Do you need ideas for inexpensive homemade gifts to give to family, friends, teachers, co-workers, and neighbors this holiday season? Me too! So this is my list of 21 ways to fill your plate! Start with a holiday plate of your choice. You’ll see some of my examples using a lightweight, brown/gold toned charger plate like these from Hobby Lobby (on sale!). Others use a red ceramic plate with raised holly decor from Wal-mart. Both provide an inexpensive base to build the gift. I kept the total cost for every plate at about 10$ or less.
Tips to make your plate lovely:
- The plate: use a brightly colored or festive plate
- The placement: crumple issue paper to put under the items to “lift” them to a flat level, if needed
- The ribbon: gather a collection of ribbons to add color and make it complete
- The components: think thematically, including items to be enjoyed, bring people together, or speak love
- The covering: you don’t need a plastic cover unless you feel more secure
21 Ways to Fill Your Plate
The Baked Potato Supper Plate includes a can of chili, two clean & uncooked potatoes wrapped in foil, homemade (?) corn muffins, all nestled neatly into a bag of shredded cheese and arranged on a fall colored cloth napkin (look closely). Tuck in a fall leaf to make it festive, and your too-tired-to-think-about-dinner friend will thank you 😉
The Pancake Breakfast Plate includes a new red spatula for the kitchen, a box of pancake mix, a bag of chocolate chips (an essential at our house), a roll of festive paper napkins, a small bottle of real maple syrup, and a clothe napkin underneath for covering up pancakes while you politely wait … or not 🙂 Arrive with this in hand if you visit relatives, or deliver it to neighbors to enjoy over a school vacation!
The Cupcake Plate will make it easy for your loved one to whip up something “almost” homemade. I opted for Maple Brown Sugar flavored cake mix and frosting from Pillsbury’s seasonal choices, a package of animal print cupcake liners, and a fall colored clothe napkin underneath for serving or wiping up. This might inspire your friend to treat their office or to do some weekend baking.
The Festive Table Plate will help your loved one make their table look like a feast, a celebration of God’s provision. I started with a fall charger from Hobby Lobby (just $1 on sale), then I added fall colored bread clothe, autumn inspired paper plates, paper napkins with a beautiful verse about gratitude, and a stack of handmade name cards for the table. This plate helps those you love welcome others to the table! What a lovely hostess, teacher, or neighbor gift!
The Romantic Dinner for Two includes a package of angel hair pasta, candles that have already got a little ambiance going, a jar of sauce ready to share, and an intimately sized shaker of Parmesan cheese. You could also add a stick of friend bread. If you’re really trying to encourage your dear one, tuck in a coupon for an evening of babysitting, so the couple can enjoy each other without interruption.
The Asia Plate includes tastes of the Far East. Here’s what I chose, but stop by your local Asian market and see what inspires you! I started with a Thai recipe book for inspiration and then placed items on top: a box of Chinese tea (with dinner), a ready to serve box of chai latte (India), a package of udon noodles (Japan), and two mandarin oranges for blessings. I topped it off with a pair of chopsticks!
The Pumpkin Gingerbread Plate is welcome at our house any time, but your neighbors will love you if you knock on their door with this in hand! I serve it with caramel sauce, and you can find all of the details for making this intoxicating cake happen if you look here. This is obviously an individual serving, but you can make a large one for a group too. This is not hard to create, but I guarantee you’ll feel like The Cake Boss if you share this plate during this upcoming holiday season!
The Get Well Plate will cheer up anyone who comes down with something nasty during the festivities of this time of year. Include a brightly colored bowl (I love red) with a clothe inside to keep it all snug and quiet. Tuck in a can of Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup, a pack of tissues, tea bags, chapstick, a little hand sanitizer, and a get well card to top off the love. It’s okay if you want to leave it at the door and keep your distance from the germs, but for heaven’s sake, show your ailing friend some love!
The Refreshment Plate is for that friend who has a hard time during the holidays or is facing hard things during what she’s told is the most wonderful time of the year. You know who she is. I built this plate around a bag of good quality dark coffee, surrounded by a bottle of bath gel and a spa headband to encourage her to soak in a hot tub, a fragrant wax tart, and a card wishing her refreshment. This will speak love to the friend or family member you know who is in need of some TLC.
The Read & Relax Plate should have an encouraging read as the centerpiece. I chose The Angels of Morgan Hill by Donna VanLiere. For the “relax” portion, I added a latte packet and a package (see them peeking out?) of evergreen scented wax cubes. I wrapped it all snuggly on top of an embroidered Christmas cloth and a woven tea mat (like a small place mat) to put her latte on. This plate says to your co-worker, your child’s teacher, or a friend, “Come sit down to read and relax!”
