Valentine’s Day: Last Minute Gift Ideas

So you’ve forgotten all about ordering a Valentine’s Day gift online and the only things left to buy are supermarket chocolate or over-priced roses… well, don’t panic just yet, because we’ve found 5 great last minute Valentine’s day ideas!

Why not share the love this Valentine’s Day by…

♥♥♥♥♥

1. Sending them a love letter via the Bureau of Communication

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2. Getting crafty to tell them why you love them…

via http://papervinenz.blogspot.co.nz

52 reasons!! That’s going to be hard to come up with at the last minute – maybe this is more realistic…

via http://www.howdoesshe.com

♥♥♥♥♥

3. Making them a yummy heart-shaped something-something…

Like a Cake…

Or a Pizza…

(This would be a thousand times better with Jamie Oliver’s pizza dough!)

Or some sweet cinnamon rolls…

via http://poppiesatplay.blogspot.co.nz

Or BACON (come on… what says “romance” more than bacon?!)

♥♥♥♥♥

4. Re-packaging some supermarket goodies…

… and pretending they’re homemade, he he 😉

via the lovely http://www.twigandthistle.com

… or using this fantastic printable wrapper around their favourite (King-Sized!) chocolate bar…

via http://www.lesscakemorefrosting.com

[n.b. this took me a while to figure out, but you download the wrapper using the little downward arrow (next to the printer symbol) on the “box” (first image)]

♥♥♥♥♥

5. Having a laugh…

Funny “Valentine-Schmalentine” minimal-effort printable card from http://mmmcrafts.blogspot.co.nz

Heart-warming sentiment from Patrick!

Printable lunch-box jokes from http://kristendukephotography.com

♥♥♥♥♥

♥ HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY! ♥

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Teacher Gifts

As we roll into the last week or so of primary school for the year, you might be considering giving a small Christmas gift to your child’s teacher(s).

I think it’s a nice idea at the end of the year to let teachers know how much they’re appreciated, and it’s also really nice for your kids to be able to give a present to someone who’s such a big part of their daily life.

With this in mind I did a little internet research to see what kinds of things teachers like to receive, and although it seems this varies widely, some gifts that are sure to be well-appreciated include stationery items (including quality journals or notebooks like the ones at The Paper Package:))…  or a diary for next year… a nice bottle of wine…  a book voucher… a lovely Christmas ornament… or even a gift basket. Realising that these involve a bit of cost however, it could be a good idea to join together with other parents to save the budget a little.

And speaking of cost… it really isn’t necessary to spend much money at all. I am sure any teacher would appreciate a heart-felt thank you card or note – especially if you take the time to specifically mention some of the ways that they have helped your child over the year (rather than just a generic “thanks”). And in our internet hunt we’ve also discovered some cute and creative ideas that don’t cost too much, and that could be fun to make with your kids…

Like this Reindeer Lunchbag idea from Family Fun.go.com. This would be great filled with some nice homemade goodies.

And staying with the theme, this cute Flannel Reindeer from Bumble Bee’s Craft Den is a great way of packaging a nice bar of soap…

Likewise this bag of Reindeer Noses (a.k.a.jaffas) from Craft Fairy also makes a super little gift…

Apples and teachers mix well together, so these simple but effective Candy Apple gifts from Somewhat Simple should make the grade…

Or these sweet looking Apple Cupcakes from Makes and Takes

Or what about these lovely sugar’ n ‘spice Apple Cookies (with free printable tags!) from Mum’s Business

For those of you with active little tackers, these rolls of Dynamite from Jasey’s Crazy Daisy are a bit of a blast…

Or for those with more studious offspring here are a couple of fabulous Wise Owl ideas from Lisa Storms

So cute, what a hoot!

Moving on quickly to more pun-filled fun… how great would these sweet bags & “O-fish-ally the Best”  labels from Eighteen25 be filled with that NZ all-time favourite, Chocolate Fish…

And sticking with the puns, these printable Flower Picks from Skip To My Lou look bloomin’ good!

And who could resist this final idea… it’s PRETTY. I don’t think it really matters what is inside the jar, but Simple As That‘s presentation is so simple and sweet it would melt the heart of Miss Trunchbull!

