It’s December 20th and you know what that means … if you (like many of us) haven’t completely finished up your Christmas shopping, your time is nearly up.
With just five days left until the big day, you may be tempted to settle for just about any gift you can come up with simply to be able to give something to everyone on your list. But if you happen to have a stockpile of craft supplies laying around (I know I do!) and a little bit of time on your hands between now and Saturday, you can come up with some creative gifts that will be perceived as anything but last-minute.
Here are some ideas to get you started…
Assemble a ready-to-use theme album. First, think of a theme or topic for which your recipient will likely take photos during the coming year. It could be baby’s first year, home improvement projects, gardening pursuits, hunting or fishing accomplishments, sporting events, or even just family activities in general. Themes involving basic data that folks like to remember work particularly well. For instance, fishing enthusiasts might like a place to record the date, time, location, weather conditions, weight and length of each catch.
Find or purchase a basic photo album, the kind with the pockets made to slip in 4×6 or 5×7 photos. Browse your favorite online digi shops, search your stash or even design your own blank journaling cards that are the same size as the photo album pockets. Some examples of cards that might work can be found here or here at Designer Digitals or here at Peppermint Creative, just to name a few. Create and/or print a stack of journaling cards and slip one into every other photo pocket, leaving the empty pockets for the recipient to add a photo for each memory or event related to the theme. You could get as fancy as you like with the cards, perhaps customizing them with fill-in-the-blank type questions related to the theme. As the year goes along, your recipient can simply slip in their photos and jot down the important information on the prepared card nearby.
Create a Journal Jar. The journaler on your list (or the one who would like to be a consistent journaler but has yet to make it happen) may really enjoy having a jar of questions or prompts to help spur their writing. Type up a list of questions, leaving a little space between each one. Cut them apart, decorate an empty jar, box or other interesting container you have lying around the house with some leftover scrapping materials, toss the prompts into the jar, perhaps add a blank journal (have one in your stash?) and you’re all set. To make the process even faster and easier, download this Journal Jar project sheet or Google “journaling prompts” and you’ll find a ton of journaling prompt resources.
Fill in a wall calendar. Pick up a 2011 wall calendar and fill in all of the next year’s birthdays, anniversaries and other important dates of interest to your recipient. You could add some fun stickers or rubber stamps to make it even more special. By the way, if your recipient happens to be a scrapbooker, the Memory Logbook 2011 Wall Calendar would be a great choice … and it will be shipped by Priority Mail so if you order today, there’s still a chance you’ll receive it in time for Christmas.
Create a coupon book. An oldie but a goodie … put together a collection of coupons redeemable by your recipient. Think about all of the talents, skills or resources you have that could be of value to that person. Maybe it’s a few hours of babysitting or a batch of home-baked cookies. Perhaps you could hold a candid photo shoot for the family or do a little scrapping for them. Cleaning, shuttling kids, yard work, organizing a mom’s night out, delivering a ready-made meal … the list is limited only by your imagination. Print each item on an index card and tie the stack with a pretty ribbon … or dress it up by using your scrapping supplies or one of the many pre-designed coupon kits created by digital scrapbook product designers. Here’s a masculine set available at Sweet Shoppe Designs … and here’s a more sophisticated look available at The Digichick. There are also several choices for kids, friends, couples and more at Peppermint Creative.
Put together a book of gift cards. Pick up a handful of gift cards good in your recipient’s favorite stores … they could be smaller $5 and $10 cards or if the budget allows, a bit more spendy. Then create a badge album using vinyl name badge holders and your fave scrap supplies, but instead of creating mini scrapbook layouts for every page, alternate them with pages where you slip a gift card inside instead. Create a cute cover, tie it all together with a ribbon and you’ve got a gift that’s both personal and practical. This is another project with lots of ready-made digi possibilities, such as this cute album from The Shabby Shoppe or this adorable one sold at Sweet Shoppe Designs.
Customize a downloadable Memory Logbook. Purchase the downloadable version of the 2011 Memory Logbook, then download and print it all out. Add some page dividers, pocket pages, photo sleeves or whatever other special goodies you can think of and put the whole collection in a three-ring binder, which could be a simple vinyl binder found in your standard office supply store or a more elaborate album decorated with fabric, scrap supplies, felt or whatever your imagination brings to mind. Your recipient will love the gift … and will love you even more for doing all of the printing and prep for her! (Hint: You’ll find a coupon good for any version of the 2011 Memory Logbook today only on Ali Edwards’ project blog.)
Purchase a gift certificate for a creative class or gift a subscription to their favorite magazine. There are all kinds of online classes available for those interested in scrapbooking, photography, general crafting and much more … and giving one is quick and easy thanks to the Internet. Just find the class you would like to give, make your purchase, and then share the enrollment details in a card to your recipient. The same is true for magazine subscriptions, which becomes a gift that lasts all year long. The beauty of both options is you don’t need to worry about your gift being delivered in time for Christmas (or pay costly shipping expenses!) Check back here tomorrow for a list of specific workshops and magazines to consider … if you have or know of one you’d like included, drop me a line today at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Buy, download and print out a great book. Many fun books are available in downloadable editions these days, including memory-keeping books like Log Your Memory’s List Your Life, Status Updated or Travel Logbook, as well as inspirational idea books such as the great collection offered by Ella Publishing Co. A few I’ve had my eye on for a while now are Journaling That Matters, A Year in the Life, and 40 Top Tips for Better Photos. Purchase a book, download and print it out, bind or place in an album or three-ring binder, wrap and deliver … that’s all there is to it!
Be sure to stop by the December Challenge Forum and share your response to today’s story starter! Capture a bit of your everyday, real life in the process, plus every day you participate is another chance at winning our $50 gift certificate just in time for the New Year!