If You’re My Sister-In-Law, Don’t Read This

Lee Ann, I’m serious, stop reading now.

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Last chance.

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Thank you.

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A couple of years ago, my family started a meaningful and sensible tradition.  The adults draw names and give to only that one person. (Not kids, of course.  Everyone gives to the kids.  They make out like bandits.)  This means we can put a little more thought (or effort, or money, if you’re so inclined), and it’s considerably less stressful (or expensive) to shop for one person instead of the whole crew.

The hardest person to shop for is my dad.  This is mostly because a couple of years ago my brother gave him a gift certificate for a Razorback tattoo, a gift so spectacular that no other gift will ever measure up. 

The easiest name–the one we all fight for–is my mom. She is the most gracious person I know.  I can promise you that there has never been an easier-to-please soul walk this planet.  She loves (LOVES! LOVES!) anything.  It is impossible to buy her a gift that she won’t enjoy.  One year my dad visited a craft show and bought her a free-standing, hand-carved cow. Let me repeat that, in case you missed it:  he bought her a free-standing, hand-carved cow.  It had purple ears and hooves, and it was holding a sign that said (I swear I’m not making this up) "Kitchen Closed: This Heifer Is Gone."

To this day, I have a sneaky suspicion that he gave her that as a test, to see if she would love (LOVE! LOVE!) it. 

She did.

Anyway, I drew my sister-in-law Lee Ann’s name this year.  She’s my brother’s wife, and she is a remarkable woman.  She’s an artist, in the truest sense of the word–the kind of person who can casually glance at a pile of raw supplies and they suddenly transform into something spectacular.  As an artist, she appreciates things that are lovely, sentimental, useful, handmade and eco-friendly.  This makes her easy to shop for.  Hello, Etsy.

I’ve been having so much putting things together for her, I couldn’t bring myself to stop at just one gift.  I’m not spending very much, but I’m getting things that I know she’ll love.  For starters, I got her a piece at The Vintage Pearl with her kids’ names on it.  Second, she loves going to the coffee shop, so I got her a handmade Coffee Cuff from Bon*Bons (these are so stinkin’ cute, and they’re only $7.  Score!)

But I really wanted to make something for her myself, because I know that’s the type of thing that means something to her.  Anyway, I’ve been completely swamped lately, and I have a long and fruitful history of dealing with being swamped by starting craft projects.  Perfectly logical.

So I’ve decided to make Lee Ann some hankies, handmade with flannel, and embroidered with her initials.  That seems so personal, and she will appreciate that it’s much more eco-friendly than wads of Kleenex.  It’s softer on the nose, too.  I even did a little investigating about buying some organic flannel. 

HOLY SHMOKES that stuff is expensive.  Anyway, I felt a little intellectually dishonest shopping for organic stuff, being, as I am, a fan of Velveeta.

Instead, I’m going with with pesticide-and-preservative-laden-but-gosh-it’s-cute-and-cheap stuff I found at JoAnn’s.  Look how great this fabric is (one side will be the brown floral print; the other side, with her initials, will be the ivory):


I’m planning to construct these identically to my burp cloth pattern, except they will square (probably about 10" by 10").   

I realize it’s really lame to write a blog post about a craft you’re going to do but haven’t quite accomplished yet, but I thought it was a fun idea some of you crafty girls might be be interested in tackling yourself.  I know myself, and I know I will likely still be working on these December 24th, which wouldn’t leave a lot of time for the sharing of the information, would it?

So, if I promise to keep my lips absolutely sealed, will you tell me what is the most meaningful gift you’re giving this year?

103 thoughts on “If You’re My Sister-In-Law, Don’t Read This

  1. Jess says:

    Every year I make something for my nieces and nephew. Last year it was fleece pillowcases, the year before it was beach towels with their names appliqued on them (that they all still use, btw!). My DH’s sisters look forward to those gifts because they know I’m all about making the gifts, but not making clutter. So, this year the kids are getting fabric covered memo boards. You’ve seen them….they’ve got the ribbon criss-crossed over a pretty fabric and you can slide pictures, etc under the ribbon. They’re proving harder to make than I thought they’d be, but I’m sure it will be worth the time and effort. Complete with a photo of my 4 boys.

  2. Kari says:

    I’m getting my dh an industrial size can of nacho cheese sauce from Sam’s Club and the kids are getting him chips.
    I just wanted to stop by and tell you VELVEETA ROCKS!!!
    Kari B

  3. jill says:

    My best, best gift is for my son – he wants a wool felt space ship. I have it all together, and its amazing. I just have to find a way to stop it from falling over all the time.
    Also, it is my husband and I’s 15th anniversary on Dec. 29th. I’m going to scan photos from the last 15 years and make one of those photo books of cool things we’ve done.

  4. Ericka says:

    I have to tell you, I made that snack mix with the vanilla chips, frito’s, etc and it was a HIT. My son’s teacher said it was gone from the lunchroom in an hour and I have requests for more!
    Also, I went over to Etsy and found Risky Beads. I found the PERFECT gift for both my mom and my sis in law!!!!!
    LOVE her stuff and those are the gifts I’m most excited about. Lori is awesome to work with.
    I don’t think I’ll ever ‘shop’ at a store again unless I absolutely have to.
    thanks for all the great links πŸ™‚

  5. Marvyn says:

    My wife’s family use to follow the same gift giving tradition, but changed it last year to a grab bag, with a twist. When a person chooses a gift, anybody in the room w/o a gift has the option to take it from him/her. The gift purchasing process is less personal (good and bad) but its still rewarding in the end.

  6. Milissa says:

    My brother is having his first baby today! Well, I guess actually my sister-in-law is having the baby. πŸ˜‰ Anyways, I got them a Family Tree ornament…with their names and the year. I think they will love it.

  7. Shara Goswick says:

    We’re doing handmade gifts this year as well. We had family pictures made as a surprise, and since it’s been five years I think that will be special.
    My daughter made personalized coasters out of scrap paper and markers.
    My oldest son recorded some praise and worship songs at church on cd’s. (He leads worship for the youth on Wed. nights.)
    My youngest son painted pictures for everyone. We recently opened a shop for him at Cafepress, because he’s doing awesome.

  8. Nikie says:

    My mother on the other hand is hard to buy for because she very lovely but expensive taste. I have search for a new tree topper for her since my six year old daughter even said her current one looked sad. After weeks of looking I have decided to make one for her. I am really excited and know that she will love it because it is going to be gorgeous and hand made with love.

  9. Carey says:

    I am making my daughter a Journal Jar. I found this fabulous idea here:
    You fill the jar with little decorated slips of paper with journaling prompts, like “List 5 things that make you happy.” Each day, she’ll choose a slip of paper and tape it into her journal – then start writing! I’m hoping to pass on to her my love of writing!

  10. kay says:

    I make scrapbook calendars every year for the grands and myself. I use photos from the year and they always turn out cute. They take some time and thought, but it’s not difficult. And it’s a useful gift that won’t sit around and gather dust.

  11. Nikie says:

    My mother on the other hand is hard to buy for because she very lovely but expensive taste. I have search for a new tree topper for her since my six year old daughter even said her current one looked sad. After weeks of looking I have decided to make one for her. I am really excited and know that she will love it because it is going to be gorgeous and hand made with love.

  12. CR says:

    I’m making my niece and nephew their own no-sew fleece blankets. Also, we giving my parents a collage of grankid pictures, so they’ll absolutely love it!

  13. Jami says:

    We live 450 miles away from our entire family. Needless to say, our parents don’t get to see our 2 boys (3-1/2 and 14 months) nearly enough during the year. So, this year I made a digital scrapbook that showcases our most treasured and fun moments from throughout the year for them. I’m really excited about giving it to them because it will give them a chance to look back and see all the fun things the boys did throughout the year and see how much they changed and grew. It’s a way that we can share our fun times with them even though they couldn’t be there with us.

  14. Teri from Indiana says:

    May I make a suggestion? Do you have a friend with a home embrodiery machine? If so, maybe that friend will monogram them for you.
    The most meaningful gift we’re giving this year is food. Our older boys would in landscaping and that’s really seasonal here. Until we have a major snowstorm & they’re out plowing, they’re unemployed. Our s-i-l lost his job last week too. So we ordered boxes of food from the Angel Food Ministry. They each get a regular box & a bonus box. If things are still tight next month, we’ll do it again for them. I can’t see buying power tools or whatever else they want when the table isn’t being filled. I don’t sleep well knowing my kids are going without when my own freezer is full.

  15. pendy says:

    Gift I loved giving…last year I scanned a gazillion photos from 1903 until then and put them on memory card and combined that with a digital frame. Did this for my parents and in-laws. It was VERY time-consuming and the frames are pricey, but I didn’t know what a gift it would be for me as well, as I enjoy having those photos as a slide show screensaver.

  16. Mandy says:

    My six year old is in the process of doing these for my dad, her “big pap”. He owns his own home restoration business so she made him a hammer and screwdriver (with help drawing from mommy) and now she is doing a wrench. I am going to sew them up for her when she is done embroidering them, or “stitching” them as she calls it. I know my dad will treasure them forever. Handmade gifts are so much fun.

