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10 Creative Ways to Give from the Heart, Not the Pocketbook
by Nancy Twigg

Meaningful gift giving doesn’t have to be expensive. In fact, some of the most precious gifts are the ones that cost very little, but mean a great deal because of the time and effort the giver took in giving the gift. Below you will find a list of gift ideas that are low-cost but high value. Rather than a large chunk of change, these gift ideas require you to invest your creativity and time with only a little of your hard-earned cash.

* Make a scrapbook of the history of your relationship with the recipient. Fill it with pictures, mementos and memories from the past. Include your own heartfelt note thanking the recipient for the value and warmth she adds to your life.

* Put your artistic abilities to work and create a piece of art in honor of the recipient. Write a personalized song, do a painting or sketch, or write a poem.

* Use your computer to make a family cookbook with a variety of recipes contributed by different family members. Or make a cookbook of all of your own special recipes to share with the recipient.

* If you have artistic flair, purchase blank note cards with envelopes. Decorate the cards with your own drawings to make personalized note cards for your loved one.

* If you can knit or crochet, make the honoree a new scarf, hat, afghan or pair of mittens. If you sew, create a new apron, fleece throw or keepsake pillow.

* Make an “I Love You because...” or “You’re Special because...” jar. On individual slips of paper, write something you love and appreciate about the honoree. Place the slips of paper in a decorative jar. You can also make an “I Love You” book by writing each thought on a different page of a blank journal.

* Use a desktop publishing program or your calligraphy skills to create a wall-hanging featuring a inspirational quote or Bible verse that is particularly meaningful. If you are handy with a needle and embroidery floss, do the same thing using your needlework skills. Display the finished product in an inexpensive, yet attractive frame.

* For the chocolate lover on your list, fill a gift basket with several varieties of homemade chocolate cookies, candy, and brownies. If the recipient loves sweets but is concerned about weight gain, use recipes for goodies that are low in fat and calories.

* Make a keepsake video containing something that would be special to the recipient: her children singing songs, friends telling why they love her, or you recounting funny stories of times you’ve shared together.

* Do a week or month’s worth of cooking for the recipient. Fill her freezer with homemade meals that she can easily heat and serve rather than having to cook.

Excerpt from Nancy’s book, "Celebrate Simply: Your Guide to Simpler, More Meaningful Holidays and Special Occasions."

See Also:

A New Way to Use Old Snapshots
Instead of letting your snapshots take up space and contribute to the clutter in your home, use them to make collages (at a cost of less than $10 each) that you can give as Christmas gifts to family and friends. Here's how.

Nancy Twigg is the editor of Counting the Cost, a free email newsletter about simple and frugal living. She is also the author of the new book, Celebrate Simply: Your Guide to Simpler, More Meaningful Holidays and Special Occasions. To learn more about living simply or celebrating simply, visit Nancy online at http://www.countingthecost.com

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