Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

Book Review: The Red Suit Diaries

May 25, 2017

The Red Suit Diaries by Ed ButchartRedSuitDiaries

A Real-Life Santa on Hopes, Dreams, and Childlike Faith

This book is a biographical sketch of Ed Butchart’s journey to becoming Santa Claus for the children and children-at-heart of the Atlanta area.  He begins with the first time he donned the red suit.  He was a senior in high school at the time.

After high school he went to college to study journalism then joined the Marine Corp.  When his time in as a Marine was over he became a salesman for a medical diagnostics company.

He was also active in his church where he befriended a wheelchair-bound man who had cerebral palsy.  This friendship eventually led Ed to stop being a very successful salesman and start a non-profit business repairing wheelchairs and other medical equipment for folks in need named Friends of Disabled Adults, Inc. (FODA).

The next time he donned the red suit was for a special event hosted by his church.  This launched him into becoming a professional Santa Claus.  Ed’s faith became a big part of his philosophy, of what he endeavored to portray as Santa Claus.  He was determined that each child who came to see him would experience the love of God Who sent His son Jesus born on that first Christmas day to die for the sins of the world and to know that just as God loves him or her Santa loves him or her, too.

The book is full of Santa Ed’s encounters with children.  One of my favorite stories was of a family who visited Santa.  There were five poorly dressed children.  At the request of the oldest child Santa Ed started with the younger children.  After listening to their Christmas lists, the oldest girl sat on Santa’s lap.  Her only request was for a Christmas tree for the younger children to enjoy.  Ed, seeing the family did not have extra money for Christmas, encouraged the young lady to keep hope in Christmas and her dreams alive for herself and her siblings.  He told the man who videotaped for sale each child’s interview with Santa to give the family for free their children’s interview tape.  As the family walked away the videographer followed them and gave them a $100 bill, telling them it was from Santa, so they could get a Christmas tree and make their Christmas merry.  The family’s return thanking Santa for “his” gift is priceless.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, and I believe you will enjoy it also.  It made me want to put on the red suit and share the love of Jesus, the One whose birth we celebrate on Christmas Day, with children in my area.  Perhaps someday, if God wills it, I will do so.

Easter’s Christmas Connection

March 26, 2017

We are now in the middle of the Easter season.  For many this is a time of looking forward to colored eggs, candy, and Easter bunnies.  For others it is a time of remembering Easter’s Christmas connection.

Jesus of Nazareth, the Baby whose birthday we celebrate at Christmas, grew up living a life free from sin as predicted by the prophets of the Old Testament.  He led an itinerant ministry up and down the tiny country of Israel.  He preached the message “The Kingdom Of Heaven Is At Hand” while training twelve men to spread His message throughout the world.


In spite of all the good He did, in spite of the following He had among the people, the leaders, both religious and political, hated Him.  They conspired against Him, arrested Him on fake charges, and held an illegal kangaroo court to convict Him of a crime He never committed.  They pressured the Roman governorship to give Him a death sentence.  Then they made sure the death sentence was carried out.  All this, too, was predicted by the prophets of the Old Testament.


But that is not the end of the story.  Three days later the event occurred that many celebrate on Easter Sunday.  God raised Jesus of Nazareth from the dead signifying that He accepted Jesus’ payment for the penalty of our sins.


This same Jesus Who was born in a stable whose birthday we celebrate Christmas Day died to pay the penalty for the sins of all mankind and Rose from the dead Easter morning to seal the deal for all time.  It is now up to each one of us to accept that payment for the penalty of our sins.  If you have not yet accepted that payment for the penalty of your sins I hope you will do so soon.


That is Easter’s Christmas connection.

History of Christmas Traditions

February 25, 2017

My friends at Tree Classics shared this History of Christmas Traditions with me so I thought I would share it with you.  Thank you, Tree Classics!  I bet there is something here that you did not know.  Now I wonder what Michelangelo used to sculpt his snowman.

treeclassics-infographic-final-v2

For more Christmas tradition history visit Tree Classics’ blog.

Please share some of your Christmas traditions in the comments below.

Christmas blessings!

The Characters of Christmas – Jesus

December 24, 2016

“For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:11 NKJV)

There has never been a more awaited birth or a longer celebrated one.  Ever since sin first entered the Garden of Eden through Adam and Eve, the world waited for the coming of the One who would destroy sin and the evil one.  Then one night in a little town named Bethlehem the One arrived as a little baby, God’s gift to mankind, the first Christmas gift.

Many men prophesied about this One, the Messiah, Savior of all the world.  Moses wrote that this One would be born of a woman (Genesis 3:15), a descendant of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Judah (Genesis 17:3, 7, 19, 21:12, 22:18, 28:13-14, 49:8-10, Numbers 24:17).  Isaiah added that He would descend from Jesse (Isaiah 11:1); and Jeremiah added that He would come from Jesse’s son David, king of Israel (Jeremiah 23:5, 33:15).  The prophet Micah further said that out of all the towns in Judah He would be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:1-3).  Isaiah further prophesied that He would be born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14).  David also foretold that God would be the Father of the Savior (Psalm 2:7).  This had to be because He could not save the world from their sins if He had sin in His nature too.  Since the sin nature was passed on through the man, the mother of the Savior had to be a virgin and the father had to be God.  Isaiah also said that this One would be God Himself (Isaiah 9:6-7).

King David, along with the prophet Isaiah, said that kings would bring Him gifts and bow down to worship Him (Psalm 72:10-15, Isaiah 60:3).  Hosea prophesied that He would spend time in Egypt (Hosea 11:1), and Jeremiah foretold the weeping that occurred when Herod killed all the boy babies two years old and under in Bethlehem (Jeremiah 31:15).  Isaiah even revealed that the Savior would live in the area around Galilee (Isaiah 9:1-2).  Many more prophesies were recorded throughout the Old Testament about the Messiah, the Savior, but we won’t go into them here.

Only one person fulfilled all these prophesies.  He was born in Bethlehem to a virgin, Mary, a direct descendant of King David.  He was named Jesus. Angels announced his birth to shepherds. Kings known as wise men or magi brought Him gifts and bowed down to worship Him.  He was taken to Egypt by Mary and Joseph just before Herod called for the killing of Bethlehem’s baby boys two years old and younger.  He lived there until Herod died.  Then Joseph brought the family back to Nazareth in the region of Galilee.

Jesus lived a life just like we do.  He was tempted to sin just like we are, but He never sinned.  He suffered persecutions from those who hated Who He was and what He stood for.  Then He was crucified on a cruel Roman cross not because of something He did for He did nothing wrong but because He was the Son of God.  He went to the cross as God’s sacrificial lamb willingly giving up His life so that sin and the Devil’s hold on humanity would be broken forever.  Then Jesus rose from the dead to complete His wonderful work of salvation.  All this was prophesied in the Old Testament, too.

This year as you celebrate the birth of Jesus consider what gift you are going to give Him.  The gift He wants most is you.