  17. Tara says:

    I asked my mom what she and Dad wanted for Christmas. An electric griddle. Hummm. That’s a stinky gift! So, in the course of some email conversations it came out that she’d like to, as a family, have everyone save up all year and make a donation to a charity next year. I asked her if she’d rather that I did that for her this year instead of a griddle. She jumped at the chance and I’m making a donation to a local hospice organization in her name and in memory of her parents who used that service.
    And I’m going to give her my electric griddle. (Nearly typed electric girdle!) DH wants a new one anyway. πŸ™‚

  18. Tootie says:

    This may sound dorky, but as far as homemade gifts go, I’m giving my parents some stories I’ve written about our Christmas times together. They actually requested that I write them.
    I might post a few of them on my blog – but only after Christmas, so I won’t spoil the surprise for them!

  19. Karen says:

    I am making scarves for a few friends, calendars for the ladies in my Sunday School class, and homemade bath fizzies for the boys. They love those things and will think I am so cool if I make them myself! I was trying to make lip balm, but can’t find the little containers to put it in. Any ideas?

  20. Jill says:

    I’m making Scarfs for my 4 nieces. Two are in high school, one in college and one in jr high. I just learned to knit in July so they are a very easy pattern, but as I’ve knitted their scarfs I’m thinking of them, praying for them and imagining them opening them up.
    For the two that live away from here I wrote a little note about the dreams my husband and I have for them and the Godly women they are becoming.
    I only hope they enjoy them half as much as I’ve enjoyed making them for them.
    The fact I’ve had to watch Hallmark Channel movies and sit and rest while making them is a bonus.

  21. Photoqueen says:

    I’m making a scrapbook of my brother and sister-in-law’s wedding photos for them. It was supposed to be their wedding gift. But that didn’t happen (in April). So now it’s for Christmas. I’m halfway finished, so I’m pretty sure I’ll actually hit this goal. πŸ™‚

  22. Kathryn says:

    I can almost guarantee I’m going to be burning midnight oil on the 24th as well but my good intentions are as follows: (Background note: our 6 month old son, Seth, died in October this year..) The “big kids” are getting scrabble tile necklaces with Seth’s pic on it; my mom & other misc. family members are getting photo pillows with various pics of our family and Seth featured.. I hope. (Oh, and I”m buying myself a custom made photo bracelet but having my dh wrap it for me!)

  23. Dawn W says:

    I’ve made two items this year…
    My 16 yo nephew went with us on our family vacation to the coast this past summer. I’ve taken all of our pictures and combined them into an scrapbook for him. (Well, almost… I still have a little more work to do on it.)
    I also made a pair of earrings for my mother.

  24. Rebecca says:

    What great fabric! I’m sure the pesticides won’t bother her a bit. πŸ˜‰ I have already made my mother in law a paper bag album with photos of my husband during his recent deployment and pictures of our homecoming since she couldn’t be here for that. I altered a notebook into a meal planner for my step mom (some recipes included) and am altering two frames for my sister & my best friend. OH & I’m making two scrapbook pages for my niece’s album. I love doing homemade gifts but am a procrastinator so it bites me in the rear sometimes.

  25. Kelly says:

    I just laughed out loud at your comment about velveeta. I mean…really loud. My co-workers are probably curious.
    Thanks for being honest about the ‘non green’ parts of your life.
    My most meaningful gift this year is for some friends that just had a baby. They are getting movie tickets, a gift card for dinner, and a free baby-sitter. I don’t make things…

  26. Angie says:

    I’m taking the last year of my life and my journey through cancer as I’ve written about it on my blog and putting it into a book to give to my grandparents who don’t use computers. They live too far away to have walked with me through this, but have been so faithful to love and pray for me and overwhelm me (in a good way) with phone calls and cards.

  27. Brooke says:

    A few years ago I purchased rag time fleece quilt kits from JoAnn’s and made them for the whole family.
    My grandparents love theirs, and they constantly fight over who will get to use it while they sit in front of the tv. Unfortunately, JoAnn’s does not carry them anymore.
    So I get to cut out all the squares myself and then sew them together. And don’t feel too bad, I haven’t started this project either even though I bought the fleece months ago.
    I also make tons of cookies, the 12 Cookies of Christmas to be exact. This is my third year to make these baskets, and I’m already getting requests for when they will be delivered!

  28. Alli Crumley says:

    All I can say about the most meaningful gift we are giving is it comes from my husband and goes to my mom. He is using his skill as a programmer (making it handmade, in my opinion) and creating something so useful for her she just might cry. And while it didn’t help her this Christmas, it will take some stress off of her next Christmas, for sure.

  29. Stephanie says:

    I am making personalized calendars for my mom, dad, sister, sister-in-law & brother through Shutterfly. It is the gift I’ve been giving for the last few years and everyone loves them. I use pictures of their kids and family pics taken throughout the year. Shutterfly does a beautiful job with them and they look like something you would buy at a store.

