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More presents of mind Keep your holly-day cool and spread some good cheer




Time, time, time, is still on your side this Christmas season. Even if you haven't yet bought one single gift and have a list as long as a ski pole, fret not.

Thanks to a bunch of creative souls, last week I received an inbox full of original gift ideas that weren't made in China, wouldn't end up at the thrift store by Valentine's Day, and would deliver a little love to something or somebody besides the recipient. This week we have even more.

Check them out. Translate them into your own world of giving, and don't let Christmas stop you. These excellent little ideas have the power to go year-round.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holly-days, Have a Cool Yule....



For Sarah Macmillan at Rootdown Organics in Pemberton, the gift equation has one simple solution: The Preserved Harvest (note the caps).

Of course, you need to have either grown this produce yourself from a wee seed and babied it along, or have had access to local sources to make it a really authentic hit, so start planning now for next year. In the meantime, maybe you can beg, borrow or steal some from a neighbour.

Choices are endless. How about a jar of pickles made lovingly from an old family recipe; fruit jams for the sweet tooth; rich, spiced tomato sauce; dilly beans? They're all cost-effective, creative, delicious, good-looking, local, low-impact and loaded with your very personal touch. Sounds like a first-class love affair to me.

Another homemade-food gift champion: Pauline Wiebe is a Whistler mom in her own right who also makes a lot of ESL students in the community feel right at home. For her, the absolute best Christmas gift is always some kind of food.

She has a few ideas for incredible edibles. First, her own jams made from B.C. fruits might inspire you to do some up next year - blackberry, blueberry, peach, raspberry, strawberry jam and sometimes grape and crabapple jelly, too, all roll out of Pauline's kitchen in the summer to wait for Christmas giving and more.

Maple syrup from Quebec, especially the stuff local school kids sell at fundraisers, and honey pots that look like little beehives and are filled with local honey make great gifts for under $25. You can find the pots at Home Hardware.

If you can still get it, Pauline's now worst-kept secret is this: Lillooet Bakery in Lillooet, run by Axel and Eva from the former East Germany, has the best stollen (a traditional German bread-like fruitcake). Order one with marzipan, it's yummy!

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