My goal this year: to make all of my holiday gifts. Didn't we all do this as a child? I remember one year proudly giving my mother a clay triceratops from summer camp. Then there was that rabbit that I glazed in eighth-grade art class... Whatever happened to those simpler days? Where is that rabbit?
I know that I'm good at baking, at crafting, and at doing projects. For example, I designed a classroom activity called "Pancake Lab." My students went to my new blog, www.che-gallup.blogspot.com, and read the recipes for DIY Pancakes. They picked their favorite and we began mixing the next day. If you are going to make the DIY Pancakes with children, or if you want to mail them, then I would suggest exchanging the clean jar and lid for a quart-sized zip-lock bag. It doesn't look as pretty, but it avoids the whole breakable glass thing.
Another project was making cards and gift tags with my writing group. Normally, we spend our Saturday mornings once a month with just paper and pen, but this last meeting we got hands-on with stamps, scissors, and glue. These two activities should be enough to provide gifts for most of my friends and family.
The next challenge will be gifting for my Secret Santa recipient at work. Now that everyone is onto my pancakes, I'm not sure that I should risk it (at least not until the last day; it would be unfair to deprive him/her). What Secret Santa gifts could I bestow? Home made cookies... I could make a couple of batches ahead of time, freeze them in individual-sized baggies, and then defrost them overnight. What about crochet? I make a mean doily. Last year I made cool rainbow-striped pencils with purple feathers attached to the ends. She sure was surprised - I don't think it was on her "favorite things" list.
Luckily my mother is easy - she's not doing gifts this year, so we're going to spend New Year's Day rolling vegetarian tamales.
My pet idea for next year is to create a calendar with recipes, photos of food, and personalized comments for friends and family. I should have enough columns written for the Gallup Journey to start putting it together early. Making calendars is ridiculously easy with Microsoft Publisher, and almost any kind of photos (if high quality) can be adapted. Photos of your children, for example, would make a great gift for grandparents. I was also thinking of a travel calendar. My SO (significant other) and I travel so much, that we probably have something for each month. If we included mileage, hotels and/or restaurants, it would be almost like a travel guide.
There still is the Christmas Stocking. I'm not sure if we can do a completely DIY stocking. But, wait, does it matter if someone else makes it? What if I promise to make it hand made, but not necessarily by my hands? I could go on Etsy. That would be brilliant. Most of their stock is affordable, as well as original. And, it's giving a leg up to the hard-working small business people of America.
Then, there's always a jar of salsa from Care 66. For less than $50, it's home made, delicious, and supports our community.
Okay, so here's the list:
Great Gifts for Cheap
5. Make your own holiday cards or letters (For free, send out holiday e-mails).
4. Wash out spaghetti and salsa jars, soaking off labels, and repackage with DIY Pancake mix or fresh cookies.
3. Buy a jar of Care 66 salsa (Makeshift Galleries on Coal St.).
2. Shop Etsy for great, hand made items.
1. Print out photographs at Walgreens (http://photo.walgreens.com/) and arrange in a tiny photo album from Big Lots.
Any other ideas?