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Inexpensive, Meaningful Holiday Gifts You Can Make At Home

For those on a budget this holiday season, finding gifts for all your loved ones can start looking like a huge pile of money flying out the window of a car as it speeds down the highway at 80 mph. Fortunately, it’s possible to save dough and still give thoughtful, impressive gifts. And the best part? You can make them at home with the right materials.

1.    The Classic CD Mixtape:

Handpicked Music

Everyone’s familiar with the classic romantic mixtape, which used to be recorded on tapes and given out shyly to any romantic interest. Well, tapes are obsolete, and I’m not so sure any romantic partner would too impressed with receiving old technology – but the idea is still a good one. Giving someone close to you (not necessarily a romantic interest) a CD of hand-chosen songs can be extremely meaningful. Introducing someone to new music, maybe some of your favorites or some you think the receiver will especially enjoy, can be one of the best gifts. It conveys an understanding of the receiver’s tastes, and music can be one of the best conduits of feeling. Making Mom or Dad a CD of their favorites mixed with some of yours can be a great way to bond.


Personalized Disc Labeling

However, rather than just handing over a blank disc with some Sharpie scribbles, make it a real gift with professional disc labeling. For example, Lightscribe disc labeling is a cost-effective and high-quality way to make a plain disc stand out (and you can use it for many different recipients). Using a Lightscribe disc labeler and Lightscribe discs, which are coated with a reactive dye that changes colors when combined with the laser light, creates beautiful discs that look store-bought, but are personalized with the flair you give it. You can add pictures, titles, lists or even transfer real photographs.

Personalized CD Sleeve

Finally, creating a personalized sleeve to go in a CD case can really seal the deal. This is where you can write a personal message, add a photo or insert lyrics. If you go the mixtape route, go the extra mile with professional disc labeling and a personalized message in the sleever; this really make the recipient smile.

2.    Handpicked Photo(s) in Frame:

Most people are going to cherish fond memories more than an expensive toy, especially if they know you’re on a budget, so giving the recipient a picture of you and him/her in a handmade or simple frame can be a great way to go. As they say, a picture’s worth a thousand words, so it’s best to make sure that the picture you choose is going to recall a fond time or memory. In order to really wow them, print the picture on high quality photo paper, preferably on an inkjet printer, in order to really make a clean, crisp shot stand out.

For the frame, any simple wooden frame will do to make a personalized mark. A raw wooden frame (before paint or lacquer) can be a great canvas for even the most modest artist. Using oil-based paints, a simple pen or even colorful Sharpies or markers can bring the frame to life. Or if you want to avoid the chance of shaky hands all together, you can use a handy labelmaker, like the one Epson just put out recently, that offers a plethora of colored paper, colored ink, fonts, sizes and pictures. Printing a message or a favorite quote related to the picture can be a simple way to astound them. It looks great, and it’s something they can display proudly in their home.


3.    Photo album on disc:

For those people on your list with stray photos lying around who always say things like, “I’ll get to making that photo album one of these days,” a DVD or CD full of their favorite family or vacation photos can be just the thing they need to spark that flame of memory. Choosing a selection of the best photos from different special events is a great way to organize the pictures for them all in one disc. You can also use a slide show program of your choice if you’d like to offer them a nice way to display the photos from their TV or computer screen.

Like the CD mixtape, using disc labeling technology can really turn this gift from cute into a keeper. Inscribing a personal message means a lot more to most people than anything store-bought. Similarly, enclosing the disc in a case with a personalized CD sleeve can have the same “wow” effect.

Never underestimate the power of a little thought and effort. Especially because these gifts combine professional appearance with a tailor-made approach to rekindling the recipient’s memories, thoughts and feelings, they’re sure to be a hit. With the right creativity, materials and knowledge, a “budgeted” gift can actually be much more meaningful than anything you can find in stores. The stores don’t know your recipient – you do, and they’ll appreciate your showing it.

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