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Sunday, November 13, 2011

Christmas Open House, Bring Your Own Egg Nog!

Welcome to our First Annual DIY Christmas Open House! Come on in and make yourself at home. We're so glad you could join us. Merry Christmas, y'all!

We'll start by saying this post isn't so much about it's particular content and ideas - as much as it's about the heart issues behind them. At the end of the day, we all know there's nothing radical or crazy about cutting back on our Christmas spending.

There's nothing crazy about a bunch of rich Americans buying less stuff for ourselves and our rich friends so we'll have more to give away more to people truly in need. Especially since we do all of this in celebration of the birth of Christ.

Neither of us are crafty, artsy fartsy or terribly talented in some area or another and we pray you'll use this post and these ideas as a jumping off point. Use it to get your creative juices flowing, to reign in your spending this holiday season and to consider how you can make this Christmas a great heart-changing experience for you and your family.

So let's get this party started and talk about...

DIChristmas Gifts!

1. Gifts of Food
We know this one is rather obvious and over-done, but there's something Biblical to it. Esther 9:22 says this about the Purim celebration: "He told them to celebrate these days with feasting and gladness and by giving gifts of food to each other and presents to the poor."

Prepare Dry Cookie Mixes with your kids. Give them as teacher gifts, neighbor gifts, grandparent gifts or to most anyone who likes cookies. Attach a fabric bow and a handmade Christmas ornament or small wooden baking spoon to the top for added cuteness. Here's a great website with tons of dry cookie recipes.

2. Gifts of Time
This one's biblical too... Isaiah 58:10 exhorts us to not just to spend our money but to spend our very selves... "spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday."

  • Offer to babysit. Take it from two Mommas of large families... this is the single best gift you could ever offer. Instead of purchasing a gift for your friends or your sister-in-law or your cousin's wife, give them a gift certificate for free babysitting so they can have a date night instead.

  • Offer any other services or talents you might have... Can you teach piano? Offer art lessons? Paint a bedroom? Set up a website? Are you good at home organizing? If so, offer up yourself and your time!

  • 3. Gifts for Children
    This is a tricky one, since children dream about toys, toys, toys from the moment Christmas commercial appear on TV in October. But here are some fun options...some for their stockings, some for under the tree.

  • Tri-Fold Puppet Theater - this is a great gift for all the kids, especially if they're a little older. You can make this yourself, with just a few inexpensive items found at Wal-Mart or Target and very little crafty ability. Here's a website with a list of needed items and instructions. Just think, Sound of Music's puppet theater, without the lonely goat who's high on a hill.

  • Time with Mom and/or Dad - what child doesn't crave special attention from their parents? Find something that each child loves and give them a gift certificate for special date with them to do that very thing. You could even add a small, related gift item so the present is more fun to open. For example, if your child loves to cook, give them some inexpensive, child-sized cooking tools and a certificate for a three hour cooking date with mom.

  • Bubble Bath Paint - this site gives all the instructions. We're talking three ingredients and about five total minutes of prep time.

  • Make your own personalized coloring books - this site has a super cute idea for putting one together using family photos and a little Adobe Photoshop action.

  • 4. Other Random Gift Ideas
    Here are a few more ideas that might get the wheel's a-turnin' for other things you can make.

  • Christmas CD for Grandparents - Do your kids play an instrument? Record them playing a few of their songs and burn them to DVD or CD. Get them to belt out some Christmas carols to add to the mix. Then make your own CD cover on your computer. Granny will go nuts!

  • No-Sew Rag Wreath - Shelly stole this idea from her friend, Andrea. It's the cutest, easiest wreath ever and, unlike a lot of crafts, the materials hardly cost anything. This is Shelly's made last fall, still proudly hanging in the den. The cost was $8.

  • Get on the Internet and Research! - Seriously. We could go on and on here. In doing the research for this post, we came across everything from homemade bundt cake candles to popsicle mold soaps. There's SO much good stuff out there that's easy, inexpensive and non-crafty. The only hard part is getting over the pressure and temptation to spend, spend, spend for Christmas, as the world says you should.

  • 5. And last, but not least, here is our favorite DIY (of sorts) Christmas gift, with a two-fold purpose. You didn't think we'd get to the end of a post without mentioning SixtyFeet, didjya?

    This idea came from a recent post from Shelly about her house rules. We thought it would be a fun idea to design these rules in a fun fashion so that other families could display them in their home, too. And the best part is, 100% of the profits will go directly to SixtyFeet.

    Colleen ordered hers on a canvas and absolutely adores it. It's hanging proudly in her kitchen as a constant reminder of these great truths (I think us moms need them more than our children!).

    To view a larger image of all the color and style options, click here

    These would make a great gift for someone, as you can have their last name printed at the top. Peeps love a customized gift (and they're fairly inexpensive!).

    So here's the deal-i-yo on these suckers. They are $15 for the image. Not a physical picture, but a .jpeg file, sized to 11 x 14", that will be emailed to you...complete with the style of your choice and the name you specify at the top. Go here to order (and please, share the link with others!).

    Once purchased, you'll have full copyrights to the image and can upload it to any online printing service to have it printed on the material of your choice...ie, canvas, photo paper, foam core board, etc.

    Obviously, the least expensive option would be to have it printed as a picture onto photo paper. You can get a quality 11 x 14 print for about $7. Watch for sales at stores like Hobby Lobby and Michael's and get an inexpensive frame with a matte on the inside and, voila! You've got yourself a great-lookin' gif

    Here are a few recommended places for printing:


    Easy Canvas Prints

    Canvas People

    Vista Print


    Nations Photolab


    Go to some of these sites and sign up for their newsletters so you can be notified when they've got a sale or coupon code. I got an email from Easy Canvas Prints the other day that was a $28 sale for an 11 x 14 canvas! That's a steal, people.

    And that just about concludes this year's DIY Open House. Thanks for partying with us and for making it all the way to the bottom of this monster post. We hope some of the ideas posted here have blessed and inspired you to redirect your Christmas this year.

    Merry Christmas to all and to all a goodnight.


    Shelly and Colleen
    Your Bloggy Hostesses with the Mostesses

    PS - feel free to grab the code and put this button in the sidebar of your blog to help spread the word!

    Family Home Rules
    Copy and Paste this code to add to your site:
    <a href="http://www.myuglycouch.com/family-home-rules/" target="_blank"><img src="http://i39.tinypic.com/15cfwcn.jpg" border="0" alt="Family Home Rules"></a>


    Alison said...

    Love these! I will definitely help spread the word!!!

    Naomi said...

    Spreading the word too. I think this is a great idea for Christmas!