  30. laura says:

    oh my,
    “Kitchen Closed: This Heifer Is Gone.”
    Your mother must be a saint!!
    I am making my daughters blankets.
    I make their friends blankets for graduation gifts, but never have made any for my own kids. That has to be a black mark on my mother record!
    I know you didn’t ask but, my homemade macaroni and cheese wouldn’t be the same without Velveeta.

  31. Aimee says:

    I made photo books for all the grandparents this year. We took our first family vacation this past summer, so I included candid shots we took and professional photos we had taken. I used MyPublisher.com, but I’ve recently heard of blurb.com, snapfish.com and… there’s another one I can’t remember right now.
    I can’t wait for everyone to open the books! I love them and I hope they do, too.

  32. Liz C says:

    I’m making my husband a pirate hat in polar fleece, and getting him a stuffed parrot.
    The most meaningful gift, though: I’m transcribing a packet of his grandmother’s poems and stories (many of them written to him when he was a little boy), putting them in book format, sending them to our printer, and having them hardbound. Time consuming, but I type fast, and it’s neat to get to know his “Babba” through her writing–she died long before I ever met DH.

  33. Tricia says:

    I am sewing an apron and dishcloth set for my friend. She loves the smock style aprons and the only ones she has found are thrifted and downright ugly.
    The dishcloths are a breeze to make. The apron is a tad bit harder. This is the first time I have tried to follow a pattern (I’m a novice seamstress to put it nicely) and I am finding this pattern business to be a bit tricky. She may end up getting this for her birthday in Feb!

  34. Sarah says:

    Come Christmas morning, my husband and I are telling my parents that they’ll be first-time grandparents soon. Does that count as a holiday gift?

  35. Rebekah says:

    In an effort to encourage my family to be more environmentally friendly, I made them all portable shopping bags. I created the pattern based off one I already had, used fun printed cotton, and they will roll up and secure like an umbrella for easy use and portability! Hopefully, they will get used!

  36. Rachel says:

    Okay, this is going to sound really silly, but I’m so proud of myself for coming up with this idea that I have to share. I’m making my husband a hippo that passes gas. Seriously, that’s the best idea I’ve had. He was watching NCIS and saw Abby the forensic technician had one and died laughing. Anything that can make him laugh like that is worth getting. He is so hard to shop for. My parents are getting him a series of gift cards, but I’m going to give him a really meaningful gift. A hippo that farts.

  37. Superchikk says:

    Well, it’s not exactly ME that’s giving the gift, but probably the most meaningful will be Husband’s book. He spent the last year writing a novel, for older kids/young teens. His Mom is an avid reader and loves all things fiction. So he’s currently editing and will have printed at a print-on-demand website his book to give to her and our niece.
    And if I can get it finished, I am making a photobook of our little man’s first year for the grandparents.

  38. Tracy U. says:

    I bought two pink aprons (for breast cancer awareness) that read: I Cook for my Mom!
    I had an awesome picture of my Mom, two sister and me silkscreened onto the front of the apron. It was a picture of us at a Race for the Cure walk some years ago. I’m giving it to my sisters for Christmas. It is also in rememberance of our Mom who died this past June from cancer.

  39. We are THAT family says:

    My most meaningful is a gift to my MIL from my kids. They wrote out their grandma’s favorite recipe that she makes and drew a picture of it (I left it unedited because it’s darling).
    I scanned the artwork and printed it on transfer paper. I ironed them onto kitchen hand towels and adorned it with pretty ribbon across the border.
    I think she will treasure it!

  40. Mel says:

    OMG that is such a great gift! Unfortunately my energy levels have been dropping severely the past month, but I was planning on making each family a cross stitch ornament. I bought the ornament frames, fabric, and have plenty of thread. I just have not gotten around to making the patterns or sewing them. No energy, literally.
    However these seem simple and fun. I may employ my mom to help me so I can go faster. She loves to do the sewing and cutting of fabric, and I can handle a needle well enough. Hope you don’t mind. πŸ™‚

  41. Diana (Ladybug Limited) says:

    I’m trying to do the handmade holiday thing myself this year and am hoping I haven’t bitten off more than I can chew… the gals are getting silver stamped necklaces (a la Vintage Pearl, Lisa Leonard, etc.) and the guys are getting keychains.
    Wish me luck!

  42. karen says:

    We have a gift exchange at the big dinner every year, too. The adults bring 1 gift for his or her gender. Then we draw. Oh and we play that game where you can take another’s gift. It’s hilarious. I usually bring a box of my handmade greeting cards from my Etsy Shop!

