So you just finished finals, you're broke, have no gifts for your parents, and truthfully, don't have a remote clue what to get them. We enlisted the expert help of our friends over at HuffPost Home for ideas for the best holiday gifts of the season. I wanted to make a really unique Advent calendar this year and thought I would mix the idea of the Christmas wreath with the "treat for each day" concept. I've used chocolate balls to decorate my candy wreath and chosen quite a simple colour scheme, but this idea can be extended and adorned depending upon what you have laying around.
Depending upon who it is for, you can change the candy to another little treat, or put a thought for each day, or even pin on a few herbal teabags. This wreath and the templates are based on using clothespins that are 0.4 inches (1cm) wide.
If you can only find wider clothespins then you can still make a wreath but you'll have to experiment yourself with how many will fit around the template and how to space them evenly to ensure symmetry.
Now glue down the clothespin so that the "pin" bit is facing towards the outside of the wreath (to hold your candy), and so that the other end of the clothespin lines up with the template divider on the inner circle edge. So at this stage you've already made a peg wreath which could be hung up, adorned with Christmas cards or notes etc.
This is the time of year we go about looking for the perfect gift for our friends and family members.
If you are a seasoned DIY-er, you may know that some projects can cost more than actually just going out and buying an item. If you have a teen daughter, niece or cousin, these dazzling mugs are a fun and quirky gift. After the stress of the holidays, why not give your friends and family the gift of relaxation? Spending the time to make a gift can be a very special experience and it reminds us of the true meaning of the season, which is sharing with those you love.
Leave your comments below and let us know what was your favourite handmade gift you’ve given or received over the years.


Monique Kennedy is a multi-award winning lifestyle blogger and co-founder of the Orange Street blog, which focuses on the life and style of the Caribbean woman. We know it can be stressful -- but last-minute gift-giving dilemmas aren't totally hopeless. I've seen some amazing looking clothespin wreaths out there and thought it would be fun to use that idea but make an Advent wreath instead. I used cardboard from an old shoebox and glued on some white paper once I'd cut it out to cover the advertising pattern. I've chosen to use strips of paper from the same piece of paper on my pegs, but I think it could look much nicer with a mix of brighter colours too. As long as you get the width of the strip of paper correct it is really easy to trim any excess from the ends of the peg once the paper is stuck down, using a blade. Once printed, line up the outer circle of your cardboard base with the circle line on the template, and you'll be able to use the radiating lines to help align the pegs symmetrically around the wreath. Tough economic times have made it more difficult to afford to give gifts like we used to, but that doesn’t mean giving a great present is out of the question. Inside each sealed envelope is an idea for a date (day or night) and some props or accessories to go along with it. You can look up great local spots and events in diGJamaica’s Travel Tuesday blog posts and contact the various locales to find out about any packages or specials they may have.
Pre-measure all the dry ingredients and put them in a beautiful 1-quart mason jar, so all that’s left to do is add in the wet ingredients. This is a personal favourite of mine after I made the scrub for my 15-year-old niece on her birthday. This all-natural rosemary mint shaving cream will have him feeling refreshed after every shave. This is a good gift for someone who enjoys hosting parties with a few friends or experimenting with making their own cocktails at home. When it comes to thoughtful holiday presents that mom and dad are sure to appreciate (if not love), DIY is the way to go.


From typography coasters to one-of-a-kind iPhone cases, these aren't your typical handmade crafts.
This quick craft is fun to do for yourself or with the kids, and everyone will love counting down the days with a candy treat each day! The length really doesn't matter, but just for the template to work they need to be 0.4 inches (1cm) wide. I stuck each strip down with double-sided tape to make it quicker to assemble (no drying time!), but you could use regular paper glue too. You could have done this step earlier, but then you'd have to make sure you glue them all down in the right order, so I preferred to add the numbers at this stage.
I looped my ribbon around the gap between peg 24 and 1 to make that the top of my wreath, but it doesn't really matter where you start it off.
If you are on the crafty side or are curious about trying something new this Christmas, a do-it-yourself gift might just do the trick. Tie a handwritten note on the jar with a personal message or some information on therapeutic properties of the essential oils you chose. The couple opens one envelope at the beginning of the month and then picks a day that month to go on their date. Don’t forget to include the baking directions and to invite yourself over when it’s out of the oven. You can make the gift even better by including a nice shaving kit and a gift certificate for Totally Male. It's so easy to make your own advent calendar with this method, and fun to make for friends and family too! Since hoop earrings are usually so affordable, you can even gift her with two or three custom pairs.



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