Have a Thrifty Holiday
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..."
"Thank you for..."
"My holiday wish for you..."
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!
To get you in the holiday spirit, we've put together a one-of-a-kind holiday mix—sure to be a hit at your parties!
See what's on Oprah's playlist, then check out all of Oprah's Favorite Things!
Holiday Hits 2008
Faith Hill, "Joy to the World" from the album Joy to the World
© 2008 Warner Bros. Records Inc.
Tony Bennett, "I'll be Home for Christmas" from the album A Swingin' Christmas
© 2008 Sony Music Entertainment
Il Divo, "O Holy Night" from the album The Christmas Collection
© 2005 Simco Limited exclusively licensed to Sony BMG Music Entertainment (UK) Limited
Josh Groban, "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear" from the album Noel
© 2007 Reprise Records
Brian McKnight, "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year" from the album I'll Be Home for Christmas
© 2008 Razor & Tie Direct, LLC
Amy Grant, "O Come All Ye Faithful" from the album The Christms Collection
© 2008 Amy Grant Productions
Harry Connick Jr., "It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas" from the album What a Night! A Christmas Album
© 2008 Sony Music Entertainment
Aretha Franklin, "Silent Night" from the album This Christmas
© 2008 DMI Records
To turn her scattered collection into beautiful mementos for her children, Connie purchased treasure boxes to hold each child's memories. "I wanted it to be a piece of furniture that they'll put on a shelf and keep forever," she says. It took months to put together, but Connie's children were touched when they received their mother's gift. "I'll always remember where I came from and what I am and who I am because of you," her son Jay says.
To make your own treasure box, start by searching for all your children's keepsakes. Be creative—from baby's first footprints to your little Picasso's artwork; science fair ribbons to grade school report cards, your children will love to relive it all.
Once you have your keepsakes, Connie suggests organizing everything by year using folders and plastic sleeves from an office supply store. Put it all together in a beautiful box—and if you look for coupons in the newspaper or online, you may be able to find boxes on sale at a craft store like Connie did!
To put a twist on this classic winter treat, Kellie created her own hot chocolate mixes. Using a plastic piping bag to hold the mix, Kellie says to start with a layer of cocoa, add marshmallows, and top with chocolate chips. Tie the top with a ribbon, and voilà!
"It looks like an ice cream cone," Kellie says. "It's so easy."
From ice-skating to bowling to just staying home and making cookies, Yvonne and Dean say making time for a dozen dates each holiday season brings them closer together without breaking their budget.
To personalize your gift, you can write an inscription to the gift receiver—and their furry friend!
Start reading the The Story of Edgar Sawtelle.
Want more thrifty gift ideas? Find great gifts under $100 from O, The Oprah Magazine.
Learn to cook like a pro with holiday recipes and step-by-step videos. Cooking class is in session!