How to Find Meaningful AND Affordable Gifts

“Merry Christmas,” said the checker at the grocery store. Really? … and that was three weeks ago! And if I weren’t Practical Mommy, maybe I’d be freaking out a lot. But see, I try to keep my finger on all things cool, fun, new for kids and moms.

How? I have friends. Who own all the right stores! Like Molly at City Sprouts. Our kids are friends and she is totally in the know.

So when Great Day St. Louis asked me to share the inside scoop, this is what I brought:

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Holiday Gift Idea: Holding Hands

My sister, Carmen leaves soon (sniff!) and we’ve been thinking of what I can send for birthdays and Christmas. She agreed that the Holding Hands Bracelet is perfect for our grandmother.

Sterling Silver Holding Hands bangle

“Lola” turned 90 this year and has 13 grandchildren from her four kids! We decided on one bead each for the four of us sisters.

My mom and I share a birthday so I’m giving her one too. And our other sister, CC just had her first child and is just discovering the sisterhood of mommy-hood!

Thank goodness for Skype and Facebook, because even though she’s halfway around the world, we get to Hold Hands!

Eventually, the women in our family will each have one — a shared experience and yet, each will be unique too. Isn’t that so true of motherhood?

Ask me for strength and I will lend not only my hand, but also my heart.

~ Unknown ~

Every day, my bracelet reminds me of the women who give me strength.

My grandmother and two of her daughters. My mom (on the right) is pregnant with me in this picture!

Four sisters!

Four generations!

Lola's Holding Hands Bead, plus four!

Who are the women who hold your hands and heart?

How to Pick Meaningful Holiday Gifts

I’ve got some tips for you on gift-giving this season. If you’re still missing a few for those challenging people on your list that seem to have everything and anything they want, watch my segment with Carol Daniels on Great Day St. Louis. Or, if you’ve got a health nut on your list, I’ve shared 18 gift ideas in my Health-Conscious Gift Guide on Viewpoints!

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How to Make Easy Holiday Treats

It’s like Santa’s workshop at Practical Mommy’s these days. With the help of two very helpful elves, we whipped up batches and batches of holiday treats. I like to get the kids involved in making something special for their teachers. Each of them have FOUR (count them, four teachers) plus “specialists.” Hence, we make batches and batches of treats. But in case you didn’t read my Thanksgiving story, my days of Martha are OVER. The operative word here is EASY.

Here’s what you need:

• Baker’s Dipping Chocolate
• bag(s) of pretzels
• sprinkles (optional)
• cookie sheets
• parchment paper (optional)

4 Steps to Yummy Holiday Treats
1) Microwave the Chocolate. We used the “Heat and Dip” kind that is microwave safe, white and milk variety.
2) Dip pretzels in melted chocolate. We also used dried apricots.
3) Place on cookie sheet and refrigerate until chocolate is hard (about 5-10 minutes).
4) Pop off cookie sheet and package in really cute tins or bags. (Parchment paper makes the popping off part easier).

That’s it, folks! How PRACTICAL is that?!

For more great and easy crafts that you can do with your kids this season, download Fun Kids Christmas Crafts. You can get it NOW! … not tomorrow when you brave a trip to the mall or, in 5-7 days from Amazon. You can have it NOW… for less than I paid for my dried apricots! Let’s not forget that Winter Break is mere days away!!!

If you’ve bitten by the holiday craft bug, you don’t have to wait. It’s immediate gratification. Just like chocolate-covered pretzels!

Practical Mommy is Ria Sharon. Click the links for Practical Mommy’s recommendations for travel car seats, affordable and fun diaper bags (skip hop bag), and the best-selling crib brand, Da Vinci Crib.