  43. Deneen says:

    I’m not crafty. At all.
    But…the best gifts i’ve EVER received are a quilt that my aunt made me and blankets that my mom and oma crocheted for me.
    I hope your sister in law survives the pesticide laden fabric of the hankies πŸ™‚

  44. Stretch Mark Mama says:

    I’m a terrible gift giver.
    Each year we give the grandparents a photo calendar filled w/ the kids’ pictures. I used to scrapbook them, but yowzers, that took a long time and didn’t look that great anyway. This year, Hubs took on that task — him being the photographer of the clan AND the photoshop guru — and the calendars look great. (Thank you, Shutterfly.) The gpts won’t be surprised at the gift, but they will love (LOVE!) it. They’d come strangle us if we didn’t get it done, too.

  45. The Happy Housewife says:

    I just finished a sew-a-thon, making Christmas gifts. I made all the ladies in my extended family aprons. I figured they were lightweight and could be folded small for cheap and easy shipping! I have also done scrapbooks and tote bags in the past. Homemade gifts are the best. I wish I could blog about the aprons, but I know, just know my family would keep on reading!

  46. Carol says:

    My mother-in-law as been lamenting not having very many photos of her husband – died 2 years ago. I just happen to have taken a few photos of him that I never did anything with. I’ll frame one for her and put the others into a mini-album.
    And we’re all counting on you to show us the flannel…I mean final product.

  47. Linds says:

    When my hsband died, I kept his shirts, and I have been making memory quilts for my 3 children. I have just finished the one for my oldest son, and there is a photo on my blog. I have 2 more to go, and though all the tops are assembled, they are not quilted yet. But they will be soon.
    My oldest son will be getting his for Christmas.

  48. Cazandra says:

    I found a great website, http://www.wordle.net. It is a word art site. You put in words and it arranges them in different layouts and colors. It’s pretty fun and free!
    I’ve make a wordle for my son and husband with their names and different words that describe them and the things they love.
    I printed them out on vellum paper, will put a printed paper behind each and frame them. This has been fun, easy and it has made me think of how special and unique they are.

  49. Shawnee says:

    That is a wonderful idea, drawing names. I will be suggesting this next year as shopping is done for this year. The most meaningful give this year that I am giving is for my mom, who like your mom is very easy to please. She has always been saying she wants a mother’s ring and in the 41 years of her being a parent has never received one so that is what she is getting this year from me, I hope she likes it as she can be rather picky when it comes to jewelry.

  50. aimee says:

    My brother loves artwork. And, he’s planning to propose to his girlfriend soon. And, they both live in (and love) Philadelphia. So, I found this great print on etsy which I’m going to frame for him. I’m so excited about it! Here it is: http://tinyurl.com/59b4tl
    My other favorite thing–kind of a gift–that I’m doing this Christmas is for my brother-in-law. He’s a Marine serving in Iraq right now. This is his second deployment and when he’s there he grows a mustache. It’s just his silly thing and we all tease him about it. I bought enough fake mustaches for everyone in our family and when we take our family photo in front of the tree we’ll all wear them and e-mail it to him–it will be like he was there with us! πŸ™‚

  51. michelle twitty says:

    I realize my comment may not be read, considering how many comments you have! I applaud you and your family for drawing names amongst the adults! My family does the same and it takes ALOT of stress off. When did Christmas become a time for people to go into debt, and feel obligated to buy a bunch of stuff?! We attempted to “down grade” presents this year with our kids, but we have so many family members (in laws, families that have divorced), that it still feels impossible for the kids not to receive an abundance of gifts! at least we’re trying…

  52. Heather says:

    My little boy loves trains, so hubby is making him a train table. We thought about buying a train table in a box, but decided that a handmade one will (Lord willing) be sturdy enough to hand down to his kids one day. You left out an important detail in your post – did your dad get the tattoo?

  53. Mommy, the Human Napkin says:

    I decided to handmake almost all the gifts we’re giving this year. I’m either very crafty or slightly insane. (My husband would go with insane.) I try to do something handmade each year, even if it’s something small. I’m doing embroidered hankies for the men and pincushions for the women this year. In years past, I’ve painted plaques with everyone’s names on them, and one year I cheaped out and gave everyone a framed photo of my kids. πŸ™‚

  54. Christine says:

    Oh what a fantastic idea! I made double thickness 18″ square burpies for my girlies and I give them out now as baby gifts to other new mommies. They’re very highly appreciated. And not that I have a cold right now (ahem!) but for this particularly annoying runny nose and constant sneezing I’ve been carrying around one of those burpies, that is now used only for wiping noses in our house. And you’re right, they’re much easier on the nose and there aren’t piles of icky tissues to contend with! Great gift! Love the other stuff you found too!

