Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Christmas Gift Exchange Themes Part 1: A Recycled Christmas

With the Christmas Holiday just ahead, many of you have already begun your Christmas shopping and preparations! When it comes to exchanging gifts, what are your traditions? Do you give to everyone in the family? Do you exchange individual or family names? For those who participate in a family gift exchange, the pressure to find just the right gift can be stressful. Where to begin? What to buy? I find I often resort to one of three gifts when I can't figure out what to buy for my chosen individual: a DVD, a gift card, or a game. Any of those gifts are great, but perhaps lacking in a bit of originality on my part!

Last week I had the great opportunity to visit with Brooke and Darin at Studio 5 about how to add a little punch to your family gift exchange by creating a new tradition of choosing a theme on which to base your gift-giving. Having a theme can provide your family with a jumping-off point when it comes to making gift-giving choices, and can enhance and promote originality and creativity. In addition, the yearly themes create great memories as you reminisce about the funny or meaningful items that were exchanged.

In the next few days, I will share with you the four themes we talked about, along with a few more details than I had time or space to share on the show (along with a few that simply slipped my mind while in front of the camera there!)

1. A Recycled Christmas
The struggling economy has touched all of us to some extent, and of course, it is ever-popular right now to "go green". What a perfect theme in which to be frugal and channel your inner ingenuity!

My sister's family recently used this theme (check out how they get into their Christmas themes...matching t-shirts and all!), and included a little poem as a guideline: "Something bottled, something baked, something old that you remake." In addition, they determined that any of the "re-" words would be acceptable: re-cycle, re-purpose, re-furbish, re-use, re-make, and even re-gift!

My sister sewed pajama pants for each of her grandchildren using recycled t-shirts; and created drawstring bags from old t-shirts as well.

One of her daughters received too many bath towels for her wedding, and re-gifted them to a sibling along with a gift card to Bath and Body Works. Others baked delicious goodies for each other.

Of course, your local thrift store is a gold mine when it comes to finding things to repurpose, as well as ksl.com. And don't forget to look in the "free" section there! The saying is true: "One man's trash is another man's treasure!"
Some additional inspiration for you:

*Display Shelves: using an "L" bracket and some old books, create unique display shelves for special trinkets and treasures. Great gift for someone to place in a den or kids' room!

*Message Board: Paint an old frame and spray-glue fabric or scrapbook paper to a section of cardboard that fits the frame.

Place it under the glass, add hooks and wire to the front if desired for hanging notes or photos. Use a dry erase marker for messaging. Darling gift!

*Serving Trays: It is such fun to serve cupcakes and treats on a darling tray. I found this tray at D.I. and could see that it had potential, but needed a little updating.

I simply painted it black and Mod Podged fabric to the bottom surface and sprayed with polyurethane.

You can also paint an old frame (like the blue tray above), add drawer pulls to the edges for handles, and place a fabric or patterned paper panel under the glass. Easy and so cute for serving up a sweet gift!

The internet is chock-full of unique repurposed items to give you inspiration!
Look how cute this pallet-turned-coat rack is:

And I love these suitcase book shelves! How unique!


  1. Shelli,
    You did such a fabulous job on Studio 5. You are always so posed and proper - I'm so impressed. I loved the ideas that you and Candice have come up with. Super cute things! Great job!

  2. Shelli,
    You are so awesome! You have the most creative ideas. I miss ya but amso glad I can keep up through your blog!


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