Office Christmas Gifts: How to Make Someone You Barely Know Feel Special

bb-christmas-rudolph-reindeer-gift-basketChristmas is coming, and so are those fabulous, and not so fabulous, office Christmas parties. Everyone draws names, there's a "how-much-you-can-spend" limit, and usually you wind up with the name of someone you hardly know. You may even find yourself stuck with someone you dislike. However, all is not lost. It is, after all, the season of celebration and giving. Here are some suggestions for making the impersonal more personal:

The Tea Lover: There are many possible gifts for tea-lovers. How about a personal cup and saucer with a small box of tea. Include a jar of honey, a small spoon, and perhaps a small box of cookies. Wrap each item in colorful tissue paper and place in a medium sized holiday bag. Price: $5 - $10.

The Coffee Lover: Gifts for Coffee lovers are always well received by coffee lovers. They LOVE coffee! Look for a festive mug, and pick up a tiny bag of "one-pot" gourmet coffee to tuck inside. A small box of chocolates or cookies are a welcome treat. Be certain to find out if he or she likes coffee plain, Columbian, or flavored. When in doubt, go for Columbian, and include additional flavorings that can be added if they so desire. Wrap each item in tissue paper and place in a medium sized holiday bag. Price: $5 - $10.

The Camper: Gift ideas for folks who like anything to do with camping. Some thoughtful gift ideas include an oversized enameled cup, and include an enameled camp spoon. Consider camping salt and pepper shakers; flash-lights, a small box of graham crackers, marshmallows, and a chocolate bar (the perfect ingredients for "smores"). These small things tell the camper, I care about what you like. Cost: $10 - $20.

The Cook: Male or female cooks are filled with a passion for gourmet food, especially their own. If you are faced with shopping for a cook, hit the herbs and spices isle! There is safety in choosing the familiar. For herbs, stick to sage, rosemary (preferably crushed), and thyme. For spices, think cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. Add a plain chef's apron, wooden spoons, and measuring spoons. Wrap in cloth napkins, and place in an inexpensive colorful bag. He or she will love it! Cost: $10 - $20.

The Baker: Bakers go absolutely wild at Christmas time. What with all the pies, cookies, desserts, and cakes, Christmas is the baker's perfect time of year. Measuring cups, unusual cookie cutters, a cookie press, a holiday baking magazine, or a small soft-cover baking book will all be much appreciated. Cost: $10 - $20.

The Book-Worm: Book gift baskets are perfect for book lovers. These are the folks who live in the discount book section. Usually, even if you don't know the individual well, you know what he or she likes to read, because they can't stop talking about it. Hit the mark-down books at your local "wall-to-wall" bookstore. No matter what their particular interest is, books are always the perfect choice. Include some interesting bookmarks, and perhaps colorful highlighters (for marking that favorite passage). Certainly a gift certificate is okay, but still include the personal little touches to go with it. Place all in a gift bag with colorful tissue paper. Cost: $10 - $20.

It is easy to buy a meaningful gift for someone you don't know well, or even for someone you dislike. Christmas is a season for mending fences and for blessing others. When you take just a little time to discover what the recipient likes, you will become a blessing. Christmas is also a season of miracles, and who knows, you might just make a friend. Jaye Lewis
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Garden Gift Baskets For The Avid Gardener

If you have a friend or relative that is an avid gardener, there is no more thoughtful gift than a garden gift basket for a holiday, birthday or anniversary present. At first, you may seem overwhelmed when shopping in your garden center or on the internet. There are a few things to consider when trying to find just the right "flavor" for your garden gift basket to give to the people who love to play in the dirt, so to speak.

First you must determine how much you want to spend for the garden gift basket. After you have the dollar amount, walk through the aisles of the garden center to see what items are available. Of course, you could also do an internet search to see what the most popular tools and gadgets are selling. You will be surprised at the range of goods that are available from the inexpensive to the extravagant. Keep in mind that you will want to get quality products that will last so your friend or relative will have years of enjoyment.

If your gardener is a novice you may want to start with the basics, a pruner, a watering can, gardening gloves, or special nozzles for the hose. There are many garden centers that have gift baskets already made up. It could include some gardening tools and seeds revolving around a specific theme like, vegetables or roses or herbs. If you choose to go with the herb theme and want to do it on your own, include some tasty herb seed packets, some small, pretty pots and a journal where notes can be kept.

If you have a gardener with a well used garden rake and tool belt, you can pretty much surmise that they have all of the state-of-the-art tools and have been collecting gardening equipment for years. Here, a simple but thoughtful gift would be a work apron that has be monogrammed or personalized with a funny garden saying. A well seasoned gardener will appreciate the thought you have put into the gift.

To really get the best gift for your gardener you should know the level of their expertise and if they have a theme. For example there are gardeners that only grow roses while there are others that specialize in herb gardening, knowing this will help you pick out the perfect gift. For instance a scarecrow would look dumb in a rose garden whereas a hummingbird feeder is way out of place in a vegetable patch. And be careful with the "cutesy" garden decorations, some people love garden gnomes or stone gargoyles whereas someone with an award winning exotic tropical garden wouldn't think of having one.

If after you have gone through all these options, level of expertise and if they have a theme or not and you still don't know what to buy, the answer is simple. Purchase them a gift certificate from your local garden center. Every gardener needs supplies through the year and your gift will help to offset the expense of their garden.

If after considering the gardener's experience level and theme of their garden you remain stumped, a gardening gift certificate allowing them to select their own gift is a surefire way to please and inspire them as their garden grows through the years.

With a little inspiration you can find the perfect gift basket for your avid gardener. Don't forget to put a pretty bow on the basket! Here is a natural pesticide that you may want to print on a card and include in the gift basket:

In a jar, combine 1 teaspoon dishwashing liquid and 1 cup vegetable oil. Shake vigorously. In an empty spray bottle, combine 2 teaspoons of this mixture and 1 cup water. Use at ten-day intervals (or more often if needed) to rid plants of whiteflies, mites, aphids, scales, and other pests.

Every gardener likes to keep the garden as chemical free as they can. Happy Gardening!

Copyright © Mary Hanna, All Rights Reserved. Mary Hanna is an aspiring herbalist who lives in Central Florida. This allows her to grow gardens inside and outside year round. Visit her websites at Gardening Landscaping Tips Gardening Outside and Herb Gardening

Mary Hanna may be contacted at

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Gifts and giving; how to give the gifts of love of caring, compassion, courage, service, creativity, and lightness of being.

When we think of giving gifts, we usually think of things to buy for people. Yet if you think back on gifts you been given, it might not be the material gifts you received that are foremost in your mind. It might be the kind of gifts that deeply touched your heart and soul. It might be various ways, other than material things, that people expressed their love to you.

There are five gifts of love that we can give to our families that can make a huge difference in their lives.


We all yearn to feel cared for, yet many of us withhold caring and compassion for others. A profound gift we can give to our loved ones is to listen with our heart, to understand and accept rather than to judge, and to stay open to learning rather than to protect against being hurt.

Think about the last time someone actually listened to you and gave you understanding and acceptance. The feeling of being understood and accepted with caring and compassion is one of the best feelings in the world. Instead of focusing on getting this from others, why not focus on giving it to others? You might be surprised at how wonderful you feel in giving this gift to your family.


One of the best gifts we can give our loved ones is our own courage. This means being having the courage to stand in our truth, to be honest about what we want and don't want, what we will do and won't do, what is and what is not acceptable to us. It means having the courage to take good care of ourselves, even if others don't like it. It means not succumbing to our controlling behaviors that come from fear: anger, withdrawal, compliance, resistance, but instead being honest and above-board about ourselves. It means being willing to face conflict rather than give ourselves up to avoid it.

When we have the courage to face conflict and tell the truth, we not only provide our family with a role model for courage, but we provide opportunities for our loved ones to step up to the plate in the face of our truth and learn to be courageous too.


We are on this planet to learn to love ourselves and each other, and to help each other. One of the best gifts we can give our family is to role model this by doing service. Helping others fills the heart and soul in ways that nothing else can. If children do not see their parents doing service and helping others, they may never learn the great joy and fulfillment that comes from giving. One of the best gifts we can give to our family is to provide ways of doing service.


All of us are born with various ways of expressing our creativity. Expressing creativity is a profound way of connecting with Spirit, since expressed creativity is a direct expression of Spirit. Providing your family with many ways of expressing their creativity is a great gift. Creativity can be expressed in so many ways of cooking, crafts, building things, music, art, movement, telling stories, writing, humor, photography and video; the possibilities are endless! Creative family projects are especially wonderful in creating family closeness.


Lightness of being; fun, joy, laughter and playfulness is a great gift to give to others. Lightness of being is infectious. Our laughter and playfulness can help others take life less seriously and lighten up.

Lightness of being is one the results of all the other gifts of caring, courage, service and creativity. When we give these gifts, we feel a wonderful lightness within, the lightness that is the result of fully giving from the heart. Our own lightness of being can bring lightness into our whole family. Children love it when their parents are playful, fun-loving and joyful. Laughing together as a family is one of the most precious experiences in life.

We need to focus of giving these gifts each day, not just during a holiday season or special occasions. These gifts are far more important than any material thing we can buy for someone. In fact, we might not be so focused on material gifts if we frequently give the gift of love, of caring, compassion, courage, service, creativity, and lightness of being.

