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How to Propagate Basil, Grow and Turn it Into the Most Amazing Pesto

While I came bearing gifts and lunch to celebrate my friend Sharon’s Birthday, I left with a surprise parting gift. She taught me how to propagate basil.

collage showing fresh basil being propgated in a paper cup then planted in a pot

How to propagate basil

As we were walking to my car, I casually reached down to admire her ginormous basil plant. Oh, that earthy, delightful fragrance! With that, she pinched off a couple of stems and suggested that I stick them in water for a few days. “They’ll grow roots and then you can plant them!”

And that’s exactly what happened just two weeks later, as you can see in the photos above. Yes, in a paper cup.

propagate:  to produce a new plant using a parent plant (of a plant or animal) to produce young plants.

Not only did the basil grow massive roots, those sprigs nearly doubled in size. That’s when I filled a pot with planting soil and gave my little crop of basil a  permanent place to thrive. Soon, I’m going to pinch off a few sprigs to propagate another pot of basil. And who knows? Maybe another and another.

From basil to pesto

If you’ve been around this blog for any time at all, you can predict what’s to follow. I’ve got Christmas on my mind. After all, it is July. It’s time to come up with yet another way to turn summer’s bounty into gifts for the Holidays.

Given how easy it is to grow basil, this year I’ll be making gifts of pesto—specifically Pesto Genovese (peh-sto geh-no-VEH-zeh).

Whether you grow it in your garden or in a container (it is so easy and probably not too late in the season to plant) or find it at a produce stand or farmer’s market, basil is the main ingredient in this gourmet food item. It is sure to please just about everyone on your gift list this holiday season. It’s consumable, unique, and absolutely the right size and color.

Homemade pesto sauce with basil and pine nuts in white mortar over old wooden table

Pesto Genovese

Traditionally, Pesto Genovese is made with a marble mortar and pestle because the steel blades of the food processor tend to bruise the basil, making it very dark green and slightly bitter. But it’s long and tiring work with the mortar and pestle. But not to worry! This recipe uses a food processor plus a few tricks involving ice. In 15 minutes you will have a very delicious pesto sauce, bright green and tasty—not at all bitter!
5 from 2 votes
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Course: Condiment, sauce
Cuisine: Italian
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Chill Tools: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 1 cup
Calories: 199kcal
Cost: $4

Equipment

  • Food processor (or in a pinch, a blender see Note 1)
  • large bowl

Ingredients

  • 60-65 small basil leaves (50 gr. or 2 oz.)
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin oil
  • 6 tablespoons grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese (70 gr. or 2.5 oz. tablespoons)
  • 2 tablespoons Pecorino cheese cut into small pieces (30 gr. 1 oz.)
  • 2 cloves garlic peeled
  • 1 tablespoon pine nuts (15 gr., or 5 oz.)
  • 1/8 teaspoon coarse salt, or to taste (sea salt, kosher salt)
  • ice

Instructions

  • Place the bowl and blades of a food processor in the refrigerator or freezer until the tools are very cold, about 15 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, get the basil leaves ready by washing them in cold water.
  • Place the clean basil in a large bowl with plenty of ice for 3-4 minutes.
  • Remove leaves from the ice and dry them very well in a kitchen towel. Important: The basil leaves must be very dry.
  • Remove bowl and blades from the refrigerator or freezer and place basil leaves, garlic, pine nuts, and grated Parmigiano in the food processor bowl.
  • Pulse a few seconds in the food processor.
  • Add salt and Pecorino cheese to the bowl.
  • Blend all ingredients in the food processor for about 1 minute.
  • Add olive oil to the bowl and blend for about 5 minutes at medium speed, and at intervals: blend a few seconds, stop and start again until you see a creamy green pesto sauce. Work quickly as you do not want the pesto to heat up.
  • Serve Pesto Genovese over pasta (you may want to add a tablespoon or so of the pasta water to the Pesto to thin it out a bit, as needed) or as a spread on toasted bread as an appetizer. Yield: About 1 cup; 6 servings. 33 cal per serving.
  • Store Pesto Genovese in the refrigerator, in an airtight container for 2-3 days, taking care to cover the sauce with a layer of extra virgin olive oil.
  • It's possible to freezer pesto in small jars, again covered with a thin layer of olive oil, and then defrost it in the refrigerator or at room temperature.

