Creative, Thoughtful and Affordable Gifts for All Occasions

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I like to think I am fairly good at giving gifts. I definitely like to receive gifts (I admit that might just be my love language!) and I value the people in my life enough to try to find something special to give them when they have a major occasion. Recently I ran late in sending my sister-in-law a birthday gift, and I felt extra sad because I was thinking about what an amazing gift-giver she is. Thinking of some of her thoughtful gifts inspired me to pull together a whole bunch of gift ideas–some of them I am taking from her repertoire. Although Christy gives awesome gifts too so some of these are her ideas.

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As part of the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle that we recently shared {by the way, that may come back for a super-quick time if you missed it, be sure to sign up for our emails here— we’ll blast it out if we see that the purchase opportunity reopens} one of the many e-books I got was “Thinking Outside The Gift Box” by Lauren Lanker, a whole e-book all about easy and thoughtful gift ideas. Not only are many of the ideas Lauren shares personal, many of her gift ideas are things you can make or DIY, and they are things that you would actually do, not to mention be glad to receive!


I was already in the process of putting together this housewarming gift when I started reading Lauren’s book. We have really good friends moving into our neighborhood so I wanted to put together a small welcome for them. Instead of a basket, I filled a glass jar with nice cleaning supplies {I am partial to Mrs. Meyer’s these days, her products seem to make cleaning a little more fun, I buy them at e-pantry because they are so affordable there}, along with some new dishtowels and a candle. I thought the glass jar would be more useful in the future than another basket, but a basket would work nicely too, and of course I also sent wine because everyone knows that is essential after a day of moving!  My daughter also made their daughter {her BFF} an art board {like the one she has here} in colors to match her new room.

housewarming-gift-idea-new-home copy

{You can download the welcome-to-the-hood-printable here}

Welcome to the neighborhood gift tags



Hostess gifts are always so fun to buy because they mean you are going to visit a friend! Christy always shows up with something lovely for me when she arrives at our house, even though it is treat enough just to have her visit. One of my favorite hostess presents is to pair the mixings for a celebratory drink, I admit this idea tends to top our gift list when we see each other! 🙂

Here are some drink ideas that you can easily package together into a sweet hostess gift.

Mojito {recipe here}–bottle of rum, muddler, a mint plant {tied with a sweet card}, club soda, all put together in a gift basket or bag

Martini–a nice bottle of vodka, flavored olives and some fun stir sticks for a traditional martinis

Margarita–tequila, margarita mix, limes, salt, margarita glasses or a pitcher

OR for a sweet “flavored” version you can give a bottle of citrus vodka, sour mix and martini glasses, silly cocktail napkins are always a good bonus 🙂 See all our drink ideas HERE.

Another of my very favorite hostess gift ideas is the monogrammed Apothecary jar filled with gum balls or candy. This is also so cute with an iTunes card for a children’s gift. You can get a jar at HomeGoods and a monogram from our ETSY store HERE.

Gift idea: monogrammed apothecary jar with a gift card tied on top | 11 Magnolia Lane




I admit this is kind of hard, the tradition is to write a check to launch a new graduate off in style, but in some cases I prefer to do something more personal. Last year, I put together a dorm-friendly basket for one of our favorite babysitters. I filled it with towels, pretty notebooks, a chalkboard, and a frame {all from HomeGoods} and topped it with an inspirational quote.




I feel like Baby gifts are always the easiest to buy, because who can resist the cute little clothes or that baby gear you have heard {or maybe know first-hand} is a must-have? I do try to buy off a registry but sometimes, especially when it’s not a first baby, I try to find something a little more personal. One of my favorite gifts to give the expectant Mom is a monogrammed robe {I have seen them on for around $30}, with so much attention being lavished on the baby, it is nice to give a treat for Mom. I also love to give a collection of classic books, especially ones like these that have stood the test of time. I also have given baskets with smaller things (then the basket can be reused to store diapers)–pacifiers, burp clothes, bath items, nail clippers…all the small things that they need but may not receive individually.



I am in the process of putting together a graduation gift for both my sons, an idea that came from Lauren’s book and I am so excited about it.  They are finishing middle school and elementary school this week and I wanted to do something small to remember their year by.  I’ll be back to share that idea with you AFTER I give it to them, I wouldn’t want to ruin their surprise! 🙂

For more gift ideas our holiday gift ideas from ETSY post also has some fun ideas for unique, personal gifts that would work for many occasions. I should also mention that our ETSY store and our Organizing Store have items that make lovely gifts, so if you haven’t checked those out we’d love for you to visit them.

Have a great day everyone!



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  1. Great suggestions! You and Christy seem to always have the best & most unique gift ideas. Thanks so much for sharing!


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