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December 10, 2013
The perfect Christmas basket
By Cheryl Dickow *

By Cheryl Dickow *

As television commercials and store circulars clamor for you time and money this Christmas season, you may be feeling – like so many others – a yearning to get back to basics.

To reclaim Christmas and its meaning, which isn’t all that difficult to do once you set your mind to it.

One way to do just that is to make a commitment to give gifts that matter – gifts from the heart. Just as the Father gave His Son to us from the depths of His Heart, so we can gifts from the heart as well.

Our own creations that require we take the time to explore our relationships. I have found that a perfect gift to consider for friends, teachers, co-workers, and family this year is a Christmas basket. Even if you aren’t clever with crafts, there is something wonderful about making Christmas baskets.
A Christmas basket is something that you create with the recipient in mind which means you can make a dozen of them and they will all be a bit different, or you can consider ways in which all your friends and family are similar and make the same basket for a dozen different people.

Here are some easy tips to get you going for the perfect Christmas basket—and reclaim your personal relationships this Christmas:

Make a list of the people for whom you typically shop so that you know how many baskets to purchase. Your baskets can be any size and kind of container which then becomes a gift in and of itself (sewing basket, garbage can, pet bed, hat box, utility bucket—you get the idea) so when you take your list to the store, make sure you keep an open mind. Check out stores like TJ Maxx, JoAnn Fabrics, and Big Lots.

Include a Christmas movie or two. Maybe one that makes you cry and one that makes you laugh out loud. You can go with classics like George C. Scott’s A Christmas Carol or something where the theme just revolves around Christmas time like Family Man or New in Town. Just make sure the movies are age appropriate!

If you bake, include some of your homemade goodies. Put them in new plastic containers so that the containers themselves are also gifts. To keep you goodies fresh you may want to purchase some Christmas cellophane bags so that the baked goods aren’t directly in the plastic containers. If you don’t bake, check out some of the amazing regional goodies at stores like HomeGoods or specialty stores where you can get gorgeous cookies from France or pasta from Italy!

Everyone loves a good devotional and one of the finest you will come across is Tending the Temple by best-selling authors Kevin Vost, Peggy Bowes and Shane Kapler. This devotional combines health and faith and is a great gift to include in your perfect Christmas basket. It is the sort of gift that keeps on giving!

Have a Mass offered for the intentions of the recipient of the Christmas basket and include a card that lets her know so. This is a most appreciated gift for everyone!

Consider a set of pretty, padded hangers, a few new kitchen towels and oven mitts, a picture frame, or bath salts. If you would like to make bath salts yourself, here is an easy recipe: You will need Epsom salt, Essential oils, such as lavender, or orange and food coloring (certainly optional); you will Mix 1 cup of Epsom salt, ¼  cup sea salt, add 2-3 drops of essential oils, and food coloring to your preference. Put the colored salt in jars.  Decorate the jars with lace, sequences, or beads.

Then there’s always a new pair of scissors, a first aid kit, a nifty new level and measuring tape, or an in-a-pinch sewing kit.

As you can see, creating Christmas baskets is a beautiful way to explore a person’s meaning in your life and to show that you care for him or her in a special way because you took the time—which in and of itself is a huge gift nowadays! Besides, it is balm for our spirits to be imaginative and get engaged in creating and giving gifts that come from the heart.

Cheryl Dickow is a Catholic wife, mother, author and speaker. Cheryl’s newest book is Miriam: Repentance and Redemption in Rome. It is the sequel to her first fiction book Elizabeth: A Holy Land Pilgrimage. Both are available in paperback, Kindle, or Nook format. Her company is Bezalel Books where her goal is to publish great Catholic books for families and classrooms that entertain while uplifting the Catholic faith and is located at www.bezalelbooks.com. To invite Cheryl to speak at your event, write her at [email protected] or phone her at 248.917.3865.
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