Notes

1. If you do not have a food processor you can make this recipe in a blender using the setting “puree.”
2. This recipe multiplies well, but do not try to make more than a double batch in a blender, or triple in a food processor.
3. This recipe multiplies well, but do not try to make more than a double batch in a blender, or triple in a food processor.
4. Pesto may be made several days in advance and kept refrigerated in an airtight container until ready to use. If making in advance, be sure to cover the top of the pesto with a thin layer of olive oil to prevent the pesto from darkening. Pesto may also be frozen in the same manner in small quantities for use at a later date.
5. Keep frozen at 0ºF or below. Frozen shelf life is one year. When thawed and kept refrigerated at 40°F, product has a shelf life of ten days.
 

Nutrition

Calories: 199kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 5mg | Sodium: 149mg | Potassium: 22mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 250IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 86mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @EverydayCheapskate or tag #EverydayCheapskate!

Gifts of Pesto

When preparing pesto for gifts, you’ll want to attach a tag with the following:

Pesto Genovese

This all-natural pesto was made in the Genovese style with fresh basil, olive oil, garlic, salt, pine nuts, Parmigiano Reggiano and Pecorino cheeses.

To Use: Toss with hot pasta, or use as a crostini topping, as a marinade for chicken or fish. Keep refrigerated and use within one week. Enjoy!

Now that I know how to propagate basil (so easy), I’m ready to try using this super fun technique with other herbs—perhaps even onions and garlic too!


Next Up:

Instant Pot Spaghetti with Meat Sauce—So Good, It’s Insane!

Secrets for How to Grow An Edible Garden Just About Anywhere!

12 Ways to Make it Christmas in July

EC Father’s Day Gift Guide 2020

Let’s start out with a quick history of Father’s Day, shall we?

It seems that we’ve been celebrating Mother’s Day since it was invented by a young girl and promoted by the Wanamaker department store back in 1908. A campaign quickly followed to create such a day to honor fathers, but it didn’t meet with the same enthusiasm–perhaps because, as one florist explained, “fathers haven’t the same sentimental appeal that mothers have.”

This did not sit well with a Spokane, Wash., woman named Sonora Smart Dodd, one of six children raised by their father, a widower.

Father\'s Day gifts

Dodd set out to establish an official equivalent to Mother’s Day for male parents. She went to local churches, the YMCA, shopkeepers, and government officials to drum up support for her idea. She was so successful, Washington State celebrated the nation’s first statewide Father’s Day on June 19, 1910,

I only tell you this because Spokane is where I grew up—where I spent my childhood years. And every year without fail, we’d hear the story about Mrs. Dodd. I’m sure it’s been embellished a bit, how she walked uphill in the snow going from house to house; to every church, store, school, you-name-it, imploring people to help her honor America’s fathers. But it worked and here we are 120 years later, about do it again.

Father’s Day, fewer than two weeks from now, is a fabulous, wonderful day to show Dads how much we love them, how special they are—and a great opportunity to poke a little fun, too!

Here for your consideration are 28 super cool ideas to help you come up with just the right gift for the Dad(s) in your life.

Read more

Mother’s Day Gift Guide 2020

Every year about this time, the age-old question comes up to baffle lots of people: Practical or sentimental? The answer, of course, depends on your mother.

A pink flower on a table

Let me assure you that many of us really do love and adore well-thought-out, practical Mother’s Day gifts—even a fabulous vacuum cleaner. Or the latest kitchen gadget, tool, or device we’ve been dying to have.

Then there are others who are downright insulted by practical gifts on any occasion. These moms are sentimental who love a beautiful bouquet of flowers, plaque, jewelry, or wall hanging so lovely that it brings tears to their eyes.

Here for your consideration as you check the calendar to see Mother’s Day 2020 is right around the corner, 23 ideas for gifts most any mother will love to receive!

A vase of flowers on a table

1. Forever Pink Roses Mother’s Day Bouquet

Here it is—every procrastinator’s Mother’s Day lifesaver! Two dozen long stem dark and light pink roses plus greens in a glass vase guaranteed to be delivered on Friday, May 8 (provided you pre-order by Wed., May 6). Even better? Shipping to most addresses in the U.S. is included in the price of $45 plus tax.

This is a Sam’s Club deal (no membership required, but if you are not a Sam’s Club member you will need to register as a guest during your check out process, and you will be given the opportunity to become a member, but it is not required) and you know that warehouse clubs are notorious for beating our expectations in both size and quality. This is a gorgeous bouquet. Order now—limited quantities, will sell out quickly.

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The Ultimate Guide to Proper Re-gifting

Six days until Christmas. While you let that sink in, allow me to whisper one word in your ear: Re-gifting.

The act of re-gifting—passing on as new a gift someone else gave you—is controversial but only because of those who do a noticeably bad job of it. After all, if every act of regifting were carried out flawlessly, no one would find it distasteful, or even consider it a thing.

A woman holding a birthday cake

Speaking of what not to do, consider what happened in front of all my friends at a bridal shower—for me, the next bride-to-be in our circle of friends.

I opened the gift of lovely Pyrex mixing bowls, pulled them out of the box to admire the cool colors, only to have a gift card fall into my lap, lovingly addressed to someone who was not me.

With the original giftee sitting not five feet away, I did some really bad version of sleight-of-hand, hoping no one would notice.

All these years later, it doesn’t matter—honestly, it never did. I loved the bowls. Still, that awkward moment re-plays in my mind every time I see her. Which brings me to my Official Rules of Re-gifting:

1. Never admit to re-gifting

If your friends know you’re a re-gifter, you’ll find yourself in the unpleasant situation of explaining why re-gifting is different from not caring. Worse, they will be suspicious of the gifts you give them. It’s best to keep re-gifting completely to yourself.

2. Designate a location

Keep re-gifts in a convenient, albeit secret, place in a special box or cupboard with extra wrapping paper and ribbon. Some people shop for gifts in department stores. Never underestimate the utility of a gift stash that allows you to shop at home.

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2019 Holiday Gift Guide—Best Ideas for Foodies

A book on a table

Yes, another Holiday Gift Guide, and not so much because I love creating these guides for you (I do!) but due to popular request. And if it wouldn’t have appeared to be overly self-serving, for sure I would have titled this Guide something like my favorite Best Inexpensive really awesome kitchen things that foodies of all levels are sure to love as much as I do.

 

A group of items on a table

1. Pizza Stone for Grill and Oven

Finally, a pizza stone that is not so fragile I have to worry about it cracking under extreme conditions (I must be super hard on pizza stones because I have broken more than a few).

First, it is extra thick at 3/4-inch. And heavy (thank you Amazon for Prime shipping). But here is the most amazing thing—guaranteed to withstand up to a whopping 1000 degrees F. Culinary Couture Pizza Stone for Grill and Oven will not crack! I leave mine on the bottom shelf of my oven at all times, which makes for easy storage, but also makes it convenient for baking bread as well as chicken, shrimp, and cookies, too. About $40.

2. Egg Rings

What a great idea, really. These Non-Stock Fried and Poached Egg Rings are perfect, too, for pancakes and anything else you want to come out round! Also comes in a heart-shaped option.

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My Shopping Addiction Rehab Program

Shopping is my thing. I love the thrill of the hunt, that feeling of discovery and the joy of a bargain. I find it satisfying in ways I can’t fully describe. I want to experience the feeling as often as possible. Shopper’s high is no joke. It’s real, it’s palpable, and it’s addictive.

Gift and Shopping

Shopping got me into a lot of trouble. In just 12 years I ran up more than $100,000 in consumer debt—most of it on credit cards. Eventually, all of it came crashing down and nearly took me with it. Thankfully, that crisis became the catalyst to turn my life around.

It took 13 years to repay all of the debt. I learned a lot about myself in the process but mostly that the satisfaction I got from shopping was short-lived. It was fake because it vanished in less time than it took me to get the stuff to the car. But that just set me up to do it again and again because the small bursts of joy I got from shopping were worth the pain that always followed.

Crazy I know, but absolutely true. I could so easily go back to my old ways, and that’s scary.

So, what keeps me on the straight and narrow? It’s you! You’re my shopping addiction rehab program. Paying off that monstrous debt and these past 28 years of writing, researching, and communicating with you on a daily basis have become the best maintenance program I could hope for.

And the best part? I get to use my shopping skills nearly every day, but now in a constructive way.

Take the email I got from Jeannine who asked simply, “What is the best inexpensive Bluetooth speaker?” Just like that, I flew into shopping mode—that thing I love to do because it brings me uncanny satisfaction.

