Gravel Gertie's Got Gift Idears!

Christmas is around the corner, and the wallet is thin. See what idears I got for y'all!

Dear Gertie,

I've decided to make me some wind chimes this year for Christmas presents. I've been saving all those toilet paper rolls for a long time now and I'm just about done stringin' them little buggers. I just have one problem...they don't make them pretty sounds like the ones in those fancy stores do what could I be doing wrong?

Signed, Klueless in Kentucky

Dear Klueless, first, apply shellac/varnish to your toilet paper rolls to get them water-proofed. Next, get some of that pretty gilding stuff in the craft section at Wal-mart and apply it to your rolls for that golden look. I'll warn you though, you won't get that light tinkling sound, but more of a deep clunking/thumping sound. If you just have to have that tinkling sound, use Mr. Klueless' empty rootbeer cans instead of toilet paper rolls, and use your toilet paper rolls for rattles for the kids. Just paint the roll your favorite color, staple one end shut, fill with pebbles or beans, and then staple the other end shut! This makes a fine gift too.

Dear Gertie,

I never know what to get my husband. He loves whatever I get him, just because it's from me, but I like to get him things he will use, not that will just sit there and collect dust. He likes cars, and power tools, of course, what man doesn't? But, unfortunately, he doesn't do a lot of fishing, hunting, etc. you know, outdoor stuff that guys are supposed to do. He's always too busy working, either at the job site, or at the house.

Disa in Delray

Dear Disa, your dear husband needs The Cat Buddha. It will give calm repose and tranquility a place in his stressful life. It is 5 and a quarter inches of faux-stone essence. Your dear one will experience the inner peace that comes from the Cat Buddha. Combine it with the Dog Buddha for enlightening bookends.

Dear Gertie,

I usually make a pretty wreath from my holly and boxwood bushes, but after this awful summer, all of my bushes died! What can I do about a wreath? I can't afford those nice ones at K-mart. Help!

Bobbie Jo in Shelbyville

Poor Bobbie Jo, I have the same problem. Here are some ideas:

Hi Gert,

I am trying to think of some new ideas for my goodie bags for this Christmas. I always make the chocolate covered pretzels, Ritz crackers w/peanut butter, haystacks, and peppermint bark. Can you think of anything that else that I might could make to put in my goodie bags that would not go bad? I made those chocolate balls last year with Eagle Brand Milk® and chocolate. I wanted to go ahead and start getting my stuff because just about all of Dalton sold out of chocolate candy making supplies last year.
Traci in Cohutta, GA

Hey Traci, oh yum! You make the best goodies south of Knoxville! Try to think of whom you are making the goodies for. If they are for family, then make chocolate covered bourbon balls. If they are for old boyfriends, substitute Ex-Lax® for the chocolate bark. If they are for co-workers, you could put chocolate over week-old weiners because they will eat anything!

Dear Gertie,

My husband loves soda and my yard and basement are just full-up with soda cans. I don't want to recycle them since I don't like that feller Fred that runs the recycle plant. Have any ideas on what I can do with em?

Marge in Memphis

Hiya Marge! Nail together two pieces of wood to make a cross, next smash the cans flat, and then either nail or glue them to the cross. Next, weave a strand of outdoor lights around them and badda bing! You got yard art! Another idea would be to smash the cans flat, hammer a nail through them to make a hole and create a whimsical wind chime. You can also use the hedge clippers and cut the cans in half (round the middle, not through the ends), and then use some wire cutters to cut strips. Peel these back and you have pretty flowers! Just don't cut yourself on the edges, though.

Dear Gertie,

Do you have any suggestions for recycling those beer bottles 'sides lining then up on fence posts for target practice or throwing them at the dawgs when they get to gnawing at them fleas (that lady from the human so-siyuttey says that's against the law, dawgs have rights)? Shame to just throw away such good empties. I save the cans for my husband's relatives when they come to visit. Some of them are pretty talented with crushing the cans. We sometimes play a game trying to guess what the shape is. My second cousin (once removed), Roy Don, is the best. He can crush one in 'tween two of his chins.

Lullabell from Shelby County

Dear Lullabell, get some glass cutters, and cut off the top of the bottles (the neck part). Next, sand down the edges (you don't want anyone to get cut, now), then hot glue acorns, moss, and pennies all around. Now you can give these as fancy vases! Your friends and family will be really impressed. Another idea would be to hot glue a strap to the bottle (after you cut off the neck and sand it down), and give it as a mini spittoon.

Dear Gravel Gertie,

My sister has everything! Last year I got her a cat clock, and the year before that I got her the singing bird clock. I'm totally out of ideas! What can I do? She's one of those creepy programmer-types too. Help!

