Tuesday, December 26, 2017

"I regret making that storybook," said no one ever.

We all get to choose what we do with our time.  Sometimes we're smart with our time, and sometimes we're dumb with it, but we all get to choose.  Right now my regrets include scrolling too long on Facebook or not exercising when I told myself I would.  Do you have similar regrets? 

One of the most impactful and meaningful uses of time is preserving our photos and stories.  I think it's one of the most {noble ways to use our time}.
When I talk about preserving photos, I don't necessarily mean scrapbooking.  So if you're not a scrapbooker, stay with me here because it doesn't matter.  Preserving your experiences through photos and memories can happen any number of ways.

Here are three amazing ways to preserve your photos and memories in digital pages.  If you like the creativity and flexibility (put anything anywhere on a page) of scrapbooking, you'll love the third option here, like I do.  If you just want to get 'er done without spending much time (or learning a computer program), the first two will be your dream come true.  For a quick book with captions, choose the first option.  For more journaling space, choose the second.

The links to get started are in the comments of the video, or you can get started here.

And I'll tell you what!  Spending time to create a storybook has NO REGRETS!

I really love the family yearbooks--a whole year's worth of photos in one book.  There are lots of templates already designed, so it's really just a matter of putting photos where they already go! 

Creating storybooks or scrap pages is one way to spend your time that really makes a difference!  {Studies have even shown} that memory-keeping increases happiness, raises self-esteem, lowers stress, engenders a sense of belonging and purpose, and even makes kids more resilient!  What you create can make a lasting difference.

Do yourself a favor and start enjoying all those memory-keeping benefits RIGHT NOW.  

If you struggle to find time, visit the "need TIME?" tab at the top of this page, and always remember that you can actually {make memory-keeping into a family activity}, not just something on YOUR to-do list!

Or work with friends!  Check out the "Our Community & Events" tab to see what's coming up next.  There are 5 great options for accomplishing your memory-keeping goals by working with others.

Do it!  Create a photo-storybook!  A Forever photo-storybook is a beautiful, high-quality, meaningful way to preserve your life experiences through photos and stories, and it's a meaningful way to spend your time that you'll never regret.

The steps to get started are laid out {here} for you! 

If you like the yearbook idea, this tutorial shows you how simple it is to create using the Design & Print platform from Forever.  (For full flexibility and creativity with the Artisan program, get a basic overview here and see details hereContact me with questions!  I love answering questions and helping people make memory-keeping doable!)

 #noregrets #dontletyourbabiesgrowuptobejpegs

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

how to support small business without spending a cent

Chances are you know a small business owner or network marketer.  Chances are you know several.  How do you, as their friend, support them?  Here are some ways you can be one of their strongest supporters and cheerleaders without spending a cent or even stepping out of your house!

And don't forget:

Friday, December 15, 2017

Finding Friends in Your Family

Learning about your family history gives you a glimpse into the history of you, but it also gives you opportunities to find friends in your own family.  Working together and playing together (even if it has to be scheduled in today’s hectic life) give family members opportunities to talk, accomplish something together, or just have fun together.  Family members can be a constant source of friendship throughout life.  But what about the family outside your own house?  How can you find friends in your family outside your walls?

Outside Your Walls:  A Path to Friendship
At a recent Family History Conference in Ogden, Utah, a speaker told of how she and her husband set up a little structure on their ranch as homage to an ancestor.  Inside, they framed the story of this ancestor so family members could read it and get to know him.  Their young grandson read the story and was thrilled with it.  

This is just one example of a “path to friendship,” as Rachel Trotter calls it–a way to develop friendships between generations.  In her article, {“A Family Story is a Path to Friendship,”} Trotter suggests other ways to do this, too.  For example, her daughter was given the name of two great-grandmas.  That daughter, knowing where her special name comes from, and the two special ladies it belonged to, has a strong sense of self and belonging.

And that’s what family stories are intended to do.
A variety of heirloom-quality storybooks that can be completely personalized are found {here}.

