Sunday, January 4, 2009

Homemade Gifts are from the Heart

I know Christmas has passed, but I want to mention the homemade gifts I made this year for friends and family. Not only are they frugal they come from the heart. Homemade gifts are great to give and receive. You don't have to wait for Christmas to come around.. you can make some up and give them for birthdays, valentines day, secret friend gifts, welcome a new family to the neighborhood or even welcome a couple with a homemade gift for the birth of a child. There are so many possibilities.

For Christmas I made up several homemade and semi-homemade gifts for my friends. When they all came over for coffee and brunch I told them they each got to go shopping and pick out their gift. That way they could choose a gift that fits their need and desire. I had homemade fudge, bottles of olive oil, soup in a jar mixes, Winter Cocoa Jars, Pedicure sets, Movie Night In bags, and Mugs of Devotions and Decadence.

I found the soup in a jar mixes online. Some were Split Pea Soup, Confetti Bean soup and Cowboy Chili. I printed up the quick recipe and tied it on the jar with raffia. (I had received a Cookie in a Jar mix from a young friend that works for me and does house cleaning and yard work). The cocoa recipe I had for years and made up a few batches. I put them in plastic jars that I got at the dollar store and printed up instructions and tied it on with ribbon. The Pedicure sets had nail files, callus remover tool, nail polish and a mini bottle of sparkling cider in it. The Movie Night In had bags of microwave popcorn, big boxes of movie candy, individual popcorn tubs and mini cans of soda. I was going to add a movie rental gift card to them, but was trying to keep the cost down. The Mug of Devotions and Decadence was a large snowman or Santa mug with packets of gourmet flavored hot chocolates, cappuccino packet, hot apple cider packets, chocolate dipped biscotti and a Bible on CD (from the dollar store).

I also gave homemade gifts to our family. I put in jars of apple and pear butter that I made up in the Fall. I had made Carmel Corn with peanuts and made tags for them and called it "Koch Krunch" using our family's last name. I also put in bags of walnut fudge, the jars of soup mix and Winter Cocoa jars. I added some fragrant tea lights as well. They were frugal and from the heart, all made from love.

Our children received homemade gifts from their grandparents this year. Our pre-teen received a treasure box that was stained, had hinges, a lock and brass corner covers. He can use it as a secret storage box for his journal or treasures. The little ones received handmade wooden cars. All made by their Grandfather.

My Dad is a widow and my Uncle in Law is a bachelor and I found the perfect homemade gifts to give them. I made two big pots of Cowboy Chili and Navy Bean Soup (my Dad's favorites). I put two cups of hearty soup into disposable and microwaveable plastic containers and added a label and date on the top. I gave them each three which they can freeze and eat when ever they want. I put them in a gift bag. You can do this to stew, vegetable beef soup, etc.. What a great gift for a guy that doesn't cook much.

Do you know what is a good gift to give a couple that just brought home their newborn baby? A big tall jar of homemade soup. Wrap it in a receiving blanket, tie it at the top with ribbon and add a rattle for decoration. Remember to make the soup nursing friendly for the mom and baby, like Chicken Corn Chowder or Potato Soup. Stay away from Chili or Taco Soup, or spicy foods that can be discomforting.

A few years ago I received a knitted afghan from my Grandmother. It is absolutely beautiful. She made each of her girls one. She knitted all year long and made sure that we had something made from her to treasure forever.

There are so many other possibilities like knitted dish cloths, aprons, wooden toys, a meal, baked goods and treats, jams and jellies, home canned salsa, home sewn place mats and napkins etc... The ideas are endless. I think that we need to get back to the basics and make gifts from the heart that mean much more.

Do you have any homemade gift ideas that you want to brag about, that either you made or received?

Be Inspired to Make a gift from the heart.