Growing up, we had good times at Christmas. We opened gifts Christmas Eve and then went to my grandparents' house for the day with aunts, uncles and cousins. It was fun. There are two gifts that stand out for me when I was a kid, besides the clothes and other gifts that I received.

I remember asking for a specific Barbie, I could not tell you which one, which I did receive. The other gift was a total surprise. It was a three-tier bunk bed for my dolls. It was homemade by our neighbor and my mom made the mattresses, pillows and blankets. It was the coolest thing ever. It still stands today.

Along those lines, my cousin's wife's family draws names for Christmas and they have to make the gifts. She made a quilt one year, with my mom's help. She also made a pillow. Those are cool gift ideas.

Keeping with homemade gifts, family calendars are also an idea with your own pictures and add in birthdays and anniversaries. They could be given to grandparents and friends.

My husband and I try not to use wrapping paper. We reuse gift bags and he will use a portion of my gift to wrap another gift. He will use material since I like to sew. This year he also used a scarf. My mom will buy reusable bags to put our gifts in. That is a cool idea, too.

Here are some other ideas, besides clothing, that may help or not:

  • Slippers
  • Sporting items like balls or golf-related items
  • Movies and books
  • Games, which could be board games or the individual electronic games like Sudoku or Simon Says
  • Jewelry - necklaces, pins, bracelets
  • watches - which could be for the wrist, pocket or belt loop
  • Hobby items - models, sewing, trains, arts and crafts

Remember gift cards too. They could be for a massage, bowling, movies or to some specific store.

Check out thrift stores and antique stores too, you never know where you could find that one gift. Happy shopping.

Remember to enjoy time with family and friends. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

It's snowing outside (wishful thinking) ... Think Happy Thoughts.

nicolasboivin. ThinkStock