What family stories do you already know?  Have you recorded them, or are they still memories living in your head?  This article, {Creating Family Stories}, has some great resources to help you remember and record the family stories you already know, and some questions to ask to find more stories.  Get to know your parents, your grandparents, and your ancestors.  Then create a record so your children can get to know them, too.

I mentioned {last week} how fulfilling it is to me to connect with family members I’ve never met, like my great-grandparents.  Reading their stories, knowing their life experiences, and getting to know them a little makes a big impact on my own heartstrings.  It’s grounding, and it gives me hope.

Inside Your Walls:  Connections
Connections to people within the walls of our homes are important, too.  We talk about being so {“connected” these days–but are we}?  (There’s a short video at that link about a woman who strengthened a strained family relationship, too.)   

I’ve recently been trying to connect with someone who isn’t all that interested in connecting (mainly because he’s, well, a teenager).  So I have to be a little sneaky sometimes.  He’s quick to list ways we can’t connect:  “I’m not interested in __[something you’re interested in]___,” “I don’t want to__[do this thing you like doing]_____”.  This person is more like me than he wants to admit (mainly because he’s, well, a teenager), but the easy, go-to things we could do together aren’t that interesting to him.  I dropped a bombshell on him the other day.  I told him that we could actually find things we have in common and then do THAT together.

So often we think we can’t connect if there aren’t a few glaringly obvious things we have in common.  It’s so important to stop looking at things we don’t have in common and focus on what we do have in common.  This is when conversations and questions come in.  Just finding out what people think, what they like, what they don’t like, what they value, etc., helps you realize what you have in common.  Start with that, then build on it.

When we moved across the country (the second time), our kids were 17, 13, and 10.  Not an easy age to move and make new friends.  It really struck me that first night in our new but completely empty house:  we all have each other.  My kids left their friends, they haven’t had any time at all yet to meet a single person here, but they have each other.

Bring it Home
Finding friends in your family is worth the effort because we need each other.  I know how fantastic friends are, of course, but sometimes people move away or grow apart when things in common stop being in common.  Family is always there, so it’s important to make friends in your family.

Sometimes family friendships develop easily, sometimes they take some time and need some nudging.  I think the simplest way to foster friendships between family members and between family generations is to fill your home with reminders and stories and photos.  Fill your house with connections waiting to happen.  You could:
Try these ideas or do some brainstorming of your own.  Several of the #familyhistoryfriday posts from last month (November 2017) have great ideas for connecting, too.

Friendships within families, whether within the walls of your home or between generations, can be lasting and rewarding.  And this rich source of friendship can sometimes be the last place we think to look.

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This post was originally published at www.livegrowgive.org on December 15, 2017, by Jennifer Wise.  Find more #familyhistoryfriday posts by clicking the hashtag below next to Labels.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Why Knowing Family Stories is a Necessity (and the astounding effects)

When I was growing up, 2017 sounded like it would involve flying cars.  Really, though, things aren’t that different from 1985.  Are they?  Houses are houses and cars are cars.  We go to school and work.  And yet, things ARE different.  With so many available activities and distractions now, family connections are harder to come by than they used to be.  

While it used to be nice to know family stories and family history, today it’s a necessity.  Here’s why.

We know a little more about the effect of family history today than we did in 1985.  It’s been {researched}, and the effects of knowing family stories on both kids and adults has been documented in recent years.  In Rachel Coleman’s article, {Why We Need Family History Now More than Ever}, she states:
"[Family history] can be a powerful antidote against adverse life experiences that we face today, giving us a stronger understanding of who we are and motivating us to deepen our roots for generations to come." 
Among other things, Coleman points to family history as a major factor to connection, identity, selflessness, and resilience.  Compassion and self-worth also come from knowing family stories.  These are all things we want!  Everyone can benefit from a little more compassion or a little more resilience.

Resilience is another by-product of knowing family stories because we can see how other people in our own clan overcame hardship.  We see them stand up again, try something new, or start over.  It gives us hope.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read a story about an ancestor and thought, “Oh, good grief.  I don’t actually have any problems!”  They provide great perspective.

And now for the big guns.

