I remember after my wife and I got engaged in November 2003 and as we were paying for our wedding ourselves, that Christmas of 2003 we agreed not to exchange fancy gifts and in fact we agreed to “make” a gift for each other. This was a great opportunity to be creative and thoughtful at the same time.
Although I had to purchase materials, it was still a lot cheaper than jewelry, clothing, perfume, etc. I made my wife a scrapbook chronicling our relationship and the last couple of pages indicated our future – “wedding and kids” (down the road). She was so touched by it and I have to admit that I had a lot of pride, joy and fun making it for her.
That year, we exchanged our home-made gifts a week before Christmas as she was leaving for Asia to visit her parents and I was joining her the day after Christmas. She was so touched by the scrapbook that she wanted me to bring it to Asia so she could show her parents and friends!
So, what did she make for me you may be wondering? A few memorable ornaments – again, materials purchased from a craft store, but still much less costly and much more meaningful than a watch, wallet or sweater! I remember fondly getting the 3 ornaments she made me (1) a baked clay Mr. & Mrs. Snowman that was burnt – yes, a testament that she didn’t cook much back then! (2) a wooden fence/house/airplane with the words “home is where you are” and (3) a whimsical wood reindeer that when you pull his tail his legs move up & down.
Here are some other ideas of gifts from the heart that will not break the bank:
- Burn a CD of your loved one’s favorite music, love songs or music that makes you think of her/him. I did this for my wife at our milestone of dating for 6 months – when we also exchanged keys to each other’s condo/house!
- Make a photo collage and frame it. For this past Mother’s Day I created a photo collage of our two daughters and framed it.
- Prepare a special meal of his/her favorite foods – it doesn’t have to be served at a fancy candle lit table – setting up a nice & fun picnic on the floor can be just as, if not more, romantic and fun!
- Write a poem or song or love letter – print it on nice paper and frame it. I’ve done this three times before – (1) On my wife’s 31st birthday I created a list of the 31 things I love, laugh and look forward to with her. I typed it up on Powerpoint and added a few photos of us and the printed and framed it. (2) When it was our older daughter’s first Christmas, I created a list of “Why I Love Mommy” and bordered the list with photos of my wife and our daughter. (3) When my wife and our daughters were out-of-town for 10 days, I missed them so much I wrote a few poems for them – “Proud”, “Deserving” and “You Make Me Whole.” My wife was surprised I turned into a poet that month and appreciated my emotional creativity. I’m sure my daughters will be touched by the poems when they are older also.
What low-cost gifts from the heart have you received or given? Care to share – leave a comment. Thanks!