Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Shoestring Christmas: Gifts for colleagues

We use the muffin breakfast as our family's thanks to the faculty and staff; however, we still need four personal gifts for colleagues. I couldn't do chess pies due to everyone's food issues.

So, for the male colleague, also diabetic, I made low carb cheesecake bites. One cheesecake batter yields approximately 100 mini muffins' worth. I topped each with a pecan half that had been toasted in butter and cinnamon. The total cost was about $5, but since over half of them go in our own freezer, it's a bargain!

Nice gifts typically come "from the top down," and my husband wanted to give his secretary a gift certificate for a holiday ham. My Coupon Clipper magazine had a deal that added $5 extra to every $20 gift card, plus a coupon for $10 off the ham itself. Yippee!

For the remaining gifts I arranged fresh flowers and greenery. No clutter and no calories for the women! A small one to go with the secretary's gift card:
A fuller centerpiece with candle for the female colleague:

And a much more elaborate centerpiece for the boss:
All three of these cost less than $10 TOTAL. I bought three $2.99 bunches of roses from Aldi and redistributed the blooms in uneven groups (3, 5, 9). I used greenery from our yard and pinecones we gathered in Georgia. All three are in 25-cent containers with floral foam from yard sales.

They turned out a little wild and natural, and I never found red berries to accent the rosy tipped petals. I hope they like them. It has been a busy but creative day around this house!

21 comments:

Copper's Wife said...

Wow!! The floral arrangements are gorgeous!! You do fine work. I'm sure they will be appreciated greatly.

Cinn said...

They're beautiful! I would be thrilled to receive one of these as a gift.

Anonymous said...

These are breathtaking. You are one talented lady. Very thoughtful gifts. Kathy

Miriam said...

Nice job, Meredith. I would be thrilled to receive such a beautiful centerpiece. I hope they enjoy!

Tessa said...

I am so impressed with how you always outdo yourself!!!! Where did you learn to arrange flowers?

Anonymous said...

You are pretty amazing, even when time is running short and your feeling a little frazzled you still keep to your budget. I so want to be you.I just enjoy reading your blog and admiring your skills. P.S. The hairy hand comment was just a joke,I'm glad you have a sence of humor.

Donna said...

Just beautiful. I'm sure the recipients will appreciate their gifts very much.

Anonymous said...

you are amazing.

debbie

Birdie said...

Lovely and so creative.

Anonymous said...

Incredible! I'm sure your husband is thanking God for such a wonderful wife. He is a blessed man!! Joy

Emily said...

Meredith, those floral arrangements are lovely. I know I'd love to receive something like that as a gift! I wish I had that much creative ability with my hands. I can do Christmas cookies and candy, but definitely not flowers. :)

thehomespunheart said...

Your flowers turned out beautifully! They will be so pleased! I bet people love getting gifts from you! :)

Melissa said...

do we get the recipe for the low-carb cheesecakes? :)

The flowers are beautiful. I especially love the centerpiece.

Lynn Marie said...

How beautiful! What a talent you have. My flower arrangements stay home for now as I don't feel that they are nice enough to share. Perhaps one day you can share your secret for making them. Have fun baking and may the children be helpful to you today.

Tina said...

My husband is diabetic also and I would sure love the recipe for the cheesecake! The centerpieces are gorgeous!

Chrissy said...

Meredith -

You've outdone yourself again. Good job!

Anonymous said...

well as said, great job...

the best part is they are consumable and can be repeated every year where as a knick knack to be dusted has to be replaced with a new idea next year...you CAN do flowers yearly and be well proud to do so...

i loved the idea of making the dry mix early for your muffins....takes have the work now...and all those ingredients can stay in the cupboard

celina from canada

Jennifer said...

Meredith, I was at a florist today and was shocked! We had received a coupon for a free bouqet of flowers when we moved in. I was looking around while waiting for my 5 small carnations. I saw a centerpiece arrangement very similar to your 5 rose centerpiece. It was marked $47.99! You probably saved yourself $150 or so, by doing these yourself. Way to go!

Jennifer

Meredith said...

Why thank you! I hope you understand I'm not fishing for compliments here. I just think it's fun to share the fruit of my frugal efforts with you! Those Aldi roses really saved my budget.

I will post the cheesecake recipe as soon as I can find the link. I forgot to bookmark it.

Meredith said...

Why thank you! I hope you understand I'm not fishing for compliments here. I just think it's fun to share the fruit of my frugal efforts with you! Those Aldi roses really saved my budget.

I will post the cheesecake recipe as soon as I can find the link. I forgot to bookmark it.

Meredith said...

Why thank you! I hope you understand I'm not fishing for compliments here. I just think it's fun to share the fruit of my frugal efforts with you! Those Aldi roses really saved my budget.

I will post the cheesecake recipe as soon as I can find the link. I forgot to bookmark it.