DIY stocking stuffers: Up your game this holiday season

By Chandler Holland
Times-News correspondent

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Chocolate spoons make great stocking stuffers. You can create these yourself. [Chandler Holland / Times-News correspondent

   You love Christmas as much as the next   person and want to celebrate, but perhaps you   don’t want to break the bank by buying so   many large presents this year. The answer is to   up your game on stocking stuffers.
“Classic” stocking stuffers include oranges,   candy canes or candy coal, gift cards, jewelry   and small trinkets. While these are easy to   come by and, with the exception of jewelry, not   necessarily on the pricey side, they may be   lacking a bit in that true personal touch that   better represents the Christmas spirit.   Handmade gifts, on the other hand, will be   treasured forever.
Following are just a few DIY stocking stuffers   that your loved ones will be thrilled to receive   this Christmas morning. Visit Pinterest for an   endless list of ideas.
• A 2-by-5-inch strip of white card stock   covered in hand-drawn art makes a great   keepsake bookmark. All that’s needed for this simple craft is to punch a hole near the top and add a pretty ribbon tassel with a miniature ornament tied on the end. As an added step, laminating your bookmark before tying on the ribbon gives it that extra touch and ensures it will stand up to years of use.
• Do you have a pile of T-shirts with too many stains or holes to wear? Know a dog who loves to play? The perfect treat for your four-legged friend is buried in that pile of old clothes. Cut 2-by-18-inch-wide strips from the front and back of each shirt and knot at least 12 of them together at one end. Divide the strips into three clusters, and tightly braid together. Knot the other end, and your furry friend will be happy on Christmas morning.
• Personalized stationery is always a prized possession. Simply fold an 8-by-11-inch piece of card stock in half lengthwise and cut on the folded line. Select your color scheme and theme, then let your imagination soar as you decorate each card. Add your signature and date on the back and include a coordinating envelope. You can be certain each letter will be mailed with pride.
• Do you have a wine lover in your family? Make use of those many tiny plastic figures on the floor in the kids’ playroom that always manage to end up under your bare feet. Break out a painting mask and spray-paint each little toy a different color. Hot glue one or two toys to the top of a wine cork, and both your wine loving family member and your feet will be happy.
• How about something for those with a sweet tooth? Chocolate-covered spoons are sure to make that special someone’s eyes light up. Use brightly colored, heavy-weight plastic spoons and several kinds of chocolate including dark, milk and white. Place the chocolates in separate glass or ceramic containers and melt in a microwave on high at 30 second intervals, stirring in between until completely melted. Dip each spoon so its “bowl” is completely coated, then drizzle with another type of chocolate or sprinkle with miniature marshmallows, small mints, or other tiny sweets. Once they are completely cool, package your chocolate spoons in small cellophane bags tied with festive seasonal ribbon.
Think about those on your gift-giving list, and create items to suit their taste. Personalized, handmade gifts are not only affordable, but show just how much you care.

Chandler Holland is a home-school graduate and Teens & 20s writer. She looks forward to attending Warren Wilson College, and will obtain her NC Environmental Educator Certification during her gap year.

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