So thanks to all the teachers out there doing a fantastic job, trying to help all our kids get the eduction and opportunities they deserve!! Enjoy your holidays 🙂

D.I.Y. Advent Calendars

Would you like to get your children & family members even more excited about Christmas than ever?? Well an Advent Calendar is definitely the way to go!  But if you’re looking for something different from the standard supermarket version (although it’s hard to knock something that gives you a chocolate a day!), here are some creative and inspiring alternatives for the Christmas Countdown…

[ Click through all images for the original source & more info, instructions, printables etc where available.]

Christmas Advent Garland

A Christmas Advent Garland

Christmas Advent Socks

A Christmas Advent Garland Made of Cute Baby Socks

Santa Sack Advent Calendar

A Santa Sack Advent Calendar

Brown Paper Envelopes Advent Calendar

Beautiful brown paper envelopes with vintage images

Paper Packages

Paper Packages!!

Origami Advent Calendar

Origami Advent Calendar

Book Advent Calendar

Book Advent Calendar

Ornament Advent Calendar

Ornament Advent Calendar

Advent Tree

Advent Tree

Advent Activities

Advent Activities

Advent Activities (bottom image = printable)

Christmas Advent Jar

Christmas Advent Jar

Santa's Beard Advent Calendar

Santa’s Beard Advent Calendar (printable)

Santa's Beard Advent Calendar Version 2 (printable)

Santa’s Beard Advent Calendar Version 2 (also printable)

Wine Bottle Advent Calendar

An Advent Calendar for Mum and Dad??

Happy Christmas Countdown everybody!

Christmas Gift Ideas for Grandparents & Extended Family

Continuing our series of Christmas gift guides, today we’re focusing on reasonably-priced gift ideas for grandparents and extended family.

It would be interesting to know how many of us still buy or give Christmas presents to our extended family?  A lot of people seem to have agreements to just give gifts to their immediate family members or they run things like ballots or secret santa’s within the family to keep the costs and stress levels down. But, not-to-fear, if your grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins etc. are still on your gift list, here are some great ideas…

Firstly, from The Paper Package:

1. Lavender Gift Box  $56.00 including delivery

This lovely gift box features high quality, NZ-made lavender products and old-fashioned sweets. It makes the perfect Christmas present for a grandmother or older aunt…

Christmas Gift Ideas - Lavender Gift Box

2. Talking Family $52.00 including delivery

This is a fantastic gift idea for your grandparents, or as a combined gift for your whole extended family. It’s a set of Table Topics conversation starters focused on family history and stories.Ideal for when you’re planning to spend some time with the whole family, this game can be great fun and who knows, you might even discover some hidden family secrets!

Christmas Gift Ideas - Family Gathering

3. Merry & Bright Sugar-Free Gift Box $58.00 including delivery

Thinking of older family members again, many of them may be diabetic or pre-diabetic. We have designed this Christmas gift box to be as sugar-free as possible, so it makes a great choice for anyone who needs to regulate their sugar intake…

Christmas Gift Ideas - Merry & Bright Sugar Free Gift Box

4. Jolly Sweet Gift Box $49.50 including delivery

For the younger family members, this gift box of tuck-shop treats would be perfect to send to nephews or nieces this Christmas. Packed with old-fashioned sweets like sherbert fizzies, fruit jellies, candy rock and gingerbread and wrapped in a gorgeous, nostalgic style with a handmade “jolly snowman” gift tag…

Christmas Gift Ideas - Jolly Sweet Gift Box

Christmas Gift Ideas

5. Ciak Golf Notebook $38.00 including delivery

The Ciak Golf notebook is handmade in Florence from soft leather. It makes a high quality gift for under $40.00 and is perfect for the golf enthusiasts in your family (women or men)…

Christmas Gift Ideas - Ciak Golf Notebook

6. Winterthur Flowers Flip Top Notecards $29.00 including delivery

These fabulous note card sets make a great Christmas gift for your nana, aunty or sister-in-law. Made by Galison, New York, this lovely set contains 12 gorgeous note cards and matching envelopes in a keepsake magnetic-closure box. The beautiful “Winterthur” flowers vintage design comes from a 19th Century book of watercolours, originally produced for the porcelain work of Thomas Dimmock & Company in Hanley, England.

Christmas Gift Ideas - Winterthur flowers notecard set

So that’s our top selection of Christmas gifts for grandparents and extended family… but of course there are plenty more gift ideas on our website that you might find suitable for Christmas this year, including some from our ranges of  gifts for men, gifts for women or Christmas gift boxes.

Now on to some other great gift ideas that you could make at home…

DIY Photo Coasters from Lee La La

Christmas Gift Ideas - Homemade Photo Coasters

These would make a fantastic gift idea for grandparents!