Coleman referred in her article to a popular and thought-provoking Ted Talk called {Everything You Know About Addiction is Wrong}.  In it, Johann Hari states that the opposite of addiction is not sobriety.  It’s connection.  Stop and think about that for a minute.  (Better yet, watch his talk.)  I’ve even heard connection defined as the opposite of depression.  How many other common problems today could be helped, managed, improved, or solved by simple connection?

Connection among family members can be elusive these days, even among those who sit at the same dinner table.  But connections make a difference!  Connecting with your roots, who you belong to and where you came from, whether you even met those family members or not, provides a sense of belonging and purpose.  Research backs it up.

Connecting with the people around the dinner table is important, but so is connecting with those who came before you.  If you're unsure about how connecting with people you never met can really help you, think of the connections you have made already with people you never met.  I’m in a couple of blog-sharing Facebook groups and Instagram share groups, and, you know, it actually IS possible to make connections without having met a person.  As I learn a little more about these people, I am connecting with them.  A few years ago I read a biography of one of the most remarkable American women in history, Susan B. Anthony.  After reading it, I sincerely and truly felt like if I had lived when she did, we would have been friends.  (If you haven’t {read it, you should}!  It will change what you think you know.)
"There isn’t a person you wouldn’t love if you could read their story."  ~Marjorie Pay Hinckley
How much better, then, to connect with and love someone in your own family.

A few years ago, I read the story of my great- great-grandparents.  I had known their names before, yes, but I didn’t really know (or appreciate) their stories.  I did some digging in some typed-up family stories my parents had given me.  I took those stories and {put them in a book} for my children.  

I was amazed at what happened to me.  I actually got to know my great- great-grandparents.  And I LOVED them.  They became friends to me.  I connected with them because I saw things we have in common, they did things I admired, and they were my people.  They were regular folk.  But they were MY folk.  I honestly still feel that connection to them to this day, 4 years after putting their stories in books for my kids.

In a family tree, everyone has a place.  You might be a root, you might be a branch, or you might be both.  Roots and branches are equally vital to the health of a tree.  A tree needs both.  So wherever you find yourself in your family tree, know that you are important.

photo credit: {Roots Gifts} (Family Fan Chart quilts and fleece blankets)

In addition to filling a place no one else can fill, you are a connection between those who came before you and those who come after.  Tell your story.  Share it.  And make your story what you want it to be.  Get started here.

We all need connection!  Save and share this article using the social media buttons.

This post was originally published at www.livegrowgive.org on December 8, 2017, by Jennifer Wise.  Find more #familyhistoryfriday posts by clicking the hashtag below next to Labels.

Hooray!  This post was a featured favorite here:

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

family-themed gift ideas

It's the most wonderful time of the year!  I've got some great family-themed gift ideas for you this year!  I spent a lot of time searching high and low to find some fantastic gift ideas for you that will encourage family connections and foster engagement. 

Many are interactive, but all are meant to strengthen relationships and family ties.

You'll have quite a few different ideas to choose from at each of these links:
And Happy Christmas to all.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Your Family History in a Recipe

Did you know you can find your family history in a recipe?  It’s true.  Since a family history is just a family’s story, recipes, meals, traditions, and celebrations are part of that story.  From simple comfort food to fancy holiday dishes, you can find family history in a recipe.  Cookbooks and recipes are one fun, {creative way to share and enjoy your family’s story}.

My mother collected recipes from her mother and grandmother.  She compiled them several years ago, and it’s interesting to be able to go back now and see our family's history that way.  There are interesting “medicinal” recipes from the early 20th century. My great-grandmother had a recipe for ginger tea to calm an upset stomach.  My grandmother had a recipe for sugarless teething biscuits.  There are things I’ve never heard of like brown sugar seafoam candy and sauerkraut cake.  It helps me understand and appreciate what cooking (and what life) was like back then, and it also takes me home. {Nostalgia is nothing more than a way back home.}

A few years ago, I put together a family recipe book and asked each person in the family for their three favorite recipes.  The result is a great book that we can use for delicious recipes, of course, but it’s also both fun and useful to know what other people like to eat when they come to visit!  It's our CURRENT family history through recipes!  We all love it!

