A Swaggerly Guide to Gifting…And Giveaway!

Holiday greetings, Swaggerly readers. It’s that time of year again, and if you’re like me, you’ve probably strutted through November thinking, “Christmas? No problem. It’s not even December yet.” Yep, and then that December 1st date hits. And your family is spread out, not only across the country, but across the world. AND it’s too late to mail presents at any rate resembling reasonable… CUE FREAKOUT!!! But not to worry, folks. The Chicks are here to the rescue, with gift cards!GivingGlobe

Since it is that time of the year, and I’m feeling the holiday spirit, I wanted to share a little first. You see, I’m a mom, and as a mom, I always get the urge to buy every toy on the planet. BUT, that’s not what Christmas is about to me, and not what I want to impart to my children. There’s a magic that surrounds this time of year. Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, the magic comes from–don’t let my kids read this, ‘cause it ain’t Santa–US.

Yep, US. People. Humanity. Because at this time of the year, for some reason, we all seem to remember that we’re human. That our purpose is to LOVE.

That’s what brings me to: The Smallest Acts of Kindness. We’ve all been on the receiving end of these. Sometimes, it’s really tiny. Like the person before you holding the door open. Or that man on the subway giving a pregnant lady his seat (thank you, sir!). They may not be significant, but they make all the difference in the world.

For me, it was that elderly gentleman who pulled me out of a snow-filled ditch when I was eight and my leg got stuck. It was that group of guys who pushed my car out when it got stuck in an icy parking lot. Basically, any time I’ve had issues with winter weather, I’m so grateful that good people stopped to help me. Just call me a Snow Damsel in Distresssnowdamsel

For others, it’s this trend:  The Paying It Forward Coffee Purchase that’s struck many communities. I think that’s just awesome 🙂

And getting even bigger, a Canadian airline recently played a sneaky Santa trick that *ahem* might have brought a few tears to my eyes. But it’s likely the onion I was chopping while watching…

Ha! Underwear Guy is SO kicking himself for not asking for a big screen t.v. too!

Granted, the last one was tied to advertising, but STILL. Sometimes when you watch the news or read the newspaper, it seems like the world is filled with violence. Small acts like these help us to remember that isn’t the case. There’s LOVE too. A lot of it.

On to gift giving. Rule Number 1 is it’s gotta come from the heart. So here are the Chick’s top picks of Last-Minute-But-Still-Heartfelt Gifts:

1. Because we love you, and it wouldn’t be Christmas without some Santa hunks, here ya go: Vonnie XOXOX

2. Here’s an easy gift that comes from the heart. Buy a deck of cards. On the first card write 52 Reasons Why I Love You. Then on the face of each card write a reason why you love the person you are giving the deck to. This can be for a significant other, your mom, a sibling, a friend, anyone that you care for. The sayings inside can be humorous, serious, sugary, or a mixture.  Then punch a hole in each card and bind them together. It’s a wonderful little gift that come from the heart. Here’s a video to give you a better idea of what it looks like: XOXOX Renee

3. Fondue Set – This is a really great gift for couples or a family because experiences are more memorable than most gifts. Nothin’ like sitting around the fondue pot and sharing! These range in price, so it can fit most budgets. XOXOX Misty

4. I love a reuse-and-repurpose gift (Much like Renee’s Deck-of-Cards). I love gifts that cost little to nothing then are made into something from the heart. Make a spoon into a necklace by bending the handle and hooking onto a chain…glue little beads on it in the shape of an initial, a heart, a star… Make a journal from a simple notebook by using Mod-Podge to glue a paper bag on the covers (high gloss is coooool!) Then get creative with string and yarn and and buttons and beads…When you give it to your loved one include a first page filled out by you describing that person on the OWNER page (For my mother who is…).

