Family Gifts Made Easy: Giftgiving ideas

Plants are the gift that keeps on giving to both the environment and the recipient.
Plants are the gift that keeps on giving to both the environment and the recipient.
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Whether it is for environmental reasons or budgetary constraints, creating gifts from items already found around the house is a great way to reduce consumption, save a few dollars, and present a unique offering. Some items found around the house need little alteration to be re-gifted while others may be deemed undesirable until they’ve been more significantly altered, but there is no doubt that there are many items just laying around the house that can be turned into wonderful gifts.


The wonderful thing about plants is that many of them are gifts that just keep on giving. A large number of perennial plants from the garden spread or re-seed themselves and need to be split from time to time. The same goes for house plants, especially ones that have grown too big for their pots. When splitting plants, put the offshoots into a new pot with some fresh soil and offer it as a hostess or birthday gift. Don’t have any plants to split? Cut flowers from the garden and create a bouquet of fresh blooms to offer as a gift. Not only are plants and flowers about as green as can be, but they’re also compostable if or when the recipient is done with them.

Framed Treasures

Many people have collections of trinkets, post cards, and even pages from old books that are no longer in one piece gathered into a box with no idea what to do with them next. These treasures can become thoughtful gifts when framed on their own or in a carefully selected group that would represent a special moment spent with the recipient. Don’t have that box of trinkets? Consider writing a favorite quote or word on an old page of a novel and framing it or do a simple drawing on scrap paper and frame it. Beautiful art doesn’t have to be complicated.


Even the most basic glass bottles can become beautiful vessels for flowers or candles with just a little effort. Wrap glass soda, beer, and wine bottles in twine for a natural look or paint them with acrylic paints in colors to suit the recipient’s style for a bolder statement. Another option is to soak the bottles to remove their labels easily and then gather them in a row or desired arrangement before wrapping them tightly with wire to create a cluster of vases for a more modern look.

Fabric Scrap Necklaces

Crafters, sewers, and home decorators of all levels are sure to have a box of fabric scraps on hand for future projects or leftovers that they just can’t quite part with yet. A great use for these fabric scraps is to make jewelry from them. There are many ways to do this, but two methods are very easy and yield great results. One is to cut the fabrics into three long strips and braid them to the desired length. At the ends of each braid, tie a knot to stop the pieces from becoming unraveled. And then tie the end pieces into a bow at the back of the neck. Or take one fabric and self knot it every few inches to create the appearance of beads. Then using a needle and thread sew a ribbon to the either end that can be tied into a bow at the back of the neck. A beautiful and unique piece of jewelry will result out of items that otherwise would have little use.

Cardboard Coasters

Don’t toss those cardboard boxes into the recycling bin just yet! Cardboard can be easily transformed into fabulous coasters. Use a glass or can to trace circles onto the piece of cardboard and then cut them out, preferably using a razor’s edge tool for a clean cut. Decorate the coasters using photos, magazine or newspaper clippings, paint, dried flowers or anything else that will lay flat on the cardboard. Then apply several layers of an acrylic varnish to make the coasters water resistant. Not only will the life of the cardboard be extended, but it also makes the perfect customizable gift.

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