Everyone has that one friend on their holiday gift list.
The girl with everything, the co-worker with no discernible personality traits, the overly critical family member, the annoying neighbor, the person who impulsively buys anything and everything when the wind changes direction…
Growing up, I had issues buying presents for my Mother.
…I wonder why.
I wanted to positively wow my Mom on Christmas. It’s a little ridiculous for a four year old child to dream of giving beautiful gifts, but at the time it was upsetting not be able to afford fancy presents on a $1 allowance.
Thinking back, it’s a good thing I was not equipped with a unlimited funds pre-k. I had good taste in 1993, but I doubt Mom would have really appreciated that platinum My Little Pony hairbrush.
Never one to settle for second best, I couldn’t stand buying lukewarm versions of the lofty sugar plums dancing in my head, so I began making Mom’s presents. The little handworked gifts never failed to make her smile and soon blossomed into a tradition. She’s dutifully kept everything I’ve ever made her for Christmas, from the popsicle stick boxes to the painted pottery. Ages 5-22, it’s all in our home, displayed proudly.
But my gift-giving anxiety returned, in full form, when it came time to buy Jackson’s parents Christmas presents for the first time.
Working against my college budget and elevated levels of stress, I worried that getting it wrong on Christmas with a boyfriends’ family would spur an untimely demise of our relationship (no, folks, I’m not dramatic AT ALL). I decided to default back to my tried and true method of crafted presents and hope for the best.
So I designed a personalized house print.
This project is relatively simple but pretty effective.
It is a thoughtful commemoration for your nuclear or extended family, friends, housemates, sorority or fraternity family. And a surprisingly great choice for someone you kiiiind of know…because you just need correctly spelled names of their family members to feign effort this holiday season.
Office Secret Santa participants, I’m looking at you!
After deciding on a general scheme, execute the design in a program such as InDesign or Illustrator. Though I prefer to use Adobe products for graphic layouts (and especially when working with a grid), it is also possible to use the “Insert Wordart” options in Word or Pages for the house. If you are using a word processing program, make sure the objects are “floating” or the text is placed “behind text” to achieve the best results, fast.
The DIY format is excellent for creating homes in a variety of sizes and shapes. I chose a standard 8×11 in., but you could work with a poster sized image or a tiny picture instead. Also-remember that the object’s appearance will differ slightly post-print job. I went through
many a few trials before getting the subtle coloring just right.
Utilizing sans serif font families keeps the look pulled-together and eliminates unwanted space between names. Arial, Helvetica and Myriad are excellent typographic options. Obviously, the text attributes are entirely customizable. I restricted the color way to a muted, rustic palate, as the Autry’s home is decorated in a cozy, modern country style.
Don’t forget to top off your hard work with a fitting frame!
My “antique” frame was purchased at TJ Maxx for around $15 and rubbed with sandpaper to wear down the metal work on the edges in order to amp up the vintage feel. The kind lady in A.C. Moore’s framing department cut the cream frame mat (for free!) to keep the focus on the house. Individual mats are approximately $2-5 for this size (8×11 in).
All in all, an excellent, budget friendly idea, this personalized project works well for every person on your list.
I should know, my Mom’s already put in her express order!