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Thursday, December 17, 2009

Gifts From The Heart...

Do you still have that "impossible to buy for" person on your list? I'm a big fan of creating gifts from the heart. I'm not crafty, but I'm good with words. I know that all of you are too! So here are a few of my favorite ideas from years past that were a big hit with teachers, grandparents, and friends.


This was a simple project I did for my sons class last year. I bought a bag of cinnamon pine cones, ribbon, a frame, and a decorative tin at our local arts and crafts store. I e-mailed all of the parents in the class and asked them to send me a short phrase of appreciation about their teacher. I typed up the phrases and framed them. In the Christmas tree tin is a Visa gift card.

Here is a close view of the sentiments the kids expressed.


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Last year my son's Kindergarten teacher said she would like the kids to do a service project for the community as her holiday gift. We used some of the class funds to buy rice and beans for a local food bank. The kids helped by bagging the items into smaller family sized portions. I took this picture of them, framed it, and asked them why they loved their teacher. Those statements were typed, and then I used a glue stick to put them on the matting.


A simple bow around the frame and we were ready for the holiday party at school.

My daughter used that same idea and made a beautiful gift last Christmas for her Granddaddy. She also made one for her brother.

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With little ones you can have them draw a couple of pictures, write down their thoughts and feelings, and bind them together in a book at your local copy store with the title page saying something like..."Why I Love You!"

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You can also put your sentiments on a pillow case, a t-shirt, an apron, or a soft fleece blanket. Use fabric markers or puff paint, and consider adding hand prints, or foot prints if you have a baby.

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All of my mom's children and grandchildren have decided to surprise her this Christmas with a memory box. Everyone has written her something special to say what she means to them. On Christmas morning she will open a gift filled with heartfelt admiration for all that she has done for each of us. Just in case this inspires you to write something heartfelt for someone you love; I've decided to post what she will open from me on December 25th.

"I Remember"

I remember

all of the amazing meals, family dinners together, big Saturday breakfasts.

I remember

the piles of presents you purchased at Christmas time and lovingly wrapped.

I remember

laying my head on your lap and feeling your hands rub over my forehead and hair. It is still my most comforting moments of childhood.

I remember

sleeping in bed with you feeling so safe and secure.

I remember

talks in the dark while we were in bed, asking questions that were too hard to ask in the daylight.

I remember

sitting on the barstool and listening to you sing every song in the hymnal while you cooked.

I remember

the hours you drove me here and there to get to all of the events.

I remember

watching you enjoy life, throwing your head back in uproarious laughter, grabbing me to dance in the middle of the mall.

I remember

you telling me over and over how pretty, and smart, and wonderful I was. I just soaked all of those words into my soul.

I remember

our beautifully cared for home that was always so inviting and warm.

I remember

hours of storytelling. Hearing about your childhood that was so amazingly different from my own. Never getting enough of that.

I remember

watching you make friends with anyone we came across during the day, the waitress, the gas attendant, the man walking down the street. It taught me to love people and reach out to the world with open arms.

I remember

looking at your hands as they did chores around the house or as you held my hand. Your beautiful nails always done to perfection. I still wish I had your nails.

I remember

thinking how I wanted to grow up to be just as pretty as you are.

I remember

silliness, giggles, uncontained laughter, loud music, tenderness.

I remember

your stern finger, your head tilted to the side and your lips tight, snapping fingers, the swat on my knee in the backseat of the car. The combination of the fun and the serious sides of you taught me boundaries and respect and order.

I remember

your love for my aunts and uncles. Listening to you recall events from long ago, singing your childhood songs in harmony, longing to be together, never allowing a grudge to exist between you.

I remember

when I was about 10 you asked me to do the dishes. I did a terrible job but you didn’t get mad. You filled the sink again and put them back in. Then you told me that there would always be things in life I wouldn’t want to do, but I could do them as a gift for God. With each chore I could thank Him for life, for toys, for family. I still do that today when I’m tired, when I don’t feel appreciated. What an amazing perspective on life that you so lovingly taught me that day.

I remember

how you packed us up and moved us to Minnesota because one of your children was having a baby and felt alone and afraid and needed MOM. I realize now what an enormous undertaking that must have been. What a beautiful picture that is of your heart.

