Musings of a Southern Life

Life, writing, photography

Inexpensive Holiday Gift Ideas

By Patricia Older

With Christmas days away, and in these difficult economic times, the perfect gift for a friend or loved one does not have to break the bank. In fact, using the following ideas and expanding on them, you can put together a gift that is not only relatively inexpensive, but
also be personal and unique.

Mirror

I found this Victoria Secret Stand-Alone Mirror at a local
thrift shop for $15. Originally with a satin finish of light oak, the mirror
was an ideal candidate for a make-over. While you may not be able to find a
stand-alone mirror, a huge wooden frame can substitute. You can have a mirror
cut at a local glass shop for approximately $10-$15 to fit into the frame.

Materials: Two or three-inch paint
brush, left-over gloss bright white paint (or what ever color you have or
prefer,) one sheet of 120 sandpaper, a soft, cotton rag, small paint brush,
assorted small paints, and, of course, the mirror.

First, lightly sand the finish.

Dampen the rag and wipe the entire surface removing dust
particles.

Paint the stand or frame.

Let it dry, then lightly sand the finish.

Paint a second coat.

Again, sand lightly.

Paint a finish coat.

Decorate the tree with flowers, an ivy vine, or a motif of
your choice.

Pine Cone Fire Starters

A great little gift for the person with a fireplace or wood
stove are pine cone fire starters.

Materials: Ten to 15 medium to large
pine cones; candle wax; small basket; a piece of ribbon.

Gather a few pine cones from your yard or nearby park. Pick
ones that are not damaged.  Light a
candle and allow some of the wax to melt. While the wax is melting, spread some
newspapers out on the table, take a small painter’s brush, and clean the cones.
Blow out the wick on the candle and working over the newspapers, dip the tip of
the pine cones into the wax. Let it drip off before placing them on the
newspaper to dry. Melt the wax again and re-dip the tips of the cones.

Once dry, arrange them in a basket and top it off with a
brightly colored ribbon, holiday decorations, or string of gaily-colored beads.

Note, be sure to warn the recipient of their fire hazard and
to not store next to the fire.

Wooden Holiday
Coasters

I found these four wooden drink coasters at a thrift shop
for 50 cents, but inexpensive wooden blocks can be purchased from a hobby or
craft shop.

Materials: Four wooden blocks, 120
sandpaper, small cans of paint, paint brush, ribbon.

Paint the blocks any holiday color you want or white if you want
to match the recipient’s home décor. Let dry, paint a second coat. Paint
holiday scenes or scenes the recipient might enjoy on the coasters.

Photographic Christmas Ornaments

A whimsical and fun idea that everyone will love are
photographic Christmas ornaments. Gather photos from Christmases past,
holidays, or just everyday life of people in your life – children, parents,
friends, grandparents, and turn the images into hanging ornaments for the
Christmas tree, mantle, or as small gifts.

Materials: Photographs or digital
images, card stock, laminate pages, paper punch,  and ribbon.

Scan the images you like most from Holidays past – include
Thanksgiving, Fourth of Julys, family reunions. Print them on card stock or
photographic paper in 3 ½ inch by 5 ½ inch images. Cut them apart and write a
special message on the back. Laminate it and then punch a hole at the top of
the photo, tie a ribbon through the hole with enough slack to hang it from the
tree.

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