presents

Kondoru

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#1
(I am in a garralous mood today, plus its Sunday)

Not only do we have people telling us to behavie ourselves, to give to charity, to eat up our sprouts....oh, yes, and to SPEND...

There are those who will lecture on GIVING.

Or, what not to give.

-----

(I Hate Christmas...)

-----

I will advise you on two rules.

Decent Quality, and Thought Put In.

-----

While we are at it, we can talk about stuff that can be made. I have little money, less at Christmas, and so I make presents. Why not have fun while giving?

I make a lot of home preserves, which go down well at Christmas. Some are complex but I will share a couple of easy ones to start.

PICKLED EGGS

A good traditional dish served up in pubs...placed in an open chrisp packet. The bag holds the egg and the crisps soak up the vinegar.

A big jar. (get an old one off of a chippy, or most stores sell big kilner jars these days)
Enough hard boiled eggs to go in above jar. (peel the shells off while still hot, -this way they peel easier)
White vinegar. (Can use brown but that sends the eggs brown...no harm to it. I have used cider or white wine vinegar which works too)
NO PICKLING SPICES (Have seen all sorts of recipes. Eggs have a delicate flavour and the object of the exercise is not to spoil it. Repeat. No Spices. Eggs, Vinegar...thats all.)

You place the eggs in the jar and cover with hot vinegar. Leave two weeks.


WILD BOAR SAUCE

Adapted from a recipe by my friend Ms Beaton. Goes with all meats, cheese, and on its own on toast. Using the cheapo own brand stuff I estimate two jars of this will set me back just over £1. All my family and friends love it and if I never made anything else ever again...I would still be loved.

Another good thing about this recipe is it goes back into the original ingredients jars...No hunting for new jars....You just get the old labels off.

Jar Marmalade. (can be Orange but does no harm to try some other sort. As I said, I use the cheapo stuff).
Jar Redcurrant Jelly or Cranberry Sauce.
Big dollop of whatever mustard is to hand (optional)

Place all ingredients in a pot and heat very gently, enough to melt them together. Then replace in jars. You can eat this straight away but it will keep.

Have you any gift ideas? Shall I post more recipes?
 

escargot

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#2
A true story -

A relation of mine made an innocent enquiry about an elderly aunt: 'Does she still pick her legs?'
The person she asked was quite offended and disgusted that someone would ask such a personal, insulting question.
However, this lady was hard of hearing. My relation had actually asked 'Does she still pickle eggs?'
 

Kondoru

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#3
I will say nothing to that.

its a grand way of preserving eggs if you have a sudden glut. (Chicken friend might go insane and give me a dozen.)

(No, I do not lay them myself...)
 

Tigerhawk

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#5
I only give presents to the children in the family (or children of close friends), and my parents, everyone over the age of eighteen gets a charitable donation from one of the better known charities. I figure if they too old for Santa to visit, they are old enough to understand what a donation card means...
 

escargot

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#6
I only give presents to the children in the family (or children of close friends), and my parents, everyone over the age of eighteen gets a charitable donation from one of the better known charities. I figure if they too old for Santa to visit, they are old enough to understand what a donation card means...
We had a Secret Santa at my last work and I drew a despised deputy manager, someone I truly abhorred. Tried really hard to think of an insulting enough gift while not actually wasting good money on her.

Eventually settled on an Oxfam token. If they'd offered one for a truckload of manure or a session of sewer-dredging I'd've gladly paid over the odds, but for the budget she got a batch of child health checks in Sudan or somewhere.

She knew who it was and was furious, MADE my xmas that year. Her glowering face was like an open log fire in a brick hearth, warming my heart. I still giggle.
 

EnolaGaia

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#7
I only give presents to the children in the family (or children of close friends), and my parents, everyone over the age of eighteen gets a charitable donation from one of the better known charities. I figure if they too old for Santa to visit, they are old enough to understand what a donation card means...
The potential problem with this approach lies in the "recipients" recognizing or remembering your action on their behalf, as I learned the hard way.

I enacted this same policy with my family for two decades - making donations to worthy organizations (e.g., Red Cross) and ensuring cards were issued to advise family members of what I'd done in their names.

This policy was originally announced in a family Xmas gathering, and in each subsequent year I'd announce what I'd done at family gatherings during the usual gift-opening melee.

In light of multiple family deaths and resultant stresses starting 5 years ago I shifted to issuing gift cards in the same amounts. To my surprise, the recipients all seemed taken aback and asked why I'd started issuing gifts for the holidaze. I reminded them I'd been gifting them all along in the same amounts via charitable donations in their names. This reminder (from my perspective) seemingly represented something of a revelation (from the others' perspectives), and the situation became awkward.
 

Swifty

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#13
Me and the Mrs traditionally don't buy each other a Christmas present through mutual agreement .. we do Halloween instead. With any luck I'll get the sack again so I don't have to work Christmas day this year for no extra pay.
 

