Saturday, December 5, 2009

the lights are twinkling

Every once in awhile I like to write about something other than wine - I know ... impossible, right? It's true, so here we go! Well, since it is currently the holiday season and (like many of you, I'm sure) the recession's hit more than just your local TV syndicate. I know it's certainly hit my wallet and, therefore, my Christmas budget. So I'm looking to save money this holiday season by making presents for my family and friends. And as I go through this adventure of making presents, I wanted to share my discoveries with you ... you know, if you're looking to shave off a few bucks on presents this year.
I've been making Christmas presents for the past few years. I do this for two reasons: 1) it's a lot cheaper than buying stuff, and 2) it's much more personal and meaningful, since you're putting more of yourself into the gifts. Here's a list of the things I made last year, and how you can make them yourself:

1. For the women in my family: charm bracelets. I made individualized old-fashioned charm bracelets using materials from Michaels. I also bought charms from Michaels, as well as Target and Claire's (at the mall). The charms I bought were individualized for each person in my family, and everybody got a huge kick out of them. The total cost: $10 for each bracelet, including gift-wrapping.

2. For other family and friends (i.e. the people you're required to give gifts to but have no idea what to give them, like work friends and such): 1) specialized wine presents. Yes, I did use wine last year to make my presents! Heller Estate, the winery I work at, was selling vintage bottles of Pinot Noir at $20 per bottle (with my 50% discount that amounted to $10). I gave them those wine bottles as presents, but that wasn't all! I found these amazing little glass toppers that you use to turn a wine bottle into an oil lamp. It had a wick and everything. So I presented those with the wine bottles so that, after they drank the wine, they could turn the bottle (which was super adorable) into an oil lamp! Those cost about $5 each and are from Winelight. Total cost? $15 per couple (I gave them as couple gifts), or $7.50 per person. And everybody loved them! Here's a Link to the Winelights Product Site for more information.


Now onto this year's selection of handmade gifts. Not sure yet what I'm going to do for my distant family and friends (probably something wine related again, any suggestions?). But for the women in my family and close friends I'm going to make chic headbands! They're all the rage this season and are so much better (and cheaper!) to make than they are to buy. Plus, my sisters look so cute in headbands :). I found this article online and loved the idea, which gave the inspiration to do it for Christmas. Here's the Link to the article: DIY Hair Accessories. Here's a couple pics of what I have in mind - feathers for my older sister, bows for my younger and then modifying them for all the other women in my life:

For the men in my family and friends, not quite sure yet. I know I'm making at least one of them a specialized mix CD (already in the works, will post song selection when it's finished) but not quite sure for the others. Any suggestions?
If you have anything special you're making (or buying) for your family and friends this holiday season, post a comment letting me know about them! I always love to hear people's fantastic ideas for holiday gifts. Hope you're having a Happy December!