We ' ve all been in that awkward spot when an extra guest shows up at the door . Or , we get a last minute invitation and feel the need to bring a little something for the host . There ' s no time for a last minute dash to our favourite gift shop and the seconds passing on the clock sound louder than Big Ben as the sweat starts pooling in our freshly-laundered holiday sweater .
It took more than one such experience to convince me to prepare ahead of time each year . A couple of extra boxes of chocolates , all decked out in a holiday bow , sit at the ready each December just in case such a scenario arises again . But , being the kind that likes to extrapolate and experiment with novel ideas , I decided to take the being prepared habit and combine it with the movement toward being a frugal and creative gift giver . Here are a few ideas I ' ve come across and personalized throughout the years . For the Crafty
A ball of yarn , a suitable size crochet hook or pair of knitting needles along with your favourite beginner-level pattern . Add a link to a YouTube video showing the process as well as a picture of the finished garment for bonus points . If the star of the video is you , the bonus points quadruple in value .
A block of Melt and Pour soap base with a simple mould as well as a few add-ins such as dried lavender flowers or a small bottle of essential oil . For the Foodie
A decorative jar or bottle filled with infused honey , vinegar or sugar makes a welcome gift especially when you do the
infusing yourself . Several weeks before gift giving , add dried vanilla beans to some sugar , your favourite herbs to a bottle of vinegar or jar of pure honey . If money is no object , try adding some lemon , lime or vanilla beans to their fave bottle of vodka along with a recipe for an interesting cocktail .
Your favourite homemade salad dressing bottled in a decorative container .
A cookie or cake recipe along with all the non-perishable ingredients gathered in a basket .
A selection of home-grown , dried herbs from your garden along with a few recipes of how they can be used . For the Reader
A gift card to your favourite bookstore along with a list of your own recommendations make the gift card concept a lot more personal .
A gift card along with a recording of your
voice reading the first page or chapter of your recommended book along with an explanation of why you think the recipient would love the book .
A cozy pair of socks ( hand knit or crocheted ) and a personalized mug ( hand lettered by you ) along with that afore mentioned gift card .
A combination of dried herbs known for their relaxation properties , placed in self sealing tea bags or wrapped tightly in fine netting , for adding to a reading bath .
As you can see , the possibilities are endless and the experience of gift giving becomes a much less sweat inducing experience . Your wallet will thank you , your sanity will thank you and most of all , your recipient will know that thousands of other people aren ' t getting a gift just like it .
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