Gifts That Give Back

Embrace an attitude of gratitude this holiday season with gifts that bring joy to the people in your life and give back to those in need.

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Homemade Cookie Butter is Dangerously Easy to Make

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On Cyber Monday, venture into unchartered retail territory. These favorite online vendors, recommended by our editors and bloggers alike, offer one-of-a-kind gifts and decor from around the globe.

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Decorate with What You Have for Christmas

Deck the halls this Christmas by repurposing items you already have on hand. Getting creative with your existing decorations and accessories lets you give your home a new and festive look this holiday season without spending a lot of money.

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This Ginger Beer Mixer Will Up Your Cocktail Game

Always-refreshing ginger beer takes a fruity turn with the added splash of pomegranate.

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Cute Needle-Felted Snowman Ornament

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Popular in Christmas

Advent Calendars for Christmas

Count down the days to Christmas with a creative Advent calendar or Christmas countdown. For each day, include a small gift or activity suggestion -- we've listed some holiday-theme ideas to get you started.


    Everything in this slideshow

    • A Little Christmas Every Day

      Decorate small papier-mache boxes with scrapbooking papers, ribbon, trinkets, and more. Make the inside as spectacular as the outside by including a small gift and a slip of paper with an activity to make the day special.

      Advent Activity Suggestion: Have a holiday slumber party and sleep by the Christmas tree.

    • Carefree Countdown

      Offer daily surprises with this simple Advent calendar. Fill colored envelopes with treats, seal with adhesive numbers, and punch holes in the corners. Hang from cording strung across a gift wrap-covered corkboard.

    • Abbreviated Advent

      Whoops! Forget to start your Advent calendar on December 1? Go for a condensed version and celebrate the 12 days of Christmas with this easy-to-make bulletin board calendar.

      Advent Activity Suggestion: Watch a holiday DVD or TV special.

    • Small Tokens

      Lead up to the big day with 25 days of little gifts. Put a small treat or trinket inside a small box (a jewelry gift box works great) and wrap with festive papers. Number the gifts 1-25 and open one each day.

      Advent Activity Suggestion: Instead of incorporating activities, write 25 reasons why you love your kid or spouse on slips of paper to include in your family's Advent calendar.

    • Advent Calendar Lineup

      We know it isn't nice to string someone along, but in this case, stringing someone along with gifts is OK. Hang a length of twine around an area where your family regularly gathers, such as a breakfast nook. Clip one set of 25 little numbered bags or packages to the twine for each family member. Go to the next slide to see wrapping ideas.

      Advent Activity Suggestion: Read a favorite Christmas story with cups of hot cocoa and popcorn.

    • Advent Calendar Lineup: Gift Bags

      Number plain tags and tie to predecorated gift bags. For fun, don't hang the bags in order -- make it a challenge to find the day's surprise.

      Advent Activity Suggestion: Do something good for someone else. Donate to a charity or buy gifts for a less-fortunate family.

    • Advent Calendar Lineup: Stocking Caps

      Use holiday stocking caps for an Advent calendar clothesline. Sew a button to each cap and tie a numbered tag around it.

      Advent Activity Suggestion: Bake a batch of cookies as a family.

    • Christmas Countdown Wreath

      Combine two Christmas classics into one project. Paint an 18-inch wooden wreath form white. Glue magnets to the form and to the bottoms of 24 small favor tins (approximately 2-1/4 inches in diameter). Cut 12 circles from solid-color scrapbooking papers to fit the tin lids. Adhere number stickers, 1 through 12, to the circles. Cut out 12 more circles from coordinating patterned papers. Adhere the paper circles to the 12 tin lids and fill the tins with treats or small gifts. Arrange the tins on the wreath form, alternating a numbered tin with a plain one.

      Advent Activity Suggestion: Get out into the community -- attend a live Nativity or see a holiday concert or play.

    • Nativity Scene

      Incorporate the Nativity into your Advent calendar with this felt craft. The wool background with the stable and star set the scene for Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus figures. We included the free patterns.

      Advent Activity Suggestion: Take a nighttime drive around the neighborhood to look at Christmas lights.

    • 10 of 21

      Open Sesame

      It's OK to open these gifts before Christmas. Fill 25 small jars or vials with gifts or notes. Adhere a number sticker to metal-rim tags, and tie them to the containers with holiday ribbon. Nestle all the containers into a basket. Each day, have a family member find the right vessel for the day.

      Advent Activity Suggestion: Pose for a family portrait, but nix the formal sitting. Ask a friend to take snapshots of your gang doing something creative and zany.

    • 11 of 21

      Inspiration for Christmas

      Celebrate the Advent season with 25 inspirational verses written on cards and attached to this beautiful ribbon calendar.

      Advent Activity Suggestion: Write a holiday note to five special people, such as a friend you've lost touch with, someone who made a difference in your life, or a long distance relative.

    • 12 of 21

      Stacked Advent Calendar

      A fun treat for kids and adults, this Advent calendar is a cinch to make with inexpensive matchboxes and spare supplies. Fill with fun trinkets, candy, and notes to make the days leading up to Christmas more enchanting.

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      Happy Advent Calendar

      This magnetic calendar is fashioned from a cookie sheet for the base and dressed up with magnets embellished with scrapbooking scraps.

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      A Gift a Day

      Small Advent gifts wrapped in papers and tagged with numbers mark the days until Christmas. Display the gifts with mini ornaments on stacked cake stands.

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      Behind Closed Doors

      Turn a wooden cabinet into a surprise-filled Advent calendar by embellishing each door with rub-on numbers and designs from the scrapbooking aisles.

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      Season's Greetings

      An Advent ribbon holds messages of goodwill from the extended family. Each scroll is wrapped in ribbon and attached to the decorative background ribbon with a safety pin.

    • 17 of 21

      Advent Stockings

      Count down the days to Christmas with handmade paper stockings that hang on the Christmas tree.

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      Full of Treats

      Add to your family's traditions with a customized calendar. Glue favorite papers and accents to a premade box-style Advent calendar.

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      Creative Advent Box

      Sure to become an annual tradition, this stunning paper Advent box uses a variety of scrapbooking papers and a wooden shadow box. Each little door hides a sweet surprise.

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      Countdown Calendar

      Kids will clamor to see what's inside each pocket of this design that features easy applique and embroidery techniques.

    • 21 of 21
      Next Slideshow Beautiful Handmade Christmas Ornaments

      Beautiful Handmade Christmas Ornaments

      Adorn your Christmas tree with beautiful handmade Christmas ornaments made by you and your loved ones. Hang our easy-to-make ornaments on your tree for generations to come, give them as gifts to friends, or use them to amp up your Christmas wrapping ideas.
      Begin Slideshow »



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