Interior Design: The Gift of Giving in a tough economy

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catherinemonroe110BY CATHERINE MONROE

Part of creating a beautiful home that is warm and welcoming, is giving a little bit of it away from time to time.  And, in a tough economy, there are plenty of ways to show that you care, other than breaking the bank on a gift.  If  you want to buy a gift, choose something that will last and have meaning for a long time.


Creatively wrapped gifts are given with thought and love.

Remember the rule that we tell our kids about “making” a gift, rather than buying one?  It also applies to our friends.   I would much rather get a batch of healthy, delicious cookies from a friend who is a great baker, than a gift certificate for a manicure!  Just a small bit of “you” goes a long way.

It is totally acceptable to recycle books as a gift.  Wrap up your favorite novel and give it away!  With a beautiful note that explains why you loved it and why you thought of this particular friend.  Ask her to pass it on when she is done.

When wrapping a gift,  do it yourself.   Just brown craft paper and a flower cut from your garden.  You can also rip out pages of a magazine for smaller gifts and add a little recycled ribbon.  If you want to bump it up a notch, make the card too.  You don’t have to be an artist, just a little note on watercolor paper with a fine felt tip pen.  If you are feeling ambitious, do a little flower in watercolor paint or even just sign your name in paint.

Give a gift that can be reused, like this

Give a gift that can be reused, like this Crystal Head Vodka bottle that can later be used as a vase.

If you child’s friend comes over to play, pay attention to a toy you have that they engage in and make a note to give it as a gift at his/her next birthday.  Watch the parent’s expression when you tell them that you remembered that the toy was a hit!

When you are invited as a dinner guest, bring a gift that will last.  Olive oil, instead of wine, or a bottle of good vodka.  Crystal Head Vodka is in a bottle shaped like a skull.  It makes a really cool vase, once the vodka is done.

If time is money, than we can all spend a little more time and a little less money to show the people closest to us that we love and appreciate them.

Catherine Monroe is an interior designer who has worked for several high end residential design firms including Ralph Lauren, Robert A.M. Stern and Michael Smith. She was born and raised in New York and received her degree from Parsons School of Design. Previously, a Studio City resident, she is currently living in Brentwood, CA, where she runs her own company.  For product information included in her articles and interior design consultation, contact her directly at

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About Karen Young

Karen Young is the founder of My Daily Find.

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