Many people tell me they could give the perfect gift if they had a lavish budget. Dispirited by financial challenges, some resort to a Starbucks gift card.
I literally don't buy that. There are ways to celebrate with a personal touch, for less than the price of a venti caramel machiatto. Each gift below takes some effort, but I haven't suggested anything that takes huge talent, loads of time or costly materials.
Some may already be old favourites of yours, and I'd appreciate more suggestions.
1. A poem or short prose selection
Melanie presented a friend with Mary Oliver's poem "The Journey", written on a card on which she had also photocopied an image of her recently-sold cottage; the friend said it was her most treasured gift.
Buy a piece of heavy card stock, even cardboard or posterboard can work. If you need to trim it, take it to a print shop and ask to use their paper cutter.
Your "calligraphy" does not have to be ornate, just legible and done in your hand (or that of someone willing to help you); computer-printed text is soulless. You can also decorate the piece with collage, stamped or drawn designs.
|Handwritten copy of a poem|
2. Peppermint foot scrub
Everyone gets those rough winter feet. This recipe can be used as an exfoliating scrub or mixed with water as a soak. Pack in a recycled jar, or look for antique-style canning jars at Goodwill.
|Peanut butter and choco|
Buckeye candies are not without cost, but the ingredients are not high-end. They take only fifteen minutes to make and are addictively unctuous. Here's the recipe, courtesy of AllRecipes.com.
A great gift to whip up if you're in a hurry, but if you have time, buy little paper candy cups.
5. Bird house
|Folk art bird house|
Okay, this is a kid's project, but with the right attitude, it's folk art. And who is not a bird lover? It costs but pennies for the glue, paint (use any leftover neutral) and fishing line– and you can corral some kids into collecting twigs.
One of my friends made this more arty by wrapping coloured thread around sections of some of the twigs.
Big spenders can throw in a bag of bird seed. Directions right here.
6. Pomander ball
I enjoy making and giving this old-fashioned gift that makes a house smell wonderful without the worry of candles. You can use orange (the thick-skinned varieties), lemon, lime or even a small grapefruit; the scent lasts for years. Start two weeks ahead, to let the ball dry fully in a sunny, airy spot before you give it.
Buy your cloves at a bulk store, and use a skewer or awl to make the holes first. Directions here.
You can make a few while you watch TV, kids enjoy helping, and unlike the Buckeyes, you won't eat them.
There, these beat a corporate gift card all the way! And no one will be giving the exact same thing, either, unless I've unleashed some Buckeye and birdhouse mania.