These ideas are somewhat unique, yet inexpensive and very thoughtful gifts. Obviously, they're perfect for Christmas gift-giving, but they would also make great birthday or aniversary gifts as well.
1. Wire Family Tree I saw this idea a number of years ago and have made countless versions of this for many people. It's made from wire and metal leafing and your own family photos, all put in an easy to find frame. I usually do a 16x20 frame, but I have made an insanely large version for my in-laws (I did their picture at the base of the tree and did all of their 12 children and spouses up on the branches- kind of a reverse family tree.)
There's a really nice tutorial on how to make it here. The first one takes the most time, but you get the hang of it pretty quickly. My hint is to just keep playing with the wire to get it how you want (and at the beginning, it won't really lay flat until you get a lot of the branches connected.) To connect the tree to the frame, I took inspiration from all the Barbie doll packaging. I poked holes through the cardboard backing of the frame and wired different spots of the tree and "twist-tied" it to the back of the cardboard and taped the wire down.
2.Custom Russian Nesting Dolls: I found a great place to buy these darling nesting dolls blank. They come in various sizes and numbers of dolls inside. I had the fun idea of painting the family we'd drawn for Christmas on the blanks. I have zero painting abilities so I enlisted the help of my talented sister-in-law to paint each doll to look like the Mom, Dad and all the kids.
They really look like each of them and they're each holding an object that relates to a hobby or interest of theirs. Here's another set, partially done:
We painted them with nice acrylic paints and then varnished them really well. They were a huge hit and I've got her painting a set for my family but on Japanese wooden Kokeshi dolls! You can find the blank nesting dolls here.
3. Quiet Bag for Church: For families, I like to put together a fun bag of quiet activities that are original and unique. It's great for church, the doctors, trips and so on. Here are a few things I made for in the bag:
- I spy Bags:
-Small Car mat:
here. These little roads have been a life-saver for me at church. My little guy loves to play with it and not, just at church!
I made this by drawing random squiggles on business card-size cardstock on both sides. I also chose some family photos that would be fun to draw on. I laminated all of them and put them on a ring. The kids can draw pictures out of the squiggles and draw silly faces and hair on their family members with dry erase markers. I made an eraser out of a small square of flannel. The "older" kids really got a kick out of this.
5.Custom Guess Who Game:
blog and just had to do it for our family reunion as a prize. It was easy to find a used copy of the game at a garage sale and at places like Goodwill.
My parents were getting ready to sell their home so I took tons of pictures of it when I was visiting and put them together into a lovely photo book through Shutterfly. It'll be a great record of their lovely home when they've moved across country to their new home. There are so many companies out there that make these photo books easy and inexpensive to do. Maybe you can collect family photos and make a book for each member of the family (I need to scan all mine in first- ours are pre-digital days!)
8. Family Silhouettes:
How about make a silhouette arrangement of the grandkids for Grandma and Grandpa? Or sneak photos of your nieces and nephews to make silhouettes of them for your sister and her husband. I set the kids in front of a piece of white tissue paper taped to the window. Take a profile photo of them and upload it to a photo-editing program (I use picnik.com.) Crop the photo to get just the head and shoulders. Play with the exposure and balance and make it as dark as you can. Then turn it into Black and White. Then save and print them out. I then glue the headshot onto a piece of black cardstock and then carefully cut out the profile with fine tipped shears. Flip the picture over and you've got a lovely silhouette. Glue into an arrangement in a frame of your choice and voila, you've got a great gift.
9. Family Photo Collage:
This is a fun piece of art for the family, all done with stock photos available free online and then uploaded into Picasa (or something similar) to make a collage. Mine says "Beus Family.1993" You can find instructions here.
10. Family Birthday Pennant Banner:
These cute pennant banners are everywhere and you can easily find an online tutorial. I made one to say "Happy Birthday" and paired it with one of the special day plates I mentioned earlier. You could also pair it with this darling Balloon Birthday wreath (instructions here):
Are you inspired? I hope so. There are so many fun and unique gift ideas, that this only scratches the surface. Enjoy and have fun!
This week I'm linking to: