Christmas 2011 Gift Ideas: Make It Personal


I’m starting to see the countdown to Christmas all over the internet.  There are still quite a few days left and time to make gifts for our friends and family. Gifts that are personalized and at least partially made at home are really special for the recipient and not as expensive as the latest gadget. It’s also a great way to get children involved with the spirit of giving.  Teenagers are a big help when it comes to anything computer-related and a photo album project can be a perfect way for them to contribute.  Choose from tons of personalized gifts at  You’ll find everything from mugs to pillowcases.  I love the puzzles–great for children and adults.  Another good use for these photo album sites is a family recipe cookbook.  Hunt down grandma’s recipes (if you have the handwritten recipe scan it and include it along with a legible copy).  Add old family photos and throw in some favorite recipes from each aunt or uncle and you’ve got a book that will be treasured.

Decoupage is a fun way to include your little kids in a gift project. All those magazines that you have lying around can now be put to good use. If you don’t have enough magazines you can often find them at thrift stores.  Have your children cut out their favorite pictures. Not only will this keep them occupied for a long time it will help your little one’s with their fine motor skills. You can decoupage just about anything from coffee cans to furniture.  Craft stores have many items that can be used like hinged boxes and picture frames.  Be sure to use the right glue for your materials. Ask at your local craft store if you’re not sure.  Once your magazine cutouts are glued and dried apply a varnish or lacquer. Google “decoupage” for more ideas and instructions.

My fourth grader is very excited about making earrings for all of her friends and cousins.  Michael’s craft store has a great kit that includes all the tools my daughter needs for $24 not including the beads.  Every week there’s a Michaels coupon for 40% or even 50% off one item in their weekly mailer which you can print it from their site.  I love that my daughter is happily involved with creating and giving gifts this Christmas.

My friend recently started creating mosaic pots with the leftover tile from her bathroom remodel. She has now incorporated rocks and shells she has found on the beach.  The thrift store is another place to find material, just buy old china and happily break it into small pieces for your masterpiece. Don’t limit yourself to just tile, add buttons, broken jewelry, or something unexpected like nuts and bolts. With a ceramic pot, a container of grout and adhesive, you can start on your creative journey.

I am toying with the idea of taking up a cross stitching project. I had made several really cute holiday decorations using cross stitching when I was in high school, and my mother still displays them every Christmas. I might just make a gift for myself that I can put up in my house every year.

What are your Christmas gift projects this year?  Do you have a favorite that you made in the past the was a huge hit? 

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  1. ChuckG

    3 years ago

    I went to a graphic illustrator’s forum and asked if anyone would design something cool for me that was like a water sign. One illustrator, much respected on the site, volunteered for free. I then took his design and got it pressed on a t-shirt. Son was so surprised by the super cool design on the shirt, one-of-kind. Only cost me the price of shirt online. Now that was cool. You never know what you can get unless you ask.

  2. jorknock

    3 years ago

    Give the wonderful things is fun, especially when you see the wonder of the eyes, but sometimes it is more convenient to give her things that will be ideal for


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