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Posts Tagged ‘homemade gifts’

Last week I continued the series I’ll Be Homemade for Christmas with several tasty tips about making food gifts. Today we’re going to head in a slightly abstract direction and focus on gifts we can make using our words. What do I mean by this? Well, sometimes we have something we’d like to say. Sometimes we have something we should say. And sometimes we have something we just can’t quite bring ourselves to say out loud, but we still want to get our point across somehow.

Enter the beauty of words. Words are less scary. Words allow us to be transparent. Words allow us to be eloquent. Words last forever. Christmas is an excellent time to be encouraging, open, and honest with someone we care about. So let’s start brainstorming great gift ideas that use our words!

letter

Brainstorming ideas about ways to use our words

You don’t need to be a professional writer or a learned poet to be able to express yourself using words. Just be yourself and be honest. Here are a few ways you might want to use your words this Christmas:

  • Tell a person you love them
  • Ask your special someone to marry you
  • Thank someone for who they are
  • Encourage someone who is sad
  • Encourage someone who is sick or fighting disease
  • Thank a military officer for their service
  • Thank your parents for doing a great job
  • Tell a story about a memorable event
  • Make someone laugh

Brainstorming ideas about how to make our words into gifts

  • Write a letter
  • Make a scrapbook
  • Write captions for memorable photographs
  • Design a t-shirt
  • Send a homemade card
  • Create a PowerPoint presentation
  • Write a poem

An example of a homemade gift using words

As I said above, you don’t need to be an expert writer to write what you want to say! All that matters is what you say and the fact that you took the effort to say it at all. That being said, we of course can still try to be creative! For this week’s homemade gift example, I’d like to share two poems (so to speak) I wrote for different people several years ago. I’m not a poet, so that should encourage you! I just felt moved to say certain things, so the words seemed to flow. If you have important things to say of your own, just grab a pen and a piece of paper and see what happens. Now, onto my poems.

My first poem I wrote over a decade ago for my Grandmother who, at the time, had recently suffered from a heart attack. I am happy to report that she is still alive today, but it was a real scare at the time. I was devastated because I really loved my Grandma and didn’t want her to die. The reason I decided to write a poem was because I really wanted to tell my Grandma how much I loved her. I’m not going to share the entire poem because it’s kind of long, but here is just an excerpt from the very end to give you a general idea:

Walking in a plain room eager to calm your fears
You see your grandma, all smiles, and try to hold back your tears.
Running to embrace her, she tells you she’s fine
“That’s what you always say,” you draw the line.

Soon, it seems like only yesterday
Your grandma was up and about even though here she lay.
The attack was minor they tell you, and you know she’ll be here to stay
At least you can love your grandma for one more day.

The second poem I’d like to share is related because I wrote it for my Grandpa four years after I gave the above poem to my Grandma. My Grandma suffered yet another heart attack and this time it was more serious. She had to have bypass surgery and my Grandpa was a real trooper during her trials and long road to recovery. I wanted to thank him and encourage him, so I chose to write another poem:

Sometimes life serves us with trials and tribulations
Someone we love is pulled away, the future uncertain
Life becomes difficult, painful, broken

Times like these require
determination, courage, sacrifice, support

Grandpa, you were there every step of the way
Thank you for having determination
Thank you for displaying courage
Thank you for making sacrifices
Thank you for providing support
And most of all, thank you for loving…

I love you

Both poems I typed up and framed as a nice way to present them to my grandparents.  Don’t be afraid to great creative when it comes to presentation!  Consider also using photos to complement your words.

Now I feel a little transparent sharing these poems today, but my hope is that you can be inspired to say the things you’d like to say to the people you love and care for. Take it from me, you never know if you will have another chance!

Reader Reflection

Have you ever made homemade gifts using your words? Feel free to share any ideas here.

Coming up next week

Next week will feature the final installment of I’ll Be Homemade for Christmas and we’ll get ideas for gifts using our services!

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Last week I continued the series I’ll Be Homemade for Christmas with some fun tips about making special gifts that use plants. I’m excited today to get to talk about something completely different, food! It’s hard to go wrong with food gifts because who doesn’t love to eat and enjoy something homemade and delicious! And another great thing about a homemade food gift is that it is consumable, which ultimately means less clutter. So food gifts can actually help your recipient stay more organized in a manner of speaking! Let’s start by brainstorming a little when it comes to gifts that can be made using food.

making-cookies

Brainstorming food gift ideas

Whether you are an expert chef or you just know how to bake a frozen pizza, there are several great homemade food gift ideas to choose from that will suit your lifestyle and skills. Here are just a few to get you started:

  • Bake and decorate special Christmas cookies
  • Make fun Christmas candy or other holiday dessert
  • Prepare a homemade spice blend
  • Share some of your summer garden harvest canned or frozen goods
  • Make a special homemade soup and freeze small containers to give away
  • Arrange a food gift basket
  • Prepare a collection of favorite or easy recipes
  • Make homemade hot chocolate or other beverage mix
  • Prepare base recipes in containers to give away

An example of a homemade gift using food

The sky is the limit with food gift ideas, but I’d like to focus on one in particular that makes a perfect gift for people who are busy, people who don’t cook much, or people who don’t know how to cook very well. That gift idea is the last one on the above list: preparing base recipes in containers you can give away.