But here’s the deal: I’m not shopping for myself. I’m not spending my money or creating a bit of debt. I’m researching for Jeannine and that frees me from all of the personal negative stuff. I get to experience the joys of shopping that I love so much without any of the remorse or regret, guilt or shame. That’s authentic, lasting satisfaction. I love my job.

I did go shopping for Jeannine and a few other readers whose requests showed up at about the same time.

A group of items on a table

1. Bluetooth speaker

Bluetooth and wireless speakers let you bring your favorite music, podcasts and audiobooks with you wherever you go, whether you’re out on a hike or in the kitchen doing dishes—without the need to use headphones or depend on the phone’s or iPad’s microscopic built-in speaker. My pick for the best inexpensive Bluetooth speaker is Anker SoundCore. This thing is amazing with 24-hour playtime, low distortion and superior sound.

2. Stainless coffee mug

Coffee lovers are discriminating when it comes to both quantity and temperature of their favorite brew. Zojirushi Silky Black Stainless Steel 16-ounce Mug represents the gold standard. There is no finer. Retains heat so well it comes with a 5-year warranty on heat retention! And did I mention 16-ounces? No wonder this coffee mug has earned so many 5-star reviews. It’s that lovely!


Take a listen to today’s Podcast episode! 


3. Kids electronic tablet

These days children start very young with electronic devices. The problem though is that kids are kids and most smartphones and tablets are too delicate to handle toddler abuse. With that in mind, my pick for your favorite little ones is Kids Amazon Fire Edition Tablet. This is the real deal—not a toy, but built like one because it is all but indestructible.

This tablet has a 7-inch screen, 16 GB, Wi-Fi and all of it surrounded by a kid-proof case then wrapped up in a 2-year worry-free guarantee. If it breaks for any reason, return it and you’ll get a free replacement no questions asked. Complete with front and rear cameras, best-in-class parental controls.

One year of Amazon FreeTime Unlimited gives access to 10,000 kid-friendly books, movies, TV shows, educational apps, and content from PBS Kids, Nickelodeon, Disney and more. Wow. I want one.

4. Fitbit Charge 3

This must be the gift of the year given all the people I know who are dying to get one. Worn, Fitbit Charge 3 continuously monitors heart pulse, calorie burn, and heart rate. 7-Day battery life. Automatically tracks how long and how well you sleep and even wakes you up with a silent vibrating alarm. Fitbit Charge 3 comes complete with GPS that allows you to see real-time stats when you run—things like pace and distance, all while on your wrist. It even displays the time, just like something from the olden days called a wristwatch. For sure, Fitbit is stylish, hip and cool.

5. Portable battery charger

Don’t you hate it when your phone or other device dies and you’re nowhere near an outlet? So did the creators of this amazing little RAVPower Portable Charger External Battery Power Bank. Just plug your device into it and you’ll get a super quick charge. About the size of an index card, this thing has a huge capacity. Colossal battery: 22000mAh capacity, a single charge powers an iPhone X 4.9 times, a Galaxy S8 4.4 times, or an iPad mini 4, 2.6 times. Two USB ports allow you to charge two devices at a time. 5.8A Output 3-Port (iSmart 2.0 USB Ports). Compatible with iPhone 11/Pro/Max/ 8/ X/XS, Samsung S10.


Everyday Cheapskate participates in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon affiliated sites.

UP NEXT: 

7 Cheap Gadgets That Make Life Easy—Fun, Too

2019 Holiday Gift Guide — Mary’s Favorite Things


2019 Holiday Gift Guide — Best Ideas for Grandparents

2019 Holiday Gift Guide — Mary’s Favorite Things

2019 Holiday Gift Guide—Best Gift Ideas for KIDS!

2019 Holiday Gift Guide—Best Learning Toys

2019 Holiday Gift Guide — Best Ideas for Grandparents

A book on a table

As gifting opportunities go, the biggest one of all is just around the corner. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of my readers are feeling somewhat stressed, even panicked. Last-minute shopping has a way of doing that, especially when you have zero gift ideas when it comes to the grandparents and seniors on your list.

Gifts for grandparents don’t always require a trip down memory lane. Today’s grandparent is more likely to be tapping out e-mail than pounding away on a typewriter (a whaaat!?).