Tribble

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#15
In this household, October-December is the traditional season of constantly asking each other "What do you want for Christmas?" followed by the traditional replies of (Her) "Don't know." (Me) "Bar of chocolate."
 

escargot

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#16
In this household, October-December is the traditional season of constantly asking each other "What do you want for Christmas?" followed by the traditional replies of (Her) "Don't know." (Me) "Bar of chocolate."
My reply is always 'Socks!' because I LOVE socks. One year I received a laptop, of course in its packaging, which back then was a big box. I became quite excited at the thought of how many socks must be in there!
 

Frideswide

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#18
@ravensocks One of my autistic friends has great expertise and a special interest in goats. A group of us get her an oxfam goat each year for her birthday Christmas. So she has 3 /actual/ goats on the croft and 15 goats being looked after by someone on a different continent!
 

Yithian

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#19
Anybody know about Brandy? I don't drink the stuff, but I need to buy somebody a bottle--thirty to forty quid range.

Advice?
 

ravensocks

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#20
@ravensocks One of my autistic friends has great expertise and a special interest in goats. A group of us get her an oxfam goat each year for her birthday Christmas. So she has 3 /actual/ goats on the croft and 15 goats being looked after by someone on a different continent!
Ha, brilliant! Virtual goats - that is a great idea. I like those gift cards, there is a lot of scope for thoughtful gifts that your friends (or cats) will appreciate and the practical recipients will make good use of.
 

Tribble

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#22
I've given Oxfam goats as a gift before! (Goat sponsorship thing, not actually giving goats to Oxfam, not sure they accept them, very little room for livestock in those sorting rooms in the back and I probably wouldn't just give a goat away because goats are kinda cool and they could mow the lawn for us).
Last year, I donated to the Book Trust Xmas appeal. Sends books to kids. Books are cool and so's gaining literacy early in life.

https://www.booktrust.org.uk/suppor...ing-joy-to-a-vulnerable-child-this-christmas/
 
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Kondoru

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#25
MINCEMEAT
1/2 lb apples, cored
1/2 lb raisins
1/2 lb currants
1/2 lb suet
1/2 lb brown sugar
1 lemon, pips removed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon mixed spice
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg or mace
1 cup sherry
you will need about six standard sized jam jars.
put lemon and apples though mincer (or finely chop or grate), add to other ingredients in bowl, mix well and jar up. If a little dry, add more water/sherry

ANOTHER INGREDIENTS LIST
1/2 lb apples
1 1/2 lb mixed dried fruit
1/2 lb brown sugar
1/2 lb suet
1 lemon
2 oz chopped nuts
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup brandy
Old fashioned mincemeat would have had more spices; try doubling the amounts given.
 

Kondoru

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#26
Something a bit more complex, but I assure you, this will be well worth it

MANGO CHUTNEY

Two large mangoes - they should feel soft to the touch and smeel sweet when sniffed
1/2 tsp salt
1 large cooking apple peeled and chopped
1/2 pint malt vinegar
1 cup sugar
1 large onion (finely chopped)
2 cloves of garlic peeled and crushed
2 inches of fresh ginger peeled and grated.

Peel mangoes and chop small,.
sprinkle salt over mango
put vinegar and sugar in pan, bring to boil, stirring well.
add other ingredients, bring back to boil, then lower heat and simmer for hour. stir well
let cool a bit and jar.

You havent lived if you have never tried home made mango chutney
 

Kondoru

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#27
Something simpler....

HERB OIL

FRESH herbs you may find (sage, rosmary, thyme, garlic, whatever) chopped.
Cheapo cooking oil.
a nice bottle (I cheat and use the old bottles saved from salad creams.)

Place herbs in bottle, gently warm oil, pour on top.

After a few weeks the oil will be green and, well, herby.

use as a salad dressing or whenever you feel like extra interesting oil
 

Kondoru

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#28
Something not so edible.

TREASURES BOX

You will need a box. Maybe a fancy wood one, even an old cigar box...The thing is, it must look like it should contain treasures...

Inside you put...well, you can put anything. You can start (or finish) with a bag of chocolate coins.

The main thing, is, each artefact should have a story. Thats the only rule. You can write them down on a tag attached, or if you feel like it, deliver them as oral history.

So a big marble becomes a crystal ball which was found in the effects of an old lady in the vilage rumoured to be a witch, a glass bead necklace belonged to an Ancient Egyptian princess, a bag of hazelnuts were found in a Mesolithic lake village, a cowrie shell is currancy.

it can contain all sorts of junk; after all, Archaeology is rubbish, and its the context gives the finds their value.
 

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#29
:cheer: fabulous idea!

Not nearly as neat but my MiL and I exchange "stockings" with a number of small gifts, preferably second hand, hand made, recycled and/or with an interesting story.

This year so far I'm including Divine chocolate coins, the small scent phials from a penhaligon's samplet boc that I already know I don't like, a notebook from redbubble designed by one of my autistic friends, a brooch from the Hospice Shop, two bookmarks from the Housing Association Christmas Fayre., a new pincushion made from scraps of Liberty fabrics....
 
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