The Family Movie Night Plate. Sometimes we just need someone to hand us an upbeat, happy movie and a package of popcorn to make us stop the pursuit of the to-do list and enjoy those we love! I chose a Christmas move and a “movie theater butter” blend of popcorn. Yum. To keep it all in place, I crumpled green tissue paper as a nest and tied it all up with a joyful wired ribbon with Christmas colored dots. Your grateful receiver will have to supply the blanket and the snuggling!
The Multitasking Moms Plate is for that mom who has a lot going on and a lot of people depending on her. Help a girl out! I lined the plate with a white paper doily and then paired an inflatable bath pillow beside a copy of The Chicken Soup Multitasking Mom’s Survival Guide. I especially hope she’ll enjoy reading a story featured by yours truly! 🙂 I topped this plate off with great coupons for our local pizza place. This plate says, “I know you work hard! I see your efforts! You are doing a great job! It’s okay to recharge.”
The ABC Craft Plate is headed for a certain niece of mine in kindergarten 🙂 I’ve included a set of foam alphabet letters, a giant ink pad (4 colors!), pre-cut strips of scrapbook paper to use for her creations, and word cards to inspire her to practice what she’s learning. This is an unashamed attempt of a teacher-aunt to encourage a little niece to love to read and write! I even included a brightly colored plastic zipper pouch to put her letters in once she is all done. Variations might include colored pencils, magnetic letters, or paint! Who’s the child in your life who would enjoy an ABC Craft Plate?
The Children’s Bible Plate puts the stories of Jesus at the center. I love this classic by Kenneth Taylor. This doesn’t have to wait for Christmas, but it will certainly be at home in the gift giving. Isn’t it wonderful to give a gift that feeds the spirit and the mind? I put a crumple of green tissue under the hardcover book, just to keep it stead, and I included two packages of M&Ms with the bright ribbon … one for the reader and one for the listener 😉 In this plate, you’re giving sweet time together, the stories of God’s love, a love of reading, and truth for the heart. Love it!
The Truth and Grace Plate is a big deposit into your friend’s heart. Start with a peaceful journal with a beautiful design that says, “I know you,” and then top it with a purse sized Bible and a handful of verse cards chosen just for your friend. I selected hope-themed cards from Beth Moore, but you could make your own or check out handmade cards with Personal Promises from my friend Shelly Brown.
The International Cheese Plate is right at home arriving at a holiday party. Hand these to your happy hostess. I included a set of festive cocktail napkins, a package of European Jacob’s crackers, a wedge of Wensleydale cheese with cranberries, and a cheese knife. You’ll be so welcome at any party with this!
The Family Night Plate starts with a colorful plaid placemat as the stage for a package of chocolate chip cookie mix, a box of Mac-n-cheese (keepin’ it simple, so you can just enjoy each other!), and a tin with a card game. This might be just what your family of friends needs!
The Cookies and Cocoa Plate looks inviting with paper cocktail napkins (You know they’re gonna dip the cookies and drip!), a glitter covered star ornament, and spoons to say, “Stir and enjoy!” And need I say cookies and cocoa aren’t just for kids? 😉
The Card Plate delivers love over and over. Fill this plate with hand-written cards and notes of appreciation, encouragement, truth, and fun that your friend or loved one can open whenever the need strikes. The next time they have a down day, feel a little blue, wonder if they make a difference, or think they’re forgotten, they’ll turn to this full plate of love and be blessed by opening one of your personal notes.
The Gift Plate is a way to give “more than” the ever-popular gift card. A gift card can be so nice, but don’t you want your loved one to know you didn’t just take the lazy way out? Tuck the gift card over a holiday ribbon above a hand-written Christmas card with your personal blessings for a peaceful season.
So there you have it! 20 ways to fill your plate! I hope you feel inspired to be creative and thoughtful with inexpensive homemade gifts. We don’t have to have a lot to have a full life. So where’s the 21st?
Everyone has a “plate” to fill. It’s easy to fill it with a lot of things, thinking more things or better things will satisfy us. Mix in some comparison of our lives with others, and we can spend a lot of time, energy, and $ trying to make a plate (a life) that brings us joy and peace. This holiday season, I’m sharing the message “21 Ways to Fill Your Plate: a woman’s secret to a full life” with a wide variety of women’s groups. In those groups, I share IDEA #21, the real secret to a full life! I’d love to share it with you, and it can be adapted to any time of year! Check out info about speaking here.
Blessings on you for a full life this holiday season!