Wednesday, December 02, 2009

easy, inexpensive, thoughtful gifts

when i am shopping for certain Christmas gifts, my three criterion are: easy,  inexpensive, and thoughtful.

easy and inexpensive are no-brainers. but try to be thoughtful at the same time and there is where it gets challenging. i want the recipient to know that i really thought about them when deciding on the gift.

[this comes from a wound in my heart from many Christmases ago. i was a nanny, and i found the mom's Christmas present stash. i thought it was so odd that there were several of each thing- 6 little bottles of perfume, 5 of the same snowglobes, 8 identical charm bracelets. i got one of the bracelets. it meant nothing to me because i knew it was just picked from the stash, no thought about me personally. i was heartbroken. silly, but i was.]
so. here are 4 gift ideas for something easy, inexpensive, yet thoughtful. these gifts are great for teachers, friends and neighbors, even extended family members, or Grandma, who has everything and needs nothing. and by the way, if you are my friend or family and you get any of these gifts, know that it came from my heart!

-Cookies for Santa platter with homemade cookies, cinnamon rolls, cake, bread, muffins, get the idea. you can find platters or large plates at the Dollar Tree ($1), and save money by making homemade treats with ingredients you have on hand. here is an idea for making your own Cookies for Santa plate. and i love's fudge plate- she even has the recipe for yall. go above and beyond- add a pretty recipe card with the recipe of your cookies. why is this thoughtful? because a family with children would love to use the Cookies for Santa platter year after year, remembering that you gave it to them. and thoughtful because everyone loves homemade yummies!

-Framed photo of you, your family, or you with the recipient. again, i love the Dollar Tree for pretty picture frames, and then take your picture to for creative *free* editing, and send it to your Target or Walgreens to print. this is a thoughtful gift for a family member or friend who lives far away or that you don't see that often. want to take this gift idea the extra mile? is the recipient a scrapbooker? add a little package of scrapbook embellishments or a book of patterned scrapbook paper. is the recipient a shutterbug? add a gift certificate for Shutterfly or Picnik services.

-Christmas ornaments. make it thoughtful, look for that little personal touch. for instance, if you're giving it to a family of 4, find an ornament with 4 reindeer on it. or, check out the unfinished wooden ornaments at Michael's or Hobby Lobby craft store, borrow your child's paint and craft supplies, and go to town personalizing the ornament yourself. you can use popsicle sticks and buttons to make one like pictured here, from Oriental Trading Co. this is thoughtful, useable, and personal.

-The Drink Package. okay this is super simple because everyone drinks. think of the person's beverage of choice (coffee, tea, water, soda, lemonade, hot cocoa, etc.). get an appropriate cup, mug or BPA-free reusable water bottle. (think of the recipient's personality! no boring mugs!) for the coffee lover, get a 3-pack of Starbucks VIA or other small package of good coffee, a handful of sugar packets, and a candy cane "stir stick," tuck it all inside a personal mug or travel cup, and there's your gift! do the same for the tea, lemonade and hot cocoa drinker, adding little extras like a fancy straw, marshmallows, cinnamon or honey sticks, or a couple of lemons. fill the water drinkers bottle with Christmas candy or mints, the recipient's favorite gum, or a couple of Clementine oranges would be cute, too. i love the mug selection at (pictured), and for that extra special something, add a "mug rug" (coaster)- there are tons of them on or make your own!

Happy Gift-Giving and Merry Christmas!

giving easy, inexpensive AND thoughtful gifts work for me. for more gift-giving ideas check out WeAreTHATFamily for Works for Me Wednesday.

[photo credits: heart cookie-shawncampbell, snowflake ornament-OrientalTradingCo, coffee]