Tag Archives: gifts

Fun family tradition: gift bag exchange

When Andy and I moved in together and celebrated our first Christmas in our new house, I was amazed and confused by the number of Christmas decorations he owned.  Once we were in the house, his parents made a habit of bringing a new plastic container of his stuff with them on every visit, forcing him to take ownership of all of the things he had been storing at their place.

Tubs and tubs of Christmas ornaments, handmade pillows, candle holders and various other handmade knick knacks.  I asked him where all of this came from, and he explained that his family had a tradition of exchanging gift bags filled with goodies, and he had been included in the tradition — either through gift bags given to his mom or the gift bags she made.  Between the four tubs of stuff, there were more decorations that we would ever be able to use.

The first couple of years we were married, we received gift bags as a couple — from his mom, his aunts and his cousins.  Some would have a theme — one of his cousins, for example, sells Avon and gives everyone Avon products and candy each year.  This year, Andy’s Aunt Shelley’s gift bags had a clever Margaritaville theme.  In the gift bag was a palm tree cutout with the lyrics to Margaritaville on it.  Each gift in the bag, individually wrapped in brightly-colored tissue paper, corresponded to a line in the song.  A CD of Jimmy Buffet Christmas songs, for example, was tagged with the line, “Strumming my six string, on my front porch swing. . .”

Last year I decided it was time we reciprocate in the exchange, so I started collecting items the day after Christmas.  For my first gift bags I decided to go with a theme that would be both familiar and fun for me — holiday cocktails.  I had a blast buying things and putting the bags together.  Below are pictures of the finished product and its contents.

Contents included: a “Cheer” ornament, martini shaker or wine glass ornament, tea towel, snowflake cocktail napkins, snowflake drink stirs, and handmade wine charms.

My favorite part of the bags might have been the tag.  I used a Christmas martini stamp from Impression Obsession and 4 bar scalloped ovals from Paper Source to create the tags, which I colored and embellished with glitter.

I’ve already started collecting items for next year’s gift bags.  My theme will be — wait for it — sweet treats!  Another excuse to indulge my cupcake obsession.  🙂



DIY magnetic photo frames

Here’s a cute idea that is a change from your typical picture frame.  This was one of those ideas inspired from a cute little boutique with overpriced gifts.  I saw it and loved it.  Then I thought, I could totally make that.  

Here’s how to make your own for under $5 each (a lot less than what the boutique charges):

1. Find an ordinary piece of magnetic metal from a hardware store.  I chose this piece for reasons that will become obvious later.

2. Cover the piece of metal in attractive paper then poke holes an equal distance apart through the paper.  Tip: don’t use thick paper (i.e. card stock). 

3. Put eyelets through the holes and secure.

4. Thread ribbon through the holes and tie in a bow.  Or don’t.

5. Visit Not Martha for instructions on how to make cute marble magnets that complement your frame.  Tip: look for strong magnets. You will have the most luck at a hardware store.

6. Secure your favorite photo to the frame with the magnets and hang.


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