Gift Ideas and Recipes

Hi everyone,

With the holidays coming up fast, I thought I’d share some gift ideas and recipes that hopefully might make things  a little bit less stressful for you. There are ways to reduce stress during the holidays: Set a budget, pick up things that go on sale throughout the year for kids, spouse, parents. (Whoever you buy gifts for in your family.)

For the adults bring a nice gift (with a specified limit $40, or whatever you decide) and bring a possible white elephant gift. Have someone with a cup or bowl with numbers for the amount of people participating. The way we’ve always played this game is you can steal a present no more than three times. I’m sure you can do a search for other ways to play this game. Don’t forget to reuse numbers for white elephant drawing.

Homemade wrapping paper:

Kids can decorate sheets of butcher paper and Kraft paper sheets for you to wrap gifts. This can keep them busy for a little while and you’ll end up with something you can use. With the sheets you can fold them to make gift bags, too.

Gift Ideas

Oven Mitt Gift

Buy an oven mitt in the design you think the recipient will like. Dollar Tree, Walmart, Target are good places to pick these up. Then fill with cooking goodies like measuring spoons. Rubber spatula, wooden spoon, silicone basting brush, timer, vegetable brush. Tie a ribbon around it and to finish it off you could add an ornament.


A plastic container with a lid. Dollar Tree is one of my favourite places to go for those and then head over to Walmart and purchase art supplies to place inside. Sketching tin with pencils, a hardback sketchbook, watercolours, acrylics. You get the idea.

Nice plastic container could also hold yarn for someone who knits or crochets, knitting needles or crochet hooks, a book with patterns.

Another idea would be to make one with spa items. Body scrub, bath salts, nice warm, fuzzy slipper socks, bath fizzy, bath sponge, body wash and lotion of the same or similar scent.

The container gifts are great because you can personalize it for the person you’re giving it to. Plus, the container is something that can be reused later.

Mason Jar gifts

A sewing kit could be a great useful gift. Thread, needles, a thimble, tape measure, small pair of scissors, buttons,

Something else you could put in the jar would be a place for matches, emergency candle, a small flashlight. I’m sure you can think of many other ideas for mason jars. Tie a ribbon around the jar and add a tag. Pinterest has some great ideas that can help you find the right combination for those special people in your life.


If you have basic sewing skills, pull out your sewing machine. You can make great purses and totes from old blue jeans. There are lots of ideas on Pinterest for creating fabulous things out of denim that you can give a second life by taking a few minutes and looking at it with a crafty point of view.

Other Gift Ideas

My cookbook, The Scottish-English Texan: 56 Teatime Recipes: The Celtic Heritage Series (Volume 1) comes in print and ebook.

If you know someone who loves to journal or is a writer, consider my Writer’s Creativity Journal,

For the romance reader, I have a contemporary fantasy romance,  just might be the perfect gift for the romance reader in your life. Christmas of Hope


Cranberry Brie Bites


  • 14oz (400g) ready rolled Puff Pastry
  • 1egg lightly whisked
  • 3oz (150g) Brie
  • 6tbsp Cranberry Sauce
  • Fresh thyme leaves to decorate


Preheat the oven to 200c/400f and line a baking tray with baking parchment or a silicone liner.

Unroll the pastry and brush with egg wash, then cut the pastry into approx 40 small rectangles. Place one rectangle on top of another and repeat with the rest of the pastry, so you have 20 or so ‘doubled up’ rectangles of pastry. Place on the prepared tray and bake for 10 minutes. Then take out of the oven.

Slice the Brie into small slices and place on top of the pastry puffs. Place back in the oven for 1-2 minutes to melt the brie.

Place the puffs on a plate and top each one with a small blob of cranberry sauce and a few fresh thyme leaves, then serve.

Holiday Cheer White Sangria


  • 2 750 ml bottles Your Favorite White Wine, Like Riesling
  • 1 Pomegranate
  • 2 Oranges, Sliced thin
  • 6 ounces Cranberries, About 1 1/2 cups **
  • 1 cup Pomegranate Juice ***
  • 2 cups Ginger Ale, Or club soda for a less sweet version


  1. In a large pitcher, combine the white wine, ***pomegranate arils, orange slices, **cranberries and pomegranate juice.
  2. Chill for at least one hour.
  3. Stir in the ginger ale and serve.

***Personally, I don’t like Pomegranate juice, I would substitute it with Ocean Spray Cran-Cherry juice which would add a bit more sweetness and balance out the other flavours. If you like pomegranate juice, go for it.

** Again, I’d substitute cherries or soaking dried cranberries in a bit of Riesling and then adding it to the cocktail mix. Whole cranberries can be bitter (at least they are to me), but dried cranberries are a bit tart and wine-soaked fruit can be quite yummy. – Tambra

Writing update

I’ll have an erotic romance novella released sometime at the end of January 2020 with the Common Elements Romance Project. All the stories have the same five elements: a lightening storm, lost keys, a haunted house (real or rumoured), a stack of thick books, and a person named Max.

My story is an erotic contemporary paranormal romance with vampires and a demon.

Have a wonderful holiday season, be safe and I’ll see you in the next newsletter.

All the best to you,

Tambra Nicole Kendall