A Bevy Of Homemade Christmas Gifts

Remember my request for hand-crafted dioramas as a Christmas gift this year? Well my friend Pammy was the only one to follow through.

She constructed this awesome LOLcat Christmas diorama. The cats came from post cards and the rest was made by Pammy herself. This will remain on display for years to come.

Lolcat Diorama made by Pammy Smith

Kristina was also in the crafting mood for my Christmas gift. When she was browsing through the Paper Source store one day she stumbled upon robot wrapping paper (and Kristina knows how much I love robots). She carefully cut out three of the robots, glued them to colorful paper, and framed them in stylish square frames. They now hang above our closet.

Three robot art photos made by Kristina

Close-up shot of the orange robot photoart.

With all of the talk about how bad the economy was during this holiday season it was nice to receive a few handcrafted gifts. They were better than anything that could have been bought in a store. Plus, the gift-givers noted how much fun they were too make!

Graphic Blandishment? What’s That?

A Charlie Brown Christmas was on TV tonight and I noticed the term “Graphic Blandishment” in the credit. Turning to the trusty Internets I found out

“Graphic Blandishment is a term also known as “Animation”. Charles M. Schultz used that term in his Peanuts/Charlie Brown Animation Credits to credit the Animators.” – WikiAnswers

It seems Mr. Schultz wasn’t a fan of hand-drawn motion pictures.

A frame from the Charlie Brown Christmas Special

After the 1965 version there was a newer version which was downright-lame. So instead I went to YouTube and found this NSFW remix. And when they say NSFW, they really mean NSFW.

My 2008 Holiday Wish List

Around this time last year I had no idea what to ask for for the holidays. Since then I have been keeping a wish list on boxedup.com. Whenever I came across an item that tickled my fancy I added it to my list. The great thing about Boxed Up is you can tag the items, comment on them, and get an RSS feed of your wish list. The site supports importing your Amazon wish list to get started. After you get something, you can save it to your ‘Things I Have‘ list for others to see what your interests might be. Finally, what web 2.0 site wouldn’t be complete without some sort of social networking aspect? Boxed Up lets you add your friends or you can browse through the recently added/ popular product list on the front page. All in all, BoxedUp.com has been a great resource for organizing my desired gifts.

BoxedUp.com Screenshot

Speaking of gifts, my list consists mostly of funny t-shirts from Threadless.com but if crafts are more of your thing, feel free to make me an epic shoebox diorama. A diorama? I remember having to make one for a class project in elementary school and haven’t dealt with one since. So my challenge to all my friends and family is to make a diorama of a scene that you think I would like. Use your imagination and if you need some inspiration just think robots, lightbulbs, umbrellas, or computers.

Diorama-o-rama Poster

Have you made up your wish list yet?

Advertising-Supported Gift Packaging

As the days inch towards Christmas people around the nation will be frantically finishing up their shopping and wrapping gifts. I’m not a big fan of wrapping gifts. For one, it is an extra step before hoisting the gift off to it’s recipient. All the work and energy, physical as well as creative, that goes into the presentation is quickly shredded to a pulp as it is ripped off and tossed aside for the main attraction below the surface. That precious wrapping paper, tape, and pretty bow will make their way to the trash where they will rot away in a landfill.

But my biggest gripe is the price for all of that frilly paper, which only provides only a moment of glee. And while I would like to see the 2007 Christmas season be the one that ditches the idea of wrapping up gifts (after all, being green is in vogue) there is a snowflake’s chance in hell that is going to happen. Companies that make wrapping paper and related products must be raking it in as the busiest shopping season heads into full insane-o-mode. I couldn’t find any statistics about wrapping paper revenue, but I am sure that it is such a large chunk of company profits that the last thing they would want to do is stop the frivolous holiday tradition.

How could I get out of wrapping gifts without disappointing my family and friends while not spending a dime? Why not turn to the one thing that has helped give consumers the things they want without charging them a thing, advertising-supported goods! I would gladly accept gift-wrapping materials that have been plastered in logos if it were free and saved me time. It seems to make sense in helping companies spread brand awareness as the giftee would be exposed with a happy and joyous moment of opening a gift which creates a positive psychological effect and brand association. Companies could ship it to people for free or give it out at stores with every purchase. Boxes already pre-wrapped and decorated using a Christmas variation of the corporate colors and branded tissue paper inside would be the perfect ad vehicle to their next potential customer. And with the cost of buying everything in bulk, the company wouldn’t be spending more than the usual barrage of printed material such as full-page magazine ads, billboards, or direct mailing fliers. Wrapping paper would be unusual in the fact that it is actually useful! That’s a valuable exchange in my book.

Corporate Wrapping Paper

I’m surprised I haven’t seen this idea more widespread. Lots of stores offer gift wrapping though it is usually offered as an extra service for a price. Why not offset that cost with advertising? Everything else seems to work that way. And it’s not like Christmas isn’t already over-marketed, over-hyped, and over-crowded with the consumerism mentality of BUY, BUY, BUY! Why not just a little bit more with free wrapping paper?