My grandma had a great, classic fudge recipe that I still use.  I love it because it’s not only delicious but it makes a lot so it’s perfect for giving away.  As my grandma’s niece said about this recipe, “If you’re going to make fudge, make fudge.”  And this does it!  So as a bonus for you today, here is Grandma's recipe:

Grandma Stott's Five Pounds of Fudge
enough fudge to sample yourself and give away, too

4 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter
cup milk
16 oz chocolate bar, broken in pieces
12 oz chocolate chips
1 pint marshmallow creme
tsp vanilla
1-2 cups chopped nuts optional

In a large saucepan over medium-low heat, combine sugar, butter, and milk.  Bring to a rolling boil, stirring constantly. Boil and stir for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and add chocolate and marshmallow creme. Stir until combined, then stir in vanilla. Add nuts if desired. Stir well. Pour into a greased 9x13 pan for thick pieces of fudge or a jelly roll pan for thinner pieces of fudge. Let stand until cool.  Cut into squares.  Store covered.

What comfort food from your childhood do you enjoy?  What is a traditional food your family loves this time of year?  Have you recorded your traditions and favorites somewhere so they can be known and enjoyed for another generation?  Record your family's history through recipes, and you've got a timeless piece of your own story.
Pin to save and share. 

This post was originally published at www.livegrowgive.org on December 1, 2017, by Jennifer Wise.  More #familyhistoryfriday posts can be found below by clicking the hashtag next to Labels.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Family-Centered Gift Ideas for Grown-Ups

Gift ideas for grown-ups can be hard to come by.  Many of the adults I know (like my in-laws, for example) have pretty much everything they need.  If new tools or new cookware doesn’t seem like THE THING this year, read on for some meaningful gift ideas.  Many adults appreciate family-centered activities, games, and books.  I’ve gathered lots of possibilities for your gift-giving pleasure this year.

Experiences and Activities
Several of the experiences and activities I shared last week {for teenagers} and the week before {for kids} are really family activities, so they may be great gifts for adults as well.  Many of the ideas you saw here a few weeks ago, {gift ideas for the whole family}, are excellent for grown-ups, too.  The key to a great family-centered gift is to choose something you don’t normally do, and make sure you do it together.

I’ve already mentioned {Heather Lynne’s ideas at Raising Memories}, and several would be great for grown-ups, such as:
  • overnight getaway
  • hot air balloon ride
  • pottery class
  • road trip
When my husband’s grandmother was in her 80s, she had ALS.  We picked her name for the family gift exchange one year, and we really wanted to give her something she could do without the use of her hands.  We found a lovely little game that I now can’t remember the name of that was absolutely perfect!  The game was just about telling your story and talking about memories.  Reminiscing was something she liked to do anyway, and it was a nice way to start family conversations and find out new parts of her life story.

That game for Grandma reminds me a lot of a new game called {Roots & Branches} by The Connections Games.  It’s a board game with questions in four categories:  Your Family, Your Ancestors, About You, and Nice to Know.  As players move and answer questions, they have a chance to share experiences and learn about their family.  This is a great game for making connections between generations.

From the Heart
Gifts from the heart are pretty much a shoe-in for grown-ups.

Update 2023:  And here's a special one I just made.  After my daughter's dream trip to Ireland, I made her a plush blanket with pictures highlighting our travels.  The colors were so vivid on this gorgeous blanket.  It's a fantastic gift!  (Except now I want one for me, too...)

Note: There are many awesome blanket templates in Design & Print
Forever's free software, but I created this using Artisan, Forever's 
digital scrapbooking software
 so I could use my own font for Ireland.

This is the preview of my blanket before printing.

