Each year, Kevin Sharkey comes up with one striking gift that he can make or buy in multiples and wrap assembly line-style. Often it involves candy (because he has a sweet tooth). But this year, he created a "Sweet Dreams" care package with a pair of super-soft flannel pillowcases, a quilted-satin eye mask, and a compilation of lullabies. It's all wrapped up in a giant satin bow with a sparkly stick-on heart. What could be lovelier than the gift of good sleep?
Warm someone up by adding a handwritten note to a tea bag. Cut two hearts out of red construction paper using a heart-shaped crafter's hole punch (available at crafts stores). Use a metallic pen to write a short message on one of the hearts. Next, remove a tea-bag tag and, at the end of the string, affix two hearts, back-to-back, using double-sided tape or a stapler. Package bags to give as a present, or steep one in hot water and serve.
Fragrant carnations, which can last a long time out of water, are ideal for reviving the Victorian custom of handheld nosegays. Tucked in the middle is a sweet floral message of affection. The arrangement can be made directly in your hand. Strip the foliage from 2 bunches of carnations in different colors (we used white with pink, but you can also use pink with red). Cut all stems to 6 inches. Holding on to 3 or 4 paler flowers, form them into a heart. Surround them with darker blooms, and then wrap the stems tightly with floral tape. Cover stems with squares of glassine or tissue paper, and tie with a bow.
Give candy boxes a finishing touch that won't be ripped away when your present is opened. Cover containers with a selection of seasonal gift wrap, art paper, ribbon, and twill tape. For chocolates, wrap the cover only, using craft glue or a glue stick as you go. Tuck excess paper inside, and trim the edge with a ribbon or paper strip.