Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Creative and spicy

My Wife, her two brothers and sister-in-law have an interesting tradition of Christmas gift exchanging that is simple and economical at it's core, but creatively challenging if taken to it's extreme.

Each Christmas a theme is selected and agreed upon, followed by a semi-soft budgetary guideline.

Then the wheels start turning.

Since I officially joined the family 9 Christmases ago and was included in the sibling tradition, the most memorable themes and "gift de la resistances" I can reall are as follows:

A few years back the selected theme was "make it yourself for under $10." Most memorable gift
A CD containing candid tape recordings made on my Wife's newly acquired cassette tape recorder. Notable excerpts include their family Christmas celebration from 1974, my Wife practicing her guitar and singing an original composition titled "Love is like a train," and the siblings countdown to 1975 while watching Dick Clark's New Year's Rockiin' Eve.
Boy, did my Wife have an Okie accent or what.

One year it was surprise gift card pull-from-a-cap. Gift Card Factoid
One in Five gift cards in the U.S. go unspent and unused, netting a $5 billion dollar free-and-clear profit for retailers and businesses.
That's a lot of plastic sitting in the bottom of people's purses, glove boxes, bureau drawers, and office desks.

Last year it was online gift certificates. Net savvy shoppers beware
If you value that zero balance on your credit card then stay clear of place is dangerous. I was drooling over their introductory helicopter flying lesson -- then I remembered I hate flying. Doh!
This year's theme was chips and salsa.
I went with Mrs. Renfro's Green chile salsa and nacho queso dip. Normally, I try to avert contact with Lone Star Statems' but they do make some tasty salsa and salsa products.
Wife went totally MIO with Maria Rae's out of Enid.
Also in the mix were Ponca City localz Head Country with their Garden Rich salsa, another Longhorn offering from the Hell on the Red party dip product line, and three high-QTY offerings from Trader Joe's (via my B-i-L who lives in LA), namely their Pineapple Salsa, a killer Habanero and Lime, and a jar of smoky-yet-spicy Peach concoction.

Chips ran the gamut from Tostitos to On the Border restaurant style chips to some blue corn lovelies from TJ's.

Next years theme is something pickled.

Other than pigs feet.

Oh boy.

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