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10 Gift Ideas That Will Make You Wish You’d Thought Of Them

December 17, 2009

Here’s a personal list of things that I have given away before.  I loathe buying prepackaged forgettable junk at the store.  I love being creative and trying to create a good memory with what I give for Christmas.  Of course, these ideas can be used at any time of the year.

Keep in mind that the more practical the gift, the more flamboyant the packaging should be.  Make your gift POP!  Ribbons, bows, tissue papers everywhere!  Even using a brown kraft paper to wrap gifts has potential!

I rescue things like scarves, vintage linens, clothes and jewelry from thrift stores or resale shops.  I don’t think everything we give for Christmas has to be brand spankin’ new, but that’s where the creative part comes in.   I have some people who I do buy new things for because I know their personality and they don’t go the thrift store route.  I respect that.

I am sure you have your own fun ideas about things to give at Christmas.

You can post your ideas in the comments below.

Enjoy and Happy Holidays.

By the way:  Regifting is not a crime.  If you receive something and you want to regift it, then go for it.  Read what they do on “Boxing Day” and you’ll see for yourself.  How do you handle explaining why you don’t have the item.  I have said that I gave it to someone who could use it better than I could right now.  See, you can pay it forward.

You Suck When You're Rude By Seriously McMillan

For the reader: What an idea I came up with for a friend of mine who used to skip school.  Not to watch TV or hang out, but to read books.  How many people do you know who skip school to read books?  So, the idea is simple.  I’m throwing in a dash of vintage by going to a thrift store to get her a paper back book on the cheap.  I will wrap the book like any other gift with simple brown paper and some pretty stickers.  Then, inside the book I will write a handwritten note on handsome stationary, then slip in a $25 gift certificate (or card) for a bookstore.  You can get a gift certificate for a national retailer, but I thought it would be super cool to get a gift certificate to a book shop.

Rescue Sleepwear: I really like thrift stores and I have no problem buying things in them to give to my friends.  Now, as I said, some of your friends may be a little shocked that you chose to do this, but it really is no different than buying something for a friend that is used from Ebay.  Anyhoo, If you can find PJs sets that are in excellent condition or maybe even find them brand new at times in at the thrift store.  If not, here’s how to get creative.

  • First, check out the thrift store section where the PJ’s are.  I tend to like flannel or fleece PJs.  Look for solid or pattern  for tops and bottoms.
  • Get ones that at least match up within the same color ranges.  A solid top with a striped or dotted bottom.  A white PJ tops goes with any bottom.  You know what I mean.
  • Buy 3 sets (If you find 3 good sets).  Three tops and three bottoms.  Take them home and give them a good wash.  Iron them according the the fabric setting and fold them nicely in a set of boxes just as you would see in a boutique or shop.
  • Get out the pretty tissue wrap and line the boxes before you put in the PJ’s  for a nice touch.
  • Spray them with a linen water or a fragrant body spray.  Use a small safety pin to pin on a handwritten tag:   I was rescued just for you. I can still keep you soft and warm during these cold winter night.  With love.
  • You can make a tag with some stiff paper, pen or marker, hole punch and ribbon or string.
  • PS: You can also do this with a robe.

Homemade Linen Water: It’s better than Febreeze and is all natural.  Invigorating and fresh.  Lightly spray on your linens.  Use as a room spray.  Always test fabric in a hidden spot so there are no permanent stains and to make sure the fabric is colorfast. You can use a clear plastic bottle or a sleek metallic one.  Make as much as you want and give it to anyone you want.  What makes this “cool” is that you can do sets.  So, try using different scents.  Popular herbal scents to use are lavender (my favorite), your favorite mint and rose.  Here’s a great recipe for linen water.
Rescue A Brooch: In this season of pea coats and savvy jackets, I can’t hint of a better way to add a simple sparkle than giving a set of brooches.  How about a set of three vintage ones from the thrift store.  Not just vintage “inspired”, go for the real vintage.  Shine them up with a bit of diluted vinegar and there you have it.  Don’t forget to make sure all the pieces are working properly and the brooches are not falling apart.  I would go overboard to make the gift box so pretty.  I have so much fun putting packages together for rescued items.  You can write on a little card a message about how the brooches were rescued just for the loved one you are giving them to.
Rescue Scarves, Pearls and Necklaces: Same idea as rescuing a brooch.  But, check the individual strands to make sure they are in good shape without broken clasps or too much wear and tear.  Quality counts.  Quantity does, too.  Get as many strands and necklaces as you like for the person.
The Writers Essentials Kit: For those of you who know writers or bloggers, heres a little kit you can put together yourself.  We writers are always using our hands in some way and we are always writing, too, so here’s a way to give a gift that give back.  I like giving things in threes, so here is the kit:

