Installment 3: Crafty Gifts
Even if you’re not too crafty, you can have some fun trying these projects.
Homemade candy: fudge, truffles, and more!
“Aunt Joyce’s Five-Minute Fudge” It really only takes five minutes to mix.
Homemade hand warmers: If you know how to make a beanbag, you know how to make a hand warmer. Use wool or cashmere or felt material, but instead of filling the bags with beans, fill them with ceramic pie weights. To use these toasty treasures, simply microwave them for a couple of minutes and then slip them in your pockets.
Themed gift baskets: Use a colander for a basket, add some garlic bulbs, gourmet noodles, and a wooden spoon — a little taste of Italy. Or consider a breakfast basket. Or a breakfast basket (syrup and pancake mix), a movie basket (popcorn, candy, and a movie rental coupon), or a gardening basket (a trowel, a gardening hat, and some packets of seeds).
Gingerbread house: Build a gingerbread house. Or ten. Give them to the little kids (and the big kids) in your life. Lifehacker diva Gina Trapani has a photoset demonstrating how she put together a gingerbread house from a kit. If you bake, you can certainly build a better house from scratch. Your nieces and nephews will thank you. (And so will your brother-in-law!)
Personalized calendars: You can buy a calendar or use a computer printout. MS Word has templates. Add pictures of things or people meaningful to the recipient, important dates (birthdays and anniversaries of family & friends), and maybe a special note or quote every once in a while. For parents/students you can add in the school schedule; for sports fans, their favorite teams’ game schedule, and so on.
Spice sampler: Bulk spices can make an affordable and appreciated gift for anyone who loves to cook, or who is moving into a new kitchen. Don’t know which ones to choose? Find some tempting recipes that call for exotic spices, then include the recipes with the spices. Or, get creative and make a custom spice blend for a meat rub, marinade mix, salad dressing kit, dip, or seasoning (search the web for ideas).