Some normal, some bizarre marvelings of a little Icelandic girl

Friday, December 2, 2011

Meaningful and homemade gifts for Christmas

Well, since December has rolled in, more and more people are racing to the malls in order to buy Christmas presents for their loved ones.

I can see nothing wrong with that, except people nowadays tend to buy things that are new and exciting. . . . things that people probably won't use much when the craze has faded away.

I heard the other day that the Christmas present of the year in Iceland was an Ipad. I really don't get why though. It's SUPER expensive - especially here in Iceland and it doesn't seem to be very foolproof or should I say "clumsy-proof". That's just my opinion, I'm sure a lot of people will defend this product, saying it's great and everything but is that really what people want or even NEED?

For me, when it comes to gifts, be it Christmas gifts or birthday gifts, I always tend to think it through for a long time. For me, gifts have to come from the heart. It has to show that you really care about the person and that you put a lot of careful thinking and time on it.

That's why I love making some gifts from scratch. There are lots of ideas out there that you can do.

For example, 2 years ago I made a photo album for my mom to give to her on Christmas Eve. I used old photos of her when she was a teenager, old family photos, photos of her parents, siblings and close friends and I glued them on an empty scrapbook and wrote sweet sentences next to the photos. Needless to say, my mom loved it (she even started to cry, she was so happy).

I also drew a picture for my paternal grandparents and put it in a cool frame. My grandfather has always liked my drawings, so I figured giving one to them would be a great Christmas present.

You don't really have to be artistic to make these kind of presents, all it counts is that you put some love and time into it and people will appreciate the effort afterwards.

Here are some ideas for slightly home-made and meaningful Christmas presents:

1. Family photo in a pretty frame
If you have grandparents and they don't have a recent photo of your family, it's a great present to give. It doesn't have to be done by a professional photographer (well, if you can find one that's not incredibly expensive, then I think you should give it a go!). You can use an old-fashioned camera yourself, take the photo, develop it at a store (or print it at your own home) and put it in a nice frame.
A nice idea to it would to let your family hold some sweet notes in front of them as a message to the one you're giving it to. For example "We love you Granma & Grandpa" or "Thank you for always being there for us" or some other mushy stuff, because let's face it: Christmas is all about being mushy!

2. The gift of experience
Okay, so this is not really "home-made" but I think giving gifts that will give you experience is a great present! It can be anything. If your friend has expressed desire to learn how to make Indian food, then you can give her Indian cooking lessons! For the adventurous types, giving things like scuba-diving (I don't really know if that's possible to do in Iceland though . . . ), Sky diving (NOW THAT'S WHAT I WANT FOR MY 25TH BIRTHDAY!!!), rockclimbing lessons, the list is endless!

3. a homemade recipe book
If someone you know really loves to cook, I think it would be great if you would give that person your very own recipe book. I mean, sure recipe books from celebrities are fun to have too but they can be expensive and in my opinion, gathering your own or your family's famous recipes are much more fun and creative. Then you can spend time decorating it on your own. Just don't go overboard with the glitter!

4. Photo calendar
This is something that my brothers, my older brother's girlfriend, my husband and I are going to give to my maternal grandparents. We're going to collect photos of everyone they know & love, and match it together with their respective birthday months. That way, they will always know all of our birthdays (not that grandparents usually ALWAYS remember them anyways).

5. Something artistic
If you happen to be artistic, then I suggest drawing a memory drawing. It doesn't have to be super detailed, a simple black&white drawing of a special memory with the one you intend to give it to, is a great idea. In order to get ideas, I think searching around old photoalbums might be a good idea.

6. homemade clothes
I know a lot of girls that just love to knit. Knitting a woolen sweater with a cool pattern (not necessarily the old-fashioned Icelandic pattern because in my opinion, it has become pretty overrated) or a scarf or mittens are great gifts. Just make sure that the person you're giving it to, prefers the good old itchy wool or the more softer one.

7. Connect your gift with the person's hobby
Okay, again this is probably not "home-made" but this is one of the reasons I put careful thinking into my gifts. I try to connect it with that person's hobby. For example, my best friend is artistic and is really good at it, so I always encourage her to keep up the good work by giving her art supplies as presents. My husband is a zombie-fanatic (and is slowly turning me into one), so I gave him the Zombie Survival Guide by Max Brooks along with a lightsaber, telling him that he should prepare at once for Zombie Apocalypse. I think I will give him a specialized Zombie Survival Kit for his next birthday. The only tricky thing is where can I get a machete. . . ?

8. Memory jar

I just read about this one and I instantly fell in love with it! It's similar to the photo album that I made for my mom. It won't cost you much, all you need is a big empty jar and memories that you have gathered from friends and family. You write on a piece of paper, fold it together and put it inside the jar. Then you can spend some time decorating the jar. It would be nice if you could gather 365 memories from people, so that the person who gets it can pick up one piece of paper and read what people wrote about him every day for a year.

That's all I can think of for now. Until next time,

Catch ya laters!

Question of the day:

~Have you ever made a home-made gift before? Share with us your ideas!

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