Goodbye basic holiday gifts

sugar scrubElizaraxi
Creative Commons
Attribution 2.0 Generic

By: Francesca Gugino

NIAGARA UNIVERSITY, N.Y. – The holiday season is a great opportunity to show gratitude and affirmation to loved ones. Typically, American culture calls for consumers to buy the people that they care most about elaborate gifts and utilize the days after Thanksgiving to spend-spend-spend in hopes of showing someone how much that they are valued through an expensive gift. Oftentimes, people get swept up in the holiday season and don’t give the right gifts: experience, memories, time or something DIY with extra meaning and thoughtfulness.

When thinking of gifts for family, friends and anyone else on this season’s shopping list, write out what each person enjoys most. Ask yourself: what does this person on my list do for fun? Or what is their favorite team, music group, show etc? And try to give them an experience and memory, instead of another sweater. Purchase concert tickets, movies passes, tickets to a sporting event, a membership or a day trip spent together. Think of ways to connect and pass time together or give a loved one something that they can use and always remember doing.

If concert tickets, day trips and memberships to a gym or club are out of the budget. Think Do-It-Yourself (DIY). DIY gifts show a degree of care, commitment and creativity. These are thoughtful, crafty and affordable ways to show someone that they are appreciated without giving a generic gift certificate or clothing that they could just as easily buy themself. Some popular DIY gifts include: sugar scrubs, candles, lip balm, body butter, cookie mix jars, wood burning art, paintings, breakfast or coffee lovers baskets, homemade popcorns and Wholefully mason jar soup recipes. The list goes on and one, and the steps are simple. Most of these take less than 15 minutes to make and are cost effective.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix in a Jar

Ingredients/What you Need:
3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/2 cups (9 ounces) semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 quart size mason jar
Tag with Instructions on how to use the dry mix!

Directions per The Happier Homemaker:
1- Decorate the jar with the name of the person the gift is for, ribbons and an instruction tag that reads the following instrucitions:
“Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Beat butter, egg and vanilla in a large bowl until blended.
In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt, and sugars. Stir to mix well.
Add dry mixture to wet and mix well.
Drop by rounded tablespoons onto ungreased baking sheet.
Bake for 9-11 minutes or until golden brown.
Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes before removing to wire rack to cool.”

2- Use a small bowl to mix the flour, baking soda and salt together. Pour into the mason jar and use a spoon to neatly pack the dry mixture to the bottom of the jar.
3- Add brown sugar and use the same method to pack down the ingredients neatly (back of the spoon).
4- Add the granulated sugar next, followed by the chocolate chips.

Sugar Scrubs

What you Need:
Glass Jar
Raw Sugar
Essential Oils (safe on skin)
Coconut Oil

Directions per Luxy Hair Blog:
1- Decorate the glass jar with labels, ribbons, etc.
2- Place 1/ 2 cup Coconut Oil in microwave safe dish, and microwave until completely melted.
3- Transfer melted Coconut Oil to small bowl, and mix in 1 cup of Raw Sugar.
4- Add 10 drops (more depending on desired strength of scent) of Vanilla Essential Oil (or essential oil of choice) and mix again until well combined.
5- Transfer to Glass Jar

Coffee Lovers Basket:

What you Need:
Large Woven Basket
Clear Plastic Gift Wrap
Fair Trade Organic Coffee (i.e. GroundsforChange)
Coconut Sugar or Oil
Almond or Soy Milk
Coconut Milk Creamer
Chocolate Covered Espresso Beans
Handmade Mug(s)
Homemade Biscotti

Simply arrange the items nicely in the basket and wrap with the clear gift wrap and ties with a ribbon.

These are easy to facilitate gifts, that won’t break the bank and are fun crafts to complete!

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