Tag Archives: presents

Hour Gifts

23 Dec

80s XmasMy mom came up with this when I was 12. At first I absolutely hated the idea. But with time, it’s grown to be one of my favorite holiday memories.

And now it’s a tradition for my own little family.

Maybe it could help slow down the Christmas craziness at your house, too. The question is:

Are you patient enough to give it a try?

Hour Gifts

The idea is, well, you can probably guess. Everyone opens one gift on the hour for as long as you have gifts to open.

You can start it at any time: when the kids get up, after breakfast, after they’ve opened gifts from the grandparents, etc.

Your kids might complain at first, but they’ll come around. Think about it:

Isn’t it better to have the anticipation and fun of opening gifts for perhaps half  a day, than just a half hour?

It makes the excitement of the day last that much longer!

More Gift Ideas:

And, by all means, if you have your own gift-giving ideas or traditions, please share!

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Ideas for Everyone on Your List

16 Dec
Presents

Photo by DailyCraft, Flickr Creative Commons

No, really. Here’s a full list of affordable, wow-worthy ideas for everyone on your list.

It’s my gift to you, so you can put that research and shopping time toward a warm bath and good book.

Don’t believe me? This should about cover it, right?

  • Kids 3-8
  • Kids 9-12
  • Teenagers
  • Collegiates and Twenty-Somethings
  • Moms
  • Dads
  • Grandparents
  • Friends
  • Foodies and/or Party People
  • In Lieu of a $10-$20 Gift Card (Teachers, Babysitters, Coworkers, etc.)

MagnaTilesKids 3-8

Every time I ask my toddler what she wants for Christmas, it’s always the same thing: Magna-Tiles. And that’s coming from a girl who’s downright princess crazy right now, mind you.

Magnetic building sets are one of the most-loved toys at her preschool, and for good reason, too. Just try to play with them and not have fun.

While Magna-Tiles are the premium budget-busting option, the following brands give you a lot more pieces for your money:

Bonuses!

  • They’re fantastic for travel. Just stack them up, stick them together, and throw them in your bag.
  • If the kids already have tiles, they can always build more with more!
  • The tiles are well-built and gender-neutral, making for great hand-me-down toys in the future.
Why are we all wearing those shirts? We're holiday crazy, and that's all you need to know.

Why are we all wearing those shirts? We’re Xmas crazy, and that’s all you need to know.

Kids 9-12

You know what’s been one the all-time favorite toys from us, according to my nieces and nephews?

Stilts.

Seriously. There’s nothing high-tech about them, but the circus-fun factor just can’t be denied.

I like this particular set because it has several height adjustments, plus beginner and advanced bottom attachment options.

Teenagers

Unless you really know they’re likes and dislikes (which could change daily), I recommend a gift card. But that doesn’t mean it has to be boring.

Gift them an experience:

  • Movie theater passes for two, plus maybe a restaurant gift card
  • Local amusement park pass
  • Climbing wall passes (check your local fitness centers and even outfitters, like REI, who also host outdoor sports classes across the U.S.)
  • A hot air balloon or helicopter ride (again, check online for local options)
  • A plane ticket voucher to visit an out-of-town relative or friend

Show Me HowCollegiates and Twenty-Somethings

They’re getting to the age where they need to do stuff… on their own.

This hilarious, graphically brilliant book will make it much less of a chore:

Show Me How by Lauren Smith

Moms

They hear it over and over again: “It goes so fast! Remember every precious little moment.”

Really, how feasible is that?

OneLineADayWhat’s much more likely is that they’ll mark important revelations and milestones in this little book that allows for just one line a day—and not even every day, if they don’t have the time for it.

I have one, and as I round over into year two of using it, it’s so fun to look at my entries from last year at this time.

Plus, it’s under $20, well made, and prettily compact.

Dads

Sure, the tie is a classic, but let’s kick it up a notch. How about some cuff links customized with a photo, logo, initials, or even a caricature of your family? Granted, you might need to buy a French cuff shirt to go with it (if he doesn’t have one), but what guy doesn’t need an nice shirt every once in awhile? If you get a more casual (not white) French-cuff shirt, he can even sport it to work.

My sister used this site a couple of years ago to give Halo cufflinks to my husband, and they’re conversation starters every time he wears them.

CustomComicBookArtAnd if dressing up isn’t your dad’s thing, how one of these custom comic-book-type art pieces made with a photo of him?

Really, the site is worth checking out for the example pictures alone.

They’re downright hilarious.

Grandparents

Get a digital photo frame and an SD card. But here’s the key:

Load it with pictures for them.

