Thursday, February 4, 2016

The Magic of Homemade Gifts

This is part 3 of 3 of my series called Serious Holiday Savings.

Ok, yeah, I realize it's January, but I couldn't exactly write this post before Christmas because it details some of the items I actually gave out to friends and family.  And the beauty of it is, someone close to you is bound to have a birthday before December of this year.  Why not consider gifting them with something homemade or hand-crafted?

Why am I calling homemade gifts magic?  Simply because I believe homemade gifts convey deep meaning that the person who made it cares an awful lot.  They took the time and effort to create something just for you.  I also think crafting gifts is a lost art.  It's so much more convenient to run to Target, pick up a gift and throw it in a bag with some tissue paper.  Making a gift requires planning ahead of time.

Here are three of the handmade gifts that my family gave out this past Christmas:

1. Handprint ornaments:  I saw this idea on Pinterest, one of my favorite websites for inspiration, and decided to try it with Landon, my 2-year old son.  I made sure to choose a day that was nice enough where we could work outside (we can do that in Florida in December, do be jealous!) so I didn't have to worry about getting glitter everywhere.  And of course, it still got everywhere outside, but I wasn't freaking out about having to clean up minuscule glitter particles.  My husband applied glue to Landon's hand and I pressed it to an ornament, then followed it up with a sprinkling of glitter.

They didn't turn out as neat-looking as the (perfect) Pinterest picture, but I didn't care.  It was a fun family activity that my son sure enjoyed, and you would have thought we gave his grandparents the world when we presented them with two personalized ornaments.  I also included Landon's name, his age, and the year on the back of the ornament.

Here's the best thing: I found the glass ball ornaments at Goodwill for less than a buck.  There were six of them and I bought them before I knew what I was going to do with them.  They turned into some great handmade gifts and fun memories.

2. Homemade granite cleaner:  I discovered the value of creating homemade cleaners a couple of years ago when I downloaded a eBook about making them.  I've made several of the recipes (The book is called Homemade Green Cleaners by Claire Bowman, link here), but hands down, my favorite has been the granite cleaner.  It makes my counters so very shiny, only has 4 ingredients, and it smells yummy but never overpowering.  My mom-in-law and sister-in-law both have stone countertops so I decided to whip up two sprays for them.  Up until that point, I had been using lavender essential oil in my spray because it's my favorite scent, but since it was the holiday season, I decided to change things up a bit and swap out lavender for peppermint.  In about 5 minutes, I created 3 batches of peppermint granite cleaner (one for myself) and put them in spray bottles I got from the dollar store.  Then I printed colorful tags for the ones I was gifting and had two great gifts that are useful to boot.

3. Santa ornament: I bought a little ornament kit from Michael's when they were running a half off sale, making this ornament under a buck.  I showed Landon how and where to put the sticks and let him place them and then glued them myself.  Instead of attaching the string to make an ornament, I taped the foundation stick to a gift card and gave it to my husband as a gift from my son.

I plan on making and gifting many more handmade gifts this year, and not just for Christmas.  Do you like to make gifts?  Can you think of anyone who would love to receive one from you?  I hope this post inspires you to get busy making magic with homemade gifts!

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