  55. Joelle says:

    My most meaningful gift I’m giving this year is a photo book to my hubby of our first 16 months of marriage. I think he’ll love it. I made it on the computer in iPhoto and uploaded it to Apple’s printing site. It was a bit expensive, but hey, it sure beats the HOURS of scrap booking it would have taken. (Yeah, and it would have taken years to get it done seeing that I haven’t even started our wedding album. I just finished our courtship album. Good thing we don’t have kids yet.)

  56. nicole says:

    I’m not giving anything I made myself. And we are not giving gifts to adults b/c my husband is currently unemployed. The one present I know will be a huge hit is for my 5 yo son. He is a HUGE Toy Story fan. So I perused the Disney Store website and found that I could get him a Buzz Lightyear baseball cap with HIS name on the back. He will love it.
    If I could sew, I would make my 3 yo son a sturdy little bag to carry all of his Cars cars around in. But I can’t sew. So I’ll just imagine how great it would be to give him that.

  57. Kathryn says:

    This year I’m getting model rockets for my fiancΓ©’s three male cousins: 13, 10, and 7 years old. Yeah, I know that model kits don’t sound that meaningful – but I am going to take the time to assemble them with them and explain all the science that applies to the rockets. The added bonus of course is giving their mom an afternoon off from them being home for break.
    My fiancΓ© may actually get the quilt that I started for him for Christmas last year, but that’s still a bit iffy. If nothing else he’ll get it by the time we’re married.

  58. Melissa says:

    A violin!
    My husband mentioned back in the spring that one of his life goals was to own and learn to play a violin. He figured it was prohibitively expensive for now, but wanted to do it at some point in his life.
    Well, I found one on Craigslist for $100 back in October. And it is pretty nice. So I asked him if we could please up our limit of gifts to each other to $100, and he agreed. I can’t wait to give it to him! I’m counting down the days.

  59. Shannon says:

    I am making scarves for my nieces from soft yarn and trimming them in fun fur so they are fuzzy. http://s109.photobucket.com/albums/n73/Tx_Starr/Crochet/?action=view&current=Photo32.jpg
    For my SILs I am making kitchen setsβ€”dishrag, reusable sponge, and two dish towels with crocheted toppers (they will look like little dresses).
    I am getting into making the gifts this year instead of spending all that money. Things that are useful and made with love.

  60. Beth says:

    I am giving my mom a twin sized bed quilt, entirely made by hand, by me, which is covered in sailboat fabric sewn into a pattern of sailboats. It took me a year and a half. She knows about it, because there is no way on earth to hide a project of this scope, BUT she does not realize it will be done in time for this Christmas, Heh.
    For my boyfriend, his mother, and my brother, I had pictures developed that would mean something to them, and framed them. Like pictures of historic planes for my brother, who wants to be a pilot. It’s cheap, easy, and thoughtful!

  61. Ewokgirl says:

    Meaningful? Well, I can’t say that anything I’m giving is terribly meaningful (does that say something negative about me and my family?), but the gift that will probably make the recipient the happiest is a gorilla suit. Uh huh, a gorilla suit. It’s what My Husband the Stormtrooper really, really wants for Christmas, so who am I to disappoint?
    (And in case anyone is wondering, he thinks a gorilla suit is THE perfect costume because in addition to just being a gorilla, he can be a ninja gorilla, a zombie gorilla, a bathrobe-Jedi gorilla, a doctor gorilla… The possibilities are endless, apparently. Yes, life at my house is really weird.)

  62. Mookslchlabs says:

    My daughter and son-in-law both work full time and by the time they are both home, the kiddo’s are starving. Daddy gets home first, so is in charge of dinner. This year, they are getting 25 “Freezer Meals”–everything from homemade soup to beef stroganoff. All they need to do is decide the day before what they want, pop in in the fridge to thaw and throw it in the over/microwave/on the stove (depending on what it is) and a nutritional dinner is ready for them in about 30 minutes. Since it isn’t anything I could really wrap, I bought the noodles, biscuit mix, rice, etc. that go with some of the casseroles and that is what will be under the tree.

  63. Lisa Q says:

    The gift I’m most excited to give is a picture I took of our friends at a football game. It’s a father and son picture and I framed it with a coordinating picture to give to the family. They’re special friends and I can’t wait to see their faces when they open it.

  64. jennielynn says:

    This will be our last Christmas with my Dad. This year, I went back and compiled old interviews, photos and the rare home movie in a montage of him. (no current stuff, since he’s been unable to speak for almost a year.) I made copies for my mom, my brother and myself so we have something to remember him by.

  65. Holly @ Crownlaiddown says:

    I feel silly, but I have been knitting wash cloths for my friends and family this year. They are pretty and useful, but somehow I feel like they aren’t da bomb, ya know? Even so, I’m giving from the heart and spending time and love and prayer on them.

