Christmas Gifts on a Budget

Christmas is the season for gift-giving.  Every Christmas party, may it be in the family, school, or offices, is not complete without gift exchanges, which could be pretty expensive especially if you are one of those who have a closely-knitted family, and countless friends and colleagues.  To bridge this predicament, we thought of giving something useful, functional, and creative.  But it should be something inexpensive and unconventional.  So for this Christmas, these are the gifts we prepared.

  • Perfume.  Yes this is expensive.  But hear me out.  I received three big bottles of V.S perfume from my husband on my birthday almost a year now.    I am still on my first bottle.  So I thought, why not share some of these, with his permission of course.  All I needed to buy are some pretty spray containers, placed some ribbons, and a personal note, and voila!


  • Body Scrub

1 cup salt

1 cup brown sugar

½ cup baby oil

Few drops of vitamin E (optional)

Dainty jars or recycled jars

Ribbons and glitters


In a bowl, mix salt, sugar, and oil until they form a fine sandy paste-like mixture.  Put this in a jar, seal well.  Decorate with ribbons, some beads or glitters




  • Homemade chocolate pancake specially made by my 4 year old daughter for the aunts.  She learned how to make pancakes from school.  Her teacher let each of them do the mixing and frying.  She was inspired by this, and wanted to do it at home by herself with my help,  as operating the gas stove could be dangerous.


Here it is,

2 cups chocolate pancake mixture

2 pieces of eggs

½ cup brown sugar

Some chocolate chips


In a bowl, mix all ingredients together until the mixture reaches a smooth texture.  Set this aside for 15 minutes.  Then fry.  Pack them in beautiful boxes.  Write some personal notes on the box with glitter pens.


How was your Christmas 2013?





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Christmas Away From Home

Nothing beats the Christmas celebration in the Philippines.

Without exaggeration when the calendar hits “……ber”, every stores and shopping malls would start displaying Christmas decors.  Kids will be talking about Christmas parties and gifts.  Lanterns and Christmas lights will be all over the place. Mothers will start planning for the “noche buena”.  There is not a single corner in the Philippines which will not remind you of the festivity, not a single one.  Everywhere, even in the remotest, poorest areas, there will always be something, it may be little and simple, to celebrate Christmas.


My family have been overseas for almost 8 years now, we are missing all these.  Here in Thailand, is a different story.  As a Buddhist country,they do not celebrate Christmas.  December 25 is an ordinary day, hence a working day.  It is  good enough if your employer understands Christmas, and declares this day a special holiday for the Christians, but only for a day.  If they don’t, then you will be working on Christmas day.  Stores sell Christmas decors by December, though.  They associate these with New Year.


Noche buena?  I do not know if we are going to have one.  The neighbors will be all fast asleep by then.  We don’t want to wake them up. We could probably just have a bit of a special dinner. Well, not really the kind of special we would have back home, just the more-than-the-usual kind of thing. They don’t sell all-purpose cream or whip cream here, and the cheese is insanely expensive.  These are two very important ingredients for my-kind-of-special-Christmas food, hmmmmm… fruit salad and spaghetti. Anyway….


This Christmas just like the past seven Christmases, we put up our Christmas tree and decorated it.  The only difference though, is that the kids are bigger and they already are able to express their appreciation.  So when we decided to put up the Christmas tree the other day, they were all yeheeeyss!!!!  Summer and Derick helped.  They even got more excited when we turned on the Christmas lights. Despite of the “absence” of Christmas, we still keep this tradition alive just to give the kids a feel of the Christmas spirit.



This is Christmas for us. This is Christmas away from home.


We wish everyone a happy Christmas and a bountiful 2014.

For the victims of Yolanda, our prayers are with you.




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