Oct 1, 2008

Personalized Presents

by Ellen Wilson

As Christmas approaches, the time for shopping and making gifts is upon us. This year, don't go over your budget with high-cost items. Instead, create some personal gifts for your loved ones that will be treasured without emptying your wallet. Try out one or more of our ideas to make both the presents you give special and also the time you spent memorable.

Set up an amount that you will spend on each person. Make it low, around five or ten dollars.

Whatever you purchase for that person should add up to that amount, whether you buy one present or several. Turn your present shopping into a treasure hunt while you try to spend that exact amount on each person. Up the excitement and make the price specific, like $5.67 and see how close you can get to that amount.

Go vintage. Search around for buttons, ties, scarves or any other similar items that you know your friend or family member loves. Maybe if you're lucky, you'll find the last gnome for her collection - the one she's been looking for for years.

Personalize your present the way only you can. Write a letter expressing thanks for friendship, love or assistance. Make a note of special occasions between the two of you and emphasize how much you enjoy having him or her in your life.

If you have a special skill, you can give an act instead of a physical gift. Organize your sister's closet or redo your mother's bathroom. Sign your brother up for a marathon and then present him with a schedule of days when you'll spend time training together. Give your skills and time to someone who needs them.

Make them a book of memories or a short story of a friend accomplishing her greatest goal. Illustrate it yourself, or use photographs of the two of you.

Something homemade always is cherished longer than a store bought gift. Knit him a scarf that matches his favorite coat or embroider her initials on a handkerchief.

Turn old items into something new. Wrap old vases with fabric and ribbon or decorate an old pot and present someone with a new plant. Put together bath salts in funky jars or make candles in those old cups you found at Deseret Industries but don't use anymore.

Make your friends and family something they can use all year, like a calendar or monthly planner. The most important factor is that this is a present personally from you and that it represents how much you care.

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