Merry Christmas!

Names of Jesus
The Amen – Revelation 3:14
Angel – Genesis 48:16, Exodus 23:20,21
Anointed – Psalm 2:2
Apostle – Hebrews 3:1
Author and Finisher of our faith – Hebrews 12:2
Beginning and End of the Creation of God – Revelation 3:14, 22:13
Beloved Son – Matthew 3:17
My Beloved – Ephesians 1:6
Only Begotten – John 1:14, 18
The Branch – Isaiah 11:1, Matthew 2:23
Bread of Life – John 6:32
Bridegroom – Matthew 9:15
Christ “Messiah, the Anointed One” – John 1:41
Consolation – Luke 2:25
Cornerstone – Ephesians 2:20
Counselor – Isaiah 9:6, Colossians 2:3
Dayspring – Luke 1:78
Deliverer – Luke 2:11
Door – John 10:9
Emmanuel – Isaiah 7:14
The Faithful Witness – Revelation 5:5
The Father of Eternity – Isaiah 9:6, Revelation 1:8
God – Isaiah 9:6, John 1:1
God, My Savior – Isaiah 45:1
The Mighty God – Isaiah 9:6, John 1:1-3
Governor – Matthew 2:6
Head of the Church – Ephesians 5:23
Heir – Hebrews 1:2
Holy One – Isaiah 41:14, Mark 1:24
I Am – John 8:58
Immanuel – Isaiah 7:14, I Timothy 3:16
Israel – Isaiah 49:3
Jesus – Matthew 1:21
Jesus Christ – John 1:17
Jesus of Nazareth – Mark 1:24, Luke 24:19
King – Matthew 21:5, Psalm 2:6, Matthew 2:1-2
King of Kings and the Lord of Lords – Revelation 19:16
Lamb of God – John 1:14
The Last Adam – I Corinthians 15:45
Life – John 14:6
Light of the World – John 8:12
The Lion of Judah – Revelation 5:5
LORD – Isaiah 40:3, Mark 1:1-8
Lord – Psalm 110:1, Luke 20:41-44
Lord Jesus – John 20:28
Man – 1 Timothy 2:5
The Second Man – 1 Corinthians 15:47
The Master – Matthew 9:11, 23:8
Messiah – Daniel 9:25, John 1:41
The Messiah – Daniel 9:25-26, Isaiah 61:1, Luke 4:16-21
Paraclete – John 16:7, 14, 15
High Priest – Hebrews 3:1
Priest – Psalm 110:4, Hebrews 3:1, 5:5-6
Prince of Peace – Isaiah 9:6, Ephesians 2:14
Prophet – Deuteronomy 11:15, 18; Matthew 21:11; Luke 24:19
The Prophet – Deuteronomy 18:15-18, John 12:49-50
Rabbi – John 1:49, 20:16
Resurrection and Life – John 11:25
Righteous One – 1 Corinthians 1:30
Rock – Matthew 16:18
Savior, Christ the Lord – Luke 2:11, Titus 2:13, 2 Timothy 2:10
Savior of the World – 1 John 4:14
The Seed – Genesis 15:5, Galatians 3:16
Servant – Isaiah 42:1, 49:7
The Servant of the Lord – Isaiah 42:1, 52:13, Philippians 2:7
Good Shepherd – John 10:11
Shiloh – Genesis 49:10, Ezekiel 21:27
Son of the Blessed – Mark 14:61
Son of David – Matthew 12:23
Son of God – John 10:36
Son of Man – Mark 10:45
The Son – Psalm 2:7, Hebrews 5:8
The Son of Man – Daniel 7:13, Matthew 20:28
Stone – Matthew 21:42, 1 Peter 2:8
The Stone – Psalm 118:22, 1 Peter 2:4-8
Teacher – John 3:2, Matthew 9:11
Truth – John 14:6
True Vine – John 15:1
The Way – John 14:6
Wonderful – Isaiah 9:6, John 1:14
Word – John 1:1

The Characters of Christmas – Wise Men

December 17, 2016

Of all the characters in the Christmas story the wise men may have the least said about them in the Bible and the most legend about them in stories and song.  Here’s what we do know about the wise men based on what the Bible tells us.

First, there was more than one wise man.  The Bible says that they were wise “men” plural, but it doesn’t reveal the actual number of wise men.  Many say there were three wise men because of the number of gifts recorded as being given to Jesus.  Next, we know that they came from the East.  How far to the East we do not know.  They may have been from Persia or even the orient.  The wise men were astrologers; they studied the stars.  They knew the stars very well so that when His star appeared they knew what they needed to do.

When they saw the star they left the comfort of their homes to seek out the newborn King of the Jews.  They had a basic knowledge of this baby.  They knew that He was to be King of the Jews and that He was to be worshiped.  That is why they went to Jerusalem, to find where this King was to be born.  The Bible does not say that the wise men followed the star they saw from their home to Jerusalem.  It just says that they saw the King’s star in the East and came to worship Him.

The wise men caused quite a stir in Jerusalem.  No one knew of a newborn King.  King Herod, a ruthless and paranoid man, was troubled most of all.  Was this another plot to depose him?  He decided to play along with the wise men, find out where the baby was to be born, and have the wise men find the baby for him.  Then he would destroy this new King.  The chief priests and scribes, the experts in the Jewish scriptures, came and told the wise men that the baby was to be born in Bethlehem.  Herod told the wise men to look for the baby and to return to tell him where He was so he could go worship Him, too.

When the wise men left Herod’s palace they looked up and once again saw the King’s star.  This time the star led them to Bethlehem to the house where Jesus was.  Some have speculated that the star was just a lining up of certain planets or a comet.  But can a comet or a group of planets way up in the cosmos lead a group of men to a particular town and point out a particular house within that town?  Instead the star seems to be a special miracle star that God made expressly for the purpose of showing the wise men where His Son, the newborn King of the Jews, was staying.

The Bible does not say how close to the birth of Jesus the wise men arrived in Bethlehem.  However, it is safe to say that it was at least forty days and may have been as much as two years after the birth.  We do know that Mary, Joseph, and Jesus left for Egypt to flee Herod after the wise men left, probably the same night.  When Jesus was forty days old He was taken to the temple so the wise men could not have arrived before then.  We also know that when Herod discovered that the wise men had no intention of telling him where the newborn King of the Jews was he killed every baby in Bethlehem two years old and younger.  This may be because the wise men traveled for two years before finding the baby Jesus.  The exact time is unknown, but we do know that it was long enough that Joseph found a house for the young family to live in.  The wise men never went to the stable.

When the wise men saw Jesus they fell down and worshiped Him; and they gave Him gifts: gold, signifying that Jesus is King of the world (that gold financed the family’s trip to Egypt to flee Herod), frankincense, a present signifying that Jesus is our High Priest, and myrrh, signifying Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross for the sins of mankind.

