"Neighbor gifts" are already showing up on doorsteps and desks. Many ideas have been passed around numerous times, often with an added twist.

For instance, the two-liter bottle of soda pop lends itself to lots of tag lines: "May your holidays bubble over with fun!" or "Pop, pop, fizz, fizz, oh what a great neighbor you is." Or "May your Christmas be merry and Sprite" or "We're soda-lighted to have you as our neighbor."

Last year I received another variation: "Seven Up-Lifting Thoughts," with seven thoughts listed that were, indeed, uplifting.

If you're not into soft drinks, here are other simple ideas:

• Windshield scraper: "Amid snow or sleet or hail or slush, Merry Christmas from all of us!"

• Almond Joy candies: "Here's wishing you joy at Christmas."

• Long-handled grill matches or gas lighter: "To a matchless friend, may your Christmas be bright."

• Cake mix and wooden spoon: "Not a creature was stirring. ..."

• Muffin mix: "You're getting muffin for Christmas!"

• Ice cream scoop: "Have a cool yule!"

• A box of Ho-Ho cupcakes: "Ho! Ho! Ho! Merry Christmas."

• A can of nuts: "I just go nuts at Christmas."

• Small jars of spices or spice blends: "Seasonings Greetings."

• A scented candle: "Scenting you holiday greetings!" or "May your Christmas be bright!"

• Holiday washcloth: "We wash you a Merry Christmas!"

• Bubble gum: "We chews to wish you a Merry Christmas!" or "May your holidays bubble over with fun!"

• Frozen cookie dough: "Here's a little extra dough for Christmas" or "We've done the mixing, so you can cut up in the kitchen."

• Flavored butter or a jar of jam: "Spreading cheer this time of year."

• Dried or frozen pasta: "Have a pasta-tively happy holiday!"

• A hunk of cheese and grater: "To a grate neighbor from your cheesy friends next door."

• A basket with herbal tea, cocoa mixes or bath items: "For when you feel like a basket case."

• Hershey's Kisses in a wire whisk: "We whisk you a Merry Kiss-mas."

• Oven mitt filled with candies: "We ad-mitt you're a great neighbor!" or "Thanks for your helping hand" or "Merry Christmas from our pad to yours."

• Chex Party Mix: "Santa always Chex his list."

• Juice pitcher filled with candy canes: "We pitcher you raising a little cane during the holidays."

• A loaf of bread: "We're not loafing around! Merry Christmas!"

• Ready-to-bake pizza: "To someone with pizzazz."

• Oranges (or a chocolate orange): "Orange you glad we're friends?"

• Homemade divinity: "May your holiday be divine."

• Tins of flavored popcorn: "Just poppin' in to say Merry Christmas" or "Merry Christmas from your corny neighbors!"


10 cups hot, freshly popped popcorn

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/3 cup grated Parmesan and/or Romano cheese

1 teaspoon oregano

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/4 teaspoon garlic salt

Drizzle olive oil over popcorn in large bowl. Add remaining ingredients; toss well. Place in decorative tins or plastic bags. — The Popcorn Board

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