Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Gifts from the Heart

A bell is no bell till you ring it,
A song is no song till you sing it,
And love in your heart wasn’t put there to stay—
Love isn’t love till you give it away

from The Sound of Music

  1. Make a Joy kit. Put together a basket, box or bag full of feel-good items: bubble bath, nail polish, a funny photo, microwave popcorn, a stash of candy, anything to give the recipient a pick-me-up.

  2. Give a Nostalgic Family Gift. A wonderful childhood Christmas memory for me and my siblings was reading a book called "Norman Rockwell's Christmas Book". One year, I went online and found beautiful hardcover copies (gently used, like new) for only a few dollars each. This was a great nostalgic gift for family members. Another idea is to duplicate a nostalgic decoration you and your siblings enjoyed growing up. We had a large felt Christmas calendar that we loved. This year, I am making duplicates for siblings.

  3. Make a homemade ornament. This one is from Mormonchic and is made from felt (you can also use flannel).

  4. Dinner and the Nativity - Invite another family to your home for dinner, then go together to see a free live nativity/Christmas program. Or, do dinner and then a family home evening that explains to the children about the symbolism of Christmas ornaments, i.e., candy canes = shepherd's crook. Likewise, invite the missionaries to your home and give them the gift of Christmas Day dinner. We did this a few years ago, and love that memory. They shared a special message with us, which helped us remember the true meaning of Christmas.

  5. Bandages for the Soul - revamp a band-aid box or tin with bandage shaped cut-outs with uplifting sayings or quotes on them. Stephanie made a super cute Band aid box template that you can download the word format or the pdf format. Here are here instructions. I just used two 8 1/2" x 11" regular, white card stock papers and then cut and folded the box to about 2"D x 4"H x 4"W (taking into consideration, the flaps that would overlap and glue together). The first page works as the front of the box, leaving a lot of room for the top closing flap of the box and the second page is the back.I literally used a regular store-bought, paper Band-Aid box as my guide, cut the flaps and glued the sides and bottom together.
  6. Tree Decorations - Have a "winter craft day" with your family and make homemade Christmas tree decorations. There are books you can check out from the library that are full of ideas! Wrap them and give them as a gift to a newly married couple, or anyone else who may not own many decorations yet.

  7. Make Homemade Sachets - My 4 year old made these using locally grown lavender and rosemary. Fill a small pouch with dried lavender and rosemary. Tie it off with a sprig of lavender for a special touch.

  8. Sewn Gifts - If you enjoy sewing, consider making an apron for a friend, a nursing cover for a young mother, a pair of hot pot holders for someone who may be leaving home soon, a simple drawstring purse for a young girl, etc. Here are some links for some easy sewn gifts.

  9. Dog Treat Jar - A super cute and easy idea from FamilyFun.com.

  10. Popcorn Balls with Love Notes - One year, our family opened a box from our grandmother. It was full of homemade caramel popcorn balls. There was one for each of us, with a hand-written love note from her attached. We love that memory! And I later did this for my niece/nephews.

  11. Gifts in a Jar. Recipes that can be used are cookies, brownies, soups, and holiday drinks or just some homemade jams and jellies. Jars are great because they're reusable. Bags are great for mailing.

  12. Homemade "Bread of the Month" Club - give someone a loaf of bread with a promise that they will get a fresh baked loaf of bread each month from you for the next year.

  13. Family Recipe Books - Talk to parents and siblings about the meals/dishes that were memorable growing up. Gather recipes, compile into a file, and print. The pages can then be put in plastic sleeves in a 3-ring binder, or spiral bound at a store with a clear front and back
    This one is from my mom, she also included pictures and stories about mealtimes or family members who supplied the recipes.

  14. Books on CD - Record Grandma (or mom, dad, etc) reading yours or your child's favorite stories. Create a CD of these stores so grandma give this as a gift to her grandchildren!

  15. Journal of a Loved One - Type up the journal of a family member that has past away and give either electronic or printed and spiral bound copies to family members.

  16. Create a Brag Book - Using a couple sheets of scrapbook paper, create a special book with photos for mom, dad, grandma, etc.

  17. Chocolate Dipped Caramel Pretzels - Make some homemade edible treats!

  18. Homemade Journal - Made simply with a regular composition notebook, decorative paper and mod podge, and any other embellishments. You can see the plain notebook on the right and the two different embellished ones on the left.
    Include this quote in the front cover from Spencer W. Kimball on keeping a journal.

