WORK-LIFE BALANCE / DEC. 02, 2013
version 13, draft 13

DIY Holiday Gifts for the Colleagues on your 'Nice List.'

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1. Gourmet Chocolate Apples.
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Cover apples with chocolate and a variety of yummy additions to create an irresistible treat. Wrap the finished confection in a cellophane bag and tie with a festive ribbon for a gift that looks like it came from an expensive gourmet food store. http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/tyler-florence/chocolate-covered-apples-recipe/index.html

Every year, as holiday season rolls around and office parties are under way, our minds turn to what on earth we are going to give our colleagues as a gift. This is always tricky because you spend a lot of time with these people and so you want to offer something meaningful, but not expensive. There is also the possibility that although you know their work habits very well, you may have very little insight into their home life or interests. This year I feel that many people will be forced to forgo the gift giving process altogether and that is understandable as things are economically tough, but with a little time and imagination there is a cost effective solution to prevent your workplace from resembling a chapter out of ‘The Christmas Carol.’

Over the years, I have been fortunate enough to have received some lovely homemade gifts that I treasure amongst my most valuable possessions. However, I understand that not all homemade gifts are created equal and that is why DIY gifts should be given certain considerations….

Skill level: Maybe you have crafting skills that would shame Martha Stewart into retirement, but if the last creative project you undertook was a diorama in first grade then take these things into consideration when choosing a craft to make. When you are putting together something for your workplace it should be well done, colleagues are not as forgiving as your Auntie Mabel who will gush over the scarf you gave her even though it is shaped like a map of Italy. So when choosing a craft project, make sure it is something that is within your ability and hold off on the more complicated art piece until you find yourself with more time on your hands.

Time: The archenemy of working people everywhere is time restraint and it seems that the holiday period creeps up on you faster than, as John Lithgow put it “a windshield on a bug.” So be realistic or chances are the craft materials you purchased for the project will still be in the Michaels bag throughout the New Year and beyond. A project that is easy and not time consuming is the best way to go, especially if you are making more than a couple of items. Off the record, if you have a handy teenager, babysitter, or mom who delights in such activities then there is no shame in enlisting them to lend a hand.

Stick to your Budget: I know firsthand what happens to a person when they enter a craft store; suddenly every fantastic creative idea I ever had bombards my brain leaving logic fighting for its life….until I reach the cash register where I am handed 5 bags filled with everything from neon cake icing to a large round thing made from twigs that I am sure I needed back in aisle 4, along with a bill for over $300… oops! Make a list and stick with it. and remember it is not always necessary to buy the highest priced paper or beads etc., usually the shop brand items are the same quality as the well-known brands but without the added cost of fancy marketing.

Enjoy yourself! It’s the holiday season and if you schedule the time and enlist the help of a little eggnog and some festive tunes, DIY  gifts may become one of your new holiday traditions.

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