  66. Heather says:

    This year the four of us kids are going in and getting my dad a “Legacy Stone”
    Dad was a Marine in Vietnam and this legacy stone will be inscripted with 3 lines and be placed at a memorial in Nielsville, WI called the Highground.
    I can’t wait to see him open the giant poster that announces what he has to look forward to ( since the actual stone is yet to be made)

  67. Amy says:

    I am new to your blog! LOVE IT! πŸ˜€ Those gifts for your SIL sound great! I am making a lap quilt for my SIL, two cool, hip type bags for my sister and my brother’s girlfriend, and a homemade journal for another SIL! If I have time, maybe a Christmas garland thingy for my aunt and a taggie toy for my cousin…we will see…:) I don’t have any of these completely finished so I UNDERSTAND last minute! πŸ™‚

  68. Heather says:

    Eich… I was supposed to send you some organic fabric, wasn’t I?! Well, your choices are much cuter and I KNOW she will love them! (not to mention how loved this post will make her feel when she’s allowed to read it!)
    Last year I hand-wrote the whole book of Ecclesiastes in a handmade journal for my husband, who was (and still is) in the throws of depression. It ended up being a gift to both of us, because there is nothing like WRITING something to make it soak in yourself. And anyone suffering like that NEEDS to read Ecclesiastes (all of it), but I think it made it more meaningful and comforting for him to read it in my handwriting. I think.

  69. Amber @ Classic Housewife / Modern World says:

    You crack me up. πŸ˜‰
    This year, I’m not doing sentimental, homemade, or thoughtful. Nope. I’m completely buying into consumerism. Why? Because for the first year in a long time, I can. (Though, I still didn’t go hog wild!!) And because it seems I do better sticking to my budget by shopping..ONLINE. πŸ˜‰
    However, my hubby gave me instructions not to buy him a Christmas present this year because he bought himself a new computer. But I can’t NOT get him ANYTHING?! So.. I do plan on coming up with something sweet and thoughtful and free– I just haven’t decided what to do. So how’s that for talking about something you’re going to do but haven’t yet? At least you have a plan! πŸ™‚

  70. Amy A says:

    My sister and I decided to make each other something this year. You and your blog were my inspiration. I’m making her a Jesse Tree. I bought two small trees after the season last year, one for my family and one for hers with this idea in mind. I printed the patterns from the website you linked us to, then my children and I colored them. I photocopied a set for us then we cut them out, mounted them on card stock, had them lamenated, then tied a string through a hole-punch for hanging. I printed out the devotions and put them in a folder with a cute Jesse Tree label. I can’t wait for her to open it! Then next year both of our families can begin this meaningful tradition. Thanks for sharing the information with us!

  71. Judy S. says:

    Last year at Christmas my sister and her husband took the whole extended family on a cruise around the Hawaiian Islands. (I know!) When we were there I bought a bunch of fabric to make them a quilt. Not quite an equal exchange. I decided to use the leftover fabric to make pot-holders for all the girls. So far I’ve made 10 of them. They are so fun, I think I’m going to have to make one for myself. πŸ™‚

  72. Stephanie says:

    That is a wonderful gift!
    The best give we are giving this year are the ever so popular digital picture frames. We are giving them to both sets of my ILs (My husband’s parents divorced and remarried early, so I get two sets)
    But since they are all not very technologically inclined, and since I am an amateur photographer, I am uploading the pictures into the frame myself. I am getting pictures of all the grandkids from Siblings-in-law that live far away, and I have several sets of pictures from various family events in the last few months. Those will be preloaded onto the frame when we give them to them.
    I’m not nearly as crafty as I would like to be, but when it comes to photos, it seems that good gifts are easy to come by.

  73. Jennifer says:

    The gift I have put the most time and love into is for my little girl. This spring when my sister in law moved far, far away…SOB…she gave my daughter the doll her grandmother (thus my girl’s great-grandma) made for her probably 35 years ago. My daughter fell passionately in love with this dolly in spite of its age and frankly, time had not been good to the old girl. Her hands and feet were holey. Her yarn wig was falling off. Her face was nasty from 30+ year old stains. She looked bad. Really bad. So, marvelous mommy that I am (snort!), I gave her a make-over! She looks fabulous if I do say so myself. I recovered her entire body, sewed her hair back on, gave her a new face, and even made here a cute Christmas dress (that I put together without a pattern!! I’m so proud of me!). This is the present I am most looking forward to giving on the 25th. I hope she likes it!

  74. Valerie says:

    I’ve recently taken up woodturning as a hobby, and I turned my mom a crochet hook. I’m so excited about this crochet hook! She loves making crocheted blankets for her family, so I made her something with which she can love other people. She’s going to be so excited. And I really hope she doesn’t read this blog!

