My husband and I don’t exchange presents with each other or our family and friends. It’s not that we don’t buy stuff for anyone, but we buy gifts when we see something that is useful for our friends. But that’s not limited to the twelve month of the year or birthdays.
I actually love the surprise element of receiving presents but I don’t expect or want any gifts because if I want something, I buy it myself (I’m very impatient!). And we don’t expect family or friends to get it for us. I’m also trying to have less materials in the house and try to practice the 3 Rs – Reduce (working on that right now), Reuse and Recycle (got that down pat).
Here are some things that we sometimes do in lieu of buying impersonal gifts (ie. giftcards, chipping in a set amount to get something – afterall, a gift shouldn’t be limited to “$20 per person”):
– make a donation in their name. The money goes to a charity and your friend can get a tax break too. Remember to get a donation receipt and put it in the birthday card or holiday card.
– give your time. Offer to take a friend somewhere if s/he doesn’t drive. Or if you go to the movies, you can treat. Offer to babysit so your friends can have a date night.
– frozen home cooked meal. Make your friend’s favourite dish and prepare it so that it’s freezer ready.
– do a favour for them. It may be something you don’t expect. Maybe your friend needs help planning a shower or a party or chase a debt for them… who knows? What’s important is that you will take that task off their hands (assuming that you are capable of completing it).
The point is, there are a lot more creative and meaningful ideas rather than a $50 gift card.
I made my first diaper cake over the weekend. My cousin made me one for my baby shower and I thought it looked easy and fun to make. Being a super crafty person, I actually found this pretty hard to make compared to my beading and felt pins projects.
Nonetheless, i still think diaper cakes are fun and useful for new moms-to-be. You can surely customize it to what you want to give.
Ingredients – Diapers, fleece blankie, blue bunny rattle, a pack of 3 bodysuits, glass plate, small bottles of shampoo/cleansers/etc, a container of wipes, ribbons and cellophane wrap. Glue gun can be used to glue the ribbons. Ribbons, plate and cellophane wrap can be found at the dollar store.
Place the wipes container in the centre of the plate. Wrap the fleece blankie around the container to give it more girth. Roll the diapers and hold it with either a ribbon or a mini elastic band. Wrap it tightly if you want to squeeze in more diapers. Place the diapers around the container. Wrap a thick ribbon around the diapers covering the elastic bands and secure the ribbon with tape or glue. You may need an extra set of hands to help you .
Repeat the same steps for the second layer of diapers. You can add the bodysuits in between the diapers. For my cake, I put the 3 bodysuits together at the ‘front’ (where the rattle will be facing).
Same for the third layer. Place the rattle on top of the third layer. It looks nicer without the backing on the rattle but it was easier for me to place it on top by placing the cardboard back between the diapers for support.
Tie a ribbon on the socks and mini bottles and attach it to the thick ribbon around the diapers on each layer. You can use larger bottles and squeeze it between the diapers if you wish.
Wrap the cake in cellophane wrap and tie a bow on top. Your cake is ready to be served!
Finishing touches – you can line tissue paper at the bottom and crinkle the ends to make it more decorative if you feel the first tier is too plain. I glued stones to the ribbon because I thought the ribbon was too plain. There are cellophane wrap with designs on it such as stars or ducks, etc.