Oprah has received many gifts over the years, but she says the gift that means the most to her is one that cost the least. "A few years ago at my 50th Happy Birthday luncheon, my friends wrote me heartfelt notes that they then placed inside this silver box," Oprah says. "The words from your heart mean more to people than anything you can buy."

The tradition was carried on at Oprah's Legends Ball, when some of the younger women—like Alicia Keys, Debbie Allen and Halle Berry—wrote letters to Oprah. The letters were turned into a book, a keepsake that became the inspiration behind this thrifty idea: gratitude boxes.

This holiday season, give a gift that comes from the heart with a gratitude box. Debi Lilly from A Perfect Event has created examples of boxes that cost as little as $6 to $36 to make, depending on how elaborate you want to get.

Debi says this box is made by simply covering a shoe box in wrapping paper. Next, cranberries are hot glued to the top for embellishment. A beautiful ribbon adds a personal touch with a monogram made from hot glue. Pinecones, flowers or other seasonal items also make great garnishes. If you're not handy with a glue gun, Debi says stickers are an easy alternative.

If you're hosting a party or having a holiday meal, buy small boxes—Debi found this one for $2—and have them waiting for your guests at their place settings.

Next, ask your guests to write a special note to each person at the table. To make it easy, we've created printable note cards:

"What I love about you..." PDF
"Thank you for..." PDF
"My holiday wish for you..." PDF

Print out and cut up multiple copies so your guests can write their messages and slip them into each guest's box. Your guests will go home with lovely party favors filled with heartfelt sentiments.

If you're attending a holiday party, you can bring a box and the slips of paper with you and have everyone at the party write a message for the hostess, leaving it as a wonderful hostess gift!


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