That night God warned the wise men in a dream not to return to Herod.  The wise men obeyed returning to their home by a different route.

God’s Son Jesus was sent to the earth to be the Savior of all mankind.  He is the Savior of the common man as shown by His announcement to the shepherds.  He is also the Savior of the rich man and the scholar.  Jesus is Savior and Lord of all.

 

The Characters of Christmas – The Shepherds

December 11, 2016

Many people use the fact that the shepherd were in the fields watching their sheep as proof that Jesus could not have been born on December 25.  Actually, since the Bible never says why the shepherds were in the fields that night, any reason proffered is pure speculation.  Why were they in the fields at night instead of in the sheep folds?  We are never told.  Perhaps it was because of all the Roman soldiers in the area.  The Roman soldiers were known to take by force what they wanted so perhaps the shepherds were out in the fields to keep the sheep away from the soldiers.  In that case they might have been in the fields with their sheep cold or not.  At any rate the shepherds were in the fields watching the sheep.  Each day was spent making sure the sheep got the food and water they needed; each night watching the sheep sleep undisturbed by thieves or marauding beasts.  One day ran into the next with very little change to the routine.

Then came that special night.  The shepherds were watching their sheep sleep keeping active sheep from wandering away from the herd.  The night sky became as bright as day and a person appeared out of the light.  Understandably the shepherds were terrified.  Where did this bright light come from?  Who was this person who stands before them?  Is he friend or foe?  The person spoke, “Do not be afraid…”  After this speech the sky was filled with more beings like the first one singing and praising God.  Then they disappeared and the light faded to night once more.   When the shepherds found their voices they discussed what they heard.  The Messiah, the Christ, has been born.  They left their sheep and hurried to Bethlehem.  They left their sheep in the hands of God and ran to behold the miracle of the birth of the Son of God.

We are not told how many stables with mangers there were in Bethlehem.  The shepherds may have gone right to the one where Mary and Joseph were, or they may have had to search for it.  When they found “the Babe lying in a manger” they told Mary and Joseph all that happened to cause them to search for the baby Jesus.  We do not know how long the shepherds stayed with Mary and Joseph.  At the time they left the stable, people were stirring in the town of Bethlehem; and the shepherds told everyone they met about their experience with the angels and going to see the Christ, the Son of God.  The people marveled at the shepherds’ message possibly thinking the shepherds were going a bit loony spending too much time with their sheep.  Mary, however, pondered everything the shepherds told her and kept their sayings in her heart.

The shepherds returned to their fields glorifying and praising God worshiping Him for letting them be one of the first to get the birth announcement of His Son.  This was a sure sign that God sent His Son to the humble, the lowly, the common man.

The Characters of Christmas – Joseph

December 4, 2016

There was a man who lived in Nazareth, a carpenter by trade, who, in another time and another place, might have had a very different occupation.  This man could have been king of Israel. He was a direct descendant of King David through his son Solomon.  If the Romans hadn’t conquered Israel Joseph may have been king instead of a carpenter.

Joseph was a godly man who knew God’s word and obeyed God.  He not only obeyed God, but he also obeyed the government that God placed over Israel.  He was a just man who took his responsibilities seriously.

Joseph was espoused to a girl named Mary, a virgin also from Nazareth.  She, too, was a descendant of King David but not of the kingly line.  He loved her deeply and was looking forward to making her his wife.  He must have been devastated when Mary told him that she was pregnant.  She must have told him that this baby was from God and not from a sexual relationship with another man.  She must have told him about the angel Gabriel’s visit and what he told her.  But Joseph’s mind was still in turmoil.  How could she have done this?  She knows the punishment according to the Torah for fornication was death.  Should he divorce Mary or quietly put her away?  After all, he had his own reputation to consider.  Joseph’s sleep that night must have been fitful with much tossing and turning.  Then an angel of the LORD, quite possibly Gabriel, came to Joseph in a dream confirming what Mary had told him.  Being obedient to God, Joseph took Mary as his wife. We’re not told at what point in Mary’s pregnancy they got married.

Word came from the Roman emperor that all men were to go to their home city, the city of their ancestors, to be counted for tax purposes.  Joseph knew that Mary’s time was near and probably would have done all he could to let her stay in Nazareth while he took part in the census.  Mary, however, refused choosing to go with Joseph to Bethlehem, a very long journey for a woman about to give birth to a baby.  The Bible does not say that Joseph had a donkey for Mary to ride, but Joseph’s concern for Mary was great enough for us to assume that he did something so Mary would not have to walk the distance.  When they arrived in Bethlehem they were tired and needed a place to rest.  The baby was coming soon, maybe even that night.  Joseph went from inn to inn looking for a place to stay.  But no place was available.  No room could be made for the couple soon to have a baby.  Finally someone said they could sleep in his stable.  They gladly accepted.  Joseph made a place in the hay and straw for Mary and him to sleep.  Sometime while they were staying in the stable the baby Jesus was born.

Sometime after Jesus was born Joseph found a house for the family to stay.  When Jesus was forty days old, Joseph and Mary took Him to the temple to offer the sacrifice redeeming the first-born male as required by Jewish law.  It is safe to assume that the wise men did not arrive before this event because of what happened after they left.  The Bible does not say how long Joseph and Mary lived in Bethlehem before the wise men visited.  It could have been as long as two years, because Herod killed every boy baby two years old and younger, but not less than forty days.  Sometime after the wise men arrived and quite possibly that same night, Joseph had another dream.  In it he was told to take Mary and Jesus and flee to Egypt because Herod would try to kill the baby.  The little family fled to Egypt and stayed there until Herod died.  After Herod’s death Joseph, Mary, and Jesus returned to Nazareth.

We are not told much about Joseph after he and his family returned to Nazareth.  We do know that Joseph and Mary had a number of children together, a number of Jesus’ half-brothers being mentioned by name in the Bible.  We also know that Joseph and Mary took Jesus to Jerusalem every year, at least until He was twelve years old, for the Feast of the Passover.  After that time Joseph is never mentioned again.  Some speculate that Joseph died fairly early in Jesus’ life.  They say that Joseph was anywhere from twenty to forty years older than Mary and died of old age.  However, it is not unreasonable to believe that Joseph and Mary were much closer in age.  Carpentry can be a hazardous job, and Joseph could have died in a carpentry accident.  Or Joseph could still have been living when Jesus died but was never mentioned because he did not factor in any more of the stories told in the Bible.  It is impossible to say for sure because the Bible is silent on the issue.

Joseph, because of his obedience to and love for God, was given a very important job, raising the Son of God.  It must have overwhelmed him at times, but God was with Joseph guiding him all the way and giving him the wisdom needed to do the job.

The Characters of Christmas – Mary

November 25, 2016

It has been several years since I posted this blog series so I decided to repost it.  As Advent begins this weekend use these reflections as part of your Advent contemplations.


