10 Gifts From The Heart

I've become a bit tired of gift guides this year and I thought I'd share a different take on Christmas gifting. What I cherish most about the holidays are traditions that bring loved ones together without breaking the bank. Family dinners and cocktail parties, baking holiday treats, singing christmas carols, going on a neighborhood "lights tour" and trimming the tree. One of my most cherished Christmas traditions is making chocolate with my mother (who gives Martha Stewart a run for her money) and festively wrapping it in home made gift boxes for everyone we love.

I really love giving thoughtful and simple gifts from the heart and I find that it makes the holidays a much more mellow, and fulfilling experience. Here are 10 gift ideas for gifts that cost very little but mean a whole lot more.

1 / BAKED GOODS - The perfect gift for grandma/grandpa, aunts/uncles! Everyone loves a sweet treat around the holidays, especially those made from scratch! Recipes and more inspiration here: https://www.pinterest.com/jenkayphoto/holiday-baking/

2 / ROASTED COFFEE BEANS / ROASTED NUTS / HOMEMADE GRANOLA  - Similar to baked goods, these are from the heart and universally appealing. They also keep for a longer period of time and you can come up with endless ideas for customizing your packaging. Packaging inspiration here: Gift Boxes, more gift boxes

3 / INFUSED ALCOHOL - Easy to make and lasts forever! Excellent gift idea for the cocktail lover. Inspiration here:  Infused Alcohol Ideas on Pinterest

4 / ESSENTIAL OIL BATH SALTS - Perfect gift for your girlfriends. Easy to make in large batches and you can completely customize the scent and color. Package in glass jars from the hardware store or Etsy! Recipe HERE.

5 / PHOTO ALBUM - A simple and fun way to remind someone you love of memories that have been buried in the Facebook or Instagram feed. Easily send and print photos out at Walgreens/CVS/Kinkos and find a fun album to tie it all together. There are also tons of services that will print out your instagram photos into an album

6 / I LOVE YOU VIDEO - A surefire way to make someone feel special and teary eyed is to compile a short video telling them why you love them. You can easily do this in iMovie and add photos, songs, snapchats, and iphone videos. I made Zack a birthday video last year with 30 of his closest friends and family each saying why they loved him in short 30 second to 2 minute clip. When I showed it to him his reaction made ME cry! 

7 / RECIPE'S YOU'LL LOVE BOOK - Get a small moleskin notebook and jot down a list of recipes you think the recipient will love. Add collages of magazine clippings between each page and/or little drawings if you are feeling extra creative. 

8 / TICKETS TO A LOCAL EVENT, CONCERT, CLASS, GALLERY, OR LECTURE - Think of something you are both interested in and find a local event that you can attend together. Instead of giving a gift, create a memory! If you don't need physical tickets make a fun card or collage illustrating the plan. 

9 / LOVE JAR - Cut out 52 pieces of paper and write a little tidbit about why you love the person you are gifting. These can be funny memories, inside jokes, nicknames, or characteristics you love about them. Put them in a festive jar and give someone a year's worth of weekly smiles. 

10 / HOMEMADE CHOCOLATE - My personal favorite. My mom and I make these almost every year. They are super easy, fun to make, and they look very cute in clear packaging. Recipe HERE

Jen Kay