Everyone seems to have an opinion on Christmas music, and from that emerges three main schools of thought: love, hate, or tolerate. I fall neatly into the “hate” camp until about a week beforehand when my holiday spirit rebelliously kicks in and I decide it’s acceptable to listen to a small list of Christmas songs. One of the few to make the cut is The Jackson 5 Christmas Album.
Christmas at my house was synonymous with this album growing up. Every year without fail, my mom dug out the CD and put it on while me and my siblings wrapped gifts for each other, and this year I did the same, continuing the tradition of my own volition. It just doesn’t feel like Christmas without the Jacksons serenading me, especially Michael, whose earnest powerhouse of a voice I’ve always loved. Listening as an adult, it’s still just as sweet to my ears, maybe even moreso due to all the nostalgia accumulated over time.
Back then I never listened too closely to the lyrics, so it was a treat to discover that the melodies that brought me joy as a kid have messages just as timelessly beautiful to match. My favorite track, “Give Love on Christmas Day,” epitomizes what I feel is the meaning of Christmas: a chance to show loved ones you care by showering them with goodies, gifts, and affection. Yes it’s also a huge commercial and religious hullaballo, which makes it tempting to fall into the trap of being a cynical grinch about it, but the great thing is that Christmas can be whatever you choose to make it. I choose to make it about spreading happiness, which is probably why giving gifts is my favorite part of the season. I love the whole process and all the care that goes into it, from brainstorming to purchasing to gift-wrapping. The final result makes the hard work more than worth it.
This year I was hit with a wave of inspiration while in a Walmart, of all unlikely places. Still on a high from a particularly good day at work (super rare because I work at a gas station, which is about as glamorous as it sounds), I decided to get supplies to make gifts for all my coworkers.
As you can see, my spur of the moment idea actually turned out fairly well, and I figured anyone else looking to do some batch gifting on a budget might benefit from me sharing how I did it. So here’s what you’ll need:
- Mini candles in glass jars (94¢)
- Ribbon (97¢), for securing everything to the neck of the candle and making it look pretty. I used silver and gold.
- Scissors, for curling ribbon.
- Lip balm. I used Burt’s Bees ($2.97) for the girls and unflavored ChapStick ($1) for the guys.
- Face masks ($1.37), individual treatments. I used Freeman’s Feeling Beautiful Avocado & Oatmeal.
- Chocolates, preferably ones wrapped in such a way that you can tie them down with ribbon. I used Lindor Milk ($6.94) and White Chocolates ($3.38), and Jack Daniel’s Swiss Chocolate Liquor ($26).
Everything listed can be found at a Walmart Neighborhood Market except for the Jack Daniel’s chocolates, which were regifted, so they didn’t actually cost me anything. Those can be bought at Lolli and Pops, a newly-opened candy store at the Battlefield Mall, or, I’m sure, ordered offline somewhere. If you don’t have the time or budget to get those, though, you could just replace them with more or different varieties of Lindor’s. The only reason I included them is because I couldn’t very well put face masks with the guys’, so I wanted to add something special to make up for it and already had these on hand.
If I had to make these over again, I’d probably forego the ribbon and use gift bags instead, because while the ribbon looks super pretty, it was a huge pain in the ass to wrangle. It took me probably twenty minutes just to figure out how to attach everything and get a system going. I should’ve taken a video to show how I did it, but falling that, I guess I’ll describe it as best I can. The face mask and lip balm are tied down via their display holes, one piece of ribbon for both, so that the leftover length is knotted in the front. This part is trimmed and curled. Each piece of candy is then tied on with a separate ribbon.
I made 12 of them total, 4 for the guys and 8 for the girls, which cost me around $70 altogether. The average price per gift comes out to about $5 apiece, with the girls’ being slightly more expensive than the guys’. Pretty affordable depending on how many you have to buy for, and perfect for groups (coworkers, acquaintances, etc.).
Happy gifting! 🎄🎁❄⛄