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DIY stocking stuffers make inexpensive, personalized gifts

Every Christmas I love hanging large, decorated stockings on the fireplace mantle, but then I have to fill them. And with multiple stockings to stuff, it can get pretty pricey, so this year I decided to make my stocking stuffers. I discovered that it not only cuts down on my holiday spending, it also gives me the freedom to personalize each present in a way that just isn’t possible with store-bought gifts.

I set out to create items that would combine cost savings with customization and would also be small enough to fit in a stocking.

Notepads are easy to make if you have access to a die cutter. If you don’t have one, it’s likely the school in your area does, and generally they will allow you to use it if you bring your own paper and cut when the teachers don’t need the machine. Select a shape that suits the gift recipient. It takes about 10 minutes and four to five sheets of construction paper to make a note-worthy stack. Decorate the top shape with everything from photos to stickers to holes cut with different sizes of hole punches.

To convert a stack of shapes into a notepad, you need to stack the shapes and secure them with a binder clip. Paint a few dabs of padding compound on one edge to complete the pad. Padding compound is available online and in office supply stores and dries clear like white glue, but it is flexible so the pad stays together as you remove one sheet at a time.

It’s easy to personalize pencils and erasers to partner with the notepads by simply wrapping each pencil with washi tape and rubbing decals onto each eraser with a wooden Popsicle stick. Washi tape and rub-ons are available at craft stores, and once again, they make the end product more personal.

If you’re willing to participate in a little do-it-yourself action, it won’t be difficult to make small, inexpensive gifts to stuff the stockings on your mantle. Even though these pint-size presents will sit in a stocking, it’s nice to know they won’t cost an arm and a leg.

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