The Strategic Homemaker

learning to follow the Father, care for the clan, and redeem the resources


Six Strategic Gift Ideas

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. We spent the day with some good friends, and enjoyed celebrating and thanking God for our many, many undeserved blessings over the past year.

And now it is almost December! I mentioned last year, when talking about PG’s Christmas presents, that I don’t want our Christmases to be all about stuff. However, I do appreciate meaningful gifts, and I have 6 strategic gift ideas for you. I love all these things, and have been blessed by being gifted with two of them in the last 2 months.

  1. SEEDS CDs. I mentioned these before, but I really do love them, and my sister-in-law randomly sent us a first of October gift with all the ones we didn’t have. They’re in the car, so whenever PG and I go anywhere we listen to them, and I’ve basically had verses stuck in my head the past couple of months. Each is a pack of two, so you can give one away or split with someone, and if you buy the seven pack, the CDs are only $5 each.                                                                                                                                              
  2. Verse Wall art. I was wanting to make one of these signs like on the Between You and Me Etsy Shop for the last year, and a differently sister-in-law randomly decided it would be a good graduation/housewarming/birthday gift for us, which was awesome, especially because I had no idea when I would get around to it. ( I think she may have looked on my Pinterest Boards, because seriously this and the above were the perfect gifts for me, and I didn’t even request them!) We had to do some serious warp control after it arrived, because going from Georgia to Rhode Island was a crazy weather difference, but after some steaming and re-drying it is looking good. Plus the Etsy owner was willing to re-make it if we couldn’t fix the warp. Talk about great customer service!1-IMG_7608
  3. Gourmet foods. If you’re giving a gift to someone who avoids splurging on their groceries, this is a great gift. Summer sausages, fancy cheeses and crackers, chocolate, gourmet teas or coffees, nuts, etc. will really be considered a treat.
  4. Photo gifts. For the past few years, I’ve gotten us a package of family photos and a package of PG photos at Target, Sears, Olan Mills, etc. and distributed them to family members.  All the grandparents are happy, and it is really cheap. This year, my package of PG’s photos was $7.99 at Target. (Go online for coupons.) It had enough pictures for us, two sets of grandparents, two sets of great-grandparents, two great-great grandparents, and wallets for all the aunts and uncles. I am waiting until the new baby comes to get family pictures. TSH’s parents request a photo calendar every year with pictures of all their children and grandchildren, so those duties get rotated around. I do not recommend the blanket photo gifts however, as one year, TSH’s parents were given a giant blanket with a huge picture of them on it. It was kind of hilarious, especially because they were wearing the same clothes as in the picture, but I don’t think they figured out where to use it. TSH’s Dad, who has recently gotten into the Ebay business, says he will sell it to the highest bidder…
  5. The Light Has Come advent book. For something novel and fun for kids, this book is super cool. The author, who happens to be one of my friends, cut out elaborate paper snowflakes with symbols that tell the story of the gospel. Each page has a list of symbols to find, as well as corresponding Bible passages to read during the advent season. You can check it all out on his website.

6. A homemade quilt or other homemade blanket. I did actually make something by hand for one of my sis-in-laws this year, but I am getting to the point where I am ready to pay someone else to make stuff for me to give, and the winter is a great time to give a quilt as a gift! Katherine at the Rhymes with Smile etsy shop is the girl who taught me to quilt, I have seen and used her quilts in her house, and my daughter has a quilt made by her, so I can attest that her quilts are beautiful. And her prices cannot be beat. Honestly, it can be hard to make your own quilt for these prices, and the blogger Crazy Mom quilts recently listed some of hers for sale at 10 times the price. Crazy! Although, I admit, they are pretty fun.

Let me know if you have any other great gift ideas. I am almost done shopping this year—my nesting instinct was apparently to get everyone’s Christmas presents bought and wrapped before December—so I just need to pick up some stocking stuffers at the last minute.


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10 Ways to Romance Your Spouse on the Cheap

Just because Valentine’s Day is over does not mean you should wait a whole year to do something romantic for your spouse, and doing something romantic does not mean you need to spend lots of money. Here are some ideas to get your creative juices flowing.

Oh, and btw, if you or they have a Starbucks gift card you haven’t registered with at least $5 on it, register it before March 14, and get a free $5 added to it.

Back to the ideas:

1. Good old-fashioned love note. Even better if you know how to fold it into a paper balloon. Leave it somewhere they will find it.


2. Back massage, or back scratch, etc. Whatever they like.

3. Make a pdf card for their e-reader with hand-drawn illustrations. It can have several pages with coupons for redeemable services like back massages. (Don’t even try enlarging this illustration to read the fine print. It is purposefully small.)


4. Send them an Evite to a date night you come up with. Take note, if you give it a name like “Romantic Evening,” they might just RSVP “Count me in!” without actually reading any details, so make sure you mention anything they need to know to them in person.

5. Send them a romantic song while they’re at work. If you’re really ambitious, burn them an entire CD.

6. Do a household chore you don’t usually do.

7. Fry them eggs for breakfast in heart-shaped cookie cutters. (Grease the cookie cutters first.)

8. Make a meal fancy with placemats, nice glasses, etc. Um, assuming you don’t do this every meal. Ahem.

9. Draw a cartoon starring you and them.

10. Find a couple willing to watch your kids every other week or so, and you watch theirs the alternate weeks, so you can go out without paying a babysitter (Credit goes to the Highfields for this idea. We just watched someone else’s kids for free before we had a kid, and now someone without kids watches ours for free. )

Do you have any other ideas?