Sunday, August 1, 2010

It's Christmas in July III

... my annual gently used book giveaway.

I know, I know... I'm a day late. It's not July anymore, but 'Christmas in August' just doesn't have the right ring to it. In any case, it's that time of year again for my Christmas in July giveaway. I usually post this giveaway on July 25 at the 'five months till Christmas' mark, but alas, I was on vacation. I still planned on the giveaway, and when I realized that Hanukkah begins at sundown on December 1, 2010, exactly four months from today, I thought today was a great alternative to my usual. So a heads up to all my Jewish friends and followers: you've got four months and counting to prepare for your holiday! Those who celebrate Christmas, we have a little less than five months to go.

Normally, I'm a last minute kind of girl when it comes to birthdays and holidays. I don't mean to be, but that's just how things go for me. I end up pulling it together somehow and things usually work out fine, but every year I say next year is going to be different. In that vein, I'm saying now that this year is going to be different. I'm going to have my shopping finished well in advance, homemade gifts crafted, presents wrapped, greeting cards mailed, gifts shipped, cookies baked and the house decorated so that I have time to savor the season with friends and family. Wish me luck! ;)

I realize for some people--myself included, it's not easy and frankly quite insane to start thinking about the holidays now when we're in full summer vacation mode. I don't even like seeing school supplies in the stores right now, so forget about thoughts of Christmas, right? The truth is, though, if my game plan of being ahead of the game in December is going to come anywhere near fruition, I need to start now. I figure this is a good time to at least pull some ideas together for home crafted gifts I'd like to give to some friends and family, so that's what I'm starting to do now.

So far, I've made homemade strawberry jam and a few jars of these amazing rum soaked cherries that I will give as gifts for Christmas. In the next week or two, I'll be making peach preserves and then later in the summer, raspberry and blackberry jam, and I may even try my hand at jalapeno jelly for the first time. I think these will make delightful little gifts for some lucky people on my gift list. If I may say so myself... ;)

Other homemade gift ideas I have in mind include bookmarks, beaded wine glass charms, quilted coasters or those little scented pillows to put in your underwear drawer to make everything smell nice, both made using decorator fabric scraps. Maybe some other ideas will come my way along the way.

Enough talk about my super advanced holiday preparations and on to the giveaway. In the tradition of the past two years that I've held my Christmas in July giveaway, I'd like to give away some books from my own, overflowing bookshelves. Some of the books are brand new and some of them are gently used by either me or my book fairies--Kate and Mariana who have so generously passed on boxes and bags of books to me. Some of these books are doubles of books I already have, some are ARCs with the final covers and some are ARCs with plain card stock covers, the latter of which I know is important if you're a cover art junkie. Hey, don't be embarrassed if you are--it takes one to know one. ;)

I'm going to give three winners a book of their choice from my gift shelf on Shelfari, which you can view by clicking on the link.

To enter the giveaway, simply leave a comment in this post telling me your favorite homemade gift to give or receive. I'm looking for some ideas!

The giveaway is open to everyone--I'll ship overseas, but will use the cheapest mailing option to mail outside the US or Canada.

Giveaway ends on Sunday, August 8, 2010 at 12:00 pm (noon) EST at which time I'll use to select the winners. Check back that evening or the morning of August 9, 2010 for the results.

Winners have one week to contact me with their book choice and mailing address. After that, I'll choose a replacement winner.

NOTE: I have at least two dozen more books--some of them fairly new releases, to add to the 40 books already on my Shelfari gift shelf, so if you don't see anything that interests you right away, click back to my gift shelf in 24 hours or so for a bigger selection. I need some time to enter them in Shelfari.

Good luck! :)


  1. I can't make any comments about preparing for Christmas, as I asked my brother on the phone tonight to start thinking about what he and his partner wants (and this was just after he told me what he and his daughter want for their birthdays) [I have to buy their presents from the rest of the family].

    I have heaps of macademian nuts that I should do something with for Christmas...