    The Value of Keeping a Journal

    "People often use the excuse that their lives are uneventful and nobody would be interested in what they have done. But I promise you that if you will keep your journals and records, they will indeed be a source of great inspiration to your families, to your children, your grandchildren, and others, on through the generations. Each of us is important to those who are near and dear to us—and as our posterity read of our life's experiences, they, too, will come to know and love us. And in that glorious day when our families are together in the eternities, we will already be acquainted."

    -President Spencer W. Kimball

  19. If the journal is for a grade school child, include a Journal Jar filled with prompts for to get them started with their journaling. Here are some child's journal prompts and some adult journal prompts from Organized Christmas.

  20. Memory Quilt - The one doesn't apply to everyone, but after my (Robyn) mom passed away, my sister and I took all of her clothes and made patchwork quilts for all of our siblings and dad out of the material. That way when they were sick or sad, they could wrap up in our mom's love, so to speak.

  21. Calendar - This can be done a couple of ways. You can use Walmart or Snapfish.com photo stores with pictures of family and all the family birthdays and anniversaries added in (a great gift for grandparents). You can also add in a scripture/inspirational thought to each month.Or have your child used a blank calendar that you can get from a craft store and then they fill in the numbers and provided the artwork for each month as a gift to mom or dad. You could just as easily make one at home with your computer and some card stock.

  22. Memory jars and Books - These are fun and easy ways to create a memorable Christmas gift.

    Stephanie did this for her parents' 30th wedding anniversary, but it could just as easily be done for Christmas - compile little blurbs and memories from family members concerning the individual or couple. Use word processing program to type up in a fun font. Can include family pictures, clipart or other quotes about family. Then print and bind pages at a copy store. Depending on the size, it can be done for as little as $10 or so with a laminated cover and plastic spiral binding at Fed/Ex Kinkos. Or you can print out copies and put them in a 3 ring binder for a couple dollars.

    Or you can get an inexpensive jar and fill it with strip of paper handwritten with memories of the one receiving the gift.

  23. Christmas Stories (Print out a few, or several, inspirational Christmas stories on beautiful paper and give as a gift. My mother did this for her children one year, and we love pulling them out at Christmastime and reading them with our own little family

  24. Crayon Roll - This would be a great gift for a budding artist. My daughter loves hers and takes it everywhere. It's especially useful at restaurants to keep her busy while we wait for dinner. Skip to My Lou has an awesome free tutorial for making your own crayon roll.

  25. Handmade Cards - use your child's artwork (or your own) to make any occasion note cards for your loved ones. Here are some instructions from Family Fun.

    Or you can just frame the artwork. I've had this artwork (frame above the cards) for about 10 years now. My boys made it using "Spinner Art" and I just framed 4 of their creations with an inexpensive frame.

  26. Old Family Pictures - Scan old family pictures (pre digital cameras) into the computer and put them on a disk for family members. Consider doing this yearly. Year one would be all the pictures of a sibling or other family member from birth to age one. Year two would be all the pictures from age one to age two, etc.

  27. Silhouettes - A great and inexpensive gift for parents/grandparents, or a gift that an extended family member can help children make to give to their own parents. Instructions: Tape a large piece of paper to the wall. Have the child stand or sit sideways next to the paper. Darken the room and shine the flashlight on them so their profile is shadowed on the paper. Trace the shadow. Cut out the profile and mount it on contrasting piece of paper. This looks great with the profile cut out of black paper and mounted on white paper or vice versa. Place finished silhouette in a frame and wrap.

  28. Personal History - Start your personal history this year. Print out the pages that you've started and put it in a 3 ring binder. This way you can add to it every year and family members can insert the new pages into the 3 ring binder. ScrapJazz has a some great Family History Journal Prompts on her website.

  29. "Mom Share Your Life with Me" - This is a great book to record your history. Each day has a question for you to answer. Do this from January 1st and then give your finished project as a gift. Consider using a word processer (such as word or wordperfect) to record your answers, this way you can print more than one copy. This book is also available for Dad, grandparents, etc.

  30. Hand lettered Tiles or Wood - These hand lettered tiles are very inexpensive to make and had a personal touch to your home. You can also make coasters from small tiles from Lowes. Skip to My Lou has a tutorial here.

    Thank you to Amy, Anjalique, Holly, Lisa, Rachelle, Robyn, Stephanie & Tonya for all the wonderful ideas!

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