Holiday Handbook: Easy, Affordable Homemade Gifts

GMA Homemade Gifts

Anyone can buy holiday gifts in a store. So why not make your holiday presents special this year by making them at home, straight from the heart?

"GMA" kicks off its"Holiday Handbook" series with tips on how to make easy, inexpensive homemade personalized gifts for loved ones, neighbors, party hosts and pet lovers.

Lifestyle expert Nancy Soriano said homemade gifts always mean so much more because you thought about them and took the time to create something. Your gift doesn't have to be perfect -- it's really showing that you thought about that person. Taking a little bit of time and actually making something for somebody will really mean something to them.

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Gifts for Loved Ones

Holiday Gift Card Holder

Gift cards are expected to be a very popular gift item this year. Soriano suggests taking the gift card, whether it's for an adult or a child, and making your own special gift card holder.

"You can cover an existing card and personalize it," she said. "Gift cards are practical ... this is how you make it personal."

You can make your gift card holder using readymade stationery or readymade hang tags that you embellish yourself. Soriano also suggests making fabric pouches that you can sew by hand or on a machine. Many people have embellishment products at home like stamps, scrapbooking kits, and hole punchers -- those are all fun and great tools you can use to decorate your gift card holder.

Instructions:

Several ideas work for gift cards: embellish oversize gift tags with ribbon pockets or turn wide ribbons into pouches. And take apart a small envelope, trace fabric, then glue together.

Paper Pockets

Purchase precut hang tags with holes to hang a ribbon or tag from (you can buy from craft or paper store).
Cut a 3-inch length of wide fabric ribbon.
Fold each cut end under by ΒΌ inch; glue.
Sew bottom and side edges to tag to form pocket.
Tuck gift inside.
You can sew by hand or machine.
Embellish with buttons (optional).

Fabric Pouches

Fold a 14-inch-long piece of 3-inch-wide fabric ribbon, or fabric, in half with the wrong sides facing.
Iron along fold, and sew up the sides.
Trim edges of open end with scalloping scissors.
Slip gift inside.
Knot a bit of ribbon or twine to secure or use a large pin to close.

Homemade Holiday Gift Tips

Journals, Memory Books, Recipe Books

Personalized journals are one of Soriano's favorite gift ideas. Even though we live in an electronic world, people still love paper. She makes the majority of them with clip art downloaded online. You then use an adhesive, whether it's spray adhesive or glue, measure the paper, adhere it to the journal and then make a collage using personalized items. You could use buttons or more holiday-oriented decorations or old Scrabble game pieces on which you put a person's name.

"Seventy percent of all this product is in your home," Soriano said.

Instructions:

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