And there is nothing more fun or easier than a funky candle holder.  Find ANYTHING… Glue a small, cheap tea light or votive holder to a cool branch, a fun kids toy (dinosaur, barbie’s arms, truck, rubicks cube, game board…), Mod-Podge fall leaves on the outside of a mason jar. Glue beads, buttons, twigs and/or twine, glue something on the outside or a tin can, mason jar or favorite glass or stem wear that reminds you of the person: coins, buttons, beads, cinnamon sticks, moss, pebble, candy canes, lace or paint a tin can and sand it for a ‘vintage’ look and Mod-Podge an old label printed from the computer…or family pics in black and white! Somebody STOP me! Get creative! XOXOX Josie

5. Gifts don’t have to cost anything! One of my faves is when last year my hubby and my sons took the time to surprise me by creating an Artists Workshop in our basement for me.  It was nothing fancy…no money was spent. They just cleaned and arranged and set up all my shelves and easels and tools and supplies in the most fun, useable way. I had no idea I could feel so loved.  Time is so valuable… XOXOX Josie

6. I’m huge into baking, so at this time of the year, close friends and neighbours know to expect goodies from me! New this year, I’m adding a hot chocolate mix and here’s my recipe: 1 1/2 cups icing sugar, 1 1/4 cups skim milk powder, 2 Tbsp. powdered non-dairy creamer, 1 cup cocoa powder, 1/2 cup milk or dark chocolate shavings, pinch salt. Blend well to avoid clumps. Gift in spice jars or mason jars with directions on a cute label like this: XOXOX RachaelHotChocolateMix


Add 3-4 Tbsp. of mix to ¾ cup of hot water. Enjoy!


Dissolve 2 Tbsp. of mix in 2 Tbsp. of hot water. Blend with 3 ice cubes. Enjoy!

7. Anything from Amazon is my quick heartfelt send. Sorry. It’s the whole “They send it after I one-click” that makes it heartfelt to me! Pictures too. My older relatives all want pictures this year. XOXOX Susannah

The Chicks are going to choose 3 random commenters for a $5 Amazon gift card!!! Now it’s your turn to share. What’s a Small Act of Kindness someone gave you? Do you have any heartfelt gifts to add to our list?



  1. Aww, my favourite one is the deck of cards-that’s so cute 😮 xx

  2. I like the idea of doing a fondue night with family or just hubby. Yum! Josie, how sweet was that of your guys to make a special place for you to work on crafts? You lucky gal! Wishing everyone a Happy Holiday!

  3. A non-coworker helped me carry the staff luncheon to my office. I over packed and I didn’t want to me a second trip. My two bosses gave me a $100 in cruise cash when we went on vacation once. A stranger on the park & ride gave me his seat so I didn’t have to stand.

    These might not be big items but just these little things mean a lot.

  4. Emily Allen says:

    When I worked one night the weather was bad and my boss let me stay over night free of charge at the hotel.

    Do you have any heartfelt gifts to add to our list? I like to put together a spa bag. I add chocolate, bath oils, face masked, a candle and of course a bottle of wine.

  5. Rachael, that airline project was phenomenal! I’ve never heard of anything like that. Can you imagine how much fun that would have been to be involved? And I’m not just talking about the people who received the gifts. Super neat! 🙂

    The deck of cards is pretty neat! I did something like that for my husband when we were dating, but I just cut up little colored pieces of paper, wrote on them, and then folded them and put them into a pretty vase so he could pick a new one every day.

    All these ideas are great! What fun, loving and creative women I’m blessed to know. Love you girls! xoxo

  6. Love all the fabulously creative ideas! Thanks for sharing your gifts from the heart. Merry Christmas to all the Chicks. –Jo

  7. HiDee Ekstrom says:

    Great ideas!!! Earlier this year, I ran an errand and was in a hurry to grab lunch and get back to work. When I pulled into McDonalds, there was a long line, and there was one lady trying to pull into the line from another entrance in the parking lot. Nobody was letting her in, and although I was in a hurry, she looked frazzled, so I waved her in front of me. When I got to the window to pay for my lunch, they said it was no charge – that the lady in front of me had paid for my lunch! I later paid it forward on another stop at McDonald’s.

  8. I’m ALMOST done with my list, love these great ideas!

  9. Awesome post, sweetheart. I hear so much grumbling and “woe-is-me” drama around Christmas that I nearly jumped up and cheered when I read your comment that the Christmas magic is in US. So true…so true. Calvin and I don’t give each other Christmas gifts and haven’t for several years. Instead we’ve made a promise to spoil each other every day we have together. For us–he’s 82 and I’m 65–our time together might be short. We aren’t waiting for a holiday to give gifts; we do it daily with little treats and kindnesses. I carry his morning cup of coffee into him as he’s dressing. He makes me a cappuccino every afternoon with shredded cinnamon on top. We eat one meal out almost every day so I can focus on writing instead of cooking. I give him massages…a-hem… He is my biggest cheerleader, without the short skirt, of course, the man just doesn’t have the knees for it. We hold hands and kiss openly wherever we go. We’ve been known to dance for the security cameras in Walgreens, kiss madly in elevators and basically grab life by the balls. Your post should be required reading by all. Truly!