So with that in mind, here are some of my best gift ideas with affiliate links for grandparents that are sure to delight Nanas and Papas everywhere whether this is their first year on the job or old pros by now (even those who are hard-to-buy-for!) And don’t worry—if you don’t dawdle, all arrive before Christmas.

Gift and Grandparent

1. Grandparents’ house rules

This decorative wall art is as adorable as it is charming, lists the rules grandkids are to follow while at their grandparents’ home. Designed to either stand or be hung on the wall. Grandparents’ House Rules is priced right and made in the USA!

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Gifts That Don’t Cost a Dime

Long on Christmas lists but short on cash this year? What you need are tips, tricks, and Gift Guides to help you save money, right?

“Save money?!” you sneer. “What if we don’t have any money?” 

That, my friend, is a reliable signal that it’s time to get creative. Often the most meaningful gifts and most difficult ones to give are those that cost no money at all.

A group of people sitting at a table with wine glasses

A gift from the heart is a gift of time and talent. It’s going to require some (all?) of your free time over the next week or so, but it sure beats going into debt to buy a bunch of gifts for others—or missing out altogether because you refuse to show up empty-handed.

No one was more creative than my mother-in-law one Christmas years ago. I’d always admired her beautiful crystal, a wedding gift from her parents in 1942. Imagine how stunned I was when she gave it—all of it—to me. My favorite pieces are the water pitcher and cordials. Her gift, which cost nothing in terms of money, was and continues to be priceless to me.

Are you getting the picture? Great. Consider these idea starters to show someone you care that won’t require spending any cash at all. And please, add your own ideas in the comments!

Read more

Best Creative and Inexpensive Homemade Gifts!

Whether it’s something from your kitchen, craft room, woodworking shop, or computer, there’s nothing like a homemade gift. A tree ornament, a plate of cookies, box of fudge, note cards—just a few of the many homemade gift ideas with universal appeal.

I love homemade gifts both to give and receive. No wonder I have so many favorites!

A piece of cake sitting on top of a wooden table

Hand and Body Lotion

A jar of your own signature luxury hand and body lotion will definitely put you on the map. It’s that good. Not particularly crafty? No worries.

If you can assemble, empty, stir and mix well, you’ve got what it takes to make dozens of these gifts start to finish in a single evening.

 

A bottle of wine sitting on top of a wooden table

And the best part? About $3.50 per gift, depending on where you buy the ingredients and containers.

Gift and Cream

I have created a photo tutorial at A Homemade Gift You’d Actually Love to Receive with all of the step-by-step instructions and specifics on the ingredients and where to get them.

Believe me when I say this is the gift your recipient(s) will rave about. It’s that awesome!

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What Teachers Really Want for Christmas

I’ve never been a school teacher, but I’ve been a parent. I wish I’d known years ago what I know now about what teachers really want for Christmas. I would have skipped the “Teachers Have Class!” coffee mugs and gone more for the classroom supplies.

A group of people sitting at a table

Recently, I contacted teachers I know, asking them how they really feel about gifts from parents and students—at Christmas and other times of the year, too. Each one of them hesitated. I could tell they didn’t want to come across as ungrateful.

Make no mistake—teachers are very grateful for the thoughts behind all of the stuff they get during the year, but particularly at Christmas.

But the stuff itself? Not so much. In fact, most gifts become a problem for that teacher. What would you do with 27 random coffee mugs or 16 bottles of cologne or aftershave of dubious origin? 

This year you can make sure that your gifts for teachers will be exactly what they really want. So listen up on these ideas for teacher gifts. And take notes. There may be a quiz.

Read more

7 Cheap Gadgets That Make Life Easy—Fun, Too

I am nothing if not a gadget lover. Ingenious items that make my life easier are great, but when I find something that’s cool and also has the potential to save money? Well, that’s cause for celebration. Here are my latest fun finds.

A person posing for the camera

Sugru

I don’t know where this stuff has been hiding (maybe I’m the one who’s been missing?), but my recent discovery has me giddy with joy. It’s called Sugru, or perhaps a better name would be Miracle in a Package. Think: silly putty without the silly part.

Read more

The Gentle Art of Gift-Giving

The simple act of gift-giving has become extremely complicated. I blame that on the consumer credit industry. Think about it: You can be completely broke but still spend thousands of dollars on Christmas gifts—and believe it is not only your right to do so but that you are obligated to do it. We believe the message that we have to spend a lot on Christmas gifts to be socially acceptable.

