Monday, October 12, 2009

Christmas Gift Giving Inspiration

This magazine is a genius. Well, more properly, Nichole LaRue is a genius. 101 Hip, Handmade Gifts was a special issue of Creating Keepsakes magazine a while back, and it's brilliant.

Basically, LaRue takes the idea of a kit/bucket of related items, all prettily presented in coordinating individual packaging. I've used this idea several times for birthday gifts, but this year, it's the basis of my Christmas gift giving to extended family and friends whom I want to acknowledge with something extra special yet inexpensive. All my craft supplies ought to be good for something.

It doesn't look like back issues of the magazine are available at CK's website (you might find some on the bay), but you can see the downloads here for ideas. I've never used a downloaded image before and am not starting now, but inspiration is inspiration, people. I'll take it from wherever I can!

Over the next few months, I'll be posting my Christmas gift kits. As you already know if you've been reading Simplicity for a while, I generally loathe mass production so there will be lots of different ideas and variations on a theme, and I hope you find something you can put to good use for this holiday season or include in your plan for next year!

A few kits I'm considering include:

Christmas decorations/tags/checklists (definitely doing some of these)

Reader kit (bookmarks, book plates, tea, gift card holder, post-it flags)

Coffee/cocoa party kit (individual servings and accessories, shortbread)

S'mores in winter kit (all ingredients with instructions for making them in the microwave...great kid idea)

Holiday Treat Box (holiday candy and other eatables, individually packaged--esp. for G's grandmother in assisted living)

Writer kit (blank books made with BIA, pencils, sharpener, etc.)

I'm making the kits that have to be mailed small enough to fit into a small Priority Mail Box. Since all of our family and most of our friends are far away, our postage budget at the holidays can get outrageous. Keeping the kits small should allow me to keep postal spending reasonable.

Part of Simplicity is keeping things organized. On the one hand, making all these personalized kits may seem crazy. But with good organization and planning, this undertaking will be manageable.

We'll see if I'm so optimistic by the first week of December.

If you have any ideas for kits, feel free to share them in the comments on this post. What a wonderful resource the comments will be if everyone throws in their $0.02!


  1. I can't wait to see all your gift ideas. I have two or three stamping friends that I like to give gifts to. We have all been stamping for many years so it isn't all that easy to come up with something. A few years ago I started making calendars for them and it seems to be well received. These do take planning and I have already started them. I really enjoy making them and because I use a 4 X 4 format, I can use a lot of scraps from my supplies. Love your blog.

  2. In the past I have made jam/jelly sets (homemade jam, speading knife, box of toasts, etc.). I also like to find post it notes with initials on them and then create a nice cover for them and add a fancy pen or pencil. One last package I've made is a "luxury bath" basket. I take lots of yummy bath products and sponge-like items and package them all up together. Oh, and like Karen above, I've created coaster calendars too!!

    some great ideas here Susan... now if only I had the time to create them :-)

  3. I am doing something similar this year. Like Donalda, I am leaning toward jam sets (I have already made the jam) and I am collecting candles and making bath salts for luxury bath kits.
    I am hoping this will be a more economical way to gift this year. Good luck with your gifting and planning, I can't wait to see your projects.

  4. My sister and I don't give each other Christmas presents any more, but we do make a decoration for the Christmas tree for one another, for our mum and for ourselves (all the same). So...Christmas decorations could be an idea.

    One year my mum did my sister and myself a colour themed Christmas box. All the contents of mine were purple and my sister's was turquoise. Mum had put in things like candles, undies, a hat/scarf/gloves set, jewellery, ribbon, soap and a beautiful glass heart. It was one of the best presents I'd had knowing that my mum had put so much thought into the gift.

  5. Sorry I have nothing to add ideas-wise but can't wait to see all your wonderful ideas they sound really interesting .... hope I will be able to anglicize some of them ;-)

  6. Doh!!!! Hit the wrong key ..... name should read Christine M .... need to get the brain in gear!!!

  7. Love your cards, you do great work. You really inspire me.
    Inky Antics has a great s'mores stamp gift set and several other small gift tags & directions already to stamp. Then you can finish as you choose. Great formaking more than 1 (I know - I usually do individualthings too, but with 8 students in my nursing clinical group I treat them all alike.

  8. Looks like a great issue. I used to hand make all the gifts for those on my list. But it got to be so overwhelming and so not fun. Plus I'm not sure those I sent the things too appreciated them that much. Except for my mom. But then moms always love what their children create :-) Now I only send Christmas gifts to my niece and nephew (our family decided not to exchange gifts between the adults anymore) and those are easy. I go to the websites where they are registered for gifts, click on the "select" button to buy them and have them shipped directly to their homes. All my shopping done in 1/2 hour. Ah... so stress free.

    Anyway... I do have a stamping friend who loves to torture herself by making handmade gifts for all her relatives (and she has a lot) so I will link her this post so she can check out this magazine.

    I do look forward to seeing what you make from it.

  9. Hey Susan -- Your ideas are great! I know I have the same magazine somewhere; I guess it's time to pull it out again!
    I've thought about making little birthday calendars, maybe accompanied by other birthday-y things -- gift tags, little cards, cute boxes, gift-card holders, etc.
    Love your reading/writing kit ideas!

  10. My friend, Susan, sent me this link - I will definitely be looking for that magazine, and I've already clicked on the links.
    AND - it's NOT torture making my families gifts by hand! For my nieces & nephews, I'm doing bookmarks, personalized "tags" for their backpacks, clips for the fridge for their artwork.... For my older family members, I am making bracelets, sets of notecards, and whatever stuff I can find that looks easy and "hip."

  11. Hey Susan,
    Looking forward to seeing all your wonderful creations. I just wish I had the time to commit to creating all these wonderful gifts although I do make peanut brittle which everyone loves and looks forward too.

  12. You have me tired just reading about your plans! HA! I don't do many crafty things for family, but I love to do jar cookie mixes for them. That way, if they are all cookied out, they can let the stuff stay on their shelf until they are ready to consume more sugar. I can't wait to see projects you might share with us!

  13. Thank you so much for the tip. Was planning on making a 'sweets basket' for neighbor gifts this year and this will be a huge help.

    Was able to purchase a copy of the magazine here:


Thank you so much for taking time to comment!