Tuesday, November 11, 2008

More Gift Basket Themes

Thrifty Thursday
Last week's post, Christmas Gift Baskets, received a few responses with some great ideas. Here are some of the ideas that were shared with me and my thoughts on a few more themes for giving your extended family or friends a gift that will save you time and money and create opportunities for them to make lasting memories. I have included as many ideas as possible under each topic so if you want, you can pick and choose what fits your style and budget.

Family Game Night
Create a collection of games that the receiving family will enjoy. You can find Bible versions of classic games at Amazon. Add a deck of cards and the book 101 Best Family Card Games by Alfred Sheinwold. The card games we grew up playing, such as Old Maid and Go Fish, would make a great addition to this basket. For a finishing touch add popcorn, candy, or a gift certificate for their favorite pizzeria. Thanks to Christy @ Mercy Every Morning for this idea!

Puzzles Galore
A variety of puzzles can be bought at local discount stores. Be sure to add in educational puzzles and large-piece puzzles for the little hands in the family, or a floor puzzle for the classroom. You can find a variety here. Finishing touches include puzzle glue, a puzzle mat, and some snacks to enjoy while working. Thanks to Dawn @ A Home in the Country for sharing this idea!

Super Sundae
Ice cream would melt, but fill a basket with syrups, sprinkles, or other sundae toppings, and the receiver's heart will melt instead. Include gift certificates to your local ice cream shop, ice cream bowls, spoons, and a scoop. Add goodies like this ice cream shaped candle for extra fun. The book, A Passion for Ice Cream by Emily Luchetti, would thrill any dessert lover. Thanks to FLMom @ The Narrow Path for such a fun treat!

Crafting Fun
Fill a sewing basket with crayons, markers, paint, brushes, scissors, stickers, craft sticks, modeling clay, pom-poms… you name it. Discount School Supply offers a great selection of craft supplies at good prices. Print craft ideas and include to inspire the budding artists.

Bird Watcher's Delight
Have bird watchers in the family? If so, they will love this avian basket. Trust me, I would. Include a couple of inexpensive feeders. I have found them at Big Lots in the $3-5 range. Add some bags of seed. A variety can be purchased from your local grocer or from Wild Birds Unlimited. Birding kids love Audubon plush toy birds available from Ship the Web, and Identiflyer cards (if they have the device that plays them already). A field guide makes a nice finishing touch.

A Colonial Christmas
I put this gift basket together a couple years ago while my boys were studying the time period in school. Press flowers from your garden and glue them to blank note cards. Make authentic quill pens and homemade ink. Include a few batches of homemade Play Doh in different colors (and scents). Sew nosegays or include crosstitch wall hangings and make corn husk dolls for the girls. Create aromatic pomanders. Boys enjoy Colonial games from Colonial Williamsburg, or jacks and checkers, favorites of the time period. For a finishing touch, add a box of homemade gingerbread and a jar of homemade wassail.

The Sporting Family
For the athletic branch of your family tree, buy an assortment of inexpensive outdoor games and equipment. A soccer ball and cones, a football and colored handkerchiefs for flag-football, a nerf set, or horseshoes... just for starters. Make family pennants by cutting the triangular pennant shape from felt. Use glitter glue, fabric paint, or felt letters in a complementary color to add the family name. Add bottles of Gatorade and protein bars for an energy boost.

Computer Whiz
Include goodies such as pc games (our Dollar Tree offers a series based on The Beginner's Bible and Wal Mart offers a good selection in the $10 range), printer paper, software, ink cartridges, mouse pad, or memory stick. A lot of stores offer these items as doorprizes or at a great price on Black Friday. Check your local paper for deals available in your area.

