The fact that you can take a few hours to hand draw a picture of your nephew for your mother, or hand knit a pair of gloves, or put together the ingredients for your famous Cowboy Cookies for your daughter who lives on the other side of the country and misses them now that she’s in college, make these gifts the most loved – surprisingly even more so than a big screen TV, an iPhone, or even a top you purchased. Aim to make by hand at least three gifts this year, to make it easier on your wallet, to have more pride in your gifts, and to connect more deeply with the loved one that will receive it.
5 Edible plant
This one may sound odd, but what more of a wonderful gift to give someone than the gift of a life that bears fruit! If the lucky person has a yard, bring them a small peach tree, blueberry bush, lemon tree or anything that requires a little more space. For those who have a patio, bring a small plant or plants like herbs. Bringing them a set like ‘pizza herbs,’ basil, oregano and rosemary, ‘salsa herbs,’ or Herbs de Provence will make a wonderful gift that will keep on giving and always remind them of you when they use the fruit, vegetables or herbs for their meal.
4 Homemade Tea Bread
Tea breads are wonderful gifts for men and women who love to eat (and who doesn’t?). A tea bread is anything you would cut a slice of to eat with your tea, like banana bread, pumpkin bread, lemon poppy seed, dried fruit and nut, or chocolate. There are thousands and thousands of recipes online which usually make 2 medium sized loaves. Even if you’re not a ‘good’ baker, if you simply follow the recipe, you will do just fine. Make the bread within a day of taking it to the receiver. After letting the bread cool after it’s pulled from the over, you can wrap it in a cute, cheap towel and tie it up with a ribbon and add a little card for personal note. If you know someone who loves pumpkin, make pumpkin bread. For chocolate lovers, chocolate bread, etc.
3 Hand-knit Mittens
If you don’t know how to knit, you can sit this one out, but if you are willing to try you’ll learn they’re not that hard to make, really! All it takes is a little time, even if just sitting in front of the TV at the end of the night.
2 Mini Scrapbook
Getting a nice looking notebook is easy on the wallet and makes an excellent gift when filled with little sayings, quotes photos, ticket stubs, receipts, travel documents and other things you shared with the recipient of the book. It makes for a fun time remembering all the memories, reliving beautiful moments, and reconnecting with the other person even though they don’t know it yet. It makes a wonderful, heartfelt, and very loving gift that will be super enjoyable for him or her to look through, once page at a time, laugh at, ooh at, and delight in while you feel the happiness of providing these little moments of joy through a little personal touch. You don’t have to go buy all sorts of expensive scrapbooking items – use old gift-wrapping paper, strings, yarns, bows, markers, crayons, and simply anything that looks nice.
1 Cookie Ingredients Jar
These are easy to find on the internet and in books. They are simply 32 oz. Mason jars filled layer-by-layer with cookie ingredients like flour, sugar, cocoa, oats and whatever the recipe calls for. Decorate the jar cutely with a ribbon and remember to have the direction card on it so that the recipient knows how many cookies it makes, how much butter, milk and eggs they need, and how long to bake them at what temperature. With a cute scrap of cloth screwed on to the top to dangle over the edges this makes a super-cute and personal gift, and it’s even better if you have a ‘famous recipe’ of your own that everyone loves.
Gift giving has turned from something personal and heartfelt into something stressful, expensive, and very impersonal, but it doesn’t have to be this way! Making things that feel good, taste good, add life to, and remind people of good things will always be the best received gifts of all, so make time, not money, to make your gifts this year!