• Looking for a great cause for gifting this year? Go to www.charitynavigator.org to find out more about how your prospective charities rank in areas like CEO pay, money spent on fundraising, etc.
• Need a quick batch of cookies? Keep a box of cake mix on hand. Instead of the listed ingredients, add two eggs and a half-cup of oil to the mix. Mix and shape, then bake at 350 F for 10 minutes. They are really good, and you can get pretty creative.
• Inexpensive gift idea: A cute holiday coffee mug with a bar of chocolate, a packet of hot cocoa or instant coffee, a peppermint stick and a decorative holiday craft pick. Place inside a gallon-size zipper-top bag, tie with a ribbon, then trim off the zipper-top, leaving just the plastic. Looks nice.
• When holiday cookie time comes, I keep a plastic pitcher of hot water in the sink. I toss cookie cutters into it when I’m finished with them, so the corners are soaking. They really seem to only need a rinse and a quick brush-off afterward. Mine don’t get caked up with dough. — JoAnn
• Dogs and chocolate just don’t mix, so keep those holiday plates full of delicious chocolate morsels up and out of the reach of pets.
• Use last year’s Christmas cards as gift tags on this year’s gifts: Just cut out great-looking images and write your own to and from on the back.
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