50: Day Fifty Checkup

Today, let’s take some time to check our progress. How are you doing with the first 50 days of preparation for Christmas? Do you know where you’re spending Christmas this year, or are you playing host/ess? Menu? Guests?

Have you scheduled a family portrait sitting and selected/ordered Christmas cards?

Are you handmaking gifts this year? Knitting projects? Soap? Exploding cards?

Have you tried at least one new cookie recipe? Please say that you have! Everyone loves cookies!

Make your lists and check them twice! Put them all in one place: a notebook/planner or PDA/smartphone. Stay on top of it this year and don’t be caught by surprise a month from now.

Photo courtesy of Adam Smith

58: Craft Gifts for Kids

Inexpensive projects to do with kids can also make great gifts! Here are some ideas:

  • An unfinished wood item (initial, birdhouse, stepstool, etc.) with set of acrylic paints and brushes
  • Knitting needles or crochet hook with yarn and a free scarf pattern or knitting instructions
  • Bracelet Beading supplies
  • Stamping set
  • Scrapbooking materials or creativity book
  • Crafting kits of all kinds from JoAnn’s or Borders (lots of these are very inexpensive!)
  • Sewing notions, fabric, easy pattern

Even better than all of the stuff, would be a bonus of a lesson or crafting time with the child. All kids love attention and one-on-one time with their favorite adults. If you paint, sew, knit, crochet, scrapbook, bead, or any other crafty thing, make up an invitation to spend some crafting time with you! They will love it!

A more technical version of this gift would be a radio building kit or other electronics project! Geeky fun!

Beautiful photo courtesy of James Jordan.

63: Unusual Harry Potter Gifts

Musicnotes.comSince the next movie won’t be out this holiday season, how will we get our Harry Potter fix? Well, there are many things out there to tide us over until next summer. You could always play with your HP action figures, have a DVD-watching marathon, play the Scene-It games, but we’ve all done that already. What else is there? Here are some of the more unusual gift ideas for yourself and the other Harry Potter fans in your life!

  1. For the musician, get them a giftcard to download the sheetmusic from the films.
  2. Knit a house scarf for your Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff, or Slytherin.
  3. Get them their very own wand from Alivan’s Wand Shop.
  4. The Tales of Beedle the Bard, Collector’s Edition (Offered Exclusively by Amazon)
  5. HARRY POTTER HOGWARTS SPELLS & POTIONS MAGIC SCIENCE SERIES STARTER INTRODUCTORY CHEMISTRY I & II EXPERIMENT DEMONSTRATION & PROJECT KITS. Over 20 Safe Easy Science Lab Projects. Gross Troll Boogers, Invisibility Crystals, Goo Blobs, Uhderwater Art and more!
  6. Looking for God in Harry Potter for the Kindle.
  7. Knit Weasley jumpers (sweaters) for all of your friends! Visit Charmed Knits for more Harry Potter knitting projects.

Those are just a few of the unusual items I found online. I’m sure there are dozens more out there!

69: Collecting Christmas Tree Ornaments

Collecting Christmas tree ornaments is a fun hobby that anyone can manage. Our family collects ornaments from family vacations. We have a lot of Disney ornaments, in particular. Do you collect ornaments, and if you do, do you have a theme? Here’s a list of some interesting themes if you want to start collecting.

  • Disney – anything Mickey-related
  • Family Vacations
  • Homemade – knitting, crocheting, tatting, cross-stitch, carved, painted
  • Super Heroes – logos, colors, miniatures
  • Lego – a variation on homemade ornaments
  • Music – instruments, symbols
  • Heritage – Irish, German, Russian, Norwegian, etc.
  • Nature – pinecones, cranberries, feather ornaments, birds
  • Collectibles – Waterford, Swarovski, Kinkade, Lenox, etc.
  • Kids – paper chains, dough ornaments, etc.
  • Collegiate – if you want a Crimson Tide tree, here’s your chance
  • Color theme – specific color palette
  • Style theme – Victorian, ’50s, Country, Modern
  • Photo theme – frame ornaments
  • Children’s books – mini-books, characters, decoupage balls

There are certainly many more Christmas tree themes out there. If yours isn’t on this list, post it in a comment! We all love to hear new ideas! Ornaments make great Christmas gifts, too!

Great photo courtesy of Monica D. (CosmoPolitician)

83: It’s Knitting Time

What are you knitting for Christmas? You’ve got just a couple of months now to plan and complete a few hand-knit gifts! We’re not talking Fair Isle cardigan sweaters here, folks, but small beginner projects that even kids who are new to knitting can complete in a short time.

One of the greatest knitting projects for beginners and oldtimers alike is cotton washcloths. For the newbie, a washcloth is the perfect size to finish quickly and get the hang of a few new skills.  For the seasoned knitter, washcloths provide the perfect canvas to try out new stitches before you commit to an afghan project or complicated sweater.

Super Simple Knit Washcloth Pattern

Materials: single-pointed needles size 6-9 (whatever you have handy!), 100% cotton yarn (Lion Cotton is widely available and relatively inexpensive), blunt needle to weave in the ends

Directions: Cast on 4 stitches, knit each row and increase 1 stitch at the end of every row, until you reach your desired diagonal size. Knit each row and decrease 1 stitch at the end of every row, until you have 4 stitches left, then bind off. Weave in the ends. Press lightly, if desired.

These make a great gift in a stack tied together with a ribbon, or packaged with a handmade soap! The recipient will be blessed and pampered by your thoughtfulness! See how pretty it can be here and here.

An incredible collection of free dish/washcloth knitting patterns, guaranteed to keep you busy!

Lion Brand Yarn Info Page – search for Lion® Cotton, Lion® Organic Cotton (gorgeous!), and Lion® Cotton 1-Lb cones.

Photo courtesy of The Shopping Sherpa

93: The Perfect Teacher’s Gift

This tip comes straight from my life. I am, by education and training, a professional musician. Now, while I love music more than many other things, it is something I’m extremely good at and have spent untold time and money getting to that point. Knitting is another story. I love knitting. Am I a professional? Egads, no! Do I love to get knitting books, totes, giftcards for JoAnn’s and local yarn shops, needles, magazines, etc… You bet! I love all things knitting! Do I want a pair of socks with treble clefs and eighth notes on them? No, but if you found a pair with balls of yarn on them, I’d probably wear them with my Birkenstock clogs this winter.

Why is this? If you are a computer programmer, do you want socks with laptops on them, or would you rather show everyone in the office that you are secretly a rocker at heart with your Gibson guitar socks? Moms, would you rather walk around with baby bottles or microphones?

Kids, this is a GREAT tip for giving gifts to your teachers this year!!! Get a little more creative than a notepad with an apple or a chalkboard on it. What do they like? Do they have a dog or a cat? Do they like to play golf or sing karaoke? Do they knit or play basketball? Ask them about their hobbies! A hobby is something everyone enjoys talking about! Use this chance to find out about the person who is your teacher this year!