It's not too early to get a jump on the best holiday gifts for loved ones. But you don't need to buy the same old off-the-shelf gifts. Southern Living readers and editors have plenty of suggestions for the perfect present.
• Joy Bricking, Fort Thomas, Kentucky: Every year, we make baskets of goodies to give our family and friends.
• Jennifer Mckenzie Frazier, Associate Travel Editor: We're going to a paint-your-own-pottery place and getting my daughter's handprints in a tile. We'll then write "Christmas 2007" on the tile for a great keepsake present. My mom printed out all of our family recipes and had it bound at a copy shop to make a family cookbook for everyone. It was a great gift; I use it all the time.
• Jean O'Shields, Fort Valley, Georgia: I like to wrap my gifts in cellophane bags with coordinating ribbons. I think the presentation is as important as the gift.
• Melissa Dingerson, Cape Coral, Florida: I am really into pictures of my family, so I make photo calendars for family members using the photos from this year's events, like using Halloween pictures for October.
• Morgan Murphy, Executive Editor, Southern Progress Corporation Custom Publishing: We bake rum cakes for all our friends and family.
• Gena Leal, Acworth, Georgia: I create a printed poem in a pretty font, matted and framed, that reminds me of someone.
• Happy Jackson, Chapin, South Carolina: My mother-in-law, Judy, gives costumes to the grandkids. She got them on sale after Halloween, so they were a steal. The children immediately stripped down to dress up like Batman and Robin. It's an addition to the playroom for any time of year.
• Jayanna Holcomb-Davis, Alto, Texas: I put fast-food coupons in my 18-year-old son's stocking to take back to college when he returns in a few weeks.
• Sara Askew Jones, Healthy Living Editor: Everyone in our book club brings books they've read, wrapped and ready to swap. These are good reads from a trusted source, a fellow club member.
• Francine Bagwell, Baton Rouge, Louisiana: I make several different types of biscotti for our friends and my sons' teachers. For the teachers, I find a nice ceramic/glass Christmas plate such as a canapé plate, fill it with the cookies, wrap it with cellophane, and tie it with curly ribbon. I order Christmas labels that say "Homemade by Francine Bagwell." If I want to add a little something extra, I tie on a gift card to the ribbon.
Share your ideas and questions in our Parties, Holidays, and Entertaining Forum.
"Gifts With Your Own Personal Twist" is from the Home for the Holidays 2007 issue of Southern Living. Because prices, dates, and other specifics are subject to change, please check all information to make sure it's still current before making your travel plans.