From the heart

Molly Logan Anderson

GateHouse News Service

While the terms “homemade” and “thoughtful” always go hand-in-hand, the results of homemade efforts are sometimes less than desirable. 

But with a few simple supplies, a handful of creativity and lots of love, you can create meaningful homemade gifts for loved ones on your holiday list that they’re sure to enjoy. Build traditions and memories for years to come by creating or assembling the perfect gift and saving a bit of money, too.

Tailor-make a basket

Great for any age, making a basket can be uber-personal and economical. Fill a basket that you already have on hand with favorite wines and cheeses, to be enjoyed on a restful post-holiday evening. For youngsters, peruse dollar stores for an inexpensive activity basket, sure to entertain for hours. Either way, your personal and home-assembled gift will be remembered and appreciated.

Price varies  Ages All

Where to find:  Store selection depends on basket items; research the contents thoroughly to keep costs down.

Holiday frame ornament

Create the perfect frame for those school pictures and the ideal homemade holiday gift to boot. Draw and cut out a frame shape on cardboard, sized to fit your child’s photo. Have kids wrap the frames in aluminum foil or decorate with markers and holiday-colored crayons. Secure the image to the frame with glue or tape and use a hole-punch and a bit of yarn to create a hanger.

Price Free — you likely have everything you need at home. Ages All

Where to find:  Your own craft closet.

Not-your-same-old coupon books

Kids often come home with coupon books for mom and dad, created at school and aimed at promoting good behavior. But how often do your kids receive similar coupons from you? Spend a few hours on the computer designing coupon books with tickets your kids can swap for the things you never seem to have time for. Yours might say, “An extra 10 minutes lying together at bedtime,” or “One hot chocolate date – redeemable at any time.”

Price Free  Ages All

Where to find:  Right within your heart.

Holiday fare

Homemade foods are all the rage this time of year. They’re endearing and old-fashioned in ribbon-adorned mason jars and have the added boost of providing a convenient meal or snack on a cold winter’s night. Research simple recipes online for spiced nuts, homemade flavored popcorn, made-from-scratch soup mixes or the dry ingredients for cookies in a jar. Rest assured your gift will be much appreciated.

Price Varies Ages All

Where to find Sites like www.allrecipes.com; mason jars at supermarkets and big-box stores.

 like Walmart.