People say that the best gifts are from the heart, but sometimes you just have to say that whether it’s true or not. But if you have a chance of getting it right you’re going to need to start early. Over the past few years honey has come to expect that there will be something homemade and awesome under the tree and so I’ve gotten used to stepping up my game. Which can be super stressful. I have included some pictures of things I’ve made, if I can still, for him and others in the past. There MAJORITY are great for guys, but I included some more universal ideas for all. Most of the people in my life want for nothing, so creating something just for them is a great idea. And it ranger from big presents to sticking stuffers.
Photo Ideas, beyond just a frame
You certainly can do a series of framed pictures and I’ve done that too. But you can step it up if you like for honey’s past birthday I did him a video of all the amazing pictures from his life and set it to music using iMovie. It included digital pictures that I’ve taken but also all those pictures from before me too. This gift is two-fold because it’s a digitization and archiving project but also can be a real tear jerker. In order to digitize old photos I simply took pictures of them with my dSLR brought them into iPhoto (or photoshop elements) and improved them then made a video which I uploaded to his youtube channel as a surprise. I decided it into four parts the old photo of him set to ‘back in my prime’ by Toby Keith. Extended family pictures set to “We’re here for a good time (not a long time)” by Trooper, then the kids set to “Sweet child of mine by Sheryl Crow. I did a section on vehicles because that’s special to him set to “low rider” by War. Finally I did a section on us set to “lady in red” by Chris de Burgh. I also put old video clips into the video at the end of songs. It was a lot of work but it was worth it. I can’t share it with you due to the copyright on the music.
Other years I’ve done photo montages like these and one time framed a print of my sister in law’s amazing photo he couldn’t stop talking about she posted to facebook. Of course ask first if that’s okay especially if like my sister in law they are pretty great hobby photographers and it’s best to offer to pay.
Make your favourite person a personal logo
What do you get for the person that has everything? Their very own logo or personalized design element. Richard got into remote controls hard a few years ago and stared joking that out basement was his personal hobby shop called R.B.’S R.C.’s. That was before youtube and the collection grew to 170. I had it printed on a huge sign and it hangs outside the basement door to mark the ‘shop’. I’ve also designed myself personalized stationary which could be fun for someone who still sends handwritten cards or notes. Let your mid roll with this one, It can be fun. With today’s editing software just printing a mug at the mall is more fun if you incorporate a sassy saying like Richy needs Coffee, Now! or ‘Hugs for you’ on a cozy blanket.
Perfect custom storage
What do you get for the person that has everything? The perfect place to put it all! A few years ago when Richard was getting really deep into his RC hobby he was accumulating lots of little stuff for his toys. Now like most men out there his looker is lacking, meaning if something doesn’t literally jump out and hit him in the face he can’t find it. And he’s always space limited in the basement. So I came up with the idea to make see through, roll up, colour coded organizers. I sewed them out of clear vinyl plastic and of course I put his logo in each one as well as a spot for the label of what’s inside. Here’s a tip if you want to sew with vinyl put tissue paper on either side so that it moves through the machine easily and rip it off when you’re done. You can see what I made so that he could store all the little stuff in front of the shelves and roll it up out of the way.
Your probably aren’t going to make the exact same thing but it could be useful for make-up, thread or crafty bits. But I could imagine making my mom an iPad cover for the airports with a zippered compartment for passports and Id’s as well as her phone, a spot for a few pens and a book and she cold leave everything else in her bag when she travels. For my sister I might make a car seat organizer for baby stuff that perfectly fit her car. For the kids I might make a tiny ID pouch for when they are out on the town. For a Gardner a seed packet book, you get the idea…
Handmade practical stuff
If your really at a loss just make really practical homemade stuff that everyone needs. Things like dish scrubbiers or towels. Another nice idea is re-useable bowl covers for the fridge, so much easier than saran wrap. Little zippered pouches are always put to good use. A delicates bag or a shoe bag are appreciated by travellers. Plus you can make it to match their decor perfectly, in their favourite colour or in a fabric that they would love since you know them. You should make a matching set of well designed grocery bags. You could put together a cute great first aid kit with actually useful stiff rather than just bandaids and gauze for travel or the person’s sport. A car emergency bag is also a practical option. As silly as it is it puts a smile on you face to wash dishes knowing someone you love spent an hour making the scrubber just for you!
A backpack perfect for the load
We do some weird things at our house and one of those is crawler runs. That’s right we take tiny trucks out into the woods and try to drive over little rocks with hose groups of people and call it a trail run. I usually take hundreds of videos of this and make a youtube video of it. We usually cary a lot of spare parts and often two spare trucks. Two years ago I made honey a custom backpack, again with the logo, that was fully vinyl and wipeable in the inside, had lots of pockets and could carry one truck inside and another in a detachable pocket below. Plus I left the ties long so you could also tie one to each side. When that’s not in use now the bottom is my favourite grocery bag.
