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Last-Minute Gift Ideas for Christmas

Instruction and information for a do-it-yourself design that everyone can handle.

Sometimes buying gifts can be stressful, especially now since money doesn't come that easy. You also might not know what to buy for certain people. I say, everyone loves gifts from the heart. If you made something special instead of buying it, your friends and loved ones will appreciate it even more.

There a lot of things you can create do-it-yourself style for gifts. Being an artist, I have made tons of things for people. Whether it was a special occasion or a holiday, my gifts were always successfully received.

As long as you keep that person in mind, I guarantee you will see smiles from ear to ear. Maybe even happy tears. That's the best!

Here are just a few ideas to inspire you to create something awesome. Remember, a great gift doesn't have to be hundreds of dollars; it just has to be personal, unique and done right.

Homemade Baked Goods & Food

This is great for all you foodies out there. I happen to love to bake and cook, so giving my treats away as gifts is a given. The key is to package them up nicely so they look like something incredible.  

If you plan on giving a large batch of cookies or brownies, present them in a nice tin or box. If you want to just give a couple, then gift them in small cute bags and add some ribbon. It's the small touches that really add that holiday cheer. For food, try mason jars. They are affordable, presentable and the person can reuse them when they're done.  

You can purchase cookie tins at CVS on West Park Avenue and Rite Aid at Long Beach Plaza. For more gift packaging, try Pier 1 Imports on East Park Avenue or your local craft store.

Scrapbooks & Photo books

These are really great to give as gifts. Not only are they personal, but also you can really get creative and go all out. Creating a book for someone allows him or her to look back and appreciate amazing moments. I have made numerous books for people in the past and they have all been a success.  

You don't have to be a designer to make a gorgeous and meaningful book. Whether you choose to put it together by hand or get it printed, this is a gift option you won't regret.

Focus on things that are important to the person you are giving it to. Are they married or in a relationship?  Do they have kids or pets? What about a collection of photos from past holidays of their family or their kid's artwork?

For a real simple book, try putting the reasons you appreciate that person on each page. With every turn they will love you even more! Get creative and have fun doing it.

For handmade scrapbooks, you can use just about anything, but for paper and craft materials try the Gordon's Card & Gifts on East Park Avenue and Party Accents on West Broadway. You might even find some cool stuff at Rock-N-Robins Enchanted Cauldron on West Beech Street.

For a professionally printed book, check out the services at the The Ocean Press on West Beech Street and the photo departments of your local drug stores. You can also try these companies I personally recommend: MyPublisherPetite Picasso and Inkubook.

Framed Photographs & Artwork

Being that I'm a photographer, there are always photos I would love to give as gifts. Especially if the person loves the specific subject, or the photo would fit the decor of their home.

If you have some really great nature photos just frame them up and give them to a nature lover. Do you have a unique drawing or painting? Give them as gifts, too. If you don't want to hand off the original, just make prints by scanning or taking pictures of the artwork.

You can get prints of your photos at Rite Aid at Long Beach Plaza, CVS and Walgreens on Long Beach Boulevard. You might be able to find frames at True Value Hardware on Long Beach Boulevard and Pier 1 Imports.

Some other great gift ideas are gift baskets, handmade coupons and personalized items. I gave my boyfriend's parents an Italian dinner gift basket last year and it was a big hit. I just added a bottle of wine, organic pasta, garlic infused olive oil, a can of San Marzano tomatoes and fresh herbs. You can fill baskets with art supplies, lotions and bath products, baked goods, toys, or just about anything!

For food items, head over to the Long Beach Food Market on West Park Avenue and Associated Food Stores on East Park Avenue, as well as the Country Boy Bakery on East Park Avenue.

Think of interesting things you can put on coupons, like "A Free Massage" or a "Special Night Out," and create a cool looking set. They can use them whenever they want.

You can pretty much personalize anything these days from shirts and hats to mugs and mouse pads. They can make unique gifts for anyone.

Hope you get your holiday shopping done in time for Christmas. If you're lagging behind and at a loss for ideas try some of these out. Enjoy and have a Happy New Year!

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