Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Gift Giving (never too early to start planning)

As many of you already know we are trying to move towards a simpler more natural lifestyle (Okay I am and everyone else is along for the ride).  That being said our gift giving and wish lists are changing too... a little.
Mini stockings for our advent calendar
I do hope this post doesn't offend or bother anyone (I hate conflict), I am not trying to push our wish list on family members (although Christmas is coming!!), but  wanted to share some fun ideas with everyone.

To start with, I want to recommend Wishlist.com.  It has been a great way to keep track of items we want throughout the year.  There is also a little app button you can put on your internet bar so when you see something you like from any page you can ad it to your wish list.  I currently have three lists

My boys http://www.wishlist.com/1124087/timothyandmatthew/

Homeschool/Daycare  http://www.wishlist.com/1124087/schoolanddaycare/ 

Me http://www.wishlist.com/1124087/meaghanjackson/

Used craft time to make a Father's Day Gift
I know there are so many blogs, lists and Pintrest ideas out there.   Below is a list of inexpensive homemade ideas for kids. Some have links.  You don't need to be super crafty, a simple glue-gun could do most of these.  Also check out the crafts, activities and project on my side bar for more.

Play dough kit - homemade play dough and some accessorize
Fort kit - bed sheet, ropes, big laundry clips
Baskets of natural items - rocks, pinecones, sticks, shells
Dress-up clothes - no need for a full costume just some accessories or head band with ears will work
Play silks- you can go fancy or just put a hem on flowy pieces of material
Nature bag - a simple draw string bag is perfect to collect nature items with
Puppets - again you can buy some or make simple sock puppets (fun to make with the kids), you could give a child a kit of supplies to make their own.
Tree blocks - get a thick branch and cut into various lengths.  Most of ours are about 1-2 inches tall
Wooden blocks - we took the end pieces from our last reno and cut into different lengths, they have been outside all summer and fall.
Felt board - simply cover a piece of cardboard in felt, then cut your own fun shapes out.  We printed a paper doll set and cut it out of felt for dress up, you could also make different face parts...
Mail - unfold a paper envelope and trace onto felt, cut it out and glue up the sides.  We used cut up old cards and some stiff felt to make the mail inside.  You can glue on velcro dots and make different names and stamps too.
Roads - simply cut lengths of denim from old jeans.  You can sew up the sides or just leave them.  I painted a line down the middle and made a parking lot piece.
Bean Bags - think simple like an old pair of socks stuffed with an elastic on the end, or make a rectangle from material and glue up the sides. I made a set out of an old winder coat, you could knit some nice ones too.
Sensory Bins - how about a shallow box with bean, pasta, rice, accessories for a gift.  Water beads are also popular this year. You could even make up themed ones to swap with friends.
Re-gift - each year my boys pass a long a few books to their cousin as their gift to her.  We choose ones in good condition.  You could also pass along other toys to a friend, relative or donate them too.
Thrift Store - kids don't notice if a toy is new or not.  Last year we bought several different used sets of tracks and put them together in a fabric bag.  We also got a really nice metal digger for the sand box in good condition.  Besides then you don't have to spend all morning trying to get the toys out of the boxes.  Be creative with how you present them.
Sock monsters (MeAgainCreations still has a few left)
This year we will most likely be giving homemade gifts too. Here are some ideas for adults. 

Notecards - This one is also for adults!!! Use blank note cards or card stock and decorate.  Simple stamps an some trim are very effective.  I used old holiday cards too.  Last year I made a large set for different family member including different holidays and occasions.
Baking - need I say more?!
Frozen dinners - double what ever you are making and save some as a gift.
Time - I can tell you how much I'd love time to go out or have some time.  Consider babysitting even just once for someone.
Kids crafts - if you are at home crafting with your kids, use it as a time to make gifts for others, there are plenty of cute ideas out there.
Wrapping paper - use your children's artwork as wrapping paper! I also made a set of reusable gift bags to cut back on paper waste.

I'll try to update this with more ideas as we go along.  Please do share your ideas in the comment box.

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