Treasure Hunt
Wrap candy bars in gold wrapping paper. Add a copy of Stewardship Street from Doorposts. Make your own treasure map of where you have hidden a special treasure like a board game, a box of homemade goodies, or a Pouch of Ancient Roman Coins from Vision Forum. Is your budget really tight? Hide small gifts throughout the house. These could be inexpensive toys, craft materials, or whatever the intended family would enjoy. Create a series of clues that will lead the family from treasure to treasure. This will add the value of fun to gifts that might not be as exciting to unwrap.

Tea Party
This one is definitely for the girls in your family. Include a new tea set, tea bags, a recipe for your favorite cookies and the ingredients to make them, note cards for making invitations, and maybe even a guest… a new doll! Also include How to Be a Lady by Harvey Newcomb.

Homeschool Helper
Fill a canvass bag with school supplies and great educational games or fun learning kits. Some of my favorites are available at The Vision Forum, Lakeshore Learning, Answers in Genesis, The School Box, and Home Science Tools.

Literature Theme Basket
Pick a book you love to read to your family. Purchase a new copy and wrap it up with gifts that correlate to the story's theme. For example, a The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe basket could include a batch of Turkish Delight, a sword, a bow and arrow, a toy shofar, a bottle of perfume (for Lucy's potion), and toy crowns. For Around the World in Eighty Days, include an inflatable globe, a deck of cards and instructions for playing whist, chinese checkers, French pastries, toy elephants from the Indian forest, and a puzzle that pictures an iconic landmark from a country Mr. Fogg traverses. If your budget allows, you could also include a toy train or a DVD of the movie version.

Grandparents' Treasure
The boys and I put together this gift basket for both sets of grandparents one year. Both grandmas cried, btw. I made a t-shirt for the grandpas by using iron-on letters to emboss the tee with their grandpa names. For grandma, we used Print Shop to create an "I Love My Grandma" decal that we printed to iron-on paper. After ironing on the decal, the boys made hand prints on the back with fabric paint. As a part of their school assignments, they wrote and illustrated an original story which I scanned and printed two copies of. I laminated each page and created a published work with binding combs. I bought inexpensive canvases, and they painted a picture for each grandparent. Then I added pictures of the boys from various events during the previous year. These were all taken with my digital camera and printed at home. I placed a couple of the better pictures in frames purchased at the Dollar Tree and included scrapbooking paper and embellishments for the others. As an added bonus for the grandpas, I baked homemade apple turnovers, wrapped them in foil and added a cardstock band around each which the boys had decorated with rubber stamps.

Archeology Adventure
Do you have some adventurous boys in your family? Create an event that they will never forget. Start with a CD from the Jonathan Park Series available from The Vision Forum. Add one of these fossil sets for hours of fun. Include toy dinosaurs, usually available at my local Dollar Tree or Wal Mart. Make a batch of chocolate chip cookies and print and include these instructions for a cookie dig. Consider including tickets for an afternoon of archeology at a local museum that provides hands-on experiences. Finishing touches could include an Indian Jones costume or play set.

A Zoo, Aquarium, or Museum Adventure
Give the family you love tickets or a season pass to their local zoo, aquarium, or museum. Package it with the Zoo Guide, the Aquarium Guide, or the Museum Guide from Answers in Genesis. These guides give families hundreds of facts on commonly found animals or artifacts with a Biblical, creationist perspective. For finishing touches, include plastic toy animals found at your local dollar store or Wal Mart.

Meet the Orchestra
For music lovers, Suzuki offers a large assortment of rhythm instruments which are great for budding musicians. Include a good children's book, and let the kids play their instruments on key words or repeated phrases. Add a top hat and baton to the basket for the "conductor" of the family to wear, and perhaps, include a set of ear plugs for the receiving parents!


Lori said...

i really needed these suggestions! i just told my 91yo grandmother that i would help her come up with some sort of basket theme present for all the family members on her list. :^)

i voted for YOU for best new hs blog! :^D

Molly said...

WOW, Dawn! These are great ideas! Settlers of Cataan is one of our family favorites. It is an awesome family game, as kids can play it but it is strategic enough for mom and dad to enjoy, too.