Filling Stockings on a Budget

Within only the next few days, Christmas will be upon us. Santa will be making his rounds, and for many of us, “Santa” has no idea what to place in stockings. Whether he’s strapped for cash or just doesn’t know what to get, why not help out ‘ol Saint Nick by providing him with some easy, yet much-needed stocking stuffer advice?

From children, to adults, to the person who already owns absolutely everything, help make Christmastime more enjoyable by planning ahead… even if only by a few days.

"the stockings were hung by the...tv stand" By LizMarie_AK

“the stockings were hung by the…tv stand” By LizMarie_AK


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6 Great Christmas Gift Ideas for the Amateur Home Chef

This is a guest post by Melissa Cameron, who lives in Texas with her husband Dave and their 2 young children. As a freelance writer she writes about most anything to do with helping the household; from parenting, to the latest Cuisinart toaster on sale. When she is not spending time with her family, or writing, she can be found searching for information and deals to help others.

For the aspiring chef on your Christmas list, ideas aren’t always easy to come by, especially if you don’t live with them to know what they have. However, even if you live with the chef, you might need a little help with ideas. I love to cook, so I appreciate getting the latest and greatest tools and products that are available on the market. So, I have come up with some ideas to help those who are looking for a little inspiration.

Better than Basic Kitchen Appliances

Most anyone who likes to cook and bake will already have the basic kitchen appliances such as hand mixers and blenders. The items they might be looking to get, if they are just starting to beef up their skills are things like food processors, pressure cookers, rotisserie ovens, or a vacuum sealer for marinating meats.

After deciding which product to give as a gift, the next step would be to find out which brand or style would be best for the recipient. You might be fortunate and have that information already, or you might need to do a little research.

I have found the best way to search is with online reviews. For example, reviewing food processors online will give you information on various processors, and you can then narrow it down from the list.
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Top Design Presents this Christmas

It’s that time of year again when you have to put your thinking cap on. What presents to get your friends and family for Christmas? Well, we have put together a list of our top 7 presents for those who are at the cutting edge of design. Some are quirky and some are useful, and one is a design classic.

Christmas Tree

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2011 Christmas Shopping Tips

Shopping!

It’s that time of year… again. The Christmas holiday will be upon the world soon. And with so much to wrap-up at the end of the year, Christmas shopping can be even more of a hassle. With scores of shoppers crowding the malls and tens of thousands logging onto the Internet, there are many things to look out for when Christmas shopping.

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6 Christmas Traditions And Their Origins

Tradition by definition has to originate from something, and seeing as Christmas is full of traditions it follows that with a little bit of research we can unearth some origins. And that is exactly what we’ve done. Here are the origins of six Christmas traditions.


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Have a Merry, Low-Budget, Christmas This Year!

The holidays are approaching and I’m cool as a cucumber. In years past, I stressed about having enough money for gifts, decorations, food, you name it and I was anxious about it. Last year, I decided that my days of worrying about the holidays were over. Everyone on my gift list got a handmade present, I reused old decorations and through a potluck dinner. Follow these tips for the holidays and you, too, can have a relaxing Christmas full of joy rather than angst.
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Make your own Christmas stockings

If you’re a dab hand with a needle and cotton and fancy making your own Christmas stockings, there are plenty of patterns available to download  for free via web sites such as www.craftandfabriclinks.com and www.allfreecrafts.net all of which offer guidance on suitable fabrics, making up and customising.  Depending on how confident you feel, you can adapt the method and materials to match your budget or schedule, and then let your imagination run wild!

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Handmade Christmas stockings

Festive Furzedown's fancy boot stockings: a stylish spin on a Yuletide favourite. Photo: MtK

Drawing upon traditional American folk art and quilting techniques, South London-based Festive Furzedown offers a charming array of bespoke Christmas stockings and handmade hanging decorations.  Inspired by cheerful vintage prints that hark back to Christmases of yore,  Connecticut-raised Marianne ten Kate founded Festive Furzedown using remnants from her sewing box.  All-too aware that Christmas can be an expensive time of year, ten Kate initially began making decorations for family and friends but this has lately blossomed into a nifty sideline for the keen crafter and former charity exec.  “I like the idea of using materials I already have such as fabric scraps, ribbons and buttons, or recycling items that hold sentimental value and creating unique, handmade objects that can be used year after year.” In this respect ten Kate’s creations owe much to the quilting tradition where necessity proved the mother of invention, and family heirlooms were inadvertently created by women using material left over from dress-making.

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Stocking fillers on a budget

Handmade stockings ready to fill. Photo: MtK

If the recession is leaving you with a hole in your pocket (not to mention ladders in your tights), there are still plenty of imaginative and cost-effective ways to fill a stocking with seasonal cheer.  Take heart from the origins of the Christmas stocking; the story of three sisters left without dowries after their nobleman father squandered the family’s fortune following the death of their mother.  So moved by their plight was kindly St. Nicholas that one night he placed a small bag of gold coins in each girl’s stocking as they hung drying by the fireside.  Discovering his gifts the following morning, the girls were then able to marry and live happily ever after, and ever since children have been hanging up their stockings ready for Santa to fill with treats.
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Christmas Stocking Fillers

Christmas is coming and the shoppers are ready to hit the malls and find the best bargains they can. It all starts the day after Thanksgiving. The Friday morning after Thanksgiving is when the malls will be packed as soon as they open and everyone will be looking for the hottest gifts of the season on sale. When all the heavy duty shopping is done, that’s when most people turn their attention toward stocking stuffers also known as stocking fillers in the United Kingdom, the fun little gifts that people buy to fill stockings.
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