To get started you just need to find any good recipe (baked desserts are best) and prepare only part of it, the dry ingredients. Place the mix in a decorative jar or other container that seals well. All the recipient has to do in turn is add the wet ingredients and bake. cookiesYou will need to provide a list of the necessary wet ingredients, in addition to baking instructions. An easy and creative way to do this is to print a small label for the container. You might also choose to add a personalized message too!

Mixing all the dry ingredients together ahead of time into a nice base recipe is great for at least three reasons. First, preparing dry ingredients it is often tedious and perhaps the hardest part of any given recipe so you end up doing a significant portion of the work for your recipient. Second, certain people who don’t cook much might not even have special dry ingredients on hand, so you’ve saved them a trip to the store. Third, you will save the recipient a lot of time because adding a couple of wet ingredients to your base recipe takes hardly any time at all!

Now let’s take a look at some examples. A popular choice is to prepare a base recipe for cookies or brownies. But think outside the box a little too and consider food like homemade bread, quickbreads, or even cornbread. Consider making more than one base recipe for any given recipient so they don’t run out too quickly.

Cornbread base recipe
(from the back of the Quaker Yellow Corn Meal Box)
1 ¼ cups all purpose flour
¾ cup Quaker Enriched Corn Meal
¼ cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt

In your directions you would have the recipient simply add 1 cup of skim milk, ¼ cup of vegetable oil, and one beaten egg. Bake mix in a greased 9-inch pan at 400 degrees F for 20-25 minutes. It’s a piece of cake! Well, more like a piece of cornbread.

Homemade food gift ideas from around the web

There are many great ideas on the Internet when it comes to creative homemade food gifts. Here are just a few I’ve found:

Reader Reflection

Have you ever made homemade gifts using food? Feel free to share any ideas here.

Coming up next week

Next week we will learn about creative gifts you can make using your words!

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It’s now November and there’s no denying that Christmas is just around the corner! Perhaps you decided to get going on your Christmas list-making & shopping early this year to get a head start and avoid the rush. Or maybe you’re putting off thinking about what you could possibly buy your dear grandmother or your Uncle Bob because you know how stressful and expensive it can be to go Christmas shopping! No matter where you are in your Christmas planning, I’d like to offer a simple solution for you to consider this year: homemade gifts!

christmas-tree-lights

But aren’t homemade gifts just a lot of work?

Not feeling very creative? Or are you recalling a messy glue incident with your child’s last school craft project? Don’t worry, even though homemade gifts take some effort, there are several reasons why going homemade for certain gifts this year will only benefit you:

  • Homemade gifts are usually cheaper. Let’s get the obvious out the way here: homemade gifts have the potential to be so much cheaper than gifts you have to buy. While there is of course some cost involved in making gifts (materials, time, etc.), it is significantly lower and will result in your holiday budget retaining a little extra cash.
  • Homemade gifts are often more meaningful. Do you think your mom really wants yet another knick knack to put in her cabinet? Maybe, but consider how much more she would love a meaningful gift from the heart…something that shows her how you feel about her and how grateful you are for her years of service to you as your mother. That’s not to say that a store-bought gift cannot achieve the same goal, but it’s true more often than not that homemade gifts offer you a better chance to show the recipient how much you care.
  • Homemade gifts are less stressful. Avoid the crowded department stores and create your gifts from the quiet (or sometimes quiet) of your own home. Stop aimlessly wandering through shop after shop to find the ‘perfect’ gift that doesn’t exist and instead make them something you know they’ll love. Christmas is stressful enough already so you should do what you can to reduce any unnecessary stress.
  • Homemade gifts are fun! Even if you don’t consider yourself to be particularly creative, most people usually find some enjoyment in making something. And if you are the creative type, then homemade gifts will be perfect for you—not only will you enjoy the three benefits outlined directly above, but you’ll have a lot of fun in the process!

I’ll Be Homemade for Christmas

Every Thursday until Christmas, this fun series will provide useful homemade gift ideas within the following six categories: photos (11/13), arts & crafts (11/20), plants (11/27), food (12/4), words (12/11), and services (12/18). Each week I’ll spotlight a gift idea I’ve successfully used in the past. Then I’ll list a couple other alternative ideas within the category to give you more concepts to work with. Finally I’ll wrap it up with further related homemade gift ideas from around the web. Hopefully each week you’ll be able to find something that suits your style!

Reader Reflection

If you have any creative gift ideas that fit into the above six categories and you’d like me to mention them my future posts, drop a link here in a comment or send me a message from my contact page.

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