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Salvage Your Holidays With 15 DIY Christmas Ideas

Salvage Your Holidays With 15 DIY Christmas Ideas
    Photo credit: poppet with a camera (CC BY-NC 2.0)

    A few years ago, someone I know sent out an email saying that he was cancelling Christmas that year due to financial constraints. He had gotten caught in the trap that Christmas was more about the expensive gifts than the time spent with others.

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    Being an “almost minimalist” by nature, I have always believed simplicity is the best solution for the holidays. With that in mind, I also feel that it is good to give gifts. I personally enjoy giving random gifts throughout the year, especially to people I don’t even know.

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    However, these gifts do not have to be expensive. In fact, I try to put together several “do-it-yourself” gifts to give on such occasions rather than spend a ton of money on gifts.

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    Here are some ideas for DIY gifts that can cause your family to say wow.

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    1. Cookies: My aunt’s favorite. While you are at it, host a holiday cookie baking party. Everyone makes their favorite cookies, and you all split the final results.
    2. Pine Cone Fire Starters: Just a little wax and pine cones. Perfect for fireplaces.
    3. Secret Hollow Book: Take an old book, a little glue, a knife and you have a secret box perfect for your friend’s car keys.
    4. Recipe Booklet: While subscriptions to food magazines are the norm in my family, I think a recipe book with your favorite recipes from the year is a nice personal touch.
    5. Themed Gift Basket: No need to go expensive, but find a theme they like and add some food or other small items related to the theme. Sports, Italian, Nature? The only limits to what you can think up as a theme are the limits of your own imagination.
    6. Memory Drawing: For the artistic folks, draw a picture of a memory you have of the other person.
    7. Gingerbread House: I don’t mean a set they build. Spend the time to build one and give it. Children love them!
    8. Personalized Calendar: If you have children, grandparents and other relatives always enjoy a calendar of them. Of course, you could also give a personalized calendar to your significant other or other important person in your life.
    9. Make An Ornament: It can be made out of salt dough, paper or anything you have around. Its handmade nature will make it unique and special.
    10. Volunteer As A Group: Setup a time to volunteer at a soup kitchen with them.
    11. Create An Experience: Do they like to camp? What about walking in the park? Take them out for the day; you can even make a picnic out of it.
    12. Start A Tradition
    13. Homemade Granola Or Trail Mix: Simple to make, and you can make different varieties for specific people.
    14. Mixed CD/DVD: Spend time crafting a mixed CD for them. Or maybe put together a DVD of your favorite pictures/short videos from throughout the year.
    15. Gift Certificates: Give them a handmade certificate for a service you can provide. Maybe you’ll do the dishes, give a massage, walk the dog, offer a special night out. It could be anything they would enjoy getting a break from — or having to do themselves.

     

    There are many options out there. Always remember: The time spent is more than the money spent. For those who still want to (or feel they must) give traditional gifts, just remember to keep a budget.

    What is your favorite DIY Christmas idea?

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    Last Updated on March 13, 2019

    How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

    How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

    Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

    You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

    Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

    1. Work on the small tasks.

    When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

    Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

    2. Take a break from your work desk.

    Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

    Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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    3. Upgrade yourself

    Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

    The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

    4. Talk to a friend.

    Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

    Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

    5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

    If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

    Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

    Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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    6. Paint a vision to work towards.

    If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

    Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

    Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

    7. Read a book (or blog).

    The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

    Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

    Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

    8. Have a quick nap.

    If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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    9. Remember why you are doing this.

    Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

    What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

    10. Find some competition.

    Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

    Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

    11. Go exercise.

    Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

    Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

    As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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    Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

    12. Take a good break.

    Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

    Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

    Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

    Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

    More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

    Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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