Valentine’s Day may not be the most important holiday of the year, but it does happen to be one of our favorites, if for no other reason than its perfect timing. It brightens our winters and gives us something to look forward to, just when we need it most. Everybody can use a little love in February!
There are many kinds of gifts, some extravagant, some simple, some thoughtful, some obligatory. This time of year we bring gifts wherever we go, and the expense can really add up—especially when the gift wrap and card cost almost as much as the gift itself!
Gone are the days of attaching a card to every gift. These days, if I buy a card, the card IS the gift, usually with cash or a gift card tucked inside. But sometimes I do want to write a special message to accompany a gift—when I can’t hand it to the recipient in person, for example. For these occasions, I look for creative gift card ideas, and have found that our notelettes are perfect for this.
Notelettes are about the size of a gift card. They’re too small to be mailed, but are perfect for tucking into a bouquet of flowers, attaching to a bottle of wine, or taping to a gift like a gift tag. A notelette gives you just enough room to express your thanks or good wishes without doubling the cost of your gift. And sometimes that’s all you need.
The most thoughtful gifts are the ones with a personal touch, the ones that say, “I thought about you, and I know you’ll love this!” What’s more personal than personalized stationery? It’s a gift that only they can use, chosen with care and imprinted with their name or initials.
This Christmas season I decided to give personalized note cards to all the women in my family: sisters, sisters-in-law, mother and mother-in-law. In choosing the designs, I carefully considered each woman: her style, her personality, her needs – and found a design for each that matched her style perfectly. I then personalized them, some with a first name or initial, some with the family name, and some with both, depending on how I thought she’d use them. It was fun to do, and I can’t wait to hand them out at our Christmas gathering.All-occasion note card sets also make nice stocking stuffer ideas, because they are gifts everyone can use. We all wish we had a spare birthday card or get well card on hand for those occasions that take us by surprise. And a special stocking-stuffer-size gift for moms or kids are our little notelettes, for those times you want to leave a message for someone you love. Just like a handwritten note, the gift of stationery says, “I’m thinking about you.”
Many of us love to bake during the holiday season, and share our treats with friends and neighbors. Cookies, fudge, toffee, dipped pretzels, popcorn balls, flavored oils and vinegars, liqueurs—whatever you love to make is sure to make a great gift, because it comes from the heart.
I love opening the door to our friendly neighbor, who is hand delivering her annual gift of chocolate-covered toffee. We exchange holiday greetings and catch up on the neighborhood news. She, like everyone I know who shares the gift of their cooking, simply loves to do things for others and never expects anything more than a happy greeting in return.
Everyone has their own homemade gift ideas—usually something they’re very good at and make every year. Often, the unique packaging or festive wrapping is just as creative as the gift inside. I especially love the personalized gift tags that proudly proclaim who made them, or labels that make it sound like they came from a professional kitchen. Gift tag stickers make great labels for jars and boxes, while tie-on gift tags work well for cellophane wrapped or bagged gifts.
Even if you don’t make your own gifts this holiday season, you can make your own gift tags and keep enough on hand for those last-minute hostess gifts or gift exchanges. A gift tag that says “Holiday Greetings” makes any gift, even a bottle of wine, feel more personal.
If you are lucky enough to have a warm home to go to this Thanksgiving, filled with the mouthwatering smell of roasting turkey and the happy chatter of family and friends, then you have plenty of reasons to be thankful. It’s easy to get swept up in the hubbub of cooking and decorating and family squabbles, and to lose sight of what’s most important on this uniquely American holiday.
Everyone has their own Thanksgiving family traditions, such as helping out at a food shelf or participating in a fun activity like an annual touch football game, but when everyone finally settles around the table we all share one thing: our thanks. Some families appoint one person to say grace, others join hands in a prayer or a song. Still other families go around the table and ask each person to share something they’re thankful for.
Having been put on the spot a few times, some of us at Pear Tree thought it would be a nice idea to create note cards especially for this purpose. These little Thanksgiving notelettes ask the question “What are you thankful for?” with a blank area beneath the message or inside the card to write in your answer. You could also use simple thank you cards. We love this idea, for lots of reasons.
First the activity is meaningful for both kids and adults. The notes can be filled out in advance and read aloud, or passed around the table. You can even make a game out of guessing who wrote each one. Best of all, they can be kept! Send each guest home with their note as a remembrance, or give them to the hostess or the eldest member of the family. Thanksgiving is a time to count our blessings, and these little notes are a tangible reminder that we have a lot to be thankful for. It may even become a new Thanksgiving family tradition.