Mary lived with her family in the town of Nazareth.  They were a poor family living in a town with a poor reputation.  “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” was the popular sentiment of the day.  They were descendants of King David through David’s son Nathan, but since the Romans were in control very few of the Jewish royal family were affluent.

Mary was a young girl, a virgin.  We don’t know her age.  Some believe she may have been as young as fourteen years old; others say she was older.  The Bible, however, does not give her age.  She was a loving, caring girl with a servant’s heart.  She was a thankful, trusting person, too.  She was obedient both to her parents and her God.  She was a normal, young Jewish girl with dreams of being a good wife and mother.

Mary’s parents were godly people who made sure Mary also knew God and loved Him.  They taught her the Holy Scriptures.  Because of this Mary was highly favored by God.

Mary was espoused to a man named Joseph, a godly man who also loved God, when she entertained a special visitor.  The angel Gabriel was sent by God to give a special message to Mary.  Gabriel said that God was with Mary and that she was blessed among women.  Gabriel revealed that she was chosen by God to be the mother of the Messiah.  Mary knew all the prophesies about the Messiah.  She probably hoped that she would be the one to give him life, but she was still surprised and probably stunned to hear that she was the one chosen by God to bear His Son.  She was willing to be used by God but questioned how this was to come about.  She was a virgin.  She never had sex with any man.  So how was she to have this baby?  Gabriel explained that God would take care of everything, and Mary understood that this impregnation would occur without the help of a man.  Mary must have wondered what other people would think of her.  Here she would be pregnant without a husband.  Oh, how the gossip would fly.  And what would Joseph think?  Would he leave her?  Would he divorce her?  Would he make an example of her and cause her to go before the judges?  She knew that God’s law said adulteresses should be put to death.  But Mary’s faith and trust in God shone forth.  She knew if God called her to carry His Son then He would take care of her even if the whole world were against her.

Mary was a loving, caring girl with a servant’s heart as evidenced by what she did when she heard that her cousin Elizabeth was six months pregnant.  Mary, being pregnant herself, left her home and stayed with Elizabeth and her husband for three months helping them with the housework, with the work in the fields, with everything imaginable.  Elizabeth’s pregnancy, like Mary’s, was a miraculous pregnancy.  Elizabeth and her husband were too old to have children; yet God intervened and caused them to have a child.

Mary was a faithful girl, faithful to her God and faithful to her husband.  Instead of staying in Nazareth when the Romans made Joseph go to Bethlehem to be counted in the census, where she could have had her baby in a warm house, Mary went with Joseph on the rough, possibly even dangerous trip to Bethlehem; and she made this trip when she was nine months pregnant.  Many believe that Mary made the trip riding on a donkey.  The Bible doesn’t say that.  She may have been walking.  Not likely, but it may have happened. I am sure Joseph would have done all he could to make the trip as easy as possible for Mary.  When they arrived at Bethlehem they were tired.  Joseph spent a lot of time going from inn to inn looking for a place for them to stay especially since Mary could give birth at any time, but nothing was available.  Mary was gracious.  When a stable was offered she willingly took it, choosing to sleep on the straw instead of the hard, cold ground.

Mary was also a strong girl, strong spiritually and strong physically, too.  She was tired from the long trip, tired from the search for a place to spend the night.  All she wanted to do was lay down and sleep, but she could not. Labor pains began.  The baby was born.  And yet she still could not rest for a group of shepherds entered the stable asking, “Is this the place?”  Then they explained why they were there.  What an incredible, unbelievable story!  Unbelievable to anyone who has never interacted with an angel.  Mary believed.  Mary knew why they were there worshiping her little Son.  Yet Mary did not understand everything that was happening because she pondered in her heart all that she heard.  She did not understand why her God would send His Son birthed by her to save the world from their sins.  Only after the shepherds left could Mary get some sleep if her thoughts did not keep her awake.

Two other times we are told that Mary pondered things she saw and heard in her heart.  One was about forty days after Jesus’ birth.  She and Joseph took Jesus to the temple to offer the sacrifices of purification as demanded by Jewish law and the scriptures.  Simeon and Anna, two elderly people who were frequently found at the temple, came to them and worshiped Jesus and told Mary their story.  Simeon even prophesied about Jesus’ death.  This must have really puzzled Mary.  The next was when the wise men knocked on the door of their house.  We do not know exactly when this was as the Bible does not say.  We can surmise that it was more than forty days after Jesus’ birth because Mary, Joseph, and Jesus left for Egypt the soon after the wise men left.  It may have been as long as two years after Jesus’ birth.  Why else would Herod have killed all babies in Bethlehem two years old and younger?  The wise men worshiped her Son and gave him wonderful gifts.  The gifts that were given to Jesus would have caused anyone to stop and think.  Gold is a kingly gift, frankincense a priestly gift, and myrrh a burying spice.

Mary truly was blessed among women and highly favored with God and man.  She was chosen by God to bring His Son into the world.  She believed God and trusted Him to get her through the hardships of life and trusted her son, the Son of God, to take away her sins and be her Savior.

 

Christmas Holly

October 26, 2016

By George Wither

The holly! the holly!
Oh, twine it with the bay!
Come, give the holly a song,
For it helps to drive
Stern Winter away,
With his garments so somber and long,
Then sing to the Christmas holly
That hangs over peasant and king.

It peeps through the trees,
With its berries of red
And its leaves of burnished green,
When the flowers and fruits have
Long been dead And not even
The daisy is seen.

Then sing to the holly,
The Christmas holly,
That hangs over peasant and king.
While we laugh and make merry
Neath its glittering boughs,
To the Christmas holly we’ll sing.
So now is come our joyful feast;
Let every man be jolly;
Each room with ivy leaves is dressed
And every post with holly.


Christmas Cranberry Pudding

1 ½ cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 cups fresh cranberries, halved
½ cup molasses
1/3 cup hot milk
½ cup chopped nuts

Sift flour with baking soda.  Stir in cranberries.  Combine molasses and milk; stir into cranberry mixture until well blended.  Stir in nuts.  Pour into a 6-cup buttered mold.  If the mold has a lid, butter the inside and cover mold or cover with buttered aluminum foil pressed tightly over mold and secured with string.  Place mold on a rack in a pan with a tight-fitting cover.  Pour about 1 inch of water into the pan.  Bring water to a boil and cover; reduce heat to simmer.  Steam for 2 hours.  Cool 10 minutes; unmold.

Sauce

½ cup butter
1 cup sugar
½ cup light cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Melt butter in a 1-quart saucepan.  Stir in sugar and cream until sugar dissolves.  Bring to a boil, stirring constantly.  Stir in vanilla.  Serve hot over pudding.

(Poem and recipe taken from Ideals Christmas magazine, 1983)

100 Great Ideas for Gift Baskets

October 3, 2016

christmas-gift-baskets-7With Christmas less than three months away here are some ideas for your Christmas gift giving this year.