Here are 4 more heartfelt gift ideas I love for adults:
  • I love this sweet idea from The Gifty Girl:  {kid-crafted dish towels}.  This is such a heartfelt gift from grandkids that they can DIY–older kids can write or draw and younger kids can paint or stamp.
  • I think {family cookbooks} are a heartfelt gift grown-ups can enjoy, too.  Family meals and special recipes are full of memories and comfort. 
  • Rhonda Lauritzen and Rachel Trotter at Evalogue.life just wrote a {great little booklet of thoughtful questions} to ask someone who is writing their life story or wants to interview someone for their life story.  I think this would be a lovely gift for someone with an aging parent.
  • I’m guessing I’m not the only tired adult out there, so I will say that the simple act of telling someone what you love and appreciate about him/her is a great gift.  A {“Reasons I Love You”gift is inexpensive but literally lasts forever!
Incorporate Family Traditions
Like my husband’s grandmother, adults sometimes like to reminisce about the good old days.  A great way to preserve those warm, fuzzy memories is through recording family traditions.  What do you do at Thanksgiving?  What is your Christmas Eve tradition?  What is your favorite holiday and why?

Here are two ideas I really love for recording traditions:

Does the adult you’re searching for a gift for have a lot of Christmas tree ornaments?  If so, were they inherited, or are they part of a collection?  I love this idea for making a record of all your ornaments!  Mine each has its own story.

What about gathering a collection of photos and memories from past holidays to make a record of your favorite family traditions?  What special foods do you have every year?   

Special Ideas
What special ideas did you find on this month’s #familyhistoryfriday posts?  I hope you found great gift ideas that will be heartfelt, make memories, and/or make connections.  Be sure to Pin them to save for next year, too!

Here’s one more thought for the road:  In my family, we keep an “I’d Like” list on our fridge all year round.  When you think of something you’d like to receive as a gift, you write it on the list.  As the giver, it can come in handy when you aren’t sure what someone would like as a gift.

What was your favorite suggestion from this collection of ideas?  Tell me in the comments below!

Pin this image to Pinterest to share and save for next year!
And use the social media share buttons at the left to share on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.

This post was originally published at www.livegrowgive.org on November 24, 2017, by Jennifer Wise.  You'll find more #familyhistoryfriday posts at the hashtag link below next to Labels.

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Friday, November 17, 2017

Interactive Gift Ideas for Teenagers

I personally think buying gifts for teenagers is pretty hard, even in the best of circumstances. But when they certainly don’t need another video game or app for their phones, and you know they would benefit from some family connection, it’s even harder.  

Sometimes it takes a little creativity to come up with interactive gift ideas for teenagers, but I’ve found some pretty good ones that I’ll share today.  Gifts that encourage family engagement and connection are fun now as well as meaningful in the future.

As I mentioned last week when I talked about {family-themed activities for kids}, I know some people who like giving experiences as gifts instead of things.  This can be especially great for teenagers.  They need the connections and the time invested in them, but they’re sometimes too busy or *ahem* too cool to hang out with their parents or siblings without a special occasion.   Obviously not all of the suggestions I’m listing here would work for every teenager, but see what experiences might be good for your specific one.  Make sure the activity is something special, not something you would normally do.  
  • {Record-Breaking Family Fun Kit} (think “Minute to Win It”) by The Gifty Girl
  • a water park
  • fancy dinner out
  • an amusement park
  • a vacation
  • a staycation
  • a day out with Dad or Mom
  • horseback riding
  • a musical or theatrical production
  • skiing
  • hiking
  • Heather Lynne at Raising Memories has some great suggestions for teenagers, too.  You can see {her whole list here}, but it includes:
  • zip lining
  • spa day (mani/pedi, etc.)
  • helicopter ride
  • hot air balloon ride
  • pottery class (or paint your own pottery)
I always recommend making these moments last by taking photos of the activities.  Depending on the event, a {little memory book} of the special activity is the perfect additional gift!  Preserving the experience and the memories makes it the gift that keeps on giving.

Lots of personal keepsake book ideas and free templates {here}

Games you can play as a family are a fun way to interact and engage with each other.  Similar to the idea of having dinner together as a family, games provide opportunity to just BE together.  Here are a few ideas I really like for teenagers.

While I am not a video game fan in principle, family video games like {Just Sing} or {Rock Bandmake lots of fun memories and connections.  We have the old Rock Band, and I can’t tell you how many fun hours we have had with it.  It was especially good when we had one teenager with younger “non-teenager” siblings–it was something everyone could play and enjoy.

