Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Twelve Simple Christmas Gifts

It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas! I haven't gone Christmas shopping yet, haven't bought a thing. I'm not worried though because this year I am keeping it simple. And I'm totally satisfied with my decision. In the past, I've always felt I've had so little time to spend with the season because I am running around trying to get my shopping done and decorations up. I enjoy these things but it is definitely possible to do things differently. This year I am devoting more time to being still. I am praying each day throughout the Advent season and in the theme of keeping gift giving simple (and less wasteful), I'm finding creative ways of spending much less and still having lots of fun. Below are some Christmas gift ideas that require very little. Why spend countless hours driving around and rummaging through the mall if you don't have to? Consider giving these unique and thoughtful gifts a try instead!

Wine Cork Trivets
All you need is a glue gun and a lot of wine corks. Go to just about any restaurant or wine shop and ask for their corks. They'll give them to you for free! In addition to trivets, a bulletin board is another fun idea.

Homemade Biscotti
Biscotti lasts awhile, especially in an air tight container and is delicious dipped in coffee. Instead of baking cookies this year, make biscotti and give it with your favorite coffee. There are many recipes online to choose from.

Gourmet Vinegars and Infused Oils in Decorative Bottles
Gourmet vinegars are delicious and easy to make. Visit an antique store or thrift store and find unique decorative bottles. Give with a loaf of bread from your favorite local bakery.

Face and Body Scrubs
Cosmetics and skin care products are expensive but there are many natural alternatives that are easy to make, smell wonderful, and you can use items you already have in your kitchen! Store in a small jar with a bow.

Draft Snakes
If you want to help someone save energy and stay warm this winter (and you can sew), consider making decorative draft snakes for doors and windows. If are feeling even more creative and want to reuse materials, get fabric from items like dresses, sheets, or old clothes from your closet or from the thrift store.

Fingerless Crocheted Gloves
If you can crochet, don't let your skills go to the wayside! Here is a stylish glove pattern. A crocheted set of gloves or a warm winter hat or scarf is a perfect gift.

Know someone who loves to garden and who would enjoy bringing the garden indoors? Find a glass jar or a fish bowl and create a terrarium as a gift. Browse around the internet to find more ideas, there are a lot of examples out there.

Postcard Banner
Use postcards from your own travels or find vintage postcards in antique stores. Use your own photographs or old calendar pictures as material too!

Tin Can Pencil Holder
Use found items like sticks, bark, or pine cones! This is a great idea for kids or a fun way to spiff up a boring office.

Coffee Can Lanterns
Create the feeling of the Star of Bethlehem shining right in your house. Great for outdoor summer patios or indoors on a coffee table.

Vinyl Record Bowls, Trays, and Coasters
Get out the records collecting dust in the attic or visit a thrift store to create one of these creative gifts for a musical friend.

Christmas Ornaments
These Christmas ornaments are stylish and easy to make. Choose from 52 different ornaments! My favorites are the cinnamon bird, button, and the cookie-cutter ornaments. Tie an ornament or two to a plate of cookies as gifts to friends and coworkers.

Don't have time or energy to make your own gifts? Instead of shopping at the mall this year try giving gifts from local, small businesses. Instead of giving things, consider donating to a charitable organization or buying a gift that you can actually take part in like a local concert, a movie, or play. There are many holiday craft fairs going on where you can buy crafts (soaps, candles, and other hand made items) from people in your community. A few farmer's markets in the area are year round and are great places to buy gifts. Be creative. Most of all, keep within your budget and keep it simple during this very busy season so you have time to kick up your feet, relax, and enjoy it too!

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