Monday, December 1, 2008

Ho! Ho! Ho!, Low on Dough

Friendship Party II
Katie K and the Crew
Ho! Ho! Ho!, Low on Dough

Welcome Emily, Lindsay, Sarah, Cassie, Michelle, Brittany, Nicole, and of course...Katie.

I'll leave the formal introductions of who each of these fun women is to Katie, who like Heather, will hopefully find time today to post a short note about each.  I do, however, know a a few of our party guests well enough to know we are going to have a fun filled week.  And, Lindsay, who I do not yet know, visited our site last night - before the party even started.  That certainly earns her a gold star and lets me know she's going to fit in perfectly. 

While I am sure this gathering of women has many things in common, this week they are bound together by their status as "poor student" (or recent grad?), looking for ways to do the holidays on a shoe string.  But, let's face it... whether you are newly graduated or trying to squeeze into a dress for your 20th reunion (like me), we can all benefit from creative, but inexpensive gift ideas.

That will be the focus of this week - Holiday gift ideas when you are low on dough.  A quick overview of the week, so you know what to expect.  Each day this week I will share a gift idea or pose a gift "category" around which we will all brainstorm.  Each gift idea will have a different price point, beginning today with the most expensive ($20.00) and ending on Saturday with a price point of $5.00.  As always, this impressive gathering of highlowaha readers will build on the idea suggested in my morning post by adding your two cents in the comment section.  If all goes well, we will have six days worth of blogging that CHOCK FULL of creative and inexpensive gift ideas.

Newcomers... you will soon find out that this community is about so much more than just a creative idea a day.  Hopefully by week's end you will see we are a thriving community providing countless ways for you to join in and get connected.  Almost daily we have announcements at the end.  Stick around for the announcements, as it is a great way to discover the other fun things going on here at highlowaha.  Have a question about an announcement?  Don't be shy.  We love questions.  Surely some old-timer will jump in and post an answer ASAP.

Having said that... let's get this party started.

Who Says Dough Doesn't Grow on Trees?
This photograph isn't great... actually, it isn't even good.  Trust me when I tell you that, in person, it looks terrific.  I purchased a small Christmas tree at Michael's (with a 50% off coupon $3.59).  Then, I took a roll of wired garland ($1.00 at Dollar Tree) and twist tied 40 cookie cutters ($40% off at Joann Fabrics, $9.39) to the tree, making them look like ornaments.  Naturally I attached the star cookie cutter to the top.  For added fun, I bought a handful of cookie decorating tips (5 x .99 = $5.35) and put them on the tips of various tree branches.  This would make a fun gift for a a friend who liked to bake or someone setting up their own apartments/kitchen for the first time.  Grand total $19.33.

This idea is an adaptation of a tree I made many years ago for Ricky's third grade teacher.  She loved it and told me his gift was the hit of the teacher's lounge.  Instead of baking supplies, I covered the tree in school supplies.  We strung bright colored paper clips together to be garland; neon covered erasers served as Christmas lights; and pens, pencils, and sticky notes were wired to the branches as ornaments.  Instead of a star, the tree was topped off with a gift card to a local teacher supply store.

So it begs the question...  What other adaptations are out there?  Let's spend some time brainstorming additional ideas today.  How about for music lovers, cat lovers, book lovers, coffee lovers, chocolate lovers, golfers, or fishermen?  Who do you know?  What is he/she a fan of and how can you adapt this idea to fit his/her interests.  Have a little girl?  What about hair accessories?  Older teenager... what about nail polish, clippers, and makeup?  If I was making one for Ricky today (at 15), I might wire it with a series of $5.00 gift cards (of course, it would probably surpass today's $20.00 limit).  O.k.  maybe instead I could wire it with Butterfingers, Reeses Pieces and Snickers.  Even a combo of gift cards and candy is fun.

Before you get brainstorming, let me lay out all the things to which you will respond today.  There are three.
  • First.  Yes, use your creativity (we all have some) and share your ideas about how the Christmas tree idea can be adapted to suit the personality of one of your family members or friends.  
  • Second.  I neglected to have people vote on Friday for this week's secret ingredient.  It is essential we do it today, as entries must be mailed by mid-week arrive in Illinois on time.  Newcomers... We are in the middle of a Snack Throw Down.  Readers are going head to head, creating winning recipes, using a secret ingredient decided upon by us.  Entries are judged by bar flies at Struble Suds, in Naperville, Illinois.  We are choosing between
Cayenne Pepper or Mustard
  • Third.  Tell me.  What does each of you (newcomers and returners) hope to get out of this week.  The week is still young, so I have time to try and satisfy as many interests as possible.      
Football Snack Throw Down:  Congratulations to Susan who won yesterday's Snack Throw Down.  As it turns out, Heather's entry didn't arrive, making Susan the automatic winner.  I've been lucky enough to taste plenty of Susan's cooking, so I know competing entry or not, she is a first rate competitor!  Next up is Cheryl vs. Lori.
Paint The Town Red:  A small snafu and therefore announcement.  Make sure the 16 oz. Cokes you buy, if starting a Coke Kindness Chain, have red caps.  I made the mistake of buying a six pack and they had white caps.  I didn't realize that meant there would be no code beneath the lid.  Remember to keep submitting your codes to your "Regional Director" or to Heather.
Owl's Nest:  If you read Friday's Black Friday post, you will see our Texas readers are going to embark on a shopping trip on your behalf.  Read the post and find out how you can win a free Christmas present for a child in your life.  We already have a handful of takers.  Don't miss out.
Festival of Lights: Sunday, December 14, Highlowaha will embark on our next Virtual Party.  To participate all you have to do is submit three photographs to Katie before Friday, December 12.  They are: (1) a picture of your Christmas tree or other holiday decoration, (2) a picture of an ornament, and (3) a picture of the same ornament wrapped.  We will have a fun ornament exchange while viewing one another's holiday decorations. 

Signing off until tomorrow...

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