1. Use a large terra cotta plant pot for a “basket”. If you like, you can personalize the pot by painting it with acrylic paints. When the paint is dry, spray a light coat of polyurethane over the pot to add a shine. Fill the pot with:

a.. Gardening gloves
b.. Hand trowel
c.. Hand rake
d.. A selection of vegetable and/or flower seeds (go for something unusual)
e.. Bottle of liquid fertilizer
f.. A gardening book
g.. A subscription for a gardening magazine

 2. Use a large pasta bowl for a “basket”. Fill the bowl with:
a.. A package or two of gourmet pasta
b.. Tongs
c.. A package of sun-dried tomatoes
d.. Extra-virgin olive oil
E.. Spices: oregano, basil, garlic powder
f.. A collection of your favorite pasta recipes hand-printed on recipe cards
g.. And/or a pasta cookbook

 3. For the golfer, fill a basket or a golf bag with.
a.. Golf tees
b.. Golf balls
c.. A baseball cap
d.. Sunscreen
e.. Score cards
f.. A small towel
g.. A can cooler to keep a can of pop or beer cold
Of course, don’t forget to personalize the towel or baseball cap – you can
stitch on them, use fabric paints, etc.

 4. Wine appreciation basket. Fill a Basket with:
a.. Two bottles of quality wine, one red, one white
b.. Corkscrew
c.. 2 or more wine glasses
d.. Wine appreciation book
e.. Tickets or an invitation to a wine tasting (often held at wine specialty shops or wineries)
Extras: add snacks to go with the wine – fine cheese, fruit, crackers, etc.

 5. For the dog lover. Fill a large dog bowl with:
a.. Sqeeky toy
b.. Rawhide bone
c.. Dog biscuits
d.. Dog brush
e.. Dog collar
f.. Leash 

6. For the crafter. Use a rubber storage container for a “basket” Fill the container with:
a.. Glue gun and glue sticks
b.. Acrylic paints
c.. Assorted brushes
d.. A craft knife
e.. Other craft supplies such as beads, pom-poms, wood sticks, buttons, stickers, dried flowers, etc.
f.. Craft patterns or how-to books

 7. Fill a square basket with:
a.. Note cards
b.. Envelopes (choose a variety of sizes)
c.. Note paper
d.. Letter opener
e.. A pen or a pen and pencil set
f.. A personalized seal and some sealing wax
g.. Personalized return address labels

8. For the shutterbug. Fill a basket or a camera bag with:
a.. Assorted film
b.. Coupons for picture developing
c.. Filters for his/her camera
d.. Lens cleaning solution and cloth
e.. Assorted picture frames and/or albums

9. How about a relaxation pack. Fill the basket with:
a.. A gel eye-pack
b.. Epsom salts or bubble bath
c.. Aroma therapy oils
d.. Scented candles
e.. Books on tape (to listen to in the bath)
f.. A hand-held massager
g.. Relaxing music on CD or cassette

10. Kids Coloring Kit. Fill a rubber/plastic storage box with:
a.. Crayons (get the big package with tons of colors)
b.. Non-toxic markets
c.. Assorted papers, include a variety of colors and textures
d.. Coloring books
e.. Assorted stickers
f.. A paint box and brushes 

11. For the sports enthusiast, use a sports helmet or hat as a “basket” ( eg. baseball cap, football helmet, etc.).  Fill the helmet or hat with:
a.. Sports cards
b.. Baseball, puck, etc.
c.. Shoe, boot or skate laces
d.. For the hockey player, add: lace tightener and some tape
e.. For the baseball player, add: mineral oil, batting glove and gum
f.. A sports video
g.. A subscription to a sports magazine
h.. A poster of their favorite player 

12. For the new home owner. Use a tool box as a “basket”. Fill the box with:
a.. Screw drivers
b.. Wrench
c.. Hammer
d.. Pliers
e.. Assorted nails, screws, washers
f.. Gift certificate for the local hardware store
g.. Do-it-yourself book
h.. Assorted odds and ends like: light switch covers, light bulbs, duct tape paint brushes, knobs and handles, etc.

13. For the guitar player. Fill the basket with:
a.. assorted picks
b.. tuning fork
c.. sheet music
d.. CDs or cassettes of great guitar players
e.. guitar strings
f.. electronic tuner
g.. lesson books 

14. For the soap opera fan. Fill the basket with:
a.. tissues
b.. bon-bons
c.. soap opera magazines
d.. biographies of their favorite stars
e.. pictures of their favorite stars
f.. blank video tapes
g.. fan club membership 

15. Create a winter fun pack. Fill a toque with:
a.. lip balm
b.. moisturizer
c.. mittens
d.. hot packs
e.. a pass to the local ski hill
f.. hot chocolate
Extras: add a crazy carpet or a sled (although it won’t actually fit inside the “basket”, you can present it on the side).

16. For someone who is into new age. Fill a basket with:
a.. tarot cards
b.. crystals
c.. scented candles
d.. incense
e.. new age music on CD or cassette
f.. certificates for palm reading, psychic reading, etc.
g.. books 

17. For grandparents who are far away. Fill a basket with:
a.. children’s artwork
b.. gifts made by the kids
c.. frames family pictures (let the kids buy plain wooden frames and decorate them with stickers)
d.. videos of the family
e .. a long-distance calling card
Extras: fill out the basket with candy, coffee, tea, biscuits, Christmas ornaments, candles, etc.

18. For the craft enthusiast, how about a project in a “basket”. Fill a basket or a rubber/plastic box with:
a.. grape vine wreath
b.. dried flowers
c.. pine cones
d.. hot glue gun and glue sticks
e.. wreath hanger
f.. ribbon

19. For the one who loves their car. Fill a basket or a bag with:
a.. tire gauge
b.. quart (or gallon) of oil
c.. wax
d.. chamois
e.. car wash coupons
f.. squeegee for the windows
g.. mileage log and pen
h.. travel mug 

20. The sundae basket. Fill a basket with:
a.. ice cream scoop
b.. gourmet sauces
c.. sprinkles
d.. cones
e.. maraschino cherries
f.. assorted nuts
g.. sundae glasses and spoons
h.. coupons for gourmet ice cream

21. Fill a gold fish bowl with:
a.. fish food
b.. aquarium gravel
c.. net
d.. gift certificate for fish from pet store
e.. book about care of gold fish

22. Use a cookie tin for a “basket “. Fill the tin with:
a.. your favorite cookie recipes or a cookbook
b.. cookie cutters
c.. chocolate chips
d.. nuts
e.. decorator icing set
f.. assorted sprinkles

23. Here’s a rainy day basket. Fill a basket with:
a.. deck of cards
b.. cribbage board
c.. find-a-word and/or crossword books and pencil
d.. herbal tea
e.. tea cup

24. Accessories for men. Fill an overnight bag with:
a.. socks
b.. underwear
c.. belt
d.. tie
e.. tie clip
f.. handkerchiefs
g.. wallet
h.. watch

