The Perfect Gifts Don't Have to Cost a Fortune

Kelly Ann Butterbaugh

We've all heard that it's the thought that counts, but what could have more thought than a handmade gift. The craft-impaired need not worry. These gifts are easy, cheap, and perfect for the holidays (any of them!)

Handprint Magnets

These magnets make easy gifts that kids love to make. Pair each set with a hand drawn picture, and it's ready for the fridge! All you need to do is stamp your child's hand on a flat piece of magnet available at any craft store. (StazOn brand stamp pads are ideal.) Then, cut around the hand. Seal it with two or three coats of a spray acrylic sealer and it's ready to go. Very young children can create footprints rather than handprints.

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Hands Down Best T-Shirts

Create a unique t-shirt by having children (or even adults) stamp their hands on a t-shirt using a permanent fabric stamp pad or fabric paint. Then, using fabric paint or a fabric marker, write "Best [Dad, Grandpa, Teacher, etc.] Hands Down!" on the front and label the child's name below his/her handprints. Make one for Grandma with all of her grandchildren's hands or make a special shirt for a babysitter.

Photo Coasters

Insert a photo into small square picture frames. Then, seal the edge where the glass meets the frame with clear caulking or a thick bead of hot glue; this will protect the picture from sweaty glasses or spills. Give a set to a grandmother and put a picture of each grandchild in each coaster, or have each child draw a special picture for each coaster and give the set to Mom.

Family Recipe Book

Plan ahead for this project. Start by collecting family recipes for loved dishes. This is a great family reunion project or even a pre-meal Thanksgiving activity. Type each recipe on a page with the name of the contributing family member. Add a special note about the meal if possible such as: "Grandma makes this dish every New Year's Day" or "This was Great-Grandfather Brown's favorite meal." A visit to the local office supply store will offer many options to bind the book together.

Make a Videotape

A good videotape avoids the phrase "Say something to the camera." Instead, invite those who will be in it to decide what they want to contribute. Teens may opt to show off their newest basketball lay-ups while another may read a personal message, create a skit, or tell a joke. Try videotaping everyday activities such as dinner, playtime, the morning rush, or evening downtime. These are the moments that show what people are really like. Many stores that offer photo developing also offer to transfer mini video tapes onto VHS or even DVD.

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Whatever you create, keep in mind that it is truly the thought that counts. Even if your end product doesn't look like it came off the department store shelf, it won't matter. What does matter the most is that your gift will be a one of a kind gift packed full of love.

December 6, 20060 found this helpful

ALL WONDERFUL IDEAS THANK YOU FOR SHARING

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December 7, 20060 found this helpful

I've made my mother a variety of seasonal sweatshirts from her grandchildren. I used handprints and footprints (works best with SMALL children) to make reindeer and labeled it "Grandma's little deers." Each child places a footprint, heel down, and each handprint at the toes, fingers out and spread wide. The footprint is the deer's face and the handprints are its antlers. I decorated the antlers with a string of tiny bells. Another gift included a handprint Christmas tree (the largest child's handprints at the bottom, heel to heel, up to the smallest's topping the tree) and multi-colored fingerprints all over the tree, reading "Grammy's De-lights." I made "Grandma's little angels" with two handprints. one open and facing down for the body and robes, the other halfway down the palm, closed and at a 45 degree angle for the wing. Then I painted on a head and face, sleeves and hands and feet. Don't forget the halo!

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December 7, 20060 found this helpful

My favorite: find something bland/ugly but useful (at the dollar store)and decorate it with paint, sequins, paper(seal it with mod podge), fabric .....anything will do with the right adhesive. I found lovely white plastic bins/trashbasket that I will decorate and give. There are hundreds of possibilities, I saw some laundry baskets that would look great with some sequins!

Thanks for all the other ideas!

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