Tis the Season of Gift Giving. Great.

I am really not, not, not a creative gift giver. I like practicality—things that are useful—but unfortunately, those things don’t often inspire awe and wonder. To make it worse, I’m such an opportunity optimizer that when I do find something that might be cooler than a book (which I would love, by the way), I usually overanalyze myself out of getting that nifty present.

Sigh, the frustration never ends. But then, a couple of years ago, I was introduced to the amazing-ness that is Pinterest, and immediately found myself wanting to try all these different crafting projects. So I pinned and I pinned until I finally had an impressive collection of do-it-yourself directions for everything from ceramic coasters to colorful calendars.

Still, I knew I wouldn’t be making all those things for myself, so I thought instantly to Christmas presents! Crafting up one-of-a-kind items are the most perfect, thoughtful gifts for all the people on your list, and if you have access to a kitchen (as nearly all upperclassmen in CNU’s residence halls do), they are super easy to make while you are at school. Last year in my East Campus apartment, I drew on mugs I bought from the dollar store and baked them in my oven, giving one of each member of my family. Super cheap, and super thoughtful!

This year, I made dough ornaments, which are actually really a breeze to make. All you need is some flour, salt, water, cookie cutters and paint to finish off your masterpiece. I’ve shared the instructions below!

You’ll need:

  • 4 cups of flour
  • 1 cup of salt
  • 1 ½ cups of water


  • Preheat your oven to 300 degrees.
  • Combine the flour, salt and water and mix. After kneaded, roll out the dough on a floured surface.
  • Press your cookie cutters into the dough and make a small hole for hanging.
  • Bake for about 30 minutes, or until hard. Don’t worry if they brown a bit, you can always paint over them!
  • After cooling, paint and decorate your ornaments!

And there you have it: simple and personal gifts that are definitely creative!

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