{This neat card game} from {The Connections Games} is called “Did You Know?”  It’s an interactive get-to-know-you game with questions in five categories.  It can be played as a family but also with friends, roommates, or on group dates.

I mentioned {Mrs. Lady Wordsmith’s list of 21 family games} last week.  There are several teenage-type games there that the whole family can play.

We received {this game} as a gift, and I really like that it’s a team game!  Instead of trying to beat each other, like most games, everyone playing is a team trying to beat the timer!

Gifts from the heart are always so meaningful and cherished.  I think teenagers especially need a little extra support and love and encouragement.  My favorite one is this simple but powerful {Only You} book.  List talents and strengths your teenager has that he/she may not be able to see right now.  Write things you love about him/her.  You’ll never find a better $15 gift in the whole world.
Words are powerful.  The {gift of words} is something that lasts, something a teenager can pull out on a hard day today or a hard day in college.  

I hope you’ve found some special ideas for the teenager in your life.  Connections make great gifts!  Next week I’ll have some gift ideas for adults, too!

Pin to save and share!

This post was originally published at www.livegrowgive.org on November 17, 2017, by Jennifer Wise.  Find all the #familyhistoryfriday posts by clicking the hashtag below next to Labels.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Displaying Family Photos in Your Home: a wall canvas video tutorial (#tbt)

The posters on your child's bedroom wall are usually their heroes.  What if their heroes were in their own family?

Some photos are so great they should be seen year-round.  Family ancestors' photos fall into the same category.  Displaying family photos around your home emphasizes your priorities, connections, and happy family memories.  It can also make ancestors or those who live far away from you more REAL.

Today's throw-back Thursday (#tbt) is about showcasing your photos by creating a wall canvas.  There are a few examples in the post, and it also includes a video tutorial!  You can find it right here:  http://lifetalesbooks.blogspot.com/2017/05/showcase-your-photos-by-creating-canvas.html

And if you're thinking about Christmas gift-giving, I suggest you submit your canvas for publishing by Dec. 1.  (And, yes, you can specify the shipping address, so you can ship it directly to your recipient if you prefer.)

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Celebrating over 50,000 pageviews with a giveaway!

THANK YOU, dear readers!  I'm so happy to celebrate over 50,000 pageviews on this little blog.  This blog is about things that matter, things of the heart and soul, so I can't tell you how much I appreciate you reading!

Let's celebrate with a giveaway!  The winner will choose any (one) item from {My Heritage Makers Shop}!  (You can even choose an item that's out of stock, if you prefer, and I'll make it.)  Or, if you prefer, you can choose from the {Holiday Nifty Gifty} Christmas gift-card kit ($49 value) or the {Border Maker System} (a $45 value) with two cartridges included.  You don't have to be local to win--shipping is on me!  That's what a giveaway is all about!

  1. Leave a comment below telling me one reason you read here at LifeTales Books or tell me one of your favorite blog posts here.
  2. Comments close on November 27, 2017.  A winner will be drawn at random. 
  3. I will need to contact the winner via e-mail, so after you enter, e-mail me so that I have your e-mail address and can notify you if you win.  (Your e-mail address will not be shared and will only be used if you are the winner, of course!)  E-mail me at jenniferwise4heritagemakers@gmail.com.  

In looking back over more than 300 posts as we celebrate this little milestone, I want to share again the most popular blog post to date:  {Why Your Family Needs Its Stories}.  I hope, as I do with all my blog posts, that you will be inspired after reading it.  

Thank you for being here, dear readers!  Here's to 50,000 more visits!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

12 (Days of) Christmas gift ideas - part 2

How fun are those ideas I posted last week?!  I love them!  Today we're continuing our 12 (Days of) Christmas gift ideas.  Whether you need 12 Christmas ideas or 2, there are some really unique gift ideas here that you're going to love!

