Perspectives: Christmas, Kate Dalley-style; gift ideas and beloved traditions

OPINION – When friends get together, we can’t help but share all of our best secrets for the holidays: Gift-giving “on the cheap,” neighbor gifts that deliver and tried-and-true traditions that bring Christmas joy. And here are a few of mine.

Affordable gifts

I couldn’t think of a gift for my husband one year, so I asked him to recall the most memorable gifts he was given as a child. One was a remote-control toy helicopter; under our tree on Christmas Day was a brand-new helicopter for Dad (aren’t we all kids at heart?).

However, gifts that have some worn heritage to them are often the most meaningful to give, and St. George has a slew of amazing consignment shops if you need to save a few pennies this holiday season. If you haven’t been inside the doors of Urban Renewal by Jenny Larsen, you are really missing out on the prospect of finding some wonderful treasures. Shops such as Kid to Kid sell little-used items for children, while DownEast Home and Clothing in Washington City and DownEast Basics in St. George have great items at terrific prices, and name brands to boot.

One year I took an old frame and put my grandma’s signature roll recipe in it. She penned the recipe card back in the ’50s and it even has cooking spills on it and her beautiful penmanship. Her baking in the kitchen is a very fond memory of many in my family and such a sentimental gift is a wonderful way to go.

I love personalized gifts, and engraving is a fairly inexpensive option. I’ve had various presents engraved over the years at Hooray! The Engraving Shoppe on St. George Boulevard; small boutiques like those in Ancestor Square are sure to have unique specialty items.

One Christmas, I bought some plain glass cookie jars and picked up glass etching cream at the craft store. With a piece of vinyl, I made templates with the names of the families I would give each jar to, attached the names to the jar and slathered the etching cream over the vinyl. About 15 minutes later, I wiped the cream off with a cloth and had a simple, but personal gift.

GameStop can be a money saver when it comes to pleasing your family’s gamers. Having raised five children, one thing I learned early on is that kids don’t care whether it’s new or used; they just want to play.

Community gifts

I’ve spent 18 years coming up with ideas for community gifts and will tell you from experience that simple always wins out.

A roll of gift-wrapping paper with a card that says “We hope you are getting ‘wrapped up’ in the spirit of the season” is a fantastic, cheap and practical idea. After all, everyone can use wrapping paper during the holidays. A bottle of Sprite with a note that reads, “Hope your Christmas is Merry and Sprite” costs about a dollar and is sure to bring a smile.

Our region has many stores whose names include “Collectables” (Collect Tables?) and others like Urban Renewal that often sell old doorknobs and keys; attach a scroll with a printed poem such as “Let Him in” to make a meaningful gift. Old mason jars with a simple candle and greenery and ribbon attached to the top also make nice giveaways for neighbors.

My children will all tell you that doorbell ditching, after leaving treats on our neighbors’ doorsteps, has long been a holiday favorite. We still laugh about all the times we almost got caught.

Christmas traditions

We spend months shopping for gifts, yet come Christmas morning, it seems like the fun ends in five minutes of frantic gift opening. I have found some ways, though, to make that special time last a little longer.

One year, the kids discovered that though Santa had come, their gifts were nowhere in sight. Santa left a clue within a poem on the computer, which led to another taped under the dining table, and so on. They found the gifts locked in the playroom eight clues later, after running all over the house on a fun scavenger hunt.

Rather than putting names on my family’s gifts, I numbered them so the kids couldn’t shake and guess for days on end, eventually ruining the surprise. On Christmas morning they had to show a talent to earn one of their “numbers.” Watching this ended up being more fun than the savage tearing of the wrapping paper.

However you celebrate, it’s important to remember what is too easily lost in the chaos of the holidays: Christmas is a time to make and share memories with friends and family, the greatest gifts of all.

Kate Dalley is a news commentator and co-host of the Perspectives morning show on Fox News 1450 AM 93.1 FM. The opinions stated in this article are hers and not representative of St. George News.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2012, all rights reserved.

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