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Season of Giving

I simply love this time of year because its the only time when everyone turns their thoughts to the act of giving, rather than receiving.  For me, the entire thrill of the holidays comes from developing the perfect gift idea.  I get extremely excited when I imagine the reaction of the recipient and I have a hard time keeping everything a secret before the big day!  This post is going to show you how to turn a regular serving bowl into a spectacular gift!

Mark comes from a large family of seven siblings, so each year we all draw names for a gift exchange.  This year, Mark drew the name of his brother's wife, Becca, but he asked me for a little help.  It actually worked out perfectly since I drew his dad and was struggling with an idea for what to get him.

We started our search at TJ Maxx where we found this really cute serving bowl!  I loved the bright yellow, green, and white combination...and the size was an entertainer's dream!  I can't even imagine how many chips would fit in this thing! 

Total, the bowl cost $12.00. (Steal!)

I thought it would be fun to load the bowl up with a bunch of goodies.  At first, I was thinking baking supplies...or maybe gourmet food products like hot chocolates, cheeses, etc., but the idea wasn't making me too excited.  (Which I take as a bad sign!) 

Luckily, it didn't take me too long to come up with the idea of a spa theme.  You simply can't go wrong with a gift filled with items made for pampering!

If you know me then you also know that I like to color-coordinate everything, so nothing was selected as a filler for the bowl unless it fit into my yellow and green color scheme.  Thankfully, it was really easy to find products that met this criteria!  In fact, it was almost too easy!

Here are some of the items that I found:

There were so many great products to choose from, but I wound up getting a variety of lotions, soaps, lip balms, and body wash.  I also found an 8x8 wall accessory place that was green and yellow and said, "No act of kindness, no matter how small, goes unnoticed."  It was perfect, so I just had to toss it in with the mix!

One of my favorite items was this specialty candle, which I found at Target. It was one of the more pricey items (coming in at $9.99) but the combination was pretty unique.  I almost bought one for myself too!

Another one of my favorite items was the snow-man lotion/hand-soap holder, which was purchased from TJ Maxx for about $6.00.  I thought this would be a cute little decoration piece for the holidays in a guest bathroom, or even in the kitchen next to the sink.  It's definitely not a conversation piece, but it added a bit of Christmas flair to the arrangement...plus, how could anyone resist this little face? 

Once everything had been rounded up, I started to arrange the bowl.  The bowl is pretty deep, so I started by stuffing some tissue paper down at the bottom to fill up some space.  (Secret Tip:  Since I knew this paper would not be seen, I actually just used the paper they used to wrap the breakables from the store, rather than the fancy tissue paper I had purchased from Target for embellishment.  We'll just call it recycling!)

Once everything was up to the level that I wanted, I started to put each item into the bowl, starting with the tallest and largest, and working my way down to the smallest items.  It was a pretty tight fit, but eventually I found an arrangement that would work without making everything appear to have been "dumped" into the bowl.

Here's a small tip:  If you're struggling to get everything into the bowl, basket, or whatever you're using, you might want to reconsider some of the items you have chosen for the arrangement.  If everything is crowded, then you will lose the emphasis on each piece, which defeats the purpose all together.  Keep things simple, and always know when enough is enough.

Now, this is a gift, remember, and half of the fun of a gift is the "revealing" which means that there needs to be an element of surprise.  To create this element, I took each sheet of tissue paper that I purchased from Target, pinched the paper together in the center of the sheet, and then tucked the sheets in various locations in the arrangement.  The tissue paper came with four sheets of soft yellow, and four sheets of colored stripes, so I alternated between the solid and the stripes for a balanced look.

When everything was said and done, I ended up with a pretty, cheerful, and completely loaded bowl arrangement that looks like this: 

I can't wait to see Becca's reaction!

Have any of you created any baskets/arrangements that you'd like to show off?  Please send photos to ahappyplacecalledhome@gmail.com, and your photos may be featured on my blog. 





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