Last year, I participated in the RedditGifts Exchange, resulting in one of my more pun-tastic, nerdy presents: The Incredible Hulkalele. My creativity even surprised me, but I knew that it would be difficult to achieve that level of silliness again in my office secret gift exchange without going overboard in the spending department. Looking at my Secret Santa’s Wish List, I came across the omnipresent shopper’s dilemma: Can one find a personal gift with a somewhat impersonal list? Here’s how I stretched out my thinking cap and flexed those DIY muscles.
Hey, that bag looks awfully familiar… it’s vintage Blog Fête, Baby!!
When it comes to office gift exchanges, there is a fine line between tastefully tacky and over the line. I love a good gag gift as much as the next person, but as this is my first Secret Santa exchange at my new job, I wanted to play it on the safe side. I was fortunate to get someone who was quite easy to shop for, but I was determined to make the gift personal. With a simple list of items such as “pink,” “hot chocolate,” and “Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups”, I could have just found some boxed hot chocolate, a pink mug, and a bag of Reece’s and called it a day.
Yeah, I didn’t like that idea either.
So manned with my list, I called upon and powers of the all-mighty Pinterest DIYers, summoning hot cocoa everything with a hefty dollop of peanut butter. This is best done with your beverage of choice, mine was plentiful goblets of Once Upon A Vine wines (if anyone is looking for a last minute Christmas present for yours truly… they have a new Villainous Zinfandel to replace the Big Bad Red Blend). I couldn’t decide between something sweet to eat or a keepsake for our office Bride-to-Be, so I did would any normal, indecisive gal would do: both.
Feelin’ Toasty Felt Hot Cocoa Mug
I came across this darling (and more importantly easy) Felt Hot Cocoa Ornament (designed by Bev at Flamingo Toes). I was able to nab all my materials at Joann Fabrics. Bev even provided a simple PDF template for all your felt cutting needs! Make sure you have an embroidery needle because it will make it far easier than using a sewing needle (like Karen the Goofus did).
- Selected white felt with iridescent glitter for the marshmallows!
- Used deconstructed yarn scraps instead of purchasing separate thin batting.
- Used beads for eyes on the mug for a little dimension.
- Used a ribbon scrap to make a hanging loop instead of thread.
- Used fine-tipped permanent marker for the faces of the marshmallows (because I forgot to but black embroidery thread and I can’t do French knots)
- Used metallic and gradient embroidery thread for extra sparkle and splashes of color.
- Used silver pipe cleaners instead of purchasing floral wire
If you want a simple and cute ornament project, this is a great one because should you be coordinated enough, you can simply ease back on the couch and whip these up while watching Hallmark Channel Christmas marathons like I did (with a box of tissues at the ready.)
Recycling Gift Wrap
I do not have a craft cave, so my storage space is very limited. Whenever I receive a gift, I try my best to delicately open wrapping paper and neatly store any gift bags. It might be a little over-the-top-Frugalista of me, but I see as wrapping items as gifts which keep on giving, too. In Japan, formal gifts are often presented using furoshiki (fabric wrapping clothes) which pull double duty as transport bags from everything, from small tins of tea and cookies to sets of kimono. To avoid showing my Secret Santa hand early, I elected not to go the Japanese cloth wrap route because being the long Japanese-speaking person in my office, it would be a dead giveaway! I’m not completely eco-chic, but I enjoy sending old items off to fulfill a new destiny.
- Old: Repurposed Blog Fête swag bag because pink is the recipient’s favorite color.
- Make It New! I purchased a glittery pink star from the floral section and removed the wire to make it into a bag decoration.
- Old: Repurposed tissue paper from birthday present from Meghan because it was not one, but TWO shades of pink!
- Make It New! Found some Martha Stewart tutorials on paper flowers. I scrapped the fancy complicated patterns for the kindergarten accordion-style folding flowers.
- New! Sifting through my selection of holiday cards, I found a beautifully Southern one by Kori Clark Design, Mason Jar Snowglobe from her Hometown Holidays greeting card collection which was a perfect match.
- Level It Up! Along with my heartfelt season’s greetings, I included a copy of the recipe as well as a $10 gift card to Publix Grocery, so she could get all the ingredients to make more to share with her soon-to-be-in-laws this when she visits NY for the holidays!
I can never go to Vegas because I have absolutely no poker face. During the opening of our presents, I kept hiding my smile with my giant mug, even after it was long emptied. Watching my Giftee open her present brought me more excitement than I had thought. I had been so wrapped up in a rather large time-consuming project that I worried that I hadn’t given it enough thought. When she hugged me not once, but twice, I felt like The Grinch when his heart grows three sizes. I am thrilled that she’s excited about enjoying it and sharing it with those in her life. I can’t wait to hear her post-PBHC report!
The recipe will be up on Sunday morning, so you can hit the market and have plenty of time to make it.
Answer Me, These Questions Three!
- What is the best/worst Secret Gift you’ve ever received?
- What DIY holiday projects are you working on?
- Are you guilty of guilty of regifting?!