25. For the shop-a-holic. Fill a basket with:
a.. cushioned insoles
b.. directories for local malls
c.. gift certificates (get a lot of small ones for different stores)
d.. tote bag to carry home purchases
e.. parking pass
f.. list of babysitters or volunteer to babysit
g.. coupons

26. Create a comedy pack. Fill a basket with:
a.. deck of trick cards
b.. whoopee cushion
c.. chattering teeth
d.. joke books
e.. comedy movies, cassettes or CDs
f.. tickets to a comedy club

27. For the woodworker. Fill a basket or rubber/plastic box with:
a.. assorted sandpapers
b.. chisels
c.. router bits
d.. saw blades
e.. files
f.. varnishes
g.. brushes
h.. paints
i.. patterns and/or instructions

28. For the computer buff. Fill a basket with:
a.. mouse pad
b.. diskettes
c.. novelty or personalized disk labels
d.. anti-static wristband
e.. travel mug (so that things won’t spill on the computer)
f.. a list of your favorite Web sites

29. Create a salon pack. Fill a basket with:
a.. salon shampoo and conditioner
b.. hair brush and/or combs
c.. barrettes
d.. combs
e.. scrunchies
f.. clips, bows, pins, twists, etc.
g.. book on hair styles

30. Fill a stew pot or pottery casserole dish with:
a.. assorted dried beans: kidney, black, white, navy, pinto, etc.
b.. dried red chili peppers
c.. chili powder, cayenne pepper, cumin, cilantro
d.. chili recipes
e.. ladle
f.. oven mitts

31. For the teenage girl. Fill a purse with:
a.. a wallet (you can even start it off with a little cash)
b.. key chain
c.. lipstick holder
d.. purse sized perfume atomizer
e.. purse sized hair brush and mirror

32. For expectant parents. Fill a baby’s bath tub with:
a.. hooded towel
b.. wash cloth
c.. rubber ducky
d.. baby shampoo
e.. baby powder
f.. baby lotion
g.. terri sleeper

33. For those who make their own wine or beer. Fill a box with:
a.. wine or beer kit
b.. empty bottles
c.. personalized or novelty wine/beer labels
d.. beer caps or wine corks
e.. caper
f.. recipes

34. For the skier. Fill a tote bag with:
a.. lip balm
b.. sunscreen
c.. goggles
d.. gloves
e.. scarf
f.. ski pass
g.. wax

35. For the executive or the home-office owner. Fill a briefcase with:
a.. day timer
b.. business card holder (one for the wallet, one for the desktop)
c.. pen and pencil set
d.. newspaper subscription
e.. shoe polish
f.. reference books
g.. desk calendar
h.. coffee mug

36. Create a New Year’s Eve party pack. Fill a basket with:
a.. champagne
b.. glasses
c.. party hats
d.. noise makers
e.. sparklers
f.. confetti
g.. balloons
h.. party invitations

37. For the crochet or knitting enthusiast. Fill a basket with:
a.. assorted needles or crochet hooks
b.. assorted patterns
c.. buttons
d.. ribbons
e.. personalized “made by” labels
f.. wool

38. For the writer. Fill a basket with:
a.. lined note pads
b.. an engraved pen
c.. reference books (dictionary, thesaurus, quotes, how-to books)
d.. pocket tape recorder and tapes
e.. style guide
f.. newsletter or magazine subscription
g.. books about how to get published

39. For the music groupie. Fill a basket with:
a.. fan club membership (look for their favorite musician on the Web, many bands now have online fan clubs which also sell tickets, posters, t-shirts and more)
b.. CDs, cassettes of their favorite group
c.. posters of their favorite group
d.. biographies
e.. sheet music
f.. tickets to a concert
g.. band t-shirts

40. Create a night out in a basket. Fill a basket with:
a.. list of babysitters or coupons for babysitting
b.. restaurant guide and/or gift certificates
c.. movie reviews and/or tickets
d.. movie reviews and/or, tickets to a show or a concert
e.. cab fair
f.. lighted key chain

41. For the mystery lover. Fill a deer stalker hat with:
a.. mystery novels
b.. mystery game for computer
c.. magnifying glass
d.. puzzles or brain teaser books
e.. how-to-host a mystery game

42. For the hiker, use hiking boots as a “basket”. Fill with:
a.. maps
b.. rain poncho
c.. bear bells or repellant
d.. trail mix
e.. compass
f.. first aid kit for hikers

43. For the vegetarian. Fill a basket, pot or large bowl with:
a.. your favorite recipes hand-printed on recipe cards
b.. assorted dried beans
c.. brown rice
d.. sun dried tomatoes
e.. spices: oregano, thyme, basil, garlic powder, etc.
f.. mixing spoons
g.. pot holders

44. For the cowboy at heart. Fill a cowboy hat with:
a.. bolo tie
b.. western belt buckle
c.. boot protector
d.. gift certificate for country dancing, horseback riding, rodeo, etc.

45. For someone who like to walk or jog, fill a tote bag with:
a.. pedometer
b.. sweat band
c.. tapes and batteries for the walkman
d.. shoe laces
e.. sport socks
f.. personal alarm
g.. t-shirt
h.. water bottle in a shoulder or waist holder

46. Use a cosmetic bag for a “basket”. Fill the bag with:
|
a.. nail polish
b.. emery boards
c.. nail clippers
d.. nail brush
e.. cuticle remover
f.. nail file
g.. nail polish remover
h.. cotton balls

47. For the couch potato fill a large basket or box with:
a.. assorted bags of flavored popcorn
b.. other snacks like chips, nuts, candy
c.. pre-recorded movies
d.. TV Guide subscription
e.. TV Remote holder
f.. Comfortable slippers
g.. Cushion

48. Create a stock-the-bar package. Fill an ice bucket with:
a.. shot glasses
b.. bottle opener
c.. cork screw
d.. maraschino cherries
e.. cocktail napkins
f.. jar of olives
g.. fancy toothpicks or cocktail umbrellas
h.. bar guide

49. For the crafter, fill a rubber/plastic container with:
a.. small terra cotta plant pots
b.. flexible stencils
c.. acrylic paints
d.. stencil tape
e.. brushes
f.. spray polyurethane
g.. seeds to plant when pots have been decorated

50. Make a kid’s beach pack. Fill a plastic pail with:
a.. plastic shovel
b.. sand molds
c.. beach ball or plastic floatation device (deflated)
d.. beach towel
e.. flip-flops
f.. sunglasses
g.. sunscreen for kids
h.. bathing suit

51. For someone who takes road trips, fill a tote bag with.
a.. maps
b.. travel mug
c.. sunglasses
d.. hotel coupons
e.. tire gauge
f.. beaded seat cover
g.. travel games
h.. recorded music on cassette or CD
i.. car air freshener