  75. Marianne says:

    I have an awesome picture of my three kids and my niece and nephew in front of The Great American Ballpark (Cincy) this summer.
    I have some seriously cute frames from Kohls.com (also in store) that have that scrapbooky look (one says “Cousins” the other, “Grandkids”); everyone on that side of the family is getting one.
    Post some pix when you’re done! Good luck!

  76. Anissa@Hope4Peyton says:

    I think you wrote that so that when she opens her gift expecting handmade hankies and gets a moose-ear coffee cup she’ll be surprised. It’s a big build up to a great practical joke!

  77. Tara B. says:

    Great post…I’m still laughing about the cow’s sign. LOL!!!
    Every year my husband and I write stories to our kids about our thoughts, wishes and dreams for them have them bound through Cherish Bound. It’s my favorite gift to give….
    But our holidays were slightly changed and the mood has turned quickly with the untimely death of my FIL, who was supposed to be coming to see us. So this year our entire gift giving shifted from gifts to just having family time with people haven’t seen in many years. However, I did beg my friend to let me have at her MAC and i’m trying to get a DVD done of our family’s last year’s adventures from video and still shots with some music. We’ll see…we’re catching a last minute flight out west to be with our family so i’m hoping have that…if not, it’s all about our traditions this year….and i’m fine with it. But FYI: i love the hankies! Never thought about that for a girl…i’m writing that one down. β™₯

  78. amber says:

    This year, I found, on the Oprah site of all places, Gratitude Boxes. I’m creating one for each of my grandparents and asking all of the family to write little notes, cards, or letters about memories, wishes for them, or how thankful they are for having them in our lives. This is, by far the gift I’m most excited about giving and it will be from everyone!

  79. Wendy says:

    I made my two year old niece (who is moving across the world with her parents) a felt quiet book. I contains the old lady who swallowed a fly, a PB&J sandwich to make, finger puppets of her family and a stage for them to perform on, a girl to braid her hair, sewing cards, drawing pad and pencils etc… It was wonderful fun to make and I was so proud of how it turned out.

  80. Sarah the secret blower says:

    I took a poem from my mom’s published book and made it into a hardcover book on one of those photo sites…it even allows you to put a bio on the back flap and picture on the back…I bought one for us girls, our kids, my aunts and my grandmother…and my sister and I and she also get a disembodied wing that matches the story line…I will blog about this soon…thanks for the reminder!

  81. Going Green mama says:

    This year, I am doing two things that are special.
    1. For my parents (who need nothing): I organized my mother’s scrapbook room, an eyesore for my father and a source of frustration for my mother.
    2. For my husband, I am printing off photos of him and the kids and making a special picture book. As my mother had received the album and didn’t want it, it will only cost me photo printing.

  82. PowersTwinB says:

    My most requested gift is for my grown sons…I get a calendar for them according to their personal faves, like Red Wings for my youngest(30), and Stuff On My Cat for my middle son (36). I draw special things on significant days, like a muscular mans arm with a heart and MOM in the middle for that first tatoo. I draw birthday cakes, balloons, even Hulk Hogan(on Hulk’s birthday), Easter Bunnys and Santa. There is NEVER a reason for a forgotten mom’s birthday or Grandma & Grandpa’s anniversary!…I have fun coming up with a different drawings than the next son, because, believe me, they compare and really read that calendar on Christmas Eve! For those that can’t draw, the teeny tiny photos from a photo index card printout can be used!

  83. Laurie says:

    I’m cooking a meal for a family with three children on Wednesday. He works with my son. Payday for them is on Thursday and they never have any money for food or dinner the day before, since they live from paycheck to paycheck. So, I will fix a full meal with meatloaf, baked potatoes, veggies & dip, homemade bread, chocolate cake & Christmas cookies. And give them a gift card for groceries for Christmas. πŸ™‚

  84. KimC says:

    I’m doing calendars this year for the extended family, with all of the nieces, nephews, grandchildren, immediate in-laws, etc. to help us all keep track of birthdays. It’s a BIG family since I’m one of 15 and I have 9 children myself.
    I created a photo collage for each month showing who has a birthday or anniversary that month, then created the calendar with all the dates marked on Costco.com and ordered 20 copies. It was a lot of work, but since this gift was for so many at once, it was worth the time investment.
    A nice bonus: we get to keep one too!

  85. M says:

    In our house, we love God, the environment and all things that sparkle. So, this year, I am putting big huge sparkly crosses on Reusable Shopper vinyl shopping bags. I use mine for my church/bible study bag and I give them to teachers for gifts. Haven’t had anyone who hasn’t loved theirs yet!

  86. Haley says:

    My dad is also very hard to shop for (we have everything Razorback there is to have!) His favorite scpriture passage is Psalm 1, which I think also describes him. So my 4 and 5 year old children are learning that for him this year! I can’t wait to see the look on his face..he is going to love it!

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