    • Oh, V! Your comment brought tears to my eyes.What a way to live life, so full of love and breathing in every moment. Mr. S. and I are coming up on ten years married this spring, and all I can say is, you and Calvin truly give every couple something to aspire to. Amazing! 🙂 *hugs*

      • We just had our 10th anniversary in May, Rachel. We found each other on match dot com. Two old fogies looking for love online. Can you dig it? I quoted my favorite poet in my ad and he, being a retired English teacher, perked up right away and responded. The man sashayed into my mailbox on a jazzbeat and a smile. Our first face-to-face meeting was at a Barnes and Noble, and he was waiting for me outside with a dozen red roses. It was kismet, I tell you.

      • Josie Matthews says:

        Ditto here Von!

    • Josie Matthews says:

      Vonnie…you guys are awesome! I just love your mind. Woe-is-me…I must say I am one of those grumbly Christmas elves. I get stressed and crabby and grouchy this time of year and I think you just figured out why for me!!! That’s exactly what bugs me…I dont like to squish all my love into one day! I need 365 days to be spontaneous and creative! I vote we have Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/Whatever…EVERYDAY! Life IS short!

      • I so agree, Josie. There’s too much pressure to have that “perfect” family experience around Christmas. First off, no family is perfect. Mine isn’t. Is yours? I mean, we all have a nut or two hanging around…that person who loves to hear himself pontificate on any topic…the drama queen who has to be the center of attention. We spend too much money and that stresses us. We work too hard on the cooking and cleaning, adding to the stress. If travel is involved, our muscles clench all the more. I’d sooner dole out the love and sweetness and little acts of kindness throughout the year. My granddaughter loves the mid-term care packages I send of homemade cookies and trail mix with notes of encouragement taped everywhere. I always include 3 pair of fancy-schmantzy panties with notes attached. “These are for the day of your exams. Put on your “big girl” panties, strut into the testing hall and pour all your positive attitude into the exam. Grandma knows you can do this!” All my grandkids are readers and I ask in texts what they’re reading and what they’d like to read next. Whatever they text about arrives from amazon in two days. Little things like this show love…that I think they’re special. Sometimes I’ll mail them an essay about their parent–my child–and something he/she did when they were younger. Makes for interesting dinner conversation that night at their house. And my grown child invariably calls me…”Thanks mom…I’d forgotten about that.” Love can be shown in so many little, inexpensive ways and often fun ways. Oh dear, look at me, I’ve got on my rambling hat again…sorry…

    • Aww, I just love you, V!! You are such a joy and inspiration to me!! xoxox

  10. This year, I decided to get Lindt chocolate for the relatives we’re seeing in person. Someone at work got me a little box of Dessert Creations–FABULOUS. So I went to the Lindt store and… they only had two boxes left! I snapped them up right away and tried to decide who to give them to. Well, let’s suffice it to say that my “gift from the heart” was not keeping them for myself. 😉

    OK, joking aside, I love the playing card idea. Whenever I see that idea on Pinterest or something, I think, “I’ll totally do that!” But, alas, it’s too late for that. Maybe for my husband’s birthday in March? Someone write that down for me.

  11. Hey, ladies! So many fantastic ideas! And I loved watching the WestJet video so much that I even went and watched their bloopers on Youtube, which are hilarious, btw. 🙂 Might have to plan my own “flashmob X-mas surprise” for someone next year. (Because I *may* be slightly addicted to them!) Now THAT would be a fun, inexpensive gift. 🙂

  12. AND… It’s time to announce the winners! By random draw–meaning I put your names into a bowl and had my 6 y/o daughter pick them 🙂 — the winners of our Amazon gift card giveaway are… *drumroll*

    Mary Roya
    Alison Bliss

    Woot! You’ll be contacted shortly by email. Thanks to everyone for sharing your stories of kindness. Happy holidays!

    The Chicks

  13. Emily Allen says:

    Congratulations to all the winners!!! 🙂

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