(note: in NZ Mod Podge is available online from http://www.artsupplies.co.nz)

Map Coasters from Martha Stewart

A similar idea that could be great for a grandfather (especially if you were able to use maps of places you had visited together or that were close to his heart…)

Christmas Gift Ideas - Map Coasters

Felt Christmas Decorations from Bugs and Fishes

These are very cute ideas for giving to extended family or friends (popped inside a Christmas Card maybe?)

Christmas Gift Ideas - Homemade Felt Decorations

If you have children at home it would be a great project to do together (especially if they don’t turn out looking this good – then you could blame it on the kids lol :))

Personalised Guess Who? Game from obSUESSed

This is a really fun idea for the whole extended family. Use an old “Guess Who” game to make a personalised version for your own family members…

Christmas Gift Ideas - Personalised Guess Who Game

Imagine the fun you could have asking “Does he look prematurely bald?” or “Does she have a silly expression on her face?” Could get the Christmas Day get-together off to a great start!!

Grandpa Photo Collage from Women Living Well

We first came across this idea when looking for Homemade Father’s Day Gift Ideas, but it works equally well for a Christmas present…

Christmas Gift Ideas - Grandpa photo collage

(of course you ‘d have to have the right number of grandkids in the family for the name you use!!)

Candy Cane Mice Decorations from Martha Stewart

Another great little gift idea from Martha Stewart. These look fairly easy for children to make with just a little bit of help, and would also make great little gifts for their friends…

Christmas Gift Ideas - Christmas mice decorations

And finally…

This last gift idea we found COULD be fun to give to your grandparents (but only if they have a nice and dark sense of humour!)

All My Friends Are Dead $14.12 from Fishpond

Christmas Gift Ideas

Christmas Gift Ideas – For Neighbours, Colleagues & Acquaintances

We are starting our series of Christmas gift guides with this one for “neighbours, colleagues and acquaintances”. It is probably fair to say that these are people who you need/want to give Christmas presents to, while at the same time you don’t want to spend TOO much money on.

We’re thinking here of gifts for people like your neighbours (especially if they’re collecting your mail or feeding your cat over the holidays), your boss or co-workers, your customers or business acquaintances, and your children’s’ teachers, doctor or nurse etc. etc…

Some general gift buying tips:

  • Because these are people that you may not know very well personally, it is probably best to choose gifts that are fairly generic and non-personal (a good rule of thumb is that the less personal the relationship you have with somebody, the more generic the gift should be)
  • A good price range for these types of gifts would be around the $5.00 – $30.00 mark
  • You really want to avoid anything that has religious overtones, is tasteless or trashy or, worst of all, comes within the “humorous rude” category (especially for gifts that people have to open in front of others!)
  • And, as with all gifts (but especially inexpensive gifts), presentation is everything.

 

So, on with the gift suggestions. Firstly we will feature some suitable gifts we have available at The Paper Package, then we’ll go on to some other great gift ideas that you can put together yourself.

Gifts from The Paper Package:

We have a number of products available in the gifts under $30.00 price range that we particularly like as Christmas presents for your neighbours, colleagues or acquaintances.

1. Little Bottle of Gift Tags – Nature ($16.95 including GST, delivery & gift wrapping)

A cute little bottle of woodland/nature themed gift tags – perfect for Christmas-time gift giving.

Christmas Gift Guide 2011 - Little Bottle of Gift Tags

2. Banks & Co. Body Bar ($24.00 including GST, delivery & gift wrapping)

A lovely, luxurious gift for women, prettily wrapped up for Christmas…

Christmas Gift Guide 2011 - Banks & Co. Body Bar

3. Gardener’s Hand Cream ($29.90 including GST, delivery & gift wrapping)

A very popular hand cream for men and women, gardeners and anybody working outdoors…

Christmas Gift Guide 2011 - Scully's Gardener's Hand Cream

4. Italian Leather Notebook ($29.00 including GST, delivery & gift wrapping)

Handmade in Florence, this is a high quality, stylish gift for under $30.00

Christmas Gift Guide 2011 - Ciak Lined Pocket Notebook

5. Butterfly Notebook ($29.90 including GST, delivery & gift wrapping)

This is just the most adorable Christmas gift… a gorgeous purse sized notebook from Cavallini & Co.

Christmas Gift guide 2011 - Butterfly notebook

and last but not least, a gift that will probably suit everybody…

6. Merry Christmas Paper Package ($29.00 including GST, delivery & gift wrapping)

A cheery little gift box of Christmas treats!

Christmas Gift Guide 2011 - Merry Xmas Paper Package

There are plenty more Christmas gift boxes and gifts under $30.00 to check out on our website, but for now we’ll move on to some fabulous, inexpensive gifts that you could put together yourself…

Christmas Gift Guide 2011 - Vintage Xmas Postcard

Food items make an ideal little gift for Christmas, especially when they’re presented creatively…

Homemade Biscuit Dough Roll

This is a great idea for an inexpensive Christmas gift from Southern Living… your favourite biscuit dough in a roll, wrapped in a printout of the recipe/baking instructions (note: this does have to be kept in the fridge – but wouldn’t it be a great Christmas gift for your neighbours?!)

Christmas Gift Guide 2011 - Cookie Dough Roll

Cupcakes

Cupcakes might be so last year, but how could you not love these!

Christmas Gift Guide 2011 - Hot Chocolate Cupcakes

Hot Chocolate Cupcakes from Frog Prince Paperie

And how cute are these…

Christmas Gift Guide 2011 - North Pole Cupcakes

North Pole Cupcakes from Kara’s Party Ideas

Or, moving on from cupcakes, what about a plate of these fun melting snowman biscuits from Crazy Domestic? Love them!

Christmas Gift Guide 2011 - Melting Snowman Cookies

No-Cook Food Gifts

But if home baking is not your thing, there’s this idea for a hot chocolate mix in a jar (I know these ideas aren’t the most seasonally appropriate for a summer Christmas… but they all look so great!)

Peppermint Stick Cocoa from myrecipes.com

Christmas Gift Guide 2011 - Peppermint Stick Cocoa

And a couple of other non-cook food related gift ideas that we’ve come across:

  • a pretty old teacup & saucer from a second-hand shop filled with an assortment of herbal teas
  • custom spice blends or bbq rubs in jars with recipes to accompany

Gifts in Jars

Talking about jars… turns out just about everything can look better in a jar!

Like mini marshmallows (from delia creates – a lovely blog that has some great ideas for neighbourly Christmas gifts)

Christmas Gift Guide 2011 - Snowman Jar

Or bath salts

Christmas Guide 2011 - Bath Salts

[Click through the image to the recipe for these homemade bath salts, or there is another great tutorial here]

Or some gorgeous-looking homemade vanilla extract

Christmas Gift Guide - Vanilla

This beautiful DIY project from Style Me Pretty involves vodka, vanilla pods and 2 months infusing… so just a heads-up that if you’re interested in making it for Christmas gifts you will need to start it within the next couple of weeks 🙂

Other things that look good in jars…

Gift Cards!! (when they look like snow globes that is!)

Christmas Gift Guide 2011 - Snowglobe gift cards

Such a clever idea to make gift cards more fun from One Charming Party

And moving on from jars… a lovely fresh herb plant also makes a festive & inexpensive Christmas gift

Christmas Gift Guide 2011 - Christmas Herb Plants

And finally, here’s one to appeal to the guys… reindeer beer! An inspired idea from Life of a Modern Mom

Christmas Gift Guide 2011 - Reindeer Beer

So that’s about it for our Christmas gift guide for neighbours, colleagues and acquaintances. Hopefully you’ve found something to inspire your Christmas giving… and remember to keep checking The Paper Package website for other great gift ideas (we’re busy adding new products all the time) ♥

Homemade Father’s Day Gift Ideas

Over the last couple of weeks we have been posting a series of Father’s Day Gift Guides, based on gifts we currently have available for sale at The Paper Package. But today, we thought we’d focus on some fantastic homemade Father’s Day gift ideas that you could make yourself at home to celebrate on Sunday 4 September.

1. Father’s Day Cupcakes

You cant go wrong with home baking for any dad, and cupcakes are so easy to make. My favourite recipe is from Nigella Lawson – very easy – and then some buttercream icing on top (piped on using a glad plastic bag with the corner snipped off).

Then all you need to do is decorate them a bit in a Father’s Day style:

  • Easy – Father’s Day Party Printables

Print out some of these fun printable labels and cupcake toppers, stick them on a toothpick and you’re done!

