My sister always asks me for a gift card for Christmas, and I always oblige her. Our parents refuse to give cash or gift cards, which is what she always says that she wants, so I figure why not give her something she’ll appreciate, even if it is a bit impersonal. She bought her first house this year and requested a gift card to Lowe’s to help her spruce it up. I thought it’d be fun, though, to do something a little more interesting than the whole gift-card-in-envelope thing. So I put my own spin on an idea I saw on Pinterest (originally posted about on The Creative Mama, which appears to be down at the moment but will hopefully be back up and running soon). Shannon was so confused when she saw the heavy box labeled to her from me. Even after she opened it I think it took her a minute to realize that the gift card was inside.
Pretty cool, eh? I started by scavenging an old pickle jar from my stash and scrubbing it clean. I discovered that a little olive oil and a wire mesh sponge could get that pesky label off in no time. Then I soaked the jar and lid in a mixture of warm soapy water, vinegar, and lemon juice overnight to neutralize the pickle stench. Once it was all clean and (mostly) deodorized, I got down to the business of making that lid a little more festive with some red spray paint.
Once the lid was dry I gathered some smallish ornaments from my tree and locked myself and my supplies in the guest room so that no cats could interfere with the creation of my Christmas magic.
The jar that inspired me had some ornaments glued to the lid and others left to float freely, but I was in the mood to get fancy and use some fishing line I already had to suspend them at different heights in the water. First step: tie some line to each ornament.
Then I very nervously glued down the end of the line holding the bronze ornament and waited for it to dry before testing the length.
It was way too long and the ornament rested on the bottom of the jar, so I just glued down more of the string a little bit at a time until it was about the length I wanted.
Then I attached the gift card to the center of the lid with a generous strip of hot glue on either side.
See how cool it looks so far?
I continued with attaching the red ornament, using the same trial and error system to gradually raise it to the perfect height by gluing down the wire just a little bit at a time.
And the little baby ornament comes last. By this time it was old hat and I could guess pretty easily how low I wanted it to hang.
Ta-da! Sorry they’re looking a little wonky in the photo. They kept swinging all around, making photography difficult.
Next, I covered the bottom of the jar with kind of a lot of glitter. Perhaps more glitter than was necessary, but there are only so many times a year that I get to use glitter and I wanted to make the most of it.
Then I filled it with water, leaving a bit of room at the lip to account for the water that would be displaced by my ornaments.
The moment of truth: I screwed the lid on tight and turned the whole thing upside down. Oooooooh, pretty.
Unfortunately, I got a little too excited about turning it over and back repeatedly to watch the glitter swirl around, and this happened…
Womp, womp, womp. One of my ornaments broke, filled with water, and sank to the bottom. I was crestfallen for a moment before remembering this bit of advice from Ryan Gosling:
So I told myself that the broken ornament was symbolic of the imperfection of the holiday season and let it go. I don’t think Shannon even noticed until I pointed it out to her. I, personally, would hate to receive something like this as a gift, because what the heck do you do with it? It’s the kind of thing you really don’t have much use for but feel guilty throwing away. Apparently I don’t mind burdening my family with it, though. It’s the Christmas spirit.