I’ve always been a big fan of what I call “Gifts from the Heart”, so this year for Christmas I decided to make most of the gifts for family and friends. Below are 5 of my favorite gifts I made this year.
Bubble Wrap Calendar
One of my friends LOVES popping bubble wrap. When I found a “Bubble Wrap Calendar” on-line while doing Christmas shopping I loved the idea, but I wasn’t a fan of how it looked. So I decided to make one.
I attempted to use “small bubble wrap” but it was too difficult to cut out. So I went with the bigger bubble wrap, and it worked perfect. The big bubble wrap was free and arrived wrapped around a gift I’d ordered online. The desk calendar was $1 at Target. After cutting out 365 bubbles (it’s easiest to cut straight up one row of bubbles, then cut out the undamaged bubbles on the preceding row), I used double sided tape to secure the bubble wrap to the calendar pages.
To finish the project, I bought a bulletin board at Target and some cute push pins that matched the “bubble” theme. I pinned the first month to the bulletin board and wrapped it. The remaining 11 months I bagged in a separate bag. Overall, the gift came out really cute. The only problem it really poses is where to store the other months until you use them. I would recommend finding a neat storage tin to gift with them. We were pushed for time, so I didn’t located one in time. But the good news is, after all the bubbles are popped, she’ll still have a great bulletin board in 2014!
If I would’ve had more time to complete the gift, I would’ve put down special dates on the calendar (i.e. family birthdays, anniversaries, etc…) before attaching the bubbles. Another idea if I make it again is to put fun quotes in the spare notes section.
Finger Puppet Kits
I borrowed this idea from The Happy Housewife. For less than $8 we were able to make 10 gifts for kids. We purchased four pair of gloves at the Dollar Store for $0.50 each, which allowed for 4 finger puppets per kit. Then we purchased a box of buttons and some fun googly eyes at Michael’s, along with a package of mixed felt and some fun wavy ribbons. We still have enough supplies to make many more kits, all we need is more gloves. This would be a really great idea for a little girl’s slumber party.
I loved this idea when I first ran across it, and I added my own little flare to it this year. We gave these out to friends and family members throughout the Christmas Season. They were most popular when we visited two of our little cousins dressed as the Grinch. They had both come down with the flu, and The Grinch brought these to them to help them “feel better”. Thier mom later told us each time they took the Grinch Pills that The Grinch gave them, they said they felt better.
These are fairly easy to assemble. You need a box of Tic Tacs. Then download and print the template I made below onto cardstock. Cut out a piece of Green Paper (I used scrapbook paper that was a tad bit thicker) the same size as the cardstock template. Glue a ribbon to the Green Paper using hot glue, then glue the Cover and Green Paper together to hide the ribbon. Glue the Tic Tac box to the “Grinch Pills Cover” and tie the box.
Note: We actually found a good deal on off brand Tic Tacs at the local Dollar Store and used them instead.
Download Grinch Pills Adobe PDF Template.
Guess Who Game – Family Edition
Growing up my twin brother and I always loved playing Guess Who. I ran across this idea on Pintrest and knew it would be the perfect gift to make and give to him and his 5 year old son.
I purchased my used Guess Who Game for $11 off of the Amazon Marketplace. I tried buying one on EBay, but the prices went much much higher, and buying a new one in the store was around $20. Often times you can find a used Guess Who Game for $3 or less at the local Good Will or a Thrift Store. Sometimes after holidays you can get them discounted at Wal-Mart, Target, and other stores.
I used a PhotoShop Template to create pictures of our family members and close friends. Then I cut them out and replaced the new photos with the original Guess Who pictures. Make sure you include people who are bald, people with different color hair, people wearing glasses and hats, etc…
Download Guess Who Game PhotoShop Template
Download Guess Who Game Adobe PDF Template
Six years ago my brother gave me a beautiful star shapped ornament for Christmas. The warm smell of cinnamon made me decide to use it as an airfreshner in my car. It’s stayed hanging there since the day I opened it. This year, as I was pondering gift ideas to make, I remembered that ornament. Making them was much easier than I thought it would be. Our first batch bombed because we failed to put down parchment paper before we baked them, and all of the ornaments baked to the pan. Our second attempt made beautiful ornaments that everyone loved (or so that’s what they told us to our face)! 🙂
Apple Sauce Cinnamon Ornamanet Dough Recipe
1/2 cup ground cinnamon
1/2 cup store bought applesauce
Decorations (we used Martha Stewart’s fine white glitter and white glue)
Note: Buy your cinnamon at the dollar store to save money! 🙂
1. Pour cinnamon in a bowl and gradually add applesauce and stir until mixture forms a stiff dough.
2. Use extra cinnamon as “flour” and roll out the dough to 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick.
3. Cut out shapes with cookie cutters.
4. Using a straw, punch a hole at the top of the ornament.
5. Bake at 200°F on a parchment lined baking pan until ornaments are very dry and very hard.
Note: We baked for 3 hours, then we let them dry for 2 days.
Download Ornament Box Template
Christmas Crack Recipe
We were visiting friends a few days before Christmas this year, and they were busy baking Christmas goodies for their neighbors. They let us try some of the “Christmas Crack” they were making, and we were hooked! We stopped at the store on the way home and bought the ingredients to make our own. Then we paired the Christmas Crack (also known as Saltine Taffy) with our Homemade Christmas Ornaments and delivered them both to our friends and family. Upon trying it, everyone wanted the recipe. It’s truly delicious, and it’s something you can quickly make anytime of the year!
1 cup unsalted butter (NOT margarine)
1 cup brown sugar
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
40 saltine crackers
Heat oven to 400F
Line 12×17 cookie sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray
Layer the saltine crackers on top of the foil
Heat butter and sugar on stove top and heat until boiling
Reduce heat to simmering, and simmer uncovered for 3-4 minutes, or until it thickens and the sugar is dissolved
Pour butter and sugar mixture over crackers and spread evenly
Bake 5-6 minutes in oven
Remove pan from oven and let cool 3-5 minutes, then sprinkle with chocolate chips
Let cool completely
Break into bite-sized pieces and serve.
We actually gave them in Quart Sized ZipLock Bags that we decorated at the top with Christmas Paper. We folded the Christmas Paper over the top and had it drop down about 2.5″ down the bag. Then we used fun scissors to cut a border on the paper. We stapled the paper to it. Made for really cute packaging. Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture of it (oops)! 🙂