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Welcome to the Christmas Workshop, where you'll learn to make everything you'll need to have your best Christmas ever -- handmade cards and gifts, ornaments, wreaths, gingerbread, centerpieces, and the ultimate holiday feast -- plus seasonal strategies and tips from Martha.
We begin week one with thoughtful handmade gifts, a heartfelt card, and a gift topper to present your creations in style.
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What better gift is there to receive than a puppy? Perhaps a handmade version (that doesn't require walking)!
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It's easy to find plain, reasonably priced ceramic pieces at home goods stores; applying dot-painted designs transforms them into meaningful gifts. Add a friend's monogram or favorite motif, or design a pretty pattern yourself. For an elegant presentation, tie a stack of flower-covered plates with a ribbon.
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Cuff links for less than $15? It's possible; it just takes a pair of buttons and a little epoxy.
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Fresh bills stay crisp in these colorful paper wallets that double as gift box and card.
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The silhouettes of evergreen sprigs adorn homemade greeting cards; a light layer of white spray paint highlights the shape of the branches against the colored paper. With a bit of glue and touches of glitter, you can create your own sparkling messages.
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Make your gifts even more special by crowning packages with a stunning glittered gift topper.
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The holidays are hectic enough without having an overwhelming amount of shopping to do, especially at the last minute. This year, make gift giving less stressful and easier to accomplish by trying out some of our creative ideas. You might just find yourself with extra holiday spirit -- and cash -- to take you into the new year.
Photography: Sang An9 of 11
Martha's Holiday Tip: Tipping Service Providers
Show your gratitude to the people who make your life a little easier. Below is a short list of common service providers and suggested gifts; for a more comprehensive list, read our article on gift giving. You might opt for more or less than our suggestions, depending on your circumstances and your personal relationship to the service provider, but remember that no matter how much you tip, any amount will seem more thoughtful if you tuck it inside a personal note of thanks or holiday good wishes.
- Babysitter: up to two nights' pay
- Dog groomer: the cost of a visit
- Hair stylist: the cost of a visit
- House cleaner: one week's pay (if you use a service that sends a different person each time, do not tip)
- Mail carrier: up to $20 gift
- Manicurist or pedicurist: the cost of a visit
- Newspaper deliverer: $10 to $30
- Parking attendant: $20 to $30
- Personal trainer: the cost of a session (if she's affiliated with your gym, you don't need to tip, but you could give a small gift)
If you consider writing and addressing holiday cards to be more tedious than fun, don't trudge through the process alone. Invite friends over for an evening of "card pooling" (or gift wrapping or cookie baking). With a bottle of wine and more than a few laughs, the task will be an easy and enjoyable one to cross off your list.
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This Week's To-Dos