Christmas Ideas in a Still Floundering Economy

Tuesday, November 30, 2010 @ 06:11 PM

I know many people that are either not exchanging gifts at all this year, or putting names in a hat and everyone picks one name. My sister has decided to have a craft night a work, one night a week, so that everyone can get together and make gifts. At my house, we are just going to have a tree and get together and have a nice dinner and share each others’ company.

I know that the economists say that the recession is over…but I am just not seeing it. I still see people struggling. I am hearing daily about people still being laid off, loosing jobs, and getting another extension on their unemployment or just running out of unemployment all together.

It has come to getting creative with presents. If you are going to buy a gift for someone, make sure that it is something that they can use, more than once. Not some frivolous piece of jewelery, or another ugly sweater.  Giving someone a unique item to help them prepare food, an item that they may not already have is a great idea. Get something like a deep fryer, a grill, a slow cooker, a BBQ smoker.

Everyone has to eat. A piece of cast iron cookware is a gift, that if taken care of properly, will last a lifetime. It won’t just break down after a while or need new parts. It won’t get moth eaten or never be worn. A Dutch oven or cast iron skillet is an item that can be used every day. It can be cooked with indoors on your stove top, you can bake, roast and braise with them in your oven. You can also bring them outdoors and place them right on your grill. They can even be placed on an open fire or right into the hot coals at a campsite. Some simple cooking techniques may need to be learned for outdoor campfire cooking, but as far as indoor cooking goes, cast iron works just like any other pan. If seasoned properly, they have a great non-stick surface. Some care needs to go into washing…NO Dish Soap!!! But if you loose the seasoning on your pan…it can always be re-seasoned. Let’s see you do that with a non-stick pan! Most non-stick pots end up in the trash once their coating starts to go, or gets scratched over time and starts to flake away. That will never happen with cast iron cookware.

Slow cookers make great gifts too. Especially for someone that may have had to go back to work, or take on another job. These items are great for moms. A little preparation in the morning before work, place the unit on low, come home, and dinner is usually done. Stews, soups, roasts, can all be busy cooking while you are at work. And everything cooked in one pan. There are even slow cookers with separations so that you may cook 2 or even 3 different items at time. There are also many recipes, and helpful sites out there regarding slow cookers. Lots of advice for working people to help make life a little easier.

So, keep helpful cooking implements in mind while shopping for your friends and family.

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