Christmas gift

Gift-giving is a custom that has pretty much run amok. But it doesn’t have to be that way. We can choose to make wise and reasonable decisions about the gifts we give.

How many of you cannot recall the gifts you gave last Christmas? How about the gifts you received? Come on, let’s see those hands. Okay, that’s just about everybody.

It’s not because we’re total ingrates that we have trouble remembering the gifts we gave or even the ones we received. It’s because when it’s all over, the gifts pale in comparison to the joy they deliver—the love and best wishes for the season. That’s what we carry with us from one year to the next.

Gifts are messengers

They are tokens of the esteem we hold for people we care about. They deliver our love and our best wishes. Gifts express the fondness we have for another person. Without the care, love, or concern, the gift is empty. Giving a gift just so you can mark a name off a list is a hollow effort that is likely to fall flat no matter how much money you spend.

Okay, so here’s another question: How many of you still have a sense of the joy and good feelings associated with gift-giving that took place in your home and your life last Christmas, even if you cannot recall the specific gifts?

Look at that. Hands are going up all over the room! At least some of those gifts did their job. They delivered the joy and the love and then quietly slipped out of the spotlight.

Those of you who couldn’t raise your hands may be remembering the stress of finding the perfect gift, the hassle because you waited until the last minute. You might be recalling the guilt for spending money you didn’t have on things you don’t remember and haven’t been paid for yet.

If you struggle with the thought that gifts you give must fulfill the recipients’ deepest longing and fondest dreams, think of the gifts you will give in the same way you would think of a special meal you prepare. You want it to be delicious and for your guests to enjoy it thoroughly. But no matter how fluffy your mashed potatoes or delectable the prime rib, it’s still a meal and it will end. Your guests will not continue to eat the meal for months to come, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t delicious and they didn’t enjoy it. They will take away the memories of the meal and the love with which it was prepared and served.

That spark of joy

Your gifts should bring a momentary sense of joy, but it’s the memories of your expression that will live on.

If you don’t know what to give someone, ask yourself this simple question: What matters to him or her? You have to know this person pretty well to know the answer to that question without inquiring. You almost have to be a detective. You have to pay attention, listen, and observe.

Let’s say your grandmother really loves animals. In fact, she volunteers at the shelter two days a week. She is passionate about animal rights. Donating $20 in her name to the Animal Shelter would probably make her break down and cry. She would be touched that you cared enough to figure out what really matters to her.

Not every occasion requires a gift. Sometimes a card that you buy or make yourself in which you write a really thoughtful sentiment is an excellent way to go. Caring enough to pick out the right card and then taking the time and effort to write in it can say, “I care!” even better than a gift could.

Being a responsible gift-giver will help you to be an excellent recipient as well. Knowing that it’s the thought that went into the gift that counts—not the price tag—will help you to be genuinely grateful. You cannot be too grateful. But you can fail to express your gratitude, and that’s always a bad thing.

Give something you made

Whether it’s something from your kitchen, your craft room, woodworking shop or computer, there’s just nothing like a homemade gift. A tree ornament, plate of cookies, box of fudge, note cards—these are just some of the kinds of homemade gifts with universal appeal.

Give the gift of compassion

Do you want your gift to say how much you care? Then find a way to show you care about what matters most to that person. Is he or she passionate about medical research? Become a bone marrow donor. An environmentalist? Donate to an organization that reforests and plant a tree in his/her name. Do something that this person will find meaningful and then do it in their honor. Write a description of your experience and give it to your recipient.

Give what you do best

Often the most meaningful gifts and most difficult ones to give are those that cost no money at all. A gift from the heart is a gift of time and talent. What do you do well? Cook, clean, babysit, garden, sew, drive, shop? Whatever it is, create a unique gift certificate and make what you do the gift that you give: A weekend of babysitting, a day of housecleaning, six hours of errand running—you get the idea. Hint: Follow up within just a few days to set the exact time your certificate will be redeemed. Your recipient may be too embarrassed to remind you to make good on the gift.

Give it in writing

Worried that your gifts—homemade or otherwise—are too cheap or not just exactly right? All of your doubts will vanish when you include a short note with each of your gifts telling the recipients what they mean to you and the value they bring to your life.
The best gift is one that delivers a message of love and joy that remains with the recipient long after the gift has been consumed, used or put away.