Thursday, December 3, 2015

Pen to Paper: Pen Pal Gifts

I hope that you were able to add an extra person or two to your holiday card list, Munchkin and I made a bunch of cards for the Children's hospitals and also sent out a couple of cards to the military members (even though we don't send out a lot of Christmas cards, as we send out New Year's cards instead).
Today I wanted to talk a little bit about pen pal gifts.  It would be a wise idea to discuss this with a new pen pal, you should have an agreement if you are going to exchange gifts (some may not even celebrate Christmas or celebrate a different holiday so be understanding and respectful to their beliefs).  I haven't made that agreement with any of my pen pals this year as I am trying to keep my gifts to a minimum and instead hand make a lot of gifts.  So instead I thought I would give you some little ideas of small things to give your pen pal in recognition of the holiday with out spending any money or very little money.
One of my newest pen pals recently sent me a wonderful recipe for a Creamy Tomato Basil soup that is fantastic for this time of year.  It didn't cost any money, just a little time to pick and write out a recipe. I can be for a favorite holiday dish you share with your family during the holiday or something new and unique they can try. In response to the tomato soup recipe, I sent her a recipe for risotto.
Washi Tape & Stickers:
You can raid your stash and send little samples of washi tape or some festive stickers they can use to dress up their holiday letters and cards.
Tea Bags:
This is honestly one of my favorite little gifts to give and receive. You can send a bag of your favorite tea, coffee, hot chocolate or cider. You can dress it up by making a little pouch for it out of pattern paper or they also fit nicely in those gift card gift boxes too.
Puzzle Letter:
I came across this post on Pinterest and thought it is such a clever idea for a gift and a letter to a pen pal. This time of year you can find inexpensive little holiday puzzles for kids that would be a great size for a little Christmas note.
Handmade Ornament:
You could also make an ornament for your pen pal, there are loads of simple ideas for paper ornaments, felt ornaments, and glass ornaments online. A little time to create a little gift to remind your pen pal you are thinking of them this season.
Advent/ Countdown Calendar:
Chances are you have all seen those little calendars where you open a door each day to Christmas and find a little chocolate or gift behind each one. This is a fun idea to make for a friend or pen pal (and I have done it for several of mine). It doesn't have to be anything fancy, for one of my friends this year (she isn't online so no worries about revealing this) I am doing an inspirational or holiday quote for each day until Christmas. I just used a tiny piece of paper, wrote the quote & decorated it, then put it in a small envelope with a ribbon so she can hang them on her tree. In the past I have also done little ATCs, book themed gifts (like bookmarks), ornaments, etc.
Christmas really isn't about the gifts it is more about the thought and the friendship or love that you feel for others. These are simple and small ways to show your pen pal that you are thinking of them too over the holidays.

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