Not too late for valued gifts

Published 10:15 pm Thursday, December 20, 2012

The days before Christmas seem to fly by when one is still scrounging for last-minute gift ideas that won’t wear out the wallet.

Fortunately, the Chilton County Extension Office has a handful of suggestions for creating presents in a pinch.

Administrator of Outreach Programs Christy Mendoza said buying candy in bulk, parceling it out for multiple people and repackaging it in Christmas bags is an option that meets budget and time constraints.

One could replace store-bought candy with homemade treats if time allows.

“Homemade goodies make great gifts, such as peanut brittle, cookies, jams and jellies,” Mendoza said. “If you prefer to stay away from the sweets, you could make other food gifts from your garden like pickles and pepper sauce.”

Mendoza said pecan trees are handy for preparing bags of pecans as gifts.

“Be sure to give those earlier in the season so they can make you some pecan sandies to reciprocate,” Mendoza said.

Handcrafted Christmas ornaments are another gift option and can be made out of materials like cinnamon dough.

Instead of buying expensive care products for someone at a store, follow a simple recipe for homemade hand scrub: 3 parts sugar, 1 part Dawn Oil of Olay dish washing liquid; mix together and package in a watertight container.

Paige Hudson of Clanton said candles of many sizes can be purchased and wrapped in cellophane paper or a bag.

“Tie with a complimentary bow and perhaps hang a matching ornament from it,” Hudson said. “You can easily turn a $5 candle into a gift that has a perceived value of $12 without spending more than $1 on the wrappings.”

4-H Enrichment Coordinator Joan McGriff suggested making a Post-It gift with clear frames from the Dollar Tree, Post-It notes from Walmart and scrapbook paper and embellishments.

Cut the scrapbook paper to fit the frame, stick Post-It notes on the front and attach a ribbon or embellishments.

McGriff said the Post-It gift recipe came from

Additionally, McGriff offered a gift idea in the form of a favor by “doing the dishes” for a neighbor.

Deliver paper plates with a tag “Don’t let your dishes pile up this busy holiday season. Let our family do the dishes this week! Merry Christmas!”

“This would be a good idea for teacher gifts before Christmas break,” McGriff said and suggested changing the wording to “Enjoy your Christmas holiday and let our family do the dishes over your break!”

Another neighbor gift the Extension provided was a wrapping care package including a wrapping paper three-pack and a tape three-pack (each for $1).

The tag would say: “Since November you’ve been shopping, barely sleeping, hardly stopping. Now it’s late, you’re in a scrape, out of paper, out of tape. Hope this wrap helps save the day. Have a happy holiday.”

“Handmade items are gifts from the heart,” County Extension Coordinator Gay West said. “You can share your talent and time by making gifts for friends and family. If you have access to the Internet, there is a wealth of resources for crafters.”