Sherri in Trussville, AL

Dear Sherri, since you seem to be stuck on this "singing" craze, I would like to suggest The Singing Toilet. Plays the Macarena -- just what I want to hear when you're meditating on the porcelain throne; you can get them at K-Bee toys. It sings and talks when you pull the handle down. There's also the Barry Manilow bust! She can proudly display it on her fire place mantle next to the porcelain praying Elvis. Or if she's the creative type, you can get the Bonsai Potato Kit so she can carve a potato into soothing mystical shapes while she listens to her singing toilet.

Dear Gravel Gertie,

I never know what to get my ex-father-in-law! I used to buy him those beer steins, because he collects them, but now he has no place to keep them. He loves boating, but again, there's no where to put things. And, there's no where on his boat to put them, either.

Thanks! Flummoxed in Florida

Dear Flummoxed, it all depends on your budget. You could get him a shelf to stack his steins, or buy him a bigger boat. These gifts are on the expensive side, so if your budget is smaller, then you can't go wrong with nose hair clippers. This is the gift that keeps on giving. The clippers ... or stink bait. Every man loves stink bait, especially the ex's family. Just tell them that you get all sentimental and stuff because stink bait reminds you of your ex.

Dear Gravel Gertie,

Christmas is coming up, and we're a bit low on money. I was thinking about wrapping up some of those unwanted gifts we got last year, and giving them to other folks this Christmas. My husband says "re-gifting" is a faux pas. What do you think?

Cheap in Chesapeake

Dear Cheap, it depends on how long you've had the gift. I use the three-year rule. Keep it three years before you give it away, that way most everyone forgets how many purple smiling hippo pitchers with attractive butterfly lid they've given you.

What my Granny Polly would do was save up those gifts for the springtime yard sales. I'll warn you though, you need to go out of town to hawk your gifts because you don't want Aunt Bet to find out that you sold her cheese-knife-combination-room-freshener for $1.50 and then used the proceeds to buy a burnt orange crocheted can opener cover.

Dear Gravel Gertie,

My best friend has seven boys. The only problem is that she is in complete denial that this last baby (born last month) is a boy. She is insisting that he is a girl and has been putting him in frilly little dresses since he was born. What should I do about his Christmas gift this year? Do I buy him a Tonka Truck or a Betsy Wetsy?

Signed, Perplexed in Pennsylvania

Hmm, interesting problem there, Perplexed. What I would do is get a nice generic gift for the baby, like a set of cloth blocks, and for Mom, I suggest two free visits (paid for by you) to a local psychologist.

Dear Gertie,

I don't know what to get my Momma for Christmas. She got mad at me when I got her a mop and rubber gloves last year. What can I do?

Louis in Starkville

Dear Louis, I'm sure your Momma appreciates the thought behind the gift ('bout as much as a dog appreciates a leash), but this year, why don't you get her something more on the fanciful side? She would adore a Punching Nun Hand Puppet or the Hot Dog Condiment Holder now available at Target! It's shaped like a hotdog and screams at you, "Hotdogs! Get your hotdogs!"

Dear Gertie,

When I was growing up, my Aunt Erma had these wonderful crochet toilet paper covers. I would love to give these as gifts to my cousin-in-law. Do you have a pattern or know of where I get purchase one?

Geraldine in Copper Hill

Hi Geraldine! You are talking about the one, the only Toilet Paper Tina! Crochet-n-More has a great pattern. Oddly enough, the best places to find Toilet Paper Tina are the flea markets and garage sales. Maybe if you crochet enough of them, this might be a business venture for you! Good luck.

Dear Gravel Gertie,

My Uncle Horace loves to collect Chia pets. Last year he was blessed with three Chia porcupines, two Chia dogs, and four Chia elephants. I was thinking this year about giving him some Sea Monkeys®. Do you have any ideas how I can combine the two to create a sure-fire wonderful hubbub around the Christmas tree?

Sincerely, Betty Jo from Beaufort

Dear Betty Jo, Sea Monkeys® are a treasure to own, but they cause many folks to sink into a depression because the monkeys' life spans are so short. What you can do is buy a goldfish bowl, and a couple of Chia pets - flat ones are best, either Elmer Fudd heads or elephants are perfect! Break the Chia pets into one-inch pieces and hot glue these pieces randomly over the surface of the bowl making sure you leave windows to view your monkeys through. Instead of watering, you'll have to mist your Chia pet shards.

I also suggest that you give Uncle Horace some grief support, like the Sea Monkey® Wall of Grief for starters and the Songs of Experience: Bad Sea Monkey® Poetry. Mention to him that after the Sea Monkeys® die, he could use the Chia bowl for a planter.

Got a question about gift givin' or craftin'? Email Gertie!

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Revised - 11/26/00
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