Visit MaineToday's profile on Pinterest.

About The Author


Shannon Bryan

Send an email | Read more from Shannon

Posted: November 18, 2013

Last-minute (and heartfelt) gift: Homemade holiday cards

Written by: Shannon Bryan

Shannon Bryan/ photo

Why not give something that’s free – or nearly free, something that doesn’t require you to wait in line or battle traffic, and something that maybe – just maybe – will be one of the most memorable gifts of the holiday.

Consider giving your words. That’s it. Words. Write something kind. Put it in a letter or card or scrawl it on a cut-out piece of paper bag. Tell someone that you think they’re pretty awesome, that their humor brightens the office, that their support is invaluable, or that knowing them makes your life happier. Write something for a colleague or neighbor. Write something for a friend you’ve known for years. Write something for your mom.

Use whatever materials are at your disposal. Perhaps you have a plethora of coasters or some old Christmas cards you can repurpose – or maybe you can finally find a purpose for that stack of stationary someone gave you ten years ago. Shannon Bryan/ photo

It doesn’t need to rhyme or be impeccably phrased. It doesn’t need to be fancy or frilly or perfectly executed. It doesn’t need to be written with perfect penmanship. It just needs to be true. And if you feel the need to get creative with your packaging, by all means let your craft light shine, let it shine.

Use what you already have at your disposal: Paper bags, a Sharpie, the dust jacket from an old book, cardboard coasters, construction paper, used Christmas cards, or stationary you pilfered from the neighbors.

I used a paper grocery bag for one letter. Using a coaster to trace the right-sized circle, I cut the paper out, glued it to one side of the coaster, and wrote my letter there. This coaster-letter can even double as an ornament if you poke a hole in the top and thread some yarn, string, or cord through (see photo at top). Shannon Bryan/ photo

Cut things. Glue stuff. Poke holes. But most importantly, write something that matters.

It won’t be the most expensive gift your father-in-law or coworker get this year, but it might be the most appreciated. And rather than feeling like an afterthought, they will feel thought about. And no instant hot chocolate can do that.

Finally! A purpose for that pile of Christmas cards you’ve been building for over a decade. Repurposing the covers means that card gets to serve out its purpose TWICE instead of just once. Lucky card. It also means you can save the personal messages on the inside, if you want. Cut off the cover and write on the inside. Or cut the cover in half, connect the two pieces with a brass fastener, yarn, or cord, and make a brand-new (albeit half-sized) card of your own. Shannon Bryan/ photo

More last-minute DIY gift ideas

Unless you have a bevy of elves at your disposal who can spring to your assistance like some Kris Kringle flash mob, you’ve got some work to do. And fast. It’s time to pull off some last-minute holiday heroics, and we have some ideas.
// See them all

Up Next: