Another alternative is to check out Etsy.com. There are a lot of crafty people, local and national, that have some beautiful handmade items at pretty reasonable prices (Funkoffbrand and MeeshOneStudio are two of my faves)!
Be alternative! I am sure that many of you are aware, faithful readers, but there is more to life than stuff. Many families are so busy with their faces buried in their electronic goo gags that they can’t even enjoy a family meal together. My favourite gifts are the ones that come from the heart, and the creative mind. Who doesn’t love a mixed tape?? There are some great ideas at this site:
Ideas include baking, having a swap party with all the items you don’t need or want anymore and all the leftovers go to charity, plenty of crafts, and more. One of my favourites has always been to give a home made certificate book with things such as car washes, dinners, a baking date (for kids or adults), or meal making date, laundry, dishes, pretty much anything you can think of! Imagine all the things that you would want someone to do for you or with you, and give that to them. So much fun! Or think of things that you WOULD want to do! Go for a walk, hike, bike ride, horseback ride (this may cost money but is SO worth it!), fly kites… the list goes on and on!
I am also a huge fan of “do-it-yourself (DIY)” projects. I can make some pretty awesome stuff when I put my mind to it! I have made weird little hybrid creatures on a personal challenge from a friend. One year I even made a macaroni picture for someone! It was so much fun to do! These projects can be anything from an ornament to a piece of furniture, and beyond! They are original, one of a kind, and when something is hand crafted it is so much more personal and meaningful! Websites that may help you get on your way include Pinterest, Instructables, Craftgawker… the list goes on and on! Just type “DIY” + anything into your search engine and you are on your way!
Again, I think that the holidays (or any day) are more about the time you spend than the schwag. No one ever says, “I wish I had gotten a better gift from Mom.”, however I have heard many people say, “I wish I had spent more time with Mom”. I think that overall, it is important to enjoy and remember the good times, the family dinners, or the great conversations… heck, I am sure I don’t even have most of the gifts that I have gotten over the years anymore! Except the ones that were given to me from the heart.
I would love to hear your ideas and feedback on this - the stories behind the gifts are also the best!