The Philippine Star
Go beyond personalized Christmas presents
HERE’S A LIST OF GIFT IDEAS USING ITEMS YOU ALREADY HAVE AT HOME
Without a doubt, Christmas this year holds more significance than ever, at least in this generation. And even if budget is tight this time, there are countless ways we can still share the gift of hope, love and joy. Consider giving unique handmade gifts from items you may have lying around your house. Use your imagination, think about the personality of the receiver and get creative! To help you get started, here are quirky gift ideas to impress your friends and loved ones.
SALT DOUGH EARRINGS AND ORNAMENTS
There are plenty of recipes for salt dough, but the main ingredients are flour, salt, water, time and your imagination. Mold and cut the dough into desired shapes and designs, and bake away. Paint them however you like, but don’t forget to poke a hole big enough for the earring hoop to go through. For Christmas ornaments, make sure the hole is big enough for ribbons and yarns.
Bonus: You can also make a bowl out of salt dough. Get an oven-safe bowl, let the dough take the shape of the bowl and bake until it’s ready. Paint and decorate! These bowls can serve as a catch-all for keys, jewelry, or loose change.
REUSE PHOTO FRAMES
If you received a slew of photo frames from previous Christmas parties, why not re-gift these to your friends (those who didn’t give you the frames, of course)? Add a quote, poster, or illustrations that you can download for free. Or jazz it up by gluing colorful buttons and beads, painting it, or adding glitter for some shimmer and shine.
WINE CORK COASTERS
If you’ve been having virtual wine nights with your friends this past quarantine, you probably have a lot of wine corks lying around your kitchen. Why not make coasters out of it and send it to your wineloving friends for your next virtual e-numan session?
With a sharp knife, cut the corks either in half lengthwise or into five pieces crosswise. Lay the pieces out on a board (cork, card or felt board). When you are happy with the layout, glue them together with a glue gun or super glue. Cut the board and there you have your very own wine cork coasters.
Easy DIY cork coasters for you and your friends’ next e-numan session.
SALT AND SUGAR SCRUBS
This is the easiest of all DIY gifts you can do, and all the ingredients are readily available in your kitchen! Just mix white sugar, salt, coconut oil and a few drops of the recipient’s favorite essential oil, and, voila, a salt and sugar scrub for that quarantine skin-care routine.
DIY SHOPPING BAGS
Shopping bags are an easy and simple way to reduce plastic pollution. They also make great gifts for eco-conscious friends. There are plenty of tutorials available online to show you how to make your own shopping bags — either handsewn, machine-sewn or no-sew. If you have spare fabrics at home, it’s time to refashion them.
Christmas is about family and spending time with them. 2020, however, was a tough one. Many of us have not seen our families for months due to isolation and strict quarantine measures, or even lost a loved one. Celebrate the gift of family with picture ornaments. Print out photos of your family members on sticker paper or photo paper, even ordinary bond, and glue them onto old ornaments. Or make your own trinkets from card board, popsicle sticks, or salt dough. Your relatives will surely appreciate these unique and from-the-heart Christmas ornaments.
If you have become one those plantitas and plantitos who have successful grown their own vegetable and herb gardens, consider sharing your bounty with friends and family with flavored salts. People now have more time for baking and cooking elaborate dishes, making flavored salts a perfect gift.
When using fresh herbs, chop and air-dry them until crumbly. Grate the zest, spread it on a baking sheet and dry it out in the oven for 30 minutes or until crumbly and fragrant. Mix together sea salt, herbs and citrus fruit zest and transfer the flavored salt to a jar. Add a ribbon and you’re ready to sprinkle some holiday cheer. Flavored salts are great for grilling, roasting, even flavoring your popcorn.
PLANNERS AND CALENDARS
For that organized friend who loves to plan all his or her daily and weekly tasks, a planner or calendar makes a great gift. With barely a month left of 2020, a lot of businesses are now offering their own versions of planners and calendars. But you can opt to download free printable ones, from the cutest floral ones to the sleek and minimalist designs.
DIY PLANT POT AND MACRAMÉ POT HOLDER
Another perfect gifts for plantitas and plantitos! You can make planters out of almost anything — glass jars, tin cans, plastic bottles, yogurt and ice cream containers, children’s toys, chipped mugs and tea cups — the sky is the limit, just some decorative twist.
Macrame, on the other hand, can be done using yarn, rope, even old clothes. There are simple macramé patterns that you can follow online, but consider the size of plant pot or planter you want to use. Keep it simple and minimalist, use bright colors, or add oversized beads — it’s all up to you.
But if you have money to spare and want to make other people’s Christmas merrier, you can order online Filipino-inspired plant holders made of recycled steel. These are made by farmers and welders of NW Farm Zambales. Pre-order at NW Online Palengke’s Facebook page.
NECKTIE PHONE CASE
Neckties have become the fall-to gifts for guys because we know that, eventually, they will wear these for work or special occasions. But since most of us have been working from home these past months, neckties have become a thing of the distant past. Rather than letting them collect dust, upcycle them into something more usable, like a cozy phone case for your dad, boyfriend or officemates.
Lay out the necktie on a table and place the phone on top. Measure and mark the places where you need to cut, and snip off the upper part of the tie. Remove the center seam with a pair of sharp scissors or seam picker. Slide your phone into the new opening and make a snug fit. Flip the necktie inside out and stitch the base and the center. Finish it off with velcro for closure.