Gifts To Make

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Miniature Christmas Trees

Minature Christmas Trees are a very inexpensive project that you can do with your children and they can be given as gifts to such a wide variety of people it makes sense to set aside an afternoon to create them and make someones Christmas very special.

The list of people you can give these to is limitless. They make great gifts for teachers, a way for them to decorate their classroom. Elderly relatives who no longer want the hassle of putting up a big tree will get in the Christmas spirit more with a little manageble tree to look at. Patients in nursing homes and hospitals would love them as they take up little room and let them know that Christmas can take place anywhere. They also work well for students in dorms, people that live in tiny apartments that have little room or are just starting out and can’t afford the expense of buying a tree and decorating it. You can also bring them to work, give them to friends who work at hospitals or doctors offices to make them festive also.

The cost of these trees vary depending on how you choose to decorate them, but the two trees shown below cost a total of $10 each. There really aren’t too many nice gifts you can make for such a small amount of money, and if you get things on sale, or make purchases after Christmas, you can cut the cost significantly.

Stores like Walmart carry these trees, and I am sure you can also find them at some dollar stores for even cheaper. These particular trees we paid $2.99 each for. When you see them on the shelf, they don’t look very appealing as the branches are not opened up and they look pretty sad all bunched up from being packaged. These particular ones have burlap type bottoms on them, but I have seen them in with ceramic bottoms etc. so stock up on the ones you like.

We purchased some very cheap smaller gold Christmas ornaments to go with our gold theme this year. For each tree we purchased a package of 32 ornaments for $4.99, although in hindsight I probably would have just purchased the package of 24 for less money. The stars at the top of the tree we paid $1.58 each for.

Assembly was fun and easy. We just opened up the branches on the trees to give them that Christmas Tree shape, put on the ornaments and stuck the star on top. It took my 12 year old daughter only about 15-20 minutes to complete her tree. We decided to put ours on our dining room table and on our breakfast table and I think they look great!

Variations of the trees are endless, and as time permits we will be adding more variations to give you some ideas on what you can do. In the meantime you can change things up by just changing the color and or style of the ornaments, or you can just buy inexpensive bead garland and drape it around the tree. You can make minature bows from inexpensive ribbon and make a larger one on the top.

You can even make this into a rememberance tree for a dearly departed loved one. Take the tree and have each person that loved the person who died contribute an ornament of their choice to the tree to show that they will always be remembered. Or start with an empty tree with just a star on top for the first year that the person has passed and each year add an ornament to mark the year that has passed and to show that as the years go by your love does not diminish, but like the tree, it grows more beautiful.

Homemade Potpourri

Is your Christmas budget tight or do you enjoy giving gifts from the heart rather from the wallet? Well homemade Potpourri is not only easy to make but always a welcome gift to the hostess or friend lucky enough to recieve it. Make up the potpourri for yourself or put some in a lovely bowl you purchase, a small cloth gift bag, or use zigzag shears to cut a square of cloth to put the potpourri in and tie it with a ribbon. Here are a few recipes to start, but use your imagination and try different dried materials and different scented oils to create your own recipes. These gifts can be made in minutes and you can gather pine cones and dry flowers in the fall to make things even cheaper.

Spice Potpourri

Several cinnamon sticks
Two nutmegs
Star anise
Cloves
Dried natural items such as pine cones or thistle or even walnuts

Mix ingredients together and spinkle 20 drops of cinnamon oil and 5 drops of clove oil over the potpurri. Cover with plastic if you are going to store it for a while to keep the scent.

Citrus Potpourri

Dried whole clementines
Dried kumquats
Dried orange and lemon slices
Orange and lemon peel.

Mix ingredients together and sprinkle 10 drops of orange oil and 5 drops lemon oil over the potpurri. Keep covered while being stored.

Pine Potpourri

Pine cones
Small branches of fragrant evergreens such as juniper, pine and cyprus

Mix ingredients together and sprinkle 10 drops of pine oil and 5 drops of cedar oil over the potpourri. Keep covered while being stored.

Garden Potpourri

Gather pretty and fragrant materials from the garden such as thistles, berries, lavender, rosemary stems and the heads of straw flowers or cranberries. Let the items dry thoroughly. Mix together and then sprinkle 10 drops of lavender oil and 5 drops of rosemary oil over the potpourri. Cover until used.

Sea Foot Scrub

Materials:

1 cup sand
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 tablespoon powdered dulse seaweed (found at health food stores)
1 tablespoon powdered kelp
1 wide-necked preserving jar or kilner jar with an airtight lid
Wooden spatula or spoon
7 flluid ounces olive oil
Peppermint foot gel or essential oil
1 label that has the name of the scrub along with directions to apply a small amount of the scrub on soles of the feet and rub it over rough areas in a circular motion
1 scallop shell (to scoop out the scrub)
1 piece of ribbon or natural raffia

1. Put all the dry ingredients into the perserving jar and mix them together with a spatula or spoon.
2. Gradually add the olive oil and still well.
3. Add six drops of peppermint essential or foot gel if desired
4. Seal jar, add label and tie shell on top of glass lid