personalized gift ideas + holiday lights gift wrap tutorial with Walmart Photo

personalized gift ideas 1 When it comes to holiday gifting, I am a firm believer that presentation is everything. While a great gift is nice, taking the time to put a little thought, effort, and personalization into your gift wrap makes the gift-giving experience extra special and really shows your recipient how much you care. personalized gift ideas 2 I wanted to take my gift wrap this year to the next level, and include a little something extra that our families can keep as a reminder of the season, and display year after year. Using some favorite photos, I created some fun and original ornaments with the help of Walmart Photo. Walmart Photo has a large selection of unique ornaments, and many are under $10 through January 5th. personalized gift ideas 3 Now, a package tied up with a cute ornament is one thing, but personalizing your gift wrap even further with fingerprint holiday lights adds a whole new level of festive cheer to your gifts. I created this holiday lights gift wrap using just a few materials:


  • Wrapped Gifts (using plain kraft or white paper is best)
  • Permanent Marker
  • Craft Paints or Finger Paints

personalized gift ideas 4

Step 1: Using your marker, sketch out your string of lights, including the metal piece at the end of each light, if desired.

personalized gift ideas 5

Step 2: Using your craft paints and little one’s thumbs, create your lights! Let dry overnight, tie on a personalized ornament with some bakers twine, and you’re done!

fingerprint lights gift wrap 1

holiday lights gift wrap 2

fingerprint lights gift wrap

Super simple and adorable. I love how this turned out, and I guarantee my kids’ grandparents and other relatives will, too!

You can order your own custom ornaments at one of the 3,500 Walmart Photo locations nationwide or online. Many are available for free in-store, same-day pickup, and they are also offering free shipping on all cards + gifts through 12/30/15!

Be sure to browse some of the other great gifts Walmart Photo has to offer, including canvases, photo books, and even coasters!

fingerprint holiday lights wrap

You can also find Walmart here:

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Be sure to visit Walmart Photo’s brand page on where you can read other bloggers’ posts.



free printable 2016 calendars + amazon giveaway with graphicstock

free graphics

You may recall a post I did in the Spring sharing my love for GraphicStock, and I just couldn’t let the holidays pass us by without sharing a couple more freebies using GraphicStock images. There’s also a giveaway at the end of this post! If you love Amazon, you won’t want to miss it!

But first, I’m sharing some free printable 2016 calendars with you all today. You can choose a design, personalize it with your own photo, print it out, and you’ll have a personal and functional gift for the holidays!

If you are at all creative yourself, be sure to visit GraphicStock, where I found all the images for the calendar templates. If you haven’t heard of GraphicStock, it’s an affordable, subscription-based site that has more than 250,000 royalty-free images. On average, subscribers pay less than a dollar per download over the course of a year!

Take a look at some of the holiday background images I got to choose from…

christmas backgrounds graphicstock

…and if you love the weathered wood look, take a peek at just a few of the images GraphicStock has to offer…

wood graphicstock

To create a calendar of your own (and don’t worry, if you don’t have a photo editing program and want to just download one of mine, I’ll share the links at the end of this post), open your photo editing program (I use Photoshop Elements), open a blank document (I chose 11×14), and open your images from GraphicStock.

graphicstock 1

Choose the background image you want to use, and place it over your blank document. Find a calendar template (easy to find using Google) and place it on your document. I found a chalkboard frame that I thought would look cute under the photo; you can find lots of similar ones by searching “labels” in GraphicStock. Place that on your document as well, underneath the chalkboard frame.

graphicstock 2

Add your photo, resizing it to fit, if necessary, and you’re done!

graphicstock 3

If you’d just rather use one of my templates, just click the link below the calendar template you like best! The calendars print at 11×14, which I found to be the best size for seeing the dates clearly. You can print it out (a photo printer may be best), take a picture (5×7 fits well), and adhere it to the chalkboard portion of the calendar.


download here


download here


download heregraphicstock

download here

And now onto the giveaway! GraphicStock is giving one burlap+blue reader a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Here’s how to enter:

Visit GraphicStock & sign up for a free 7 day trial

-Browse GraphicStock’s selection of images & choose one (or more!) to create your own project or design

-Share your project on your favorite social media channel

-Comment below with the link to your share, and you’re entered!

Note: If you do not want to keep GraphicStock past your free trial, be sure to set a reminder to cancel it so you don’t get charged!


ornament advent calendar

advent calendar idea
One of my favorite holiday traditions is our advent calendar. I enjoy creating it, and my kids definitely enjoy running to it each morning and finding their treat/activity. Last year, we did a puzzle advent calendar, where each day’s bag contained several pieces to put together, culminating in a completed puzzle, of course, on Christmas Day. We’ve done a matchbook advent calendar and a couple of years of garland-style, glassine bag countdowns filled with treats.

advent calendar

This year, due to a lack of empty wall space, I wanted something a little more compact. I found a vintage hanger, took kraft bags, twine, small treats and mini ornaments, and put them all together to create this year’s version.

advent calendar

I started by opening my hanger and tying three long pieces of jute twine to the top.

hanger advent calendar

I stamped my bags, filled them with small treats and used mini clothespins to hang them on the twine. I added a mini ornament for the kids to place on the tree each day.

advent calendar

advent calendar

It couldn’t have been easier, and I know the kids will have a blast with it!

kids advent

For more creative advent ideas, see this advent calendar compilation, and even more advent calendar ideas here!