I remember

coming home really late one night after a boy broke up with me in high school. I was crushed as I walked in the door and your arms were wrapped around me without even a question about the time.

I remember

the boo boos you prayed for, the tuck-ins at night, the books read, the snuggles on the couch, and so much more.

My dream some day is that my children will remember. Their memories will all be preciously linked to the heritage of love you tended to so carefully in my life.

I remember…and I love you too!



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That's all folks until Sunday when we will post to give out Awards.

Have a wonderful weekend!



21 comments:

Matty said...

Your thoughtfulness and appreciation for those around you is so admirable. Your mother was a very positive role model for you. What a tribute to her that you are passing on what you learned to your children.

Erin said...

what a lovely idea. I'm so inspired! Your mom sounds amazing and you clearly take after her!

ScoMan said...

Great idea. Especially for the teachers who will have a lasting memory of that class for the rest of their lives.

One of my English teachers wrote a poem about her classes every year. It was fantastic. I just wish I knew where I'd packed it when I moved.

Terra said...

This is a unique idea and the teacher will certainly treasure this forever.
My stepmother is a retired teacher and she displays in her living room some of her most precious gifts from her students.

Noelle said...

what a wonderful, creative idea! and you're right...it could definitely be used for grandparents, aunts, uncles...

thank you for sharing!

Ms Bibi said...

That's wonderful idea. I did little photo collage for my sons' favorite teacher 2 years ago from pictures I collected of the class and him on field trips throughout the school year. I tell you he was so touched and that was the best gift I've ever given a teacher.

I'll have to remember this for June. We made Christmas cookie baskets for teachers this year.

Corrie Howe said...

Great idea. Which is very timely. I need to come up with some quick an easy ideas because I'm sooooo not ready for Christmas. And now the kids only have two days left of school and no gifts for teachers yet.

Raoulysgirl said...

I love your gift ideas, but I must say...what you wrote for your mom had me in tears. You are very lucky to have such beautiful memories...and she is very lucky that you still appreciate them.

Now, do you have a Kleenex I can use???

Sue (Someone's Mom) said...

Well you know how I feel about the memory box...it was my favorite to give and my favorite to receive (even though we used a jar). Your messages to your mom made me cry...she is going to love this! The ideas for the teacher...wow! You must be the mom that all the teachers love!

Cathy said...

You are so smart! I love these ideas!

My name is PJ. said...

Oh Holly, You did a beautiful job with this post! Every idea was truly wonderful.

The piece you wrote for your mom is superb! Keep right on hugging her while she can still hug you back. Time is fleeting. xo

Patrice S. said...

That's so thoughtful, and you say you're note creative? yea right!
...seems to be perfect gifts for these times as they seem to be so cost effective.

Sanctified Together said...

Your mother sounds amazing! Every "I remember.." is awesome! I especially like the chore one. I will definitely teach that to my kiddos when they start doing chores.

Tattoos and Teething Rings said...

Those are great gift ideas! One year I made a journal and writing prompt set for my mom, she loved it; this year everyone is getting my sincerest regrets that I have no time or money!

I Wonder Wye said...

these are lovely and will be treasured for many years past. For Mother's Day one year I wrote down on 365 slips of paper memories or things I wanted to thank mom for or learned from her, and put them in a decorated vase she could read one slip every day for year.....

Accidental Expert said...

What wonderful and creative ideas. I absolutely love what you made for your mom.

Just found your blog. I'll be back often.

Midday Escapades said...

You are my hero!!! Wonderful ideas and so heartwarming of a post.

Shannon said...

That is a great idea, I love that post, my mom would be a puddle.

Kristin said...

Thank you!!! I'm totally going to have the dude color on some paper and frame it for the hubs!

Jenn Erickson said...

Those are such wonderful gift ideas! So personal, thoughtful, and creative. I'm sure that those will be the most cherished gifts of all, especially the one for your mom. Beautiful!

Holly said...

Fantastic idea - so sweet, so caring...you guys have the best ideas. Wish I could muster up some more, but it is almost 1 am. Love ya!