  • Three journals: Nice hard cover ones.  It’s up to you to choose the binding you think the person will like the most or give a mix of leather bound, spiral bound or hard cover.  It’s buyers choice but keep the receiver in mind.
  • Stationary:  I suggest personalized stationary or you can get the most plain stationary ever and purchase some cool alphabet scrapbook stickers. There are some cool scrapbook stickers out there. Grab a variety and put in a book of stamps.
  • Three pens: I don’t need a fancy $50 pen.  Cool office supply pens work well.  Make sure you get the smoothest writing pens with total comfort grip in fun colors, if you like. We writers like to flow when we write and we need our pens to do the same.
  • Lotion: Yes, this is the best part of the gift.  Slip in a sampler of lotions.  We are always using our hands and sometimes they need softening up. Three samples of lotion.  You can make them a fancy or plain as you like. I can’t help it, I still love the smell of baby lotion and cocoa butter lotion.  Just pick the lotions for the personality of the person.   Samplers only because they travel well with laptop users who may get dry hands.
  • Comfy Socks & Slippers:  Writers (at home) put their feet up everywhere?  Right?  At least, I do.  I love having comfortable socks and slippers when I am writing posts, like this.  I am sure the writer in your life will love this, too.
  • Snack pack:  Put together a low calorie snack pack.  Baked chips, grab granola bars or trail mix and juice boxes.  Everyone knows when I writer gets the munchies, we don’t wanna have to look around for a snack.  We grab and eat.

Personal Care Kits: For almost any age and as practical as you want it to be.  I have been making Care Kits for years.  The container you want to give them in is up to you.  I have used those plastic storage containers or a cheap toolbox (for boys or men) or a makeup case for women/girls.  it’s very simple.  You fill the kit with 10 items for the person and their personal care.  I like to use travel sizes of shampoo, conditioner, lotion, deodorant, body spray, small loofa or washcloth for shower time, body wash, lip gloss or chap stick, razors and shaving cream (for adults), nail clippers, nail brush, nail file, hair brush, hair gel (or spray or mousse), hair pins, pony tail holders or clips, tweezers…You get the picture.  That will at least get them ready to get out the door smelling fresh.  You wanted practical, right?

Pie Dish Optional.

For The Baker Wannabe: If you know someone who aspires to prepare the most fabulous baked goods ever…start their training by teaching them what cooking from scratch is all about.  Start with baking because nothing says “I’m a baker” better than the smell of fresh baked goods in the kitchen.   This chef kit should at least have the following:  Measuring cups and spoons.  Mixing bowl and wooden spoons.  Cookbook (I loved learning to cook from scratch with a rescued edition of The Joy Of Cooking from the 1950’s).  Rolling Pin. Real restaurant apron (found at restaurant supply stores), muffin tins & baking sheet, kitchen towel and oven mit.
Extreme Essentials: GO panty crazy!  Put the sock monsters out of business!  Create a boxer collection.  I mean…Just go for it.  Practical gifts have their place and I love getting them.  This is my idea of a gift so practical, you’ll save yourself time and money because you won’t run out of them, you won’t lose them and they’ll be there when you need them.  20 pair of socks and 20 pair of undies, accompanied by a cloth laundry bag. I am serious, folks.  Hit your discount retailer or dollar store.  Now, the cloth laundry bag should be machine washable and handwritten in a fabric pen or marker are the words “Sock & Undies”.  You can handwrite it or make a fancy fabric label and sew it on.  The goal is to keep up with the undies and socks and you can toss the bag in, because it will wreak from smelly socks, every time they wash a load of the undies and socks.  For fun, toss in a sample size of a great laundry soap for the smelly socks they’ll be washing.  Hey, toss in t-shirts, too, if you like.
The Timid Traveler: A friend of mine has a brother that simply complained that he didn’t travel.  He wants to go to Europe and Asia, but he’s needed a push in the right direction.  So, she gave him $100  folded inside an application for his passport.  I say go one step beyond and create a fun passport with silly photos of him asleep and let it show that he’s traveled to places that don’t exist, like Narnia.  Also, buy a real travel etiquette guide to get him started on the path to traveling the world.

Bonus Here!

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