Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Thought That Counts

This is a little thank-you gift I made for a neighbor who took care of our dog while we were out of town last week. I bought the cool jar at Goodwill for $2, then decorated it with some leftover paper scraps, ribbon, and some embellishments from the dollar store. My kids helped me make the oatmeal cookies that filled it!

I am a huge fan of making gifts for people, not only because it is thrifty, but because I believe that a handmade gift using your own unique talents can be not only more meaningful but also of a higher quality than a store-bought gift.

Over the last few years, as I have become a wife and a mother and a homemaker I have tried to develop talents that I can use to create unique homemade gifts. Not only has it been a lot of fun for me to learn new things, but I have also been able to enjoy the process of gift-giving far more because I am giving of more than just my monetary substance- I am giving of myself: my time, my talents, my creativity and my heart.

I think I have knit scarves for nearly everyone in my family, as well as a few baby hat and scarf sets. I even had one friend who told me that the scarf I made for her baby helped him with a physical condition he had called torticullis (kind of like a permanent crick in the neck) and his physical therapist wanted to know where she could get the baby scarves for all of her little patients! Other gifts I have made include fleece ponchos, theraputic neck warmers (sewn bags of rice and dried herbs), sachets, scrapbooks, hand-drawn sketches, painted wooden home decor signs, and probably many more things that I just can't think of right now! 

One handmade item that really sticks out in my mind is not one that I made, but one that was given to me- a set of blocks for my son from my brother and sister-in-law. They made them out of two-by-fours, and they simply cut them to various sizes and shapes and then sanded them down. They gave them to my son for Christmas probably 3 years ago and he still plays with them nearly every day. I still get friends asking me where I got such wonderful blocks- I think my brother and his wife could have a business on the side! But the most important thing about that gift to me was that it was truly from the heart- my brother is an architect and his wife is an artist, and so they wanted to share something they love with their little nephew, and I know it took several hours of hard work, but now my son has something from them that he will always cherish and enjoy, and will probably be able to pass on to his children and grandchildren.

So I would encourage everyone to think outside the box, utilize your talents and skills, and challenge yourself to put your heart into the gifts you give. 

Do you have any unique and creative gift ideas? Leave a comment! 

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