Saturday, December 23, 2017

Simple and Inexpensive Upgrades for your Holiday Gifts

Over the holidays there seem to be so many occasions for a little "thank you" or a gift of appreciation. And when it comes to this type of holiday gift, as the saying goes, it's the thought that counts. You don't have to spend a ton of money. A little creativity shows the recipient you care enough to have invested some thought and time into your gift.

With that in mind, I have a few ideas to help you stretch your holiday shopping dollars.

A few simple upgrades can transform a humble plant into something special.

A grocery store Kalanchoe is rather unimpressive in its plastic sleeve. Throw out the sleeve, add in a bow and a rustic basket from the Dollar Store and you quickly have a nice looking gift.

 If you have a distance to travel, wrap it up in a sheet of cellophane and then add the bow last. Even with the upgrade, this gift is still under $15.

This is the same rustic basket with a pot of Paperwhites. These fragrant white flowers have a tendency to flop, so I like to add some dogwood branches to give them a bit of support (just be careful to avoid the bulbs when you push the dogwood into the pot).

I created some pinecone picks by hot glueing pinecones to some wooden shish kebab skewers from the Dollar Store. To fill out the arrangement I added a pine and spruce branches into the soil of the plant pot. The damp earth will keep the evergreen branches fresh for as long as the flowers last.

The final flourish was a bow. Cost of the various items for this project: Paperwhites $6.99, Dogwood $0, Evergreen branches $0, Skewers for the Pinecones $1, Bow $1. The total cost is just under $10.

I lucked out on the rustic basket and found one at the Dollar Store that had a builtin plastic liner. If all you can find is a plain basket, don't worry, it can easily be adapted to suit your purposes. 

Take the plastic sleeve off your plant and cut it down to size to fit into the basket. Tuck it into the basket and add the potted plant. I used some wooden snowflakes to decorate the basket and added a red bow for a final touch. Here's how it all added up: snowflakes $1, basket $3, bow $1, plant $8.99.

The plastic sleeves they put on plants are usually a little tacky. Switch it up for a metal bucket and this inexpensive Lemon Cypress looks so much more festive!

This white tin with a lace edge is from Ikea ($3.99). You may not have time to run to Ikea, but metal tins are often available wherever you purchase plants. You can also find metal tins at the Dollar Store.

Altogether this little Christmas tree with the improved packaging was still well under $15.

As well as getting creative with the pot, why not take a fresh approach to select a plant. Nothing adds to flavour to holiday cooking like fresh herbs. A pot of herbs would make a thoughtful hostess gift. 

Here I took two pots of rosemary that I found in the produce aisle at the grocery store and planted them together in a pretty blue pot with a crackle finish (from Walmart for under $10). A white bow added the final touch.

It would be a nice touch to include in your gift card a handwritten or printed recipe that makes use of the herb your giving as a gift (here's a link to Ina Garten's recipe for Rosemary Roast Potatoes). The total cost of this present is under $20.

A holiday gift need not be floral. Flowers are always fleeting. Sometimes it is nice to choose a gift that will hold up over time. A low light plant like a fern can look nice sitting on a desk, at a bedside or even at a nurse's station.

Here I took two small ferns and planted them into a pot for the Dollar Store. A metal dragonfly and a bow dress up the gift.

Here's a green plant with more of a classic holiday feel.

I switched out the plastic sleeve for a ceramic pot, added a few faux berries and a bow. It looks so much nicer, don't you think?

A heartfelt gift with a personal touch always means the most.

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  1. These are just lovely!! And what a pretty and simple idea! I do have trouble finding houseplants in winter. Can you suggest a place? Also, what is the name of the plant to which you added the red berries and the cardinal with the silver bow? I have a low light house and am always on the lookout for lowlight plants. So far all I've come up with is a pothos. I'd love to have something green in every room. Thank you for this post.

    1. Having a little green in every room sounds like such a nice idea. The plant that you were asking about is Clubmoss or "Frosty Fern", Selaginella Krausianna Variegatus. It does like low light, but it also likes lots of humidity (which can be a challenge indoors in the winter). Planting it in a terrarium might help with the humidity.
      I find the best place to find interesting houseplants is at a good nursery. Most large nurseries will carry a stock of houseplants to bring in winter business.
      You have given me a great idea for a future post. So many people, myself included, are looking for plants that will tolerate low light. Stay tuned...
      All the best for the holidays and the new year Karen.

  2. Good ideas, lovely gifts! Thank you and Merry Christmas!🎄

    1. Merry Christmas Tatyana! All the best for the new year.

  3. Beautiful all these upgraded presents, good ideas.
    Wish you a Merry Christmas!

    1. Merry Christmas to you too Janneke! All the best to you and your family for the new year.

  4. Very pretty ideas! Have a wonderful Christmas Jennifer! xox

  5. I tend to do things like this when I give gifts of plants or flowers but must say that you are far more creative in how you do it. Beautiful options.
    I stopped by to wish you and yours a warm and cozy Christmas filled with joy, traditions, and all that you embrace during this season of wonder.

    1. Thanks Diane! All the best to you and your family for the holidays and the new year.

  6. Lovely ideas for pretty Christmas decorations!
    I haven't been here for a long time, this year has been so busy with renovations of my house - but I just wanted to pop in and wish you Happy Christmas and all the best for 2018!

    1. Looking forward to catching up on your house renovations Helene. All the best for the holidays and the new year!

  7. Perfect holiday gifts for some lucky recipients! Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas and best wishes for a wonderful 2018 filled with peace, live and joy!

    1. Happy holidays Lee! All the best to you and your family for 2018.

  8. What a wonderful idea for a thank you gift, Jennifer, and each of these is truly so lovely.
    Thank you so much for the ideas.
    I hope you had a wonderful Christmas, and I wish you all the very best things in the New Year.


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