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Gifts from the Heart

Because handcrafted holiday presents are always best

As we get closer to the holidays, I am beginning to get emotional about all of the people I know and love who I haven’t seen in so, so long. This is normally the time of year where you can finally reconnect and spend time together, but I am preparing myself for a quiet holiday. So, how do we connect with the people we love and miss without being able to see them face to face? Below are some creative, nostalgic, and sentimental ideas that hopefully will achieve that warm embrace we are all craving. Happy holidays to you and yours! <3

The Case for the Millenial Holiday Card

Receiving a card in the mail with a real stamp from a human being who isn’t a scammer, corporation, or government agency is always a joyful surprise. Last year, my partner and I took a cheesy photo with our two cats posed around a chair like a Glamor Shot by Deb and sent it off to all our friends and family. People my parents’ age send out holiday cards like hot cakes, but millennials seem to pass on this trend. But why? Can we please make millennial holiday cards a thing?

The only way many of us are going to start sending cards again is if it is a painless process preferably facilitated by an app. Here are a few spots I recommend to hopefully get that nostalgic holiday card trend going!

Paper Culture \ They plant a tree with each order and have the most attractive and unique card designs.

Newspaper Club \ Think your life is headline grabbing and have some computer aided design experience? Tell the people what’s happening in your life in BIG BOLD LETTERS printed on newspaper!

National Photo Lab \ More affordable and no fuss! These guys can get you that classic card with little hassle.

Photo Albums & Scrapbooks

When I think of a photo album my mind immediately jumps to something dusty and old because let’s face it, we don’t get around to printing photos like we used to – but then I think of the cherished memories, hand written notes, and good times reminiscing with family as we page through an album together. Recently our photo albums have become an endless scroll on our phones or a cheesy algorithmically created video of a vacation Apple thinks will pair well with elevator music. It’s just not the same! What if I told you there were attractive modern archival quality photo albums and scrapbooks that you can purchase to store your cherished memories within and it’s all thanks to our trendy and stylish friends in Korea? MochiThings is an amazing ‘site that curates the most attractive photo albums, rich leather notebooks, and the cutest scrapbooks. Here are a few highlights that I love which would make a perfect gift for a loved one or BFF who you haven’t been able to connect with in a while. Get them started by filling a few pages with some iconic photos of the good times spent together and send them along with a gift card to CVS so they can print out their photos and start reminiscing about the good times!

The Classic \ Imagine a set of these on your bookshelf: vibrant spines, crisp black pages with standard 4×6 photo sleeves, and a space for notes! This refined classic album is a great no fuss option for someone needing a photo album.

The Creative \ For more flexibility you can get these binders which pair with insert pages of many varieties. I have personally used this binder to create a book housing a mixture of scrapbook pages and traditional photo album pages for an eclectic and flexible feel.

The Scrapbook \ If you want to be a full blown ‘scrapper,’ then this is the book for you.

Basic Black or Basic White \ This is a simple book that just holds photos (no room for notes) but features a variety of trendy cover colors. Choose between interior pages of black or white paper.

The Little Guy \ These cute and compact books house one photo per page and feature a unique graphic on each colored spine.

The DIY Calendar

At the end of 2019, I created a scrappy DIY calendar which I anticipated would document a year of fun and excitement. Things didn’t necessarily go as planned but hey we are here at the precipice of a fresh year with hopefully a lot of change, healing, and good vibes ahead. I enjoyed the process of making that simple calendar so much that I will be doing it again this year.


  • 12 x Pieces of Paper (11×17) – I used charcoal paper for its attractive hue and texture
  • A printer – to print out the calendar template
  • Art supplies – I used markers, stickers, and some Sumi paper I made in a previous Fools’ Gold article


1 \ Print your template. On the website, you can customize your calendar selecting from multiple templates and from many major religions to add holidays and even add your own custom events. But at the very least, just download and print the 2021 monthly calendar on 8.5×11 paper. 

2 \ Set your template page hotdog style and your 11×17 sheet of paper hamburger style on top. Aligning the bottom edge of both sheets. Trace the month, dates, and grid. I left the grid off my calendar for a more minimal look. If you have thick paper, you may want to tape your pages against a window and do your tracing there so the template is clear.

3 \ Trace each template till you have all 12 months of the year completed. You should now have a bland/blank calendar that is just itching to be colored on.

4 \ Get creative! I started the year wanting to draw simple doodles and fill them in with blocks of vibrant color. As the year progressed the style of the drawings changed and I even experimented with collaging paper, stickers, and a postcard I got during my travels. The possibilities here are endless! If you’re stuck, you can find some really excellent inspiration for monthly calendar designs on Pinterest.

5 \ Consider the details. I highlighted the weekends and holidays with colorful circles and added names of important dates in a curve around the dates.

That’s it! Easy to execute, totally personal, and a super fun thing to gift someone you care about. Happy Holidays, everyone! See you in the new year!

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