Party printables, cupcake toppers, banners, cards, invitation & more via blog.catchmyparty.com

  • Tricky  

These could be fun to try and make for a fishing-mad father…

Father's Day Fishing Cupcakes from Nothing But Country via tidymom.net

  • Fiendishly Hard

Warning – we are heading into Heston Blumenthal territory here…

Fast food fun from bakerella.com

Yes, these are actually cupcakes and biscuits (the french fries!). If you click through the image there is a full tutorial on how to make these, plus printable downloads for the french fry bag and snack holder. Incredible. If you actually have a go at trying to make these please send us a photo – we would love to see how they turned out 🙂

2. D.A.D. Photographs

We’ve found a few examples of these on the web – and it seems such a simple, but really cool idea that Dads will love.

Click through for tutorial from Twinkle Toes - the blog

You can find wooden letters in NZ from craft stores, Spotlight etc. I’ve also found a link online to Mums Know Best (we have no affiliation with any of these stores so can’t vouch for the product/service sorry).

If you don’t have the time to get the wooden letters for props here are a couple of other creative ideas for Father’s Day photos:

3. Dad’s Rule Print

Don’t you just love Dadisms!! They are so much fun because they immediately transport you back in time to when you were about 8 years old again!

This fantastic free printable was designed by Amy Proffitt (aproffittablelife.blogspot.com) and can be downloaded in various colour combinations. Makes a great print to frame, or to give as a Father’s Day card maybe… (and the hidden message is fun too)

4. A couple of great homemade gift ideas from Martha Stewart

Retro Father’s Day labels

Use these labels to make your own snack range, designed just for his tastes!

Or maybe you could try this yummy sounding Caramel, Bourbon and Vanilla sauce

The presentation of this is gorgeous – I don’t know where you would get the little spoons though, maybe from the Sallies or other second-hand shops?

5. DIY Superhero Gift Box

This idea is a bit more complicated but it could be really fun (and what dad wouldn’t love to think of himself as a superhero to his kids!)

Superhero Gift Box from alphamom.com

Click through the image for printable labels and full instructions (which can probably be simplified if you didn’t feel up to the whole shebang!)

6. Father’s Day Ticket Book

This is a lovely design for a Father’s Day coupon book… (note: needs login to download)

7. Father’s Day Card

And this is a cute design for a Father’s Day card that kids could print out and fold…

Father's Day greeting card from anythingbutperfect.com

Anniversary Gifts : Will Anybody Even Need Them?

As a business we’ve only been operating 6 months now, but probably our single best-selling range of gifts so far have been Anniversary Gifts. And now I wake up this morning to hear on TV 1’s Breakfast that the marriage rate in NZ has reached an all-time low. Great.

photo via etsy.com

Apparently the marriage rate in NZ last year was 12.5 marriages per 1,000 unmarried adults, which is less than one-third of the peak recorded in 1971 and half the 1987 rate. (Statistics NZ Media Release)

So why aren’t we so keen on getting married then? Stats NZ cites the increasing numbers of de facto unions, a general trend towards delayed marriage, and more New Zealanders remaining single (whether this is by choice or by lack of choice who knows??)

You would have to imagine too, that finances must be a bit of an issue here, especially if couples are having children before they get married. Then, the big expense of a wedding must come pretty low down the priority list compared to things such as a warm house in a nice neighbourhood & providing your kids with everything they need.

It seems a bit of a shame though… the whole tradition of marriage & the wedding ceremony itself is such a huge part of our culture and heritage. You know that a wedding isn’t a measure of how much a couple loves each other, but it is an open declaration of their commitment to each other AND it’s a great chance for a family/friends to celebrate a happy occasion together.

So maybe if finance is part of the reason why people aren’t marrying, wouldn’t it be great if we could all start to focus more on how fabulous lower budget, low key, creative weddings can be compared to a Bridezilla type occasion costing tens of thousands of dollars.

photo via etsy.com

I am such a fan of the online crafty marketplace Etsy, and absolutely love their “handmade weddings” showcases. Granted that most of these couples are extremely creative & crafty, but it’s so great to see their individuality shine through (usually on a budget) while still celebrating the best of the wedding traditions.

But back of the subject of anniversary gifts – I would be really interested in knowing if couples that have been together in a de facto relationship for many years share an anniversary? And if you do… how do you choose which day to celebrate? And do you exchange gifts?

P.S.

On the positive side of the stats the divorce rate is now the lowest since 1980. So it seems that the longer waiting times for marriage, and increased age of the bride & groom may lead to less unhappy marriages, and you have to celebrate that!