Christmas may be the most intense gift-giving season for most people, but summertime generally has its fair share of reasons to buy gifts: Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, graduations, First Communions, bridal showers and weddings, and the random baby shower here and there.
When it comes to homemade gifts, I kind of outed myself in this week’s homemade lotion guest post – honestly, beyond homemade food and perhaps a good old mixed tape back in the day, I’ve never been very good at the DIY gifts.
I think that’s why I enjoyed reading Melissa Michaels’ NOT a DIY Diva when she explains that although she loves the idea of DIY projects, enough so that she’s got a number of pieces of old furniture that she hopes/hoped to repaint someday, she just. doesn’t. have. time.
Coming to that important realization was the first step to recovery from magazine-cover-it is for her, and allowed to let go of the goal of making something crafty with these cute, mismatched spoons:
She just tossed them in a jar, and voila! A decoration. This is my kind of girl, and believe me, still wayyyyy up the ladder of attractive home decorating from me.
Confession: I still don’t have my picture frames for my walls unpacked from our move 15 months ago. Ack!
So as much as I might like the idea of thoughtful, attractive, frugal homemade gifts, I will just never do it.
My “spoons in a jar” response is to try to create thoughtful, unique, creative, and hopefully-still-frugal gift packages, where the creativity isn’t in the process, but in the choices.
I have fun finding a theme and building a gift around that theme, like the bridal shower gift of all the “random (small) kitchen tools no one else wanted to buy” from the registry, wrapped in tea towels with a washcloth flower.
For baby showers, I’ve seen the “this is what you can buy for $20 at Goodwill” gift for a couple who had to be frugal as they began their family, and I usually give gifts of my favorite baby items, arranged thematically, like feeding routine, swaddle blankets with a Happiest Baby on the Block DVD, or a sling paired with how-to lessons.
That Digital Touch
The era of the “mixed tape” is long over, but in our technological age, I don’t think it will be uncommon at all in a few years for digital products to be part of standard gift-giving procedure.
With my penchant for themed gifts, adding an eBook will be a way to get that “special touch,” especially for people who use a Kindle a lot or are at least technologically proficient enough to understand and appreciate an eBook.
The massive-ness of the current homemaking library means there’s almost no way that all 97 titles will be a good fit for you, but you can treat each book like a paper copy and give it away (once) as long as you don’t keep it yourself.
In this way, you have at your fingertips an incredible number of inexpensive gifts, many of which lend themselves to creative presentations. Here are some of the themed gifts with a personal touch but not hours of work that I brainstormed so far:
- A new crockpot and Crock On! perhaps even including some dry bean mixes or spice mixes – great for a wedding gift, or maybe even a 10-year anniversary gift. That’s our milestone this summer, and I’m telling you – it’s right about the time you need replacements on a lot of the stuff you got for your wedding!
- These 8 pregnancy and baby books with some natural diaper cream and safe lotion (check out the homemade natural lotion instructions from Wednesday if you’re brave, or just order some from MadeOn, my affiliate partner)
image by Stacy Karen
- For a new mom on Mother’s Day, put Simple Scrubs to Make and Give on a thumb drive along with a jar of the Brown Sugar Vanilla Body Scrub, or perhaps the Strawberries and Cream Facial Smoother. (Yes, that’s a DIY project, but I hear the scrubs are like a 10-minute task. If you keep little glass jars on hand, you’re golden.)
- For your favorite outdoorsy new parents or Dad on Father’s Day, package the Family Camping Handbook (by yours truly) with a cast iron griddle for the campfire, a pancake turner, and homemade pancake mix.
- For a bridal shower gift for a new couple just starting out, print and bind 31 Days to Clean with some empty spray bottles, a huge jug of vinegar, bottle of hydrogen peroxide and some baking soda along with some information from my triple threat cleaners post so they can set up a natural home in an organized fashion. What else could the new couple do in 31 days? 31 Days to Great Sex might be a good first anniversary present!
- Some thick frames and a copy of Handmade Walls for a housewarming gift
- For Mother’s Day, Just Making Ice Cream with an ice cream maker and a big bottle of homemade vanilla extract, the one thing I DO make DIY (’cause it’s so very easy, my friends – 15 minutes for a dozen homemade gifts)
- A few pairing ideas for Catholics with real-life books, since the books in the bundle are largely Christian based (or not religious at all):
- For a New Mom: The Heart of Motherhood: Finding Holiness in the Catholic Home plus the Spiritual Growth or Motherhood categories from the bundle sale
- A Mother’s Rule of Life: How to Bring Order to Your Home and Peace to Your Soul plus organizing/time management books from the sale like One Bite at a Time, Tell Your Time, or The Homemakers Guide to Creating the Perfect Schedule.
The homemaking library + $140 in real life products/coupons is going to disappear tomorrow (5/4) at midnight. If it’s a good fit for you, it’s definitely a good deal. Don’t wait too long to make a decision! Click HERE to read all the products…
What creative gifts do you have in mind this summer?