Chances are most pictures of their grandkids are on your computer or Facebook, where they can’t see them. Or if they do have them, they may not know how to (or want to) transfer them themselves.

This way, they can have and display those fond photos with no fuss. And when Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, or Grandparent’s Day rolls around, just send them a newly loaded SD card. Bam! Two gifts in one.

Friends

I have three words for you: Cards Against Humanity. Give it to them. Then play it will them, preferably with liquor involved. As a matter of fact, a nice bottle of wine would be the perfect accompaniment.

BeerInfuserFoodies and/or Party People

I saw this article earlier in the year and immediately saved the idea to my Creative Gifts board on Pinterest.

It’s a small affordable contraption that lets you experiment with flavoring your own beer. Have you seen how cumbersome and expensive the full beer-making kits can be? This is a nice option along those lines, so that can dabble. Then, if they have fun with it, they can invest in the real deal… and make you free, fine-crafted beers of course.

Cheers, all around!

In Lieu of a $10-$20 Gift Card

Sure, a gift card for coffee and a sandwich is nice and all, but wouldn’t you rather give something fun and unexpected? Anything by Keri Smith will do the trick:

Bonuses!

  • Wrap the books in paper decorated by the kids, for a nice touch that also fights the doldrums.
  • Decorate strips of paper, cover them in contact paper, and insert in books as personalized bookmarks.

I hope this helps make your week easier. And if you have your own ideas, please share them in the comments!

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Delayed Gratification

21 Dec

Present FlurryDoes your Christmas morning devolve into a flurry of wrapping paper with gifts tossed into a heap? Do you leave family gatherings with no idea of who gave anyone what?

I have a theory: We open gifts too fast to enjoy them! In our race to get each other more more MORE, we appreciate everything less less LESS.

It’s not that those gifts aren’t wonderful or that we don’t appreciate them. It’s that we simply don’t allow ourselves the time to.

Here are a couple of delayed gratification techniques that my family and I use to help. Hopefully there’s an idea in here that will inspire a new tradition for your family, too.

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Holiday Birthdays

14 Dec
MerryNewYear

Merry New Year! I mean, Merry Birthday! (And, if haven’t watched Trading Places, do so… now.)

The holidays can get confusing if your birthday (or the birthday of someone you love)  falls in the middle of them.

I consider myself somewhat of an expert on this, since I’ve had a Christmas Eve birthday for, oh, 30 odd years or so.

People with a holiday birthdays grow up with a love-hate relationship with the  season. On the one hand, everyone decorates for you, right? On the other, you can’t help but feel a bit obsolete amid the monstrosity that is Christmas.

Regardless, on behalf of Sagittarius-Capricorns everywhere (Sagittorns? Capricarius?), I kindly ask that you be sensitive to our plight. It may be a bit childish, but when it comes to birthdays, there’s still a bit of a kid in us all.

How could a 1 year old not be confused by this menagerie?

How could a 1 year old not be confused by this menagerie?

Here are five easy ways to distinguish the “happy” part of the day from the “merry”:

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Present Treasure Hunt

5 Dec

Photo by Tom Ryan, Flickr Creative Commons

Ah, the present treasure hunt. Brings back fond memories of me and my sister, scribbling notes to each other with scented gel pens, racing around the house in paper crowns.

All you need is a pen, bits of paper, a gift, and a little imagination.

(It’s particularly handy if you have a gift too big or awkward to wrap.)

What You’ll Do

  1. On scraps of paper, write clues to lead the hunter to different hiding places. For example, Continue reading

Holiday Gift Ideas

26 Nov
Shirley Sue Holiday

Shirley got Szaba this holiday dress for Sue. This year, I’ll get her one for Sue and Shirley.

There’s no getting around it. The holidays are in full effect, and that means it’s gift time. Most people dread it, but you really don’t have to. What if, instead of throwing money at the problem this year, we put our hearts into it?

Included below are a slew of ideas to get your brain churning, many of them inexpensive and easy.

For even more ideas, swing by my Creative Gifts board on Pinterest.

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Hostess Gift Ideas

19 Nov

If there were a spokeswomen for hostess gifts, I’d be a contender.

Cubicle Hoarding

No, not that Hostess. Although sadly, with the closure, I will never be able to jump in a Twinkie cubicle pit like this.

Anyone who’s ever hosted anything knows that, after putting so much thought and work into doing something for others, it’s heartwarming to have a little gesture of acknowledgment in return.

Whether you use one of these ideas or (even better) come up with something specific to your host, the key is: You don’t need to spend much. The saying holds true. It’s the thought that counts.

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