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Assembly Line Gifts

Martha Stewart Living, December/January 1997/1998

It can be difficult to think of gift ideas that are both original and meaningful, especially when there are a lot of people in your life. Whether they are your closest friends or your spouse, the people in your office, or even the postman, they are significant. With the "assembly line" approach, numerous gifts can be made very quickly -- whether you make the same gift for many people, or for just one special person. Even if you make dozens, each gift is special because it can be customized to an individual's tastes and interests. Think it through. Decide what best suits each person. Don't rush into gift-giving mode, even if time is short.

With these tips in mind, start with the basics: a candle, a ribbon, or some tissue paper. When choosing a bowl or a vase, take the time to evaluate people's tastes. Do they prefer the old or the new? Do they like a bold mix of colors or a simple solid? In the past, have they liked practical or purely decorative objects the most? Address questions like these before designing presents. Once you have decided on a direction, select an idea and start to weave your thoughts into its creation. Just remember that some projects take longer to prepare, but they will yield many gifts.

Do You Know?
Henry Ford invented the assembly line in 1908 to speed the production of his popular Model T cars. A moving belt in his factory enabled employees to build cars one piece at a time, instead of one car at a time.

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