Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Merry (Insert Your Holiday Here)!!

The holiday season is a great time for retailers, and while I'd love to have everyone say to themselves "I'd just like to send everyone fancy soap for Giftmas this year", I have a great love for the handmade gifts. I just thought I'd post a few ideas, if you're looking for inspiration, and don't know what to make this year.

Gift Baskets: These only require assembly, but can be super impressive just the same. Think outside the basket when it comes to your packaging - brightly colored bowls, mini-coolers or lunch totes, or even decorated kraft gift bags are some options. You can take a nice towel, roll it lengthwise, and form it into a basket with safety pins to hold a bath & body collection. For kids, an activity set with crayons, markers, paints, art paper or coloring books, and modeling clay in a plain bag (for them to decorate) is fun. And for the dude in your life, a mini-cooler stuffed with snacks (nuts, jerky) and a couple of bottles of his favorite brew makes a gift he'll really appreciate on game day :) Your finished gift set can be wrapped with clear wrap, and finished off with some ribbons and a nice tag. Some of my favorite tags are from LuckyCees over on Etsy:

Edibles: Made from scratch yummies are always loved! Handmade fudge, divinity, toffee, or marshmallows are super popular at the holidays. Biscotti and coffee make a great gift together, I have wonderful biscotti recipes that I bought from, they're as easy as cookies and totally fancy! If you're not a superstar in the kitchen, there are some wonderful cookie mixes from Betty Crocker that you can use to make great cookie tins, or you can whip up a batch of haystack cookies - just melt chocolate chips and butterscotch chips together in the microwave, add a bag of chow mein noodles and a jar of peanuts, stir together, and shape into lumps on wax paper. Let them harden, package and win at gifting. And if you are really, really lost in the kitchen, you can still make a nice fruit basket :)

Hand Knits - or crochet, this is the best time of year. Even if you don't have advanced needle skills, simple garter stitch scarves and cowls are really impressive, and you can get a double crochet scarf done in just a couple of evenings. Chunky yarns are really hot this year! If you don't have access to a nice yarn shop, even Walmart is carrying Lion Brand Hometown USA, a super soft, super chunky yarn for quick projects. Other good gifting with yarns - washcloths, crochet coasters, and christmas ornaments - tiny stockings, sweaters, and bells are all pretty simple & quick too!

Let them make it themselves - sometimes the best handmade gift is one that you let them make themselves. Crafting kits, yarn, art supplies, and paper crafting supplies are all great for DIY types.

I hope everyone is having a great season, whatever holiday you're celebrating! It's nice that whatever your holiday, we all have giving on our minds at this time of year :)

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