52. For the musician. Fill a decorative can with:
a.. reeds/strings/drum sticks/mouthpiece – appropriate for the instrument they play
b.. sheet music
c.. valve oils for brass instrument players
d.. instrument strap
e.. electronic tuner
f.. metronome
g.. recorded music of their favorite artists

53. For someone who likes to BBQ, use an apron with pockets for a “basket”. Fill the apron pockets with:
a.. marinade recipes
b.. BBQ sauce
c.. BBQ tools
d.. packages of meat tenderizer
e.. skewers
f.. gift certificate for the local butcher

54. For the collector: Fill a basket with:
a.. reference books
b.. items they collect
c.. display cases, books, etc.
d.. cleaning supplies (special polishes, oils, brushes, etc.)
e.. tickets to a collectibles show

55. Create a bachelor’s survival kit. Fill a laundry basket with:
a.. laundry guide
b.. cook book featuring easy meals like casseroles
c.. roll of quarters and some laundry soap
d.. take-out pizza coupons
e.. an iron
f.. room deodorizer
g.. any other cleaning supplies
h.. food staples like macaroni dinners, canned tuna, canned soup and, of course, beer!

56. For someone who like to walk or jog, fill a tote bag with:
a.. pedometer
b.. sweat band
c.. tapes and batteries for the walkman
d.. shoe laces
e.. sport socks
f.. personal alarm
g.. t-shirt
h.. water bottle in a shoulder or waist holder

57. For just about anyone. Fill a basket with:
a.. teddy bear
b.. coffee mug
c.. hot chocolate mixes
d.. bedtime story books

58. For the student or the home-office owner, use a rubber garbage can as a “basket”. Fill the can with:
a.. stapler
b.. tacks, paper clips, pens, pencils
c.. notepads
d.. hole punch
e.. desk lamp
f.. desk calendar

59. For the cat lover use a cat basket as a “basket”. Fill it with:
a.. food and water dishes
b.. collar
c.. brush
d.. catnip ball
e.. rubber ball, rubber mice or other cat toys
f.. book on cat care

60. Create a Christmas Decorating basket. Fill a basket with:
a.. nativity set
b.. assorted Christmas ornaments (store bought or hand-made by you)
c.. decorative lights
d.. candles

61. Make a basket full of puzzles. Fill a basket with:
a.. Rubik’s cube
b.. 3D puzzle
c.. jigsaw puzzle
d.. word-search book
e.. crossword puzzle book
f.. slider puzzles
g.. and any other puzzles you can find

62. For someone who sews, fill a sewing basket with:
a.. needles
b.. assorted threads (stick to basic colors: black, white, navy, cream)
c.. pins
d.. thimble
e.. pin cushion
f.. measuring tape
g.. tracing wheel and paper
h.. sewing club membership

63. For someone who likes to lounge in the sun, use a sun hat as a “basket”.  Fill the hat with:
a.. sunscreen
b.. sunglasses
c.. lemonade mix
d.. novel

64. Create a gadget collection, for someone who is moving away from home, getting married, or moving into a new home. Fill a canvas onion bag with:
a.. garlic press
b.. can opener
c.. jar opener
d.. paring knife (carefully wrapped)
e.. strawberry huller
f.. egg slicer
g.. cheese slicer
h.. mixing spoons
i.. measuring spoons and cups
j.. egg timer
k.. grater

65. For the wood shop owner use a shop apron as a “basket”. Fill the apron with:
a.. safety glasses
b.. wood glue
c.. sandpapers
d.. measuring tape
e.. paint brushes
f.. shop magazines
g.. woodworking patterns

66. For the fisherman use a tackle box as a “basket”. Fill it with:
a.. assorted lures
b.. leaders
c.. pliers
d.. gloves
e.. guide to local fishing

67. For baby fill a basket with:
a.. rattle
b.. bib
c.. story book
d.. stuffed animal
e.. sleeper

68. Create a women’s accessories basket. Fill a basket with:
a.. a silk scarf
b.. scarf clip
c.. earrings
d.. belt
e.. broach
f.. necklace
g.. perfume
h.. evening purse

69. For cyclists use a cycling helmet as a “basket”.  Fill it with:
a.. cycling gloves
b.. water bottle
c.. reflectors
d.. sunglasses
e.. odometer
f.. patch kit

70. For the aquarium owner, use a decorative tin for a “basket”. Fill the tin with:
a.. fish food
b.. book about aquarium maintenance
c.. algae magnet (you run the magnet up and down the outside of the tank to remove algae inside the tank)
d.. a net
e.. thermometer
f.. ornaments
g.. gift certificate for fish

71. For someone who likes games, fill a basket with:
a.. decks of cards
b.. dice
c.. poker chips
d.. poker rule book
e.. pocket electronic games
f.. plane tickets to Vegas

72. For the painter: Fill a decorative tin with:
a.. paints (acrylic, water color or oil)
b.. brushes
c.. paper or canvas
d.. charcoal

73. For someone who bakes use a cake pan as a “basket”. Fill the pan with:
a.. pot holders
b.. decorative frosting set
c.. assorted sprinkles and nuts
d.. baking recipes
e.. cake server

74. For someone who travels by plane a lot. Fill a travel bag with:
a.. travel pillow
b.. travel alarm
c.. flight schedules
d.. gum
e.. magazines or novels
f.. toothbrush

75. Create a Christmas box. Fill a decorative Christmas box or tin with:
a.. assorted home-baked cookies
b.. assorted chocolates
c.. Christmas ornaments (better if you made them yourself)
d.. pre-recorded Christmas music
e.. tuck in some candy canes or foil wrapped chocolate Santas for a finishing touch

76. Create a night in, in a basket. Fill the basket with:
a.. wine
b.. wine glasses
c.. pre-recorded movie
d.. candle
e.. candle holder
f.. romantic pre-recorded music
g.. appetizers: cheese and crackers, olives, something you’ve made yourself

77. Create a kid’s bath set. Fill a basket with:
a.. bubble bath
b.. no-tears shampoo and conditioner
c.. bath crayons (they let kids write on the tub or the wall, then they wash off)
d.. bath toys
e.. bath mitt or decorative face cloth
f.. printed towel
g.. robe
h.. slippers

78. For the teenage girl, fill a cosmetic bag or cosmetic tray with:
a.. assorted makeup in the latest fashion colors: lipstick, blusher, eye liner, mascara
b.. cotton swabs
c.. makeup sponges
d.. nail polish in the latest colors
e.. nail file
f.. facial cleanser
g.. facial moisturizer
h.. eye makeup remover

79. For the computer game player. Fill a decorative box with:
a.. membership to an online gaming site
b.. computer game CDs
c.. joy stick
d.. mouse pad
e.. shareware games on diskette

80. For campers, use a backpack as a “basket” Fill the backpack with:
a.. tent pegs
b.. compass
c.. sharpening stone
d.. mosquito repellant
e.. tent patch kit
f.. campers cook set
g.. utility knife of Swiss army knife
h.. campground guides