Deck of love cards
This one is pretty easy even for the non crafters in the group and great for non poker players too. I bought a set of cards at the dollar store attached them all and tied them together and wrote a nice thing on each one.
Orange gear for your hunter or hiker
You love your hunter and want them to stay safe right? Nothing says don’t shoot me like hunter’s orange. And some places it’s illegal to be in the woods without it during hunting season. The options are endless, armbands, a headband with ear flaps, I made one that goes over a ball cap (mostly as a joke), a personalized cowl for my sister’s dog (not a joke) a vest or ankle markers. Being shot int he leg can’t be fun either. If you make something little and store it in the car even if they forget that day they’ll be covered.
Homemade box of homemade chocolates
There are copy recipes for almost all the chocolate bars out there. If candy is your person’s thing bake it into cookies. Your creation has an ingredient no one else does and that’s love. One year I made a divided box which included 4 homemade chocolate types I can’t remember them all but it defiantly included a copy of recies pieces. This is a nice smaller idea for stockings which can be hard to diy.
Yoga bags that work
You know what sucks, almost all the yoga bags out there. Getting your mat into one is like stuffing a marshmallow into a piggy bank. Two inches bigger people makes all the difference. Ha ha that’s what she said. Sorry about that. I made myself a new one which is pretty detailed but I also made one for a new yogi friend that is a more simple and round. The problem is they are often too tight and not slippery enough. Easily solved by a slightly bigger size and a slippy liner fabric plus you can choose the perfect fabric for each person.
Super custom homemade stuff
This covers some of the ideas discussed previously but you can make super personalized custom stuff for anyone with a computer or iron on transfers. It’s a lot like the storage stuff, and the backpack but the idea goes further too. For my step dad I might make a grill accessory bag, or middle of the night grill pj’s maybe a drone cozy to protect his from dust. Lat year I got him grill consumables like wood chips and a bag of coal, charcoal for Christmas. The real present was the card though. I photoshopped his face onto a sexy devil cartoon with the caption, “we heard you’ve been naughty this year”.
For my brother in law I might make re-useable lunch bags with pictures of his family or bedazzle a tool belt for him. Actually maybe putting his address on it with a saying like “if found please return to 123 anywhere street, I’m not done my project yet and my wife will kill me!” is a great idea for this Christmas for him!
When they were in the demo stage and my sister didn’t think it was going fast enough I no joke bedazzled a very serious E-swing hammer for her. I glued about 200 pink and white rhinestones too it and wrapped the handle in pink plaid glitter duct tape and there may have been feathers. I gave it to her with a card explaining the history and quality in each and every E-swing hammer. Think long and hard about your person and you’ll come up with something.
A book with you and your favourite kid and you!
I’m planning on writing and making a children’s book for my niece and Richard’s granddaughter this year. I even already wrote it, but it’s a pretty blatant rip off of the pat the bunny concept. Each pat concept starts with a special picture from the year and then a ‘pat’ page and it’s only 10 pages long… But I’ll glue stuff in and it’ll be great! Then I’ll have it printed and bound like a ‘real’ book. Any tips on either how to diy that step or who does it but doesn’t charge an arm and a leg would be great! Which brings me to my next point…
Start a tradition you can build on
I like traditions and dislike change. We have the same holiday decorations every year for thanksgiving, I drive cars for years and wear all my clothes well past their prime. Indulging in traditions is also a big part of how I was raised. But one nice thing about holiday traditions is that they provide a present idea year after year. In my family my sister and I got new pj’s every Christmas eve since 1985 at first for the new video camera but it continues to this day. A few years ago I started making a pair for Richard too out of fabrics you might not associate with a big, strong, tall, often bearded man. Things like tigger, dump trucks and toy car prints that I knew he would love.
Think about starting your own traditions like giant fruit in the stocking, a particular chocolate, a magazine or a particular gift card. People always need sneakers, coffee and perhaps their favourite liquor for mixed drinks. Then you have a built in idea year after year.
Over the years I’ve also made
- a re-creation of our felt childhood advent calendar for my neice
- Knitted touques
- Diaper bags
- Furry RC body covers
- Personalized mugs (baking sharpie and then varnishing it doesn’t make it permanent
- A boudoir book (shot by me with a remote)
- A blanket with iron on RC toy pictures
- Coupon books for babysitting, dog walking and designated driving
- An over the tub wine and candle holder
What are you making for the holidays? But also… what have been your all time bests? PS SHHH… some of these are for this Christmas! Also leave a comment for a detailed post on how to make something in particular.