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Life Lessons of a Military Wife (overseas in Europe!): Revisiting this Holiday Gifting Thing

Life Lessons of a Military Wife (overseas in Europe!)

My goal here is to make your life easier, especially those who are in the unique situation of being a military spouse. Yes...I've been around...but in a good way...and hopefully can share those tips, tricks and shortcuts with you too. I've been on this military bus for over 40 years now. My goals in life are to have a well-run home, few money worries, well adjusted children, money socked away and whatever happiness I can scoop out of life.

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After life as an Army brat, being in the Army myself and marrying a soldier, I can honestly say I have a bucket full of life lessons I can share to help you make your everyday life easier and enlightening. Don't waste your time making unnecessary mistakes and benefit from others who have come before you on your journey through life.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Revisiting this Holiday Gifting Thing

Now we really have to be creative. Remember last year? Most of us had oodles of money at our disposal in our credit card limits and an unlimited stash of cash in our homes...life was on the up and up in 2007....fast forward to 2008...and many of us have less money and less options. Remember when I blogged about lots of interesting gift ideas then? How about a few more that you can assemble just by rubbing a few pennies together? I'll throw those in with a few that do cost a bit more...but are worth every penny (they're useful, and that's what matters in my book).

Here are my old standbys from last year.

Here are some more for this year:

  • Homemade candy, wrapped in cellophane and tied up in a pretty bow. Believe it or not, these candy items are MUCH easier to make than cookies and baked goods. Give it a try. I like the turtles and the caramel corn.
  • A pretty mug or other container of Polish pottery (we have huge mugs for $9 at the PX). Fill it with some interesting candy or chocolate...in my case, it's going to be specialty flavored gummi bears or German chocolates. Lay a cut-out piece of Saran Wrap on top to keep it sealed and fresh. Then wrap the whole container in cellophane and tie with a colorful ribbon. You can even add a nametag.
  • Tervis tumblers with a lifetime guarantee. These double sealed plastic drinking containers...one is even 24 oz large and fits in your vehicle cupholder...and they last YOUR lifetime...and if they don't, you can send them back to Tervis, and they will replace them, no questions asked. I was once in their outlet store in Florida where a lady brought in a bag full of glasses from the 1950s...yes, that's what she said and that's what they looked like...and they gave her a ticket to go pick out 10 new ones..no receipt and no explanation needed. You can do this thru the mail too. My brother is always re-using those cheap 7-11 plastic cups..which for all I know, are made of unsafe plastic...so this would be right up his alley.
  • A handmade nutcracker. This guy makes handcrafted nutcrackers...even military ones. You send him a photo of your loved one, and he does it exactly right...he has tons of military nutcrackers on his site, plus tons of others...including some Civil War generals. He pegged my husband just perfect. You'll pay anywhere from $40-50 for one. Sorry ladies, this offer is only good if you live in Germany. I'm thinking this will make a fantastic gift for his proud momma.
  • We talked about assembling jars of cookie and soup mixes. How about jars of bath salts?
  • If your significant other travels a lot...how about doing an mp3 book for him or her? Read his favorite book....with feeling...put it on his iPod or a CD and give it to him...especially if he is ready to deploy anytime soon. He'll love to hear your voice...it's not just the little ones who love being read to.
  • Those instant recipe packets. You know the ones I'm talking about...instant gravies and ready-made spices for pork chops, chilis, meatloaf and whatever else, ala McCormick. You can put a slew of these in a little basket, or tie them up with ribbon and of course wrapped in cellophane (can you tell I love cellophane...you can wrap trash in cellophane, and it'll look nice). This makes a perfect gift for someone who just doesn't cook.
  • "I Am Not a Papercup" Mug. This is perfect for my style-conscious, Starbucks-drinking stepmom. Now instead of a papercup that falls apart and smells funny, she can have a beautiful white porcelain cup that is both eco-friendly and clean (who knows where those papercups have been?). Starbucks and most other coffee shops will even fill their coffee drinks into your mug...it looks just like the papercups w/lid...just much nicer, much sturdier, and you won't need that stupid piece of cardboard to keep your fingers from getting burnt.
  • Super Strong Magnet Wrist Thingy. Okay, so I had to include something for guys specifically...although when we had a house, and I was crawling in areas I normally wouldn't crawl in, this would've come in handy.
Let's hear some of your ideas this year...

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