Some people don't spring in to action until a few days before Christmas, but when they do they dive in full force with the urge to get really creative. There are a few classic ideas that don't involve calories or too much working time:
Ellen offers a helpful soap-making tutorial here. She says that once you've gathered the supplies, this project can be completed in one afternoon (and much of that is simply drying time).
Over the weekend I received a mixed CD with customized cover art. The attention to detail made me feel like the creator had gone the extra mile in terms of personalization.
As mentioned a few months ago, office supply shops including Staples sell label-making kits for around $20. If you plan to burn a bunch of CDs (with music mixes or photographs), the expense of the kit is worth it. I played around with art and textiles, but you could certainly create fun labels from family photos.
What about homemade body scrub? Click here for Amanda's suggestion from the archives.
The wrapping paper shown at the top is from my personal archives. It was this striking abstract branch and holly berry design, and I believe it came from Kate's Paperie. (I also think it popped up in a pretty domino feature one year.) The painterly quality, and the soft use of color, was very sophisticated but the somewhat wild nature reminds me of Fifi Laughlin's tip from last year's wrapping series. She talked about drawing on kraft paper. Kids could have fun coloring or painting an abstract scene on sheets of recycled kraft paper. It's amazing how the right ribbon can pull together chaotic looking paper.
All soap images via The Long Thread. The art used on CD one is by Amanda Talley; "Indian Flower" from the Jasper Collection is seen on CD two. Neither will be distributed commercially. Seashell World carries the donkey ears and the jars are available at Walmart. Visit Crayola for washable paints.
Not exactly a wild abstract, but shown above is a terrific image that Little Augury found in a vintage House & Garden. Click to enlarge. It perfectly captures the spirit. Crayon sets are from Dick Blick.
The US Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots program is short on donations this year. Please click here to read about the situation in Georgia.