Thrifty, thoughtful, tasteful

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First Posted: 11/23/2014

The holidays are all about getting the whole family involved. Baking Christmas cookies, assembling gingerbread houses, making reindeer food and sending holiday cards.

Here are some do-it-yourself ideas perfect for, well, really anyone. Gifts, stocking stuffers, secret Santas, teachers, school parties, bosses event that neighbor down the block; here are some of our favorite DIY ideas. So grab the kiddos and set aside an afternoon for fun, family time.

Holiday parties

• Gumball snowmen-Three white gumballs, felt pieces, twist ties and pretzel rod bags create this cute and wintery gift for all who come to party.

• Reindeer noses-Eight Whoppers for Santa’s tiny reindeer and one red gumball for Rudolph. Put in a plastic bag, add a festive label like the one we got from Project Nursery and voila. Get label from

• Hot cocoa spoons-Melting chocolates, marshmallows and candy accoutrements decorate a plastic spoon to new recognition. When the chocolate is warm, spoon on to the plastic, add the candy and let cool. Wrap them up and tie with ribbon.

•Reindeer food- Take some oatmeal and add candy sprinkles. Tell the kids it’s magic reindeer food to help lead Santa to the home.

•Reindeer canes-A pack of candy canes, pipe-cleaners, googly eyes, one red pom pom.


• Reinbeer — another good host gift. Grab a six pack of his favorite brew, add some pipe cleaner antlers, googly eyes and red pom pom nose. Guaranteed to bring some holiday cheer to the biggest of Grinches.

•Some holiday cheerSpruce up that bottle of wine for a perfect hostess gift. Throw in some wine glasses. Don’t spend a fortune on fancy, foreign crystal. Pick up two at a local dollar store and some Sharpie Oil Based Paint Pens from a craft store. Draw a design on the glass, monogram it, or go crazy with spots. Place glasses in the oven, bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Cool in the oven before handling. You just upped your gift game tenfold without putting the hurt on your billfold.

• Santa’s favorite cookies — Jolly old St. Nick will leave the best presents at your place if you think outside of the cookie tin this year. Place dry ingredients in a mason jar and the giftee adds a few items and bakes.

Layer in a quart mason jar: 1 1/3 cup flour; 1 tsp baking soda; 1 tsp baking powder; 1/4 tsp salt; 1 cup oats (the non-instant variety); 3/4 cup red and green M&M’s; 3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips; 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed; 1/2 cup white sugar; 1/3 to 1/2 cup white chocolate chips

Attach a cute label with the remaining instructions to the jar with Christmas ribbon:

1.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2.) Add dry ingredients to a large mixing bowl.

3.) Add 1 slightly beaten egg, 1/2 cup softened butter, and one teaspoon vanilla.

4.) Mix well.

5.) Roll the dough into 1 1/2 inch balls and place on baking sheet.

6.) Bake for 8-10 minutes.

• Cocoa jars-Your giftee will love this mason jar packed with cocoa powder and marshmallows enough for few mugs. Fill any sized jar half way with cocoa, top with tiny marshmallows, add a ribbon. The giftee can make their drink as chocolatey as they wish.

• Cocoa stirrers-Pair some left over cocoa spoons with a holiday mug and you’ve got yourself another crowd pleaser.

• Gift wreath-Or money wreath. Cut out a wreath shape from sturdy cardboard, cover with decorative paper. Decorate and glue clothes pins to the wreath, the grip part facing out so you can clip gift cards or cash. Fill the wreath a variety of gift cards, $20 bill, $10 bill and some singles. Any teen would love this thoughtful gift.

• Message board-pick up an inexpensive picture frame and insert a festive paper background. Small dry erase markers can be purchased at Walmart, attach a ribbon to the top and tie the other end to the back of the frame. You’ve just made a fun, creative dry erase board for anyone who works at a desk.

• Mistle”toes” — A travel-sized lotion, colorful nail polish, a pair of socks or a washcloth and nail clippers makes up a cute and fun gift bag to kids from 1 (0) to 92. “And so it’s been said many times many ways, Merry Christmas to you.”