Day 7:  Single-Serve Cake Recipes
This is another fun idea (like Day 4 from last week) for a sweet treat to be eaten later.  This playing card deck has instructions for 10 different kinds of single-serve cakes using boxed cake mix and a few simple ingredients.

Once you receive the playing card deck, you can take one of each recipe, punch a hole in the corner, and tie together with ribbon.  Give with a box of cake mix if you like!  One playing card deck makes enough for 5 of 10 recipes plus instructions.  A playing card deck is about $17.  (TEMPLATE 85477)

I have to tell you, I LOVE this gift idea, so I decided to give this as gifts to girlfriends this year.  I used this template and switched out the backgrounds and digital art for something I liked better.  (I LOVE that about Heritage Makers!  And all the digital art is included!!!)  I changed the fonts, too.  These photos of MY Quick Cakes gives you a better idea of what this gift will look like after you order then assemble them.

They come in a plastic case.

Deal out the cards!  :D  (Put one of each recipe in each pile.)

The backs of all the cards will say "Quick Cakes," but the fronts are all different.  I put the "Helpful Hints" card as the front by turning it over.  (You'll see that better in the next picture.) Punch holes in the corners and put a ring or ribbon (or both) through the holes.

(See?  Here's the little bundle opened.  So the front card shows Quick Cakes on the front and Helpful Hints on the back.)

Now I've flipped a few more "pages."  You can see all the cards say "Quick Cakes" on the back, with different recipes on the front.  

I think these are SO ADORABLE.

2023 UPDATE:  Heritage Makers became YPhoto under Youngevity (which purchased Heritage Makers in 2013).  YPhoto uses only templates, so the creativity showcased here is no longer available there. Best-in-the-industry quality and permanent cloud photo storage with guaranteed privacy are required for anything recommended here by Photo & Story Treasures, so we highly recommend Forever.  

Using Forever's Artisan program for digital scrapbooking, you can make items similar to those shown here.  This video tutorial shows you how to craft with high-quality scrapbook pages, and this one shows you how to use Artisan to create something unique and then print at home (for instances in which you need thinner paper, sticker paper, etc.)  You can see just a few examples of crafting I've done using Artisan here, including cards, magnets, dry-erase boards, and other products.

Day 8:  We WHISK you a Merry KISSmas
Have you seen this cute idea before?  You fill a whisk with Hershey Kisses--just separate the wires and put the chocolates inside.  We WHISK you a Merry KISSmas!  These tags are just the thing:

These are made from a 12x12 scrap page.  (TEMPLATE 99434)  You'll cut them out after you order them, then attach to a whisk.  Scrap pages are $4.28 each.  ***BE AWARE that this template includes three total scrap pages--one scrap page with instructions and two that look like this.  If you want just one page of these tags and no instructions page, you can open the project for editing, click "manage pages" at the upper right, then delete the pages you don't want.

Day 9:  Gift Labels from Santa
Who do you know who would be excited to receive gift labels signed by Santa?

This would be a gift to parents, of course, who would have fun using them for their own gift-giving!  Labels come in a set of 54 for around $3.  (TEMPLATE 71825)

Day 10:  Candle Wraps
Wrap a Christmas-scented candle with your own message.

These are made from a 12x12 scrap page.  I have used these candle wraps before with the optional UV coating to give them a slick, finished look, and it makes them a little sturdier, too.  Great as a guest thank-you, but change the message to give Christmas wishes.  Cut out from the scrap page and tie around a candle with ribbon.  This size scrap page is around $4 and includes 2 wraps.  (TEMPLATE 69181)

Day 11:  "Be Merry" Gingerbread Table Runner
This adorable table runner is made from a playing card deck!  Just order the deck, then punch holes with a mini hole punch and tie with ribbon.  The "Be Merry" message will stand up accordion-style.

And it stores flat, too!  

Day 12:  Christmas Subway Print
Made from a simple 11x14 print, this subway art poster highlights all the joys of Christmas and can be displayed year after year.  Personalize with the recipient's name or leave blank.  
Or choose this one from Luke 2 

Did you find something you loved?  Whether or not you are looking for 12 gifts or 1, I hope you found something unique and fun.  Happy gift-giving!