Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Holiday Gift Guide - DIY Christmas Gift Ideas for the Family

Shopping for your family around the holidays can be hard. I don't mean your spouse or sibling or kids. I mean those relatives that you only see around the holidays and have no idea what they like or what their interests are. You know who I mean. It can be incredibly difficult trying to come up with something thoughtful and not just whatever you can find on the generic gift shelf of your local Walmart/Target/Etc. Here are some ideas that you can make in bulk to give out to those family members, but will still maintain that personal touch!

Cookbook of Family Recipes

If you are looking for a gift that you can give all of your relatives (you know the ones you don't buy personally for) consider putting together a collection of favorite recipes into a Family Cookbook! My husband and I start doing this and I love that we have all of the favorites right at hand without digging through numerous cookbooks or calling up relatives to get the instructions for this or that.

With the holidays coming up everyone will be cooking up their best and most delicious for Thanksgiving, holiday cookies, and Christmas get togethers making now a great time to ask! Send an email around or put in some phone calls asking everyone for their favorite recipe or two. You can then put them together in a cookbook style layout in your word processor, print them out, and then take them to your local copy store to get a plastic cover and spiral bound. If you don't have time to get to the print shop or if one is not convenient in your area, websites like Lulu will allow you to submit your file and they will print them and mail it to you (this a more expensive option though).

Your family will love this gift, especially if you have recipes that have been passed down from generation to generation. I've never received one of these from anyone, but I would have been thrilled if someone in my family had put one together (which is why we started one)!


If you have been following my blog, I'm sure you've noticed that you can get great deals on photobooks and many times can even get them free if you just pay shipping and handling (and many times you can score that free too!). These make wonderful presents for grandparents and distant relatives. You just upload your photos and drag and drop them into whichever layout you pick. You can also customize layouts on many sites if you're feeling extra crafty.

For photobooks, my favorites are Shutterfly, Snapfish, and Kodak. Keep checking back because I post deals for these sites as I find them!

Family Trees

To do this you'll need:

  • Large pieces of heavy weight paper 
  • A leaf stamp
  • Green ink pad
  • Brown colored pencils or markers 
  • Pencil 
  • Ruler
  • Black Marker or Calligraphy Pen
Place your paper horizontally. Use the brown markers or colored pencils to draw a trunk at the bottom center of your paper.

Beginning at the top center of your paper, draw lines for the lineal starting point. Then branch your tree out appropriately from there using the ruler to draw you connecting lines. Use the black pen to write your family's name at the top and fill in the names on the lines you've just created.

Then fill in the tree with the leaf stamp.

If you are not very crafty or hate your handwriting (I cannot write in cursive to save my life), you can print out the pieces and use double stick tape to the paper. When you're done take it up to Kinko's and have it color copied and the lines where the pieces are attached to the paper should disappear on the copy.

If you really want to add a nice touch, find a vintage looking frame at your local thrift store. 

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