Friday, December 8, 2017

3 Tried & True Quick & Easy Holiday Gifts

I don't know about you, but December always seems to creep up on me. Holiday rehearsals, student gifts, parent volunteer gifts, parent gifts (?), staff gifts, classroom aide gifts, finishing projects, and the list goes on!  I love the holiday season, but by the time Winter Break rolls around, I can barely stand up anymore; LOL! The WORST part for me is thinking of what to give so many people who I want to show appreciation for, without going broke. Here are 3 (or maybe more) tried & true holiday gifts that take less than an hour to assemble and are easily flexible to your budget.
 All I can say is thank goodness for Pinterest and all those creative crafters out there! We lazy busy procrastinators thank you! My youngest daughter is in middle school. She has 6 classes. That means 6 teachers. 6 gifts. Although I've been told (by a tween) that no one gives presents to teachers in middle school, I think no one deserves a thank you more than teachers who work with kids going through puberty! I try to give gifts that  people can actually use and appreciate. (I mean, how many scented lotions or candles can we really use?!) Most teachers, parents, aides, people drink something: coffee, tea, water. . . The "Thanks a Latte" templates by Thrifty NW Mom made for a super cute, quick & easy gifts. I printed them on cardstock, added a "cupholder" out of scraps of scrapbooking paper,  taped on a Starbucks gift card (of any amount that fits into your budget), then tied string. Voila! Done! Click on the picture to take you to the template.
Next, I love to feed people to show caring. And being a busy, working mom myself, I appreciate gifts of quick dinners! These 2 soups from Cassie at Wholefully: coconut curry and Italian barley are simple to assemble, pretty to give, and taste delicious! They fit in a pint size mason jar and cost under $4 to make (including the mason jar!) I attached scraps of holiday fabric under the screw-top lid and hot glued ribbon on the edge. Click on the picture below for these recipes, cute direction tags, and more soups!
Watching all the gift making activity, my youngest wanted to make gifts for her friends, too. Since not many middle schoolers make their own soup, in comes cookie mix in a jar by The Happier Homemaker! (This time we had to use a quart size mason jar, as I discovered when the pint size jar filled with the flour. . .) Same concept, easy for kids to assemble, then we used the same scraps of fabric and ribbon. For one of her friends that is gluten-free, we used gluten-free baking flour. These would be cute with red & green M & M's (in place of the chocolate chips) . . . I thought of this after we had finished all the jars. Next year. . .
Michaels craft store had holiday bags already 70% off so we grabbed a pack, padded with tissue and all our jars are ready to deliver to school next week!
For my students each year, I give them a 3-pack of pencils embossed with their name (anyone else have a pencil problem in their class??) The kids LOVE them and they're only 99cents at For Teachers Only.  (I forgot to take a picture of them before I wrapped. . .) 

I certainly don't need more "stuff" and I'm sure others feel the same way, so another one of my favorite traditions is to give my staff gifts in their name through organizations that benefit children: meals to feed a child for a week, games and arts supplies for kids, vaccinations for kids, etc. There are many local churches that offer these opportunities to buy "gifts" to help those in need. I've always gotten such positive feedback from those whom I give these to. (I also forgot to take a photo of the cute cards that explain the gifts. . .sigh. . . but hey, the cards are written and ready to go!)

What do you give as staff and volunteer appreciation gifts? Please share; I'm always looking for more ideas!!

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