Saturday, October 8, 2011

Free Christmas Gifts You Didn't Know You Had


Whether your Christmas list is too long or your budget is too tight, there is absolutely nothing wrong with recycling Christmas gifts.  I'm not talking about regifting here (although I personally don't see a problem with that either) what I'm talking about is looking through your closets, your toy chests, your craft supplies, jewelry boxes, junk drawers, and desks and creating something marvelous out of things you already own.

The possibilities are only limited by your imagination, and quite frankly it is only the truly rude and arrogant who would be offended by a homemade recycled gift, and why would you want to give a gift to someone like that anyway?

A lot of these ideas call for spare fabric, don't limit yourself to the traditional fabric by the yard, think outside the box.  T-shirts you never wear, receiving blankets seldom used, little used dish towels, napkins, curtains, and table clothes are all at your disposal, go bananas.

  • Framed  Art: Nice Looking Picture Frame you have lying around + Child's Artwork, Your Artwork, B&W Photo of Family (snapfish has free prints for anyone who starts a new account), or Calligraphy of Scripture on Pretty Paper (You can also stain plain white paper in tea)
  • Stuffed Animal and Dress Up Clothes: Nice Stuffed Animal or Doll of your Children's + Homemade clothes with extra fabric from your sewing kit or New born sized clearance goodwill finds.  You can also sew a bag to keep all the clothes in, or include baby clothes hangers with the gift.
  • Coloring Book and Round Crayons:  Get free coloring pages off the internet, or sketch your own, of whatever said child is into these days.  Make round crayons by melting complimentary colors of used crayons together in muffin tins.
  • Seasonal Throw Pillows: You can use large napkins, table clothes, or place mats for fabric, and stuffing from a beat up stuffed animal or pillow.
  • Toy Groceries: Start saving boxes, spice containers, and anything else that can be transformed into a play grocery store for your child.  You can always cover old boxes with contact paper to make them last longer.
  • Books: Feel free to give away old books in good condition if they'll be appreciated by another family member.
  • Journal, Scrapbook, or Photo Album: One of the Afore mentioned items + Decorations with a new fabric cover, slick paints, stickers, photos, or pretty lettering
  • Fabric Food: Use your spare fabric to create fruit, vegetables, sandwiches, and create a toy lunch box or picnic basket for your little one.
  • Rice Sock: One Long sock that has lost it's mate (toe socks work great) + Rice, stitch closed.  Be sure to include the instructions, heat in microwave for 1-2 minutes and mix rice around before using to avoid hot spots.
  • Sock Puppet Kit: Include needle thread, buttons, embellishments, slick paints and of course socks that have lost their mates.  One of my daughters favorite toys is a sock dog puppet made with three socks (two for the ears) and two button eyes, it was my husband who actually made this, he's so proud : ) You may want to include pictures printed from the internet for inspiration.
  • Beginners sewing project and kit: Start your daughter's (or whoever) with their first sewing kit using surplus supplies from your own.  You might want to include enough fabric and notions to make a simple skirt, doll quilt, or stuffed animal depending on their age.
  • Games: Have a surplus of dice? Wrap nicely and include instructions for a list of dice games. Decks of Cards? Same thing.  Scrabble letters? Repackage and include instructions for anagrab or anagrams. You could also get really creative and create a family based trivia or board game.  Or get trivia questions from your families favorite subject. You could always paint a chess/checkers board on spare wood, then give old pieces new life by repainting them.  (think gold or silver spray paint)
  • Room Makeover: Man cave or child's bedroom we all have plenty of supplies lying around to give it new life.  From curtains to throws there are a hundred different ways to update a room without spending money.  If you're updating a man cave be sure not to do anything chicky, think sport's team logos not candles.  Throw pillows, blankets, and much more can be made from old t-shirts.
  • New to You Jewlery: Start ripping those beaded necklaces apart that you don't like or don't wear.  Make chokers, earrings, bracelets, necklaces and anything else you might have supplies for. 
  • Food: I found this recipe for bread in a jar and I think it may be a gift this year for a lot of people.  Whether it's a meal, or somehting you've canned home cooking is always appreciated.  (Unless of course the person you're giving the gift to has severe food allergies, in which case I'd stick with jewlery)
Now it's your turn, what other closet finds can you turn into holiday treasures?  Here are some of my creations to get your creative juices going : )



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