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Over the years I spent hours making homemade gifts for relatives and friends and felt real pride in giving holiday gifts that really meant something. One year I bought a loom and made potholders that matched each individual’s kitchen; they still use them. Another year I embroidered ornaments and encased them in gold frames to be hung on their Christmas trees. Still another year I bought small crocheted hats and wove ribbons and flowers through them and then placed potpourri in the crowns to be hung in closets or on the bathroom wall.

Well, this year I’m thinking of something else. Through the years we received homemade gifts from our friends and relatives, too. Here are some ideal recipes for this year’s gift giving. It is getting close to Holiday time, so it is not too early to start planning and buying the necessary supplies. And with the economy still a bit depressed, I think many more people will be thinking of homemade gifts for giving this year. These are the two I have enjoyed the most and hope you do too.

Homemade Amaretto (makes 1 bottle, so plan accordingly)

2 cups sugar

2 cups water

2 cups Vodka

2 cups Brandy

3-4 tsps. Almond Extract

In medium saucepan combine sugar and 2 cups water. Bring to boil. Reduce heat & simmer uncovered for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, let cool. Stir in Vodka, Brandy and Almond Extract. Ready for you to enjoy – or bottle for gift giving.

Homemade Irish Cream (makes 1 bottle)

1-3/4 cups Whiskey

1 can (14 oz.) Sweetened Condensed Milk

1 cup Whipping Cream

4 Eggs

2 Tbsp. Chocolate Syrup

2 tsp. Instant Coffee Granules

1 tsp. Vanilla Extract

1/2 tsp. Almond Extract

Put all ingredients in blender; blend it up; enjoy! Or, bottle for gift giving.

You must keep this refrigerated.

Of course, you could make some now and share with your neighbors and friends over the days ahead or the next barbecue. Won’t they be surprised that you made it yourself!