Thoughtful Homemade Gifts: A roundup

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For most of us, Christmas is a special time to gather with family and friends, and a time to be able to show them how grateful we are to have them in our lives.  We live in a day and age where commercialism runs rampant… we see billboards, ads on television, in magazines, and all over the internet.  We get email blasts from retail companies to buy this or that!  And those ads are all over the place this time of year.  It is so easy to get caught up in all of it, and to want to purchase the best for our friends and family (and let’s be honest, sometimes ourselves!) at the best price.  But I don’t think that is how we are meant to celebrate…. Now, I do purchase some gifts for my family, but I think the best way to show someone you care, is through handmade, thoughtful gifts.   I know that those are my favorite to receive… knowing that someone took the time to think of me and make something just for me makes me happier than any store bought gift ever could unless we are talking diamonds.

Over the past few years I have shared some relatively easy homemade gifts on my blog, and I thought I would run through some of those today, to give you some last minute, but thoughtful gifts.  And trust me, if I can do these, so can you!

Last year and this year, I created candles using soy wax and simply following instructions.  I purchased essential oils from my local market, but these can also be found online and even in some craft stores.  I followed the instructions on the box of wax, using the double boiler method.  They may not smell as fabulous as store bought candles, but the vintage containers make them very unique.  Last year I made these.
(This is what they look like just after being poured and before the wick is inserted.)

And this year I used some fun vintage drinking glasses to create these…

Last year I purchased wooden mixing spoons for my daughter’s birthday, and simply used acrylic paint to paint the handle, and taped it off to make stripes.  I finished it with a little polycrylic to protect.  I made these for her because she loves to help me cook, but they would make awesome hostess gifts for all those parties this season or great neighbor gifts!

A classic, of course for the men in your life, or again for those parties…. reindeer beer!

A couple years back I put together some vintage sheet music themed gifts for teachers.  This could easily be done with vintage books or maps as well.

Last year I created some vintage button and ornament trees using vintage frames (but you could use new, too) drop clothes, cork, buttons, mini vintage ornaments and hot glue….

Vintage insulators seem easy enough to come by these days, but sort of useless, huh?  Last year I used some wire to create photo holders.  They could also be card holders, or used to display anything, really!

Clay is easy to craft with as well.  Last year we made this clay penguin ornament for Emmy’s dance teacher and added a tutu for a little dance vibe!  Emmy also painted it pearly white for a prettier look.

I love getting the kids involved in the making of gifts as it teaches them to think not “what can I buy for so and so?” but “what can I make for so and so?”  Two years ago we took a cute from Sawyer’s kindergarten art class and created “Handy Warhols“.

This year I involved the kids by using their fingerprints for some fingerprint art…

I also involved the kids this year by using transfer paper that worked with markers.  I had the kids draw some Christmas themed drawings and then I trimmed them out and followed the instructions from the manufacturer to transfer them to some inexpensive flour sack towels I purchased at Walmart.  This was an easy project, and the kids were thrilled to see their work on the towels!  Wrap up a homemade bread inside and you have yourself a wonderful gift!

Hopefully this list gives you some ideas of special gifts you can create to show the people you love what a gift you think they are in your life.  I hope you all have the happiest Holiday and I will see you back here in 2013!
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