Margaret Paul, Ph.D. is the best-selling author and co-author of eight books, including, "Do I Have To Give Up Me To Be Loved By You?". She is the co-creator of a powerful healing process called Inner Bonding. Learn Inner Bonding now! Visit her web site for a FREE Inner Bonding course: Inner Bonding

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House Warming Gift Ideas, Housewarming Gifts, Favorite New Home Gifts.

ng-new-home-giftMoving into a new home is exciting for the new homeowner. Friends, family, and neighbors can share in the excitement by taking a housewarming gift to the new homeowners.

A housewarming party is a party held on the occasion of moving into a new home, apartment, condo or residence. It is an occasion for the new homeowner to present their new home to their friends, and sometimes for friends to give gifts to furnish the new home. Housewarming parties are generally informal.

Housewarming gifts are customary and usually consist of something for the new house such as a potted plant or something to be enjoyed during the party such as a basket of fruit, a bouquet of flowers, or a housewarming gift basket filled with gourmet food and snacks.

A housewarming party may be thrown upon completion of renovation or remodel. Housewarming may be presented as an "open house" where people are free to come and go during a fixed window of time on a given day. Some people invite all of their new neighbors to their housewarming. This allows the new homeowner to meet their new neighbors and make new friends in the community.

Some communities still have what is called The Welcome Wagon. Many of the neighboring businesses and neighbors may donate useful household items to be brought to the new residents to welcome them to the neighborhood.

Real Estate closing gifts make exceptionally nice housewarming gifts. In addition to providing a great way to say thank you to the home buyer, real estate closing gifts have been a proven method to support, enhance and promote their real estate business.

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Fruit Basket Turnover, Delicious Fresh Fruit Baskets, Nationwide Fruit Basket Delivery

fruits-fruitFruit Basket Turnover is a children's game also known as Fruits Basket in Japan. Fruit Basket usually refers to a variation in which each fruit is associated with only one player, and the player in the centre must call two fruit names. The game is played as follows:

The players are divided into equal-sized groups, with each group having the name of a fruit. A circle is formed with a number of chairs equal to one less than the number of players. The players sit on the chairs, ensuring that members of each group are evenly distributed around the circle. One player will be left without a chair, and will stand in the centre of the circle. The player standing in the centre calls out one of the fruit names. When this happens, all players in that group must stand up from their seats and move to another seat in the circle. The player in the centre must attempt to take one of the free seats while the other players are moving.

A new Fruit Basket player will then be left in the centre, enabling the game to be repeated. If any player failed to move even though their group's fruit name was called, they are required to move into the centre and the player previously in the centre sits in their seat. Instead of stating a fruit name, the player in the centre may call "Fruit Basket Turnover!" or "Fruits Basket!", in which case everybody must move to a different seat.

There is often a restriction that the player must move to a seat not adjacent to their own. In some variants of the game, a player can be eliminated from the game, usually if they either fail to move when their fruit name is called, or are due to appear in the centre for two rounds in a row. Whenever a player is eliminated, a chair is also removed from the circle.

The Fruit Basket Turnover game bears some semblance to the game Musical Chairs.

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Farewell Gift Ideas, Retirement Gift Ideas, Going Away Gifts that Say Goodbye

bb-classic-antique-truckA farewell or parting gift is a parting tradition, a gift given during parting. There are various traditions which involve parting gifts. For example a retirement gift can be given when someone retires from a job or position, leaves a town or city.

A bon voyage gift is given to those going on a vacation. For women a desired going away gift would be a gift basket filled with relaxing bath and body gifts. A retirement gift idea can be a hobby related theme gift basket such as a golf or fishing gift basket. A parting gift is a major rule in xenia, the Ancient Greek concept of hospitality. The parting gift from host to guest was to show the host's honor at receiving the guest.

In Japan, gift exchange is a time-honored and elaborate tradition. Forms of gift presenation (type of wrapping or selection of an envelope) depend on the type of the gift. In Japan the farewell gift is called o-hana-muke (hanamuke).

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History Of The Fortune Cookie

fc-teddy-bear-cookieThe Fortune Cookie is a delicate, crisp cookie made from flour, sugar, butter, vanilla, and milk which is baked around a fortune, a piece of paper with words of faux wisdom or vague prophecy.

In the United States fortune cookies are usually served with Chinese food as a dessert. Despite conventional wisdom, fortune cookies were actually invented in California in the early 1900's.

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CARE Package; any parcel of food or supplies sent for relief or comfort purposes.

pc-Sweet-ElegancesCookie-Gift-BoxCARE Package: The CARE Package was the original unit of aid distributed by the humanitarian organization CARE (Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere). Although "CARE Package" is a registered trademark, the term has since been widely adopted as a generic term for any parcel of food or supplies sent for relief or comfort purposes.

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