  2. Hi Christine:

    I love homemade baking for Christmas, it is the one time of year I do a lot on my own but I also enjoy exchanging recipes with friends and family and the goodies that match the instructions.

    Thanks for the thoughtful contest Christine! I remember when you did this last year. :0)

    I hope your summer is going well.

  3. I love homemade or handcrafted gifts. I'll most likely make small wall-hanging quilts.

  4. *Don't enter me!

    I can vouch for Dru's gorgeous wall-hanging quilts! And other gorgeous quilted items.

    We handmade cards last year and a few years past, before my hands got bad, I cross-stitched a lovely sampler that went in the glass top of a photo album for the Out-laws. I'm not too crafty so the only other handmade gift I make are poems that I have written for Chris and others.

    Hope you're having a good day!

  5. Homemade gifts? yay!

    I have done: handmade cards with cross-stitched inserts; cross-stitched bookmarks; and I bake cookies, which I then mail in re-purposed plastic containers, decorated with... well, whatever I can think off! :-D

  6. All these gorgeous handmade presents - WOW!

  7. I can't believe Christmas is less than 5 mths away.

    My nieces and nephews have always made me homemade ornaments for my xmas tree. Now I have a great-nephew and can't wait to see what my niece will come up with this year.

  8. Omg... you have me thinking now what I am going to start getting for those! Omg...

    Okay, normally a few things, I make cookies (yeah, I know so original). We make crafts, frames... or just desserts... But handmade ornaments are always good... but more so... things for the next holiday, lol. That way it can be used!

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  9. My favorite was always my Mom's chocolates and candies. She's passed now, but I remember them vividly, and miss them. And her.

    Thanks for the great giveaway!

  10. It's a great idea to plan ahead and start doing things very early. I usually write Christmas cards a few months before the actual date and sometimes start buying presents as soon as possible. I already have a couple of books (bought new, were on sale) that are going to go to some of my relatives.

    I'm not very good with handmade gifts - can't do anything beautiful with my hands, I lack the talent. But my sister does lovely cards. She really makes an effort and her cards are always masterpieces. Those cards are always heavy because she has cut, glued and put all sorts of different things to them.

  11. I love to make brownies for my family, any occasions in our family, they usually ask me to make them brownies..Yum :)

    and i would really like to receive A quilt..from fabric scraps turn to quilt..amazing !

    uniquas at ymail dot com

  12. friendship bracelet wasalways my favoirte
    thanks for the giveaway

  13. My favourite homemade gift to give is spiced pecans.
    They're dead easy to make and I've never shared them with anyone who could stop at just one.

    I also crochet and I like giving what I make away - scarfs that fit the individual's style or a blanket made just for them. But those require a lot more effort.

  14. Hot Spiced Tea homemade with 3/4 cup Nestea Instant Tea, 1 1/2 cups orange Tang, 1 1/2 cups sugar, 2 tsp ground cinnamon, 2 tsp ground cloves and 1 tsp ground ginger. Makes about 4 cups or if a bigger jar you can double the recipe.... I also like to cross stitch X-mas ornaments for friends and family all year when have time as they are small and quickly done...

    jackie b ^_^

    BTW you have a nice idea here, puts us in the mood for wrapping presents and thinking about the fire in the fireplace at Christmas and New Years...


  15. I love homemade bookmarks, and cookies, especially chocolate chip cookies :) Yummy.

    I'd love Anyone but You by Jennifer Crusie.


  16. I love to bake things for people!

    bmweida at yahoo dot com

  17. I love homemade gifts and I am all about giving and receiving baked goods. I also have a nice collection of bookmarks that I like to give and trade.

    email is froggykm at gmail com

  18. Thank you all for those homemade gift ideas! It's really great knowing that others besides me really enjoy giving and receiving homemade gifts. They really are a gift from the heart.

    I just posted the names of the lucky winners...

    Thanks for entering my giveaway! : )

  19. I would like to exchange links with your site
    Is this possible?


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