The holidays are quickly approaching, but if you’re like anything like me, you spend the first half of December wishing that you’d started your holiday shopping earlier! With many of us feeling the economic pinch, you might not be in the position to spend a lot of money on Christmas and Hanukkah gifts. Homemade gifts are a great way to show your family members how much you love them, but they take a bit of thought and, in some cases, more than a little bit of time!
From now until December, we’ll talk about some fun homemade holiday ideas that you can get started on now to reduce your stress when the holiday season hits in full force. For today, here are some ideas on care packages and gift baskets to put together now and send or give during the holidays. The good thing about this type of gift is that you can put it together little by little when you see items on sale, and if something that you want is too expensive, you can look for a less-pricey alternative.
Color-themed baskets or boxes make great holiday gifts, and are fun to put together, too! Try filling a box or basket entirely with yellow items (any yellow candy/food items, playdoh, dishtowels, a tshirt… whatever you can think of), and call it a “box of sunshine.” This is particularly good as a care package if your recipient lives in an area known for long, cold winters. You can also fill the box with rainbow-colored items (Skittles, Lucky Charms cereal, Fruit Stripe gum, rainbow-striped socks, a tie-dye kit, packets of KoolAid) and send it to someone living in an area with rainy winters. Of course, you can choose any color (pink for a little girl, or the colors of a favorite sports team?); just choose items that you know your recipient will like within the confines of that hue.
Other Themes for Gift Baskets
Think about the person for whom you’re buying and try to pinpoint one or two interests that he or she might have. A teen might enjoy a movie-night basket: fill with microwave popcorn, boxes of various candy (these are often a dollar at Walmart or the dollar store), 20-ounce bottles of soda, and a certificate to a movie rental store. (Redbox now offers gift certificates; see their website for more information.) A fellow mom might like a basket filled with the makings of an easy dinner: dry pasta, a jar of sauce, parmesan cheese, biscuit mix, and some non-perishable salad additions: croutons, artichoke hearts, marinated mushrooms, olives, roasted red peppers, etc. Someone interested in sewing could usually use interesting buttons, pins, needles, some fat quarters in cute patterns, a thimble and other notions. Use your imagination and see where it takes you!
A Word on Shipping
Do you have family and friends who live far away? Shipping to various areas can be expensive, but the US Postal Service offers flat rate priority mail boxes that get to their destination in just a few days, generally speaking. They are priced for domestic use, but if you have international recipients, you can still use them; prices vary, depending on the country, so ask at the post office. Because the boxes are flat rate, you can fill them up without worrying too much about weight (there is a limit, but unless you’re shipping very heavy items, you won’t hit it). These are particularly good for care package-type items, because they tend to be small and easily packed into a flat rate box or envelope.
Are you already thinking ahead and making some of your holiday gifts? Share your best ideas with our readers!