The Sun News

CREASY: Helpful holiday gifts to make life easier

The holiday season is now upon us, and many residents are searching for unique or unusual gifts for that hard to buy for person on their holiday shopping list. I am sure that we all have watched iconic holiday films in which an individual receives multiple fruit cakes or other useless items that are simply discarded. To prevent your holiday gift giving from ending in wasted time and effort, UGA Extension is to here to help.

This year consider giving a gift that keeps giving. There are several things you can give that can “live on” or continue to be used throughout the year. Below are a few ideas to get you thinking.

GREEN CLEANING KIT: A bucket filled with Green Cleaning recipe cards from your UGA Extension Office. You can also print the cards out from the UGA Extension website; spray bottles with waterproof labels; marker to label bottles; a microfiber cloth; essential oils; and the ingredients for one or two cleaning products.

WATER SAVING KIT: A bucket filled with devices that encourage water conservation; such as a faucet aerator; a low-flow showerhead; a shower timer; and a UGA Extension water conservation information sheet (

ENERGY SAVING KIT: A tool bag filled with energy savers like a LED bulb; electric outlet insulators or gaskets to stop air leaks in outlets and switches; a smart power strip, designed to reduce energy use; door draft stopper; LED nightlight; Cordless drill with ENERGY STAR certified battery charger; or a programmable thermostat.

GARDEN AND BIRD LOVERS: Fill a garden tub or container with things like solar-powered pathway lights; potted rosemary tree; solar yard art; spray nozzle for the hose; garden weeding tool; birdfeeder; binoculars; or a bird identification book.

RECYCLER KIT: Fill a recycle bin or reusable bag with items like a compost crock; rechargeable batteries and a charger; doormat made from recycled material; pass along a gift you received and no longer use; a thermos; or a lunch bag filled with reusable containers.

Some other gifts that keep on giving are gifts for home food preservation. Gifts for home food preservers will make their job easier, bring a smile to their face and will allow the home food preserver to give to others as they distribute their jams, jellies and other home preserved food items. Check kitchen stores or any major shopping venues to purchase these gifts. Of course, specialty catalogs and online shopping are additional sources for purchasing these items.

JAR LIFTER: Essential for easy removal of hot jars from a canner.

JAR FILLER OR FUNNEL: Helps in packing small food items into canning jars.

PLASTIC SPATULA: A handy aid for removing air bubbles from the jars. (This must be plastic not metal.)

MAGNETIC LID GRABBER: A tool with a magnet on the end that helps remove treated lids from hot water.

LABELS OR LABEL PRINTER: Special designs give home-preserved treats a personal touch and may help categorize them (jellies, canned fruits, pickles, etc.). If you cannot find pre-printed sheets of labels with food designs, a few sources on the internet sell CDs with various designs. You can also download free designs and customize.

SHARP KNIVES: It is always a luxury to upgrade to special, new paring and slicing knives for product preparation. Including a handy electric knife sharpener as a part of your gift is another great idea.

TIMER OR KITCHEN CLOCK: These come in a wide array of shapes, sizes and may be battery or wind-up powered. Find one that is unique and fun. A good timer with a loud signal is a must for timing canning and cooking processes.

HOT PADS/TRIVETS: Mitts are used for lifting hot pot lids and jars, and counter-top versions are handy for cooling of canning jars.

CUTTING BOARDS: New, food-safe cutting boards are always appreciated for those who prepare fresh foods. Plastic or non-porous, hard maple is best. Some plastic cutting boards today come with antibacterial surfaces, too.

Other home canning accessories for your list for the dedicated home food preserver might include items such as a corn cutter, apple corer/slicer and special canning spoons or ladles. A new apron and a set of kitchen towels also make great gifts.

Taking time this holiday season to select the perfect gift for the home food preserver will provide additional joy once food preservation season rolls around again.

Contact the author at or call 478-987-2028.