If you've tired of socks, ties and golf balls as last-minute holiday gifts for Dad and want to add an element of home-crafted flair to your seasonal offering, broaden your aspirations and start early, giving yourself enough time to plan and produce a one-of-a-kind present. Even if you're more of a digital-age handworker than traditional crafter, you can find plenty of ways to make a special gift that shows how much you care—and even saves you money.
Instead of buying a gift, team up with your child to create a special present for Dad. You may need to limit very young children's role in the process to tasks they can undertake safely, such as sprinkling chopped nuts on chocolate-coated pretzels or assisting with the paint on a wooden shoeshine-kit box. With tweens and teens, plan the gift together so you can capitalize on your combined talents. Set up a shared online research session at your home computer or correlate smartphone bookmarks that represent gift ideas. You also can use your smartphones to collect pictures of items that serve as idea starters.
The photos you take with your digital camera can prompt the starting point for a seemingly limitless array of gift ideas. Use your computer and printer to create an iron-on transfer you can apply to a sweatshirt, grilling apron, a case for a notebook computer or tablet, or an armband for a media player. Scan treasured family photos and use image-editing software to build a multi-generational composite featuring Dad alongside his parents and grandparents, which you can turn into digital wallpaper for his devices and gadgets.
Produce a family movie from scenes you shoot on your digital camcorder. You'll need to plan ahead to script your production, capture your footage and edit the results into final form. As part of the fun, create a cover story that explains why you need Dad to pose and say lines or why you suddenly show up with camcorder in hand as he watches sports telecasts or works in his wood shop. Hold back the finished gift for presentation after your holiday meal, and premiere it on your TV in full surround sound, accompanied with microwave popcorn topped with homemade seasoning mix.
Whether Dad loves to grill, bakes cakes and breads, or cooks with a gourmet passion, you can create food-related gifts that suit his delight in tasty treats. Steep a batch of vanilla extract for the baker in your life. Accompany the gift of a spice mill with a set of jars featuring homemade labels. Collect his favorite recipes into a custom-made book featuring photos you've taken at meal time, and print them in hardbacked form through an online book service. If he's more would-be chef than great cook, create and print a custom gift certificate for a cooking class.
Photo Credits: Pamela Follett/Demand Media
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