81. For the lover of spicy foods, use a chili pot as a “basket”.  Fill it with:
a.. spices: cayenne pepper, black pepper, white pepper, dried red peppers, chili powder, paprika
b.. hot sauces like chili sauce
c.. salsas
d.. hot pickles (pick them up from an Asian food store)
e.. fresh peppers
f.. Pepto-Bismol
g.. recipes

82. For the sci-fi fan. Fill a basket with:
a.. Science fiction novels
b.. sci-fi movies
c.. collectible figures (you know, the plastic ones modeled after TV and movie sci-fi characters)
d.. Spock ears
e.. books about their favorite shows or authors
f.. tickets to a sci-fi convention

83. For the engaged couple fill a basket with:
a.. wedding planner
b.. unity candle
c.. garter
d.. cake knife
e.. honeymoon travel information or tickets
f.. wedding decorations
g.. wedding album

84. For someone who works out at the gym fill a tote bag:
a.. towel
b.. water bottle
c.. workout tapes or magazines
d.. power bars
e.. sports drinks
f.. sports socks
g.. gym membership

85. For adults only — fill a basket with:
a.. scented candles
b.. massage oil
c.. lingerie
d.. wine
e.. wine glasses

86. For the jigsaw puzzle lover. Fill a basket with:
a.. jigsaw puzzle
b.. puzzle mat
c.. coffee mug
d.. magnifying glass
e.. gourmet coffee

87. For the naturalist. Fill a knapsack with:
a.. binoculars
b.. bird watching guide or wildlife or wildflower guide
c.. log book and pen
d.. maps
e.. trail mix

88. A small twist on the usual coffee gift basket. Fill a basket with:
a.. gourmet coffees
b.. coffee mugs
c.. novels
d.. chocolates
e.. decorative bookmark (why not make one yourself)

89. For someone who is on their feet all day, use a rubber tub as a “basket”.  Fill the tub with:
a.. Epsom salts or bubble bath
b.. towel
c.. pumice stone
d.. foot lotion or foot powder
e.. comfortable slippers
f.. nail clippers

90. Create a kid’s craft kit. Fill a rubber/plastic storage box with:
a.. colored paper
b.. crayons
c.. stickers
d.. pipe cleaners
e.. buttons
f.. pom-poms
g.. white glue
h.. kid scissors
i.. wooden shapes
j.. wobbly eyes
k.. kid sized craft apron
l.. sparkles

91. For little students fill a children’s lunch box with:
a.. pencil toppers
b.. decorated pencils
c.. colored pencils
d.. rulers
e
.. plastic stencils which let them draw stars, circles, etc.
f.. stapler
g.. children’s scissors
h.. water bottle in a shoulder or waist holder

92. For someone who likes needlepoint fill a basket with:
a.. patterns
b.. canvas
c.. assorted thread
d.. needles
e.. thimble
f.. frames for finished work

93. For the movie buff, fill a basket with:
a.. pre-recorded movies
b.. movie soundtracks on CD or cassette
c.. batteries for the remote control
d.. head cleaner for the VCR
e.. movie tickets or gift certificates
f.. popcorn

94. For someone who like to walk or jog, fill a tote bag with:
a.. pedometer
b.. sweat band
c.. tapes and batteries for the walkman
d.. shoe laces
e.. sport socks
f.. personal alarm
g.. t-shirt
h.. water bottle in a shoulder or waist holder

95. For the electronics hobbyist. Fill a plastic box with:
a.. resistors
b.. capacitors
c.. wire
d.. pliers
e.. soldering iron and solder
f. . light bulbs
g.. LED lights
h.. printed circuit boards
i.. project books
j.. wire cutters
k.. electrical tape

96. For the chocolate lover. Fill a basket with:
a.. chocolate cookies (home baked is best)
b.. chocolate bon-bons
c.. chocolate sauces
d.. chocolate syrup
e.. chocolate dipped coffee spoons
f.. hot chocolate mix
g.. chocolate covered coffee beans
h.. chocolate flavored coffee beans
i.. chocolate recipes

97. For the young at heart — fill a basket or a small toy box with:
a.. silly putty
b.. assorted magnets
c.. magnifying glass
d.. yo-yo
e.. paper airplane kit
f.. kite
g.. kaleidoscope
h.. puzzles

98. For the health food buff. Fill a basket or a mixing bowl:
a.. brown rice (in a bag tied with a ribbon or in a glass jar)
b.. other grains like quinoa, spelt, bulgur, etc.
c.. all-natural candy bars
d.. tofu in aseptic packages (so it doesn’t need refrigeration)
e.. assorted dried beans (black, black-eyed peas, chick peas, lima beans, fava beans, etc.)
f.. assorted spices
g.. all natural skin and body care products (find them at your local health food store)

99. For the someone who never has enough time. Fill a basket with:
a.. coupons for your babysitting time
b.. cookbook featuring meals in 30 minutes or less
c.. day timer to help them organize their time more efficiently
d.. watch
e.. information about or coupons for a shopping service which will do their shopping for them
f.. coupons for other time saving services like dry-cleaning, tailoring, take-out food, car washes, etc.

100. Create a Chinese food “basket”. Fill a basket or a wok with:
a.. Chinese tea set
b.. package of green tea
c.. cook book
d.. cleaver
e.. chop sticks
f.. package dried black mushrooms
g.. bottle of soy sauce
h.. other sauces like plum sauce, Szechuan sauce, teriyaki sauce, etc.

Finishing Touches
Finishing touches actually come into play when you begin to assemble your basket. You can enhance the presentation of baskets, boxes, tins, hats, etc. by first filling them with:
a.. colored cellophane “grass”
b.. crumpled tissue paper
c.. a piece of fabric (try something with a Christmas print)
d.. shredded newspaper or colored paper
e.. straw
f.. raffia

Then carefully arrange your items over top of the filler.  Finish up by tucking in:
a.. candy canes
b.. foil wrapped chocolate Santas
c.. other foil wrapped candies
d.. small pine cones
e.. a bunch of cinnamon sticks tied with red ribbon
f.. Christmas greenery like the tips spruce and pine branches
g.. Christmas ornaments
h.. lots of small bows
i.. mandarin oranges
j.. nuts in the shell
k.. small scented candles
l.. Christmas baking (wrapped in cellophane)

Wrapping Your “Basket”
“Baskets” that are in actual baskets do not need to be wrapped, but if you wish, you can wrap them in cellophane. Simply gather the cellophane around the basket and tie at the top with ribbon.

This method also works for “baskets” made with hats, boxes, bowls, pots, plant pots, etc.  

Decorative boxes and tins usually can stand alone without wrapping.  Rubber storage containers can be wrapped in cellophane as above or can be wrapped with wrapping paper.

Some “baskets” like tote bags, backpacks, shopping bags, etc. are best left unwrapped. Instead, finish them with colorful bows and ribbons.

%d bloggers like this: