In our busy world, where a present can sometimes mean grabbing a gift card off the rack at a drugstore, it may mean more than ever to someone to receive a gift that took your time and consideration to prepare. These ideas find a balance between the thoughtful but not overly taxing or time-consuming. They let that special someone know that you truly care.
1. Candle in a Teacup. A beautiful and aromatic gift that can be fun to shop for, make, and give. While many people do not make candles themselves any longer, it is not difficult or expensive to do. Try this DIY idea from Country Living.
2. Chocolate Truffles. Truffles are a delicious holiday indulgence, but they can be quite pricey to buy from specialty stores. However, they are not terribly difficult to make and you can be as creative as you’d like with toppings: try cocoa, coconut, or finely chopped nuts. Find the recipe here from the Food Network.
3. Secret Hollow Book. Everyone likes to have a special place to keep meaningful items…old love letters, childhood trinkets, or even valuables. Find an old, thick book at a used book or thrift store. If you know your gift recipient’s favorite author, all the better. Then all you need is glue, a box cutter, a ruler, and a pencil. Full instructions for how to make your Secret Hollow Book can be found here.
4. Personalized Calendars. Everyone, from grandparents to children, loves personalized calendars. Comb through your old and new photographs and give the gift of twelve cherished memories. Consider including quotes or notes on days of importance, or even a coupon or a few dollars tucked into hand-made envelopes to celebrate special occasions. You can use software for this project or you may want to take your photographs to locations such as FedEx Office to have it professionally assembled with no fuss.
5. Marble Magnets. So much fun and so easy to make! At a local crafts’ store, simply purchase clear flat glass marbles, round magnets, and silicon glue. You can use an image you like, from magazine pictures to photographs. Fit six or so magnets into a wrapping paper-covered Altoid’s tin, and you have a unique and personalized gift for anyone on your list! Full instructions can be found here.
6. Felt-Backed Ceramic Tile Trivets or Coasters. For an inexpensive, fun, and easy do-it-yourself gift idea, why not consider going to your local flooring store? Select a fun pattern and make a cooking trivet (6” x 6”) or some drink coasters (3” x 3”) from tile. The only supplies necessary are the squares, some felt, and some glue. If you prefer, you may choose to back the tiles in cork rather than felt. Either way, you’ll have a unique and memorable gift.
7. Family Trivial Pursuit. A fun idea from a reader of the blog GetRichSlowly.orgwrites that he created a game where the children had to guess at family-related questions in order to win cash prizes. What a good way to learn your family lore and keep the whole family entertained!
8. Easy Handmade Soaps. You don’t have to be Martha Stewart to impress someone with your crafting skills. These beautiful soaps are not at all difficult to make and are inexpensive to create as well. All you need is glycerin soap, soap dye, molds and Popsicle sticks. The soaps are so easy to make, your children can even help you do it. Full instructions can be found here.
9. First Aid Strips: Apply Directly to the Mind. This easy and thoughtful idea comes from Family Fun Magazine. We all could use an uplifting quote or sentiment during the hectic holiday season and especially after the festivities end and life goes back to normal. Collect your own favorite quotes and other thoughts, write them on bright colored construction paper, cut into the shapes of bandages and dress up a box for a gift that will be meaningful all year.
10. Record Bowls. What an interesting and artful way to recycle old vinyl! Simply find an album with a colorful label, heat your oven to 225 degrees and mold it into an acrylic bowl. Remove after five minutes, when the vinyl is molded but still pliable and shape into whatever design you’d like. Full instructions, from Mookychick.co.uk can be found here.