Dec 11, 2012

DIY Holiday Gifts - Guest Post

We are down to 14 days until Christmas! Do you have your shopping completed? If you aren't pregnant like me and due in three weeks, then you may not have gotten your presents bought and wrapped two months ago. :) So, to help out, we have special guest, Adrienne from Military Spouse Central here today to share a few DIY Holiday Gifts!

DIY Holiday Gifts Under $25

The holidays are right around the corner, and for many Americans, the jingle of sleigh bells will be drowned out by the ringing of money exiting consumer’s wallets.

From presents and parties to buying that new fancy dress, the holidays come at a pretty penny. Luckily, there are hundreds of quality homemade gifts that you can personalize and make yourself, leading to a decrease in the amount of money you could spend this year.

Here are a few DIY craft ideas to make for someone special or send in a care package that are all under $25:

Mason Jar Lanterns are a great way to let your creativity shine, no pun intended, and are available at most grocery and craft stores. One great gift is the mason jar lantern, which is accomplished by placing stickers all over the jar, spray painting the jar with your favorite color (or white for a wintery theme), and removing the stickers after it dries. Once you’re ready to pack this out, you place a candle, also available at your local dollar store, on the inside and light.

The stencils you made out of stickers make beautiful shapes on the walls and light up any room, and if you want to show off your patriot side, you can buy American flag stickers or use letter stickers to write out whichever branch your spouse is in.

Homemade Ornaments come in all shapes and sizes and are the perfect customizable gift while still being affordable. If you stop at your local dollar store, they usually have packs of smaller, plain ornaments for a $1 or larger ones sold separately.

Now, for the decorating part, make use of the numerous amounts of materials, some of which might even be lying around your home, to use for decorating. You can use stamps, glitter, and even wrap the ornaments with twine or ribbon! What’s easier is that you could buy a metallic Sharpie pen and monogram the ornament for a personal touch. It’s very simple, and looks great.

If you choose to make a few smaller ones, you could always put them in an inexpensive vase, garnish the vase, tie off with a ribbon and give it to a loved one. Also, when sending ornaments for a care package, it’s best to opt for plastic and avoid the odds that your ornament may break. Other best practices for care packages can be found in this short video.

Cookies-in-a-Jar is a personal favorite. Not to brag, but my family knows me for my gingersnap cookies and frequently asks me for the coveted recipe. So, instead of giving away your secret recipe, send it in the mason jars we talked about earlier.

You could use this for any baked good, of course – from cookies to your famous quick bread recipe.  All you have to do is measure out all the ingredients, layer them one by one, and add a little decorative tag for the finishing touch.

Personalized Calendars are a fun option, especially to send your spouse if he or she is deployed. Although this one requires the use of a computer, it’s still a very thoughtful, personalized gift that truly shows that you care.

Typically, any Walgreens or Walmart (any store that has a photo department) offers a photo calendar where you upload pictures, pick your theme, and order it online in no time. Calendars range from $10-$30 for the most part, but you can usually find a few online deals to ensure you’re spending less than $25!

Also, if you go through a local store, you can avoid shipping charges and just pick it up yourself. Another great place to make a photo calendar would be Michael’s Photo Creations  or another scrapbooking store. These are wonderful gifts that really show you took the time to create a special, personalized calendar for your loved one.

Homemade Lamps can be a fun project, especially if you have someone on your gift list that enjoys having a drink now and then. With this, all you need is a lamp kit, found for under $10 at Walmart and usually includes a shade, a bottle and access to a drill.

Drill a hole in the side of the bottle near the bottom and be very carefully so you do not crack the bottle. From here, run the wire through the hole to the top of the bottle, where you can hot glue the bulb fixture in place, and voilĂ  you have a great accent for anyone!   

The holidays are special times that are filled with traditions and being together with the people that mean the most. Whether your loved ones are able to be with you or serving overseas, creating homemade gifts are the ultimate way to show them what they mean to you. From favorite recipes to a memory-filled photo calendar, there are many ways to create the perfect personalized gift that will cost you $25 or less, but will leave them with something special that’ll last a lifetime.

Adrienne May is a military spouse, mother of three and featured author for Military Spouse Central, offering news and tips to an active social network of over 100,000 military families. Follow her on Google+ or tweet her @AdrienneMay.

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