Christmas is just 19 days away. There's so much to do and so little time to get it all done.
Topping the list of things to do is selecting the right gifts for friends and family members. Nowadays people seem to have most everything, and then there's the cost:
But did you know that you can put together some fantastic gifts without even visiting the mall? For example, if your family ranches or farms, you can give gifts that represent your industry (even promoting it at the same time). Check out the following ideas.
Most Cowbelle and CattleWomen organizations have local brand napkins for sale. (The Moffat County Cowbelles do.) Purchase a bundle of napkins. Tie up a dozen or more with ribbon. Put them in a basket with homemade cookies or candies (or anything else you want). Cover the basket with cellophane and tie it all up with a festive ribbon. Make several such baskets for gifts.
(Keep your eyes out for baskets during the year. They can be found at thrift stores, flea markets and yard sales - some as cheap as a quarter. Cellophane and ribbon can be purchased at bargain prices after Christmas.)
Some organizations, such as the Moffat County Cowbelles, also sell brand placemats. If you can find some, cover the front and back sides of the placemats with a clear, adhesive-backed paper. That way the placemats can be used over and over. Put them in a gift box with some napkins.
Put a recipe for a lamb, beef or pork dish in an apron pocket. Include an ingredient for the recipe, like rice or a seasoning. What a great gift for a cook!
Wrap a loaf of homemade bread (perhaps made from your own wheat crop) in plastic wrap. Put it in a basket with jam, jelly, or even homemade butter. Wrap the basket with cellophane.
Use a cow, pig or sheep cookie cutter to cut out sugar cookies. Bake, cool and decorate, using frostings. You can even use a thin, new paint brush and just the right consistency of icing to "brand" the cookie. Use your brand or that of the gift's recipient. Arrange the cookies on a new cookie sheet, wrap with cellophane and trim with festive ribbon.
Search out craft stores for wooden farm animal cut-outs. Paint and "brand." Add hangers so the cows, pigs or sheep can be hung on the Christmas tree.
Make up a breakfast basket. Choose ingredients based on how big you want the basket to be. Suggestions include: pancake or biscuit mix, canned or fresh ham or sausage, fresh eggs and syrup. Again, wrap the basket with cellophane and tie with a great big bow.
Give a gift of beef steaks and a marinade. Remember, though, to always follow food safety rules. When giving gifts that can spoil, have the recipients open them right away.
Perhaps you have a photo of your farm or ranch in its earlier years. Blow up the photo. Before framing, write information about the photo on a piece of paper. Include the date the photo was taken and any other interesting information about it. Put the paper behind the photo when framing. That way family members will always have some historical information about it. What a wonderful gift!
You can make great country gifts for kids, too. For example, bake some sugar cookies. Put them in a basket with cans of frosting and decorative candies. They can frost them for Santa.
Promote the use of recyclable materials. First, decorate a box and its lid with adhesive-backed, colorful paper. Then fill it with all sorts of throwaways, like paper rolls, empty boxes, and whatever else you can find. Include tape, glue, string, and markers. Make a list of creations that might be made from the materials. (This will get the child started.) Wrap up the box. Watch the fun.
And if there's not time to put these country Christmas ideas to use this year, start right in planning for the next year!