This time of year can be a bit stressful for those of us with large families and limited income. We worry about Christmas gifts for our kids and grands, without wrecking our budgets. Here is how I solve that problem.
I have six grands, one grand-in-law and two great grands. Because I don't know what gift would make each one happy, they get cash. Teens in particular seem to like having extra spending money. The little ones have something for the piggy bank that will eventually add up to a fair amount for them when they are older. In order not to break the bank, I save a little here and a little there all year so I have enough set aside by December.
One year everyone got jars of my hot chocolate mix along with bags of homemade caramel corn. But this year because health issues prevent me from doing large projects, my kids are getting hand written recipe cards that contain recipies from their grandmothers and a couple of aunts, all of whom are no longer with us. There are stories connected to some of the recipies and I am including those, too.
Whenever there was a family gathering, my mother would make a cold shrimp salad. At one of those gatherings I was fixing a plate for her and I asked if she wanted some shrimp salad. She wrinkled her nose and said "Absolutely not. I can't stand the stuff." When I asked why she made it, she replied that it looked pretty in the bowl! And that was Mother. She loved 'pretty.'
Included is Dad's recipe for peanut brittle that he made every Christmas season. His children called it "Dad's World Famous Peanut Brittle." He almost always cooked it a bit too long so it had a slightly scortched taste, which distinguished it from other peanut brittle. And that is how we liked it.
Mother's recipe for gingersnap cookies is there, too. When growing up, my family lived in a big, old farmhouse with a large screened in porch. We often had visits from relatives. In the summer, Mother would serve her gingersnaps along with ice cold lemonade, all enjoyed on our front porch.
There are all sorts of ways to enjoy the Christmas season without spending a fortune. All we need is a little imagination and to remember the reason for the season.