20 Easy Handmade Gift Ideas

December 19, 2008 at 7:01 pm | Posted in holidays, social | 2 Comments
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I can’t believe Christmas is so close already. To an extent, I enjoy the adrenaline pump– it’s stressful but it’s been a part of the fun since I was 15. In high school, I used rush around, drawing all of my friends and family and teachers Christmas cards. I miss the tradition. Buying gifts, to me at least, just isn’t as fulfilling.

Many people have told me that they admire that I’m handmaking all my gifts this year. They wish they could do it too but they “just aren’t creative” or don’t know what they could possibly do.

So here’s a list of ideas from my own little notebook:

  1. 20 Things I Love About You For one of my friends, I write these things on little pieces of paper, rolled them up, and put them in a decorated jar I got for a dollar. Inexpensive, yet thoughtful; I got to mention things I never get the chance to mention and show my appreciation.
  2. Favors & Services These could include helping out with chores, running an errand for them, helping them on a project, helping out with homework– the possibilities are endless. πŸ™‚
  3. Baked Goods Everyone loves cookies & cupcakes!
  4. Crafts Okay, broad subject. πŸ˜› But anything can be customized. All you need are paint or markers or what-have-you and customize shirts, shoes, bags, boxes, jars, scarves, coasters, mugs, whatever. What if you’re not the artistic type? Paint a monogram, decoupage something, or use their favorite color. Check out my diy tag on Delicious for tutorials & ideas.
  5. Framed Photo Pick out a good photo of the two of you and put it in a classy or cute frame.
  6. Or photo-edit a photo of the two of you if you’re into Photoshop. See some great tutorials here.
  7. Write a poem I wrote a silly poem about another friend of mine and fashioned it into a storybook.
  8. Write a short composition piece if you’re musically inclined.
  9. Play or remake their favorite music piece
  10. Mix CDs Haha, my online friends and I used to always send each other mixed CDs and included explanations why we picked each track. For me, it opened myself up to a lot of different artists and genres. Writing your thoughts about each track is the fun part.
  11. Website One of the absolute best presents I even recieved was a website my friend Sammi made for my birthday. She set up an account on a free webhost, and compiled a small site. On it, she wrote about our friendship, included a page of my favorite anime & cartoon characters, posted favorite memories, and it was one of the most touching gifts. I couldn’t believe she worked so hard on it; it was so unexpected. πŸ™‚
  12. Message In A Bottle For my fiance one anniversary, I distressed a piece of paper by singeing it, crumpling it, and staining it and then I wrote a long love letter on it. I rolled it up, put it in a glass bottle and left it in his room. He loved it.
  13. Post “Thank you for …” stickies all over their room, even in obscure places so they can run into them later in the year.
  14. Gather famous quotes (or movie quotesΒ  if they’re movie geeks, hehe), print them on pretty or colorful paper ad cut them out. Voila! Inspiration to post around the room.
  15. Bookmarks For your bookworm friends! I drew a set of bookmarks for a friend and mounted them onto thick scrapbook papers.
  16. Buy something simple, yet thoughtful I remember reading a comment on my Facebook status update that a friend of mine liked Banana Bread Oatmeal (mmm…) so I bought him a box. When he opened it, he was thrilled and asked, “How did you know?” I told him, “I remember you mentioned it in a comment on Facebook.” He seemed flattered that I remembered such a small detail. I find that gifts based on small details like that tend to work better than details they publicize often, especially whenit comes to small, frugal gifts.
  17. Basket of comfort get a basket and fill it with things like cozy socks, fleece blankets, spa stuff (lotions, bath beads). Everyone loves a little pampering.
  18. Print out a tutorial for a craft, buy the materials, and arrange them in a basket. This is a good one for artists or people who want to get into crafts.
  19. List of favorite memories that you had together. Arrnage them on a piece of scrapbook paper or frame it.
  20. Refashion a shirt they would like or a shirt that’s gotten too big for them. You can do a bit of t-shirt surgery or make it into a pillow!

The keys to these handmade gifts are thoughtfulness and presentation. Don’t skimp on the gift-wrapping on these gifts– go the whole nine yards: bows, ribbons, tisse paper, and tags. πŸ™‚ Hope you foudn the lsit helpful! if you have other ideas, just leave a tip in the comments!

Why Writing Christmas Cards Warms Me Up

December 4, 2008 at 10:51 pm | Posted in holidays, social, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Photo taken by krisdecurtis @ Flickr

Photo taken by krisdecurtis @ Flickr

My favorite part of the holidays is writing Christmas and holiday cards. πŸ™‚ Even with Facebook and email and all these methods of keeping in contact, this remains the time of year I can reach out to the people that have touched my life in some way. I write to everyone:Β  old professors, current professors, distant friends, new acquaintances, friends’ parents, old co-workers, old employers, family, friends, business contacts, and even the bank tellers and baristas I make small talk with on a regular basis.

Writing these Christmas cards allow me to slow down and focus on each individual and acknowledge them, thank them, and appreciate them. I write these cards to close distances that grow between friends and me, to thank people who have helped and/or influenced me, and to rebuild any bridges that have been burnt down between us. It’s the perfect opportunity for me to indulge in being completely sentimental without feeling like a goof. Sitting down to write these cards, I always feel a strange but strong urge to just be completely open and honest in my words. It feels so good to get them off my chest.

I hope that the recipients of my Christmas cards take pleasure in them as well. I recommend writing a card to everyone you know, especially those whom you’ve lost touch with; it is oddly liberating. πŸ™‚

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