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10 Unusual Holiday Gift Ideas

December 19, 2011

Santa drawingThat cozy, festive and fun time of year is here again! The holidays are always memorable but the preparation for them can be energetically and financially draining. Those endless shopping trips and mounds of questionable gifts can be a downer, not to mention an anti-lesson on the joy of giving. What kind of lesson does it teach our kids to see us rushing around and combing the stores for objects that clearly hold so little intrinsic value? Groan. Is it possible to give meaningful gifts and teach your kids that gift-giving doesn’t have to be expensive and stressful? Here’s some ideas from a mom on a budget who wants to get creative.

  1. Handprint/footprint ornaments

Throw together flour, water and salt and you have homemade clay, ready for rolling and molding.  Ready-made kits are available but for a fraction of the price, you can whip clay up in your kitchen!  Use your cookie cutters or just make them free-form.  Don’t forget to make a hole for the yarn/ribbon to turn the baked and finished piece into an ornament.

  1. Photo calendar

Here’s a great idea for you shutterbugs who have tons of great pictures with too few admirers.  It’s never been easier to put together a personalized calendar with your choice of photos from the past year.  If your home computer doesn’t have this program, one of the many on-line photo sites (Shutterfly, Zazzle, etc) will have this feature.

  1. Kid-designed cloth shopping bags

Encourage your loved ones to carry reusable shopping bags to the store with a one-of-a-kind cloth shopping bag.  Go to your local craft store and purchase fabric paints, decals or patches and let your creative juices flow.  Perhaps you have a child who would love this project, which lets you off the hook completely!

Vegetables in shopping bag

  1. Kid-painted picture frames

Do you have any old funky frames in the closet that are too ugly to use? Buy some acrylic paint (and glitter if you’re really feeling fancy) and let your inner artist out.  Another great project for the budding artists in the family.

  1. New Year seed kit and planter

It’s always a pleasure to see a new life growing. You and the kids can make these New Year seed kits to give to family and friends. Consider purchasing coffee mugs as planters for a two-in-one gift.

  1. “Mixed Tape”

Do you too still have those old mixed tapes from the 80’s? They’re precious little collections of songs and fortunately the practice of putting together a mix of special songs doesn’t have to be relegated to 80’s romance. It’s never been easier with a CD burner to make a musical gift that will last a lifetime.


  1. Donation to a charity

Don’t know what to get for the brother (or sister) who already has everything? In this so-called season of giving, why not give to those truly in need.  Search for an organization that is aligned with the gift recipient’s ideological beliefs or else be prepared to weather an awkward moment or two!

  1. Gift certificate for housecleaning

I’m pretty sure this isn’t just my personal fantasy. Get a recommendation for a trusted local housecleaner in your area, pay up front and make your own personalized gift certificate. This could be a magical post-Christmas experience for a busy family.

  1. A tree planted in honor of… someone

There are so many places that need the life-giving presence of a beautiful green tree.  When you make a contribution of $25 or more to TreePeople, they will plant a tree and send a beautiful card to the family or person that you designate.  When you contribute $100 or more, TreePeople will plant a grove of five trees and send a certificate to your designee. For an additional $25, the certificate will be placed in a handsome wooden frame made from recycled and reclaimed materials.


  1. Homemade Spa Snuggler

Ahh, nothing like a warm heat pack over those aching shoulders to take the chill off a cold and hectic day!  Buy a pack of colorful cotton socks, add long grain rice, a few drops of essential oil (lavender is a good one for relaxation) and tie the ends with ribbon or yarn (recipe from It is recommended that when heating your spa sock that you also set a cup of water in your microwave to prevent fire.

Whatever your holiday traditions, we hope you have a joyous and relaxing season with your loved ones!

One Comment leave one →
  1. December 11, 2012 3:54 am

    Great gifting ideas there !

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