I've just moved to my first home and money is a little tight. Could anyone give me tips how to make my Chrsitmas gifts this year. I don't have a lot of money to spend, but I would like my presents to look nice.
My (fairly large!) family are very generous at Christmas and I want to give something that looks good, but costs the minimum. I am interested in quick, simple, and easy ideas. Please help!
I have a couple of ideas for you. Last year I took a 2 pound brick of glycerin soap, melted it down, added a few drops of soap dye, a few drops of soap perfume and poured it into the molds. Let sit for 30 minutes then pop out. Wrap in Saran wrap and put them into a little basket I got at the dollar store. Everyone loved them and they last a long time.
This year I am going to make a bunch of prepackaged cooking things, like chocolate chip cookies, peanut butter cookies, brownies, etc. with instructions on what wet ingredients are to be added. These can either be placed in food saver bags or canning jars. Then put into a small basket with a wooden spoon or two.
I've done photo trays, where I purchased an unfinished serving tray from the craft store for a couple dollars then I made a collage of family photos (old and new) put Plexiglas cut to fit the tray then sealed it with silicon glue so the photos wouldn't get wet if liquids were used on the tray. (09/21/2005)
I have used the pre-made cookie jar listed above, another good idea is to buy black and white film and take artistic pictures, blow them up and frame them. (I have found plain black frames for as little as a dollar.) (09/21/2005)
For someone that enjoys movies, fill a basket with popcorn, potato chips/dip, and a gift certificate to rent a movie. For a coffee lover, include coffee, mug, and maybe some home made cookies. If someone loves to bake, give them the ingredients. A gardener would enjoy a basket of seeds, catalog, gloves, and garden tools. Ideas go on and on. Use your imagination. You can come up with great ideas that are reasonable, yet things that are useful. (09/21/2005)
One year money was really tight for my family and trying to buy Christmas presents was basically out of the question. I started in September and baked a different kind of cookie every day, and stored them in the freezer (if you don't have a freezer it would be hard), but by Christmas I had over 36 doz cookies, all different kinds. I went to the dollar store and got a bunch of cheap cookie tins and filled them with a few of each of all the different cookies. When I was done I had about 14 tins, these went to family and to people where my husband worked. Everyone loved them because they were all homemade and it took some effort and thought.
You could also go on the internet, look up jar gifts. There you could find recipes to make bath salts, cake, and cookie mixes in a jar, all kinds of things. These are all very expensive items if you buy them someplace like a specialty gift store, but not that expensive if you make them yourself. You could also include the recipe, so that person could make it themselves, when they run out. That's what I intend to do myself. And remember it's the thought that counts. Good luck. (09/21/2005)
Tell your family the truth, that this year things are a little tight with money. To enjoy the season of giving, make gifts that your family members will enjoy and use. Do not worry about them "looking expensive". Family should understand. You cannot truly give from the heart if it breaks your piggy bank. That's not what it's supposed to be about. (09/21/2005)
One year I had an aunt that told everyone in the family we were all getting the same Christmas gift from her, young and old alike. So everybody tried to guess what it was and no one did until we opened them on Christmas day. She had bought each person a Christmas ornament with the date and their name engraved on them, but that's a little expensive. So you can make your own by decorating large glass ornaments for each person. This makes a great present and you will always be remembered at Christmas tree decorating time. I cherish mine and have added a few more through the years.
You can pick up coffee mugs sometimes 2 for a dollar and personalize them for gifts. Add hot chocolate or homemade candies inside a great gift for people "who have everything". I have also baked small cakes to give with the cups for a couple.
If you sew, little girls love doll quilts made from scraps, little boys usually love Hot Wheel cars or model cars. Either likes games like checkers, card games, etc. A good book picked up at clearance, a new calendar for the new year, a journal to write in, sometimes a DVD or a VHS movie for the whole family, small baskets made up with soaps and lotions are all good. A lot of different baskets or large Christmas bags can be picked up fairly cheap to make family baskets or bags. Fill with different things you run across on sale that they would like. I hope this helps. Buy next year when things are on sale and put them back for next Christmas. I fix boxes in my garage and label them for small gifts I find through the year and that makes Christmas shopping easier. Then I just sort out who gets what at Christmas wrapping time. A charm bracelet is nice too you can buy new charms to add each year. (09/21/2005)
You could make wreaths for each family. I have used the 6 inch or bigger for bigger families. Get a grapevine wreath and at the top get maybe a wooden cut out of a banner or rectangle shape and paint it brown and write with a paint marker "Jones Family Blessings" and get cut out gingerbread men/women and paint them to match the hair colors, etc. of each family member and write thier name across the chest, and attach them with a hot glue gun. I wrap ribbon around the wreath before I add the banner and cut outs. It's really easy and inexpensive if you go to a dollar store or inexpensive craft store. I use a hot glue gun. Best of luck! (09/21/2005)
Try no sew fleece blankets. If you can tie knots you can make these easy and affordable ($20) blankets. And they are so warm and cuddly. The directions are at no sew fleece blankets.
There are a lot of good Christmas ideas already posted, but I am making gifts this year so I have some ideas. Take a clear vase and put some potpourri in, mixed with tiny clear Christmas lights with the cord going over the side. Add a doily or other lace to the top, secure with ribbon. When lighted, it is very attractive and releases the fragrance.
I am also making aprons tailored to individual interests. For one daughter, it will have chile peppers appliqued on it with writing 'Hot Chile Pepper".
I, too, have a "very" large family and several years ago, we all decided that it is just too taxing on all of us the buy gifts for everyone so now we do something really fun. I forget what it's called, but each person brings a wrapped gift suitable for either sex. We draw numbers and #1 starts by choosing a gift and unwrapping it. #2 chooses a gift and unwraps it. Then that person may keep it or trade for the gift from #1. This continues on to the last person from whom #1 may trade for the gift from the last person. This is so much fun and there are some really unusual things offered. We usually put a cap of about $10 on the gifts to make it possible for those with little money to participate, though it's not a hard and fast rule. Parents of children bring age appropriate gifts for children to choose. I got the Maxine calendar last year, which I have enjoyed all year.
I am doing a frugal Christmas also. I have gotten a bunch of ideas for cookie and bread mixes in jars. You can make your own designs to go on the outside of the jar. Here are some websites to get you started.
Here is one of my recipes that was given to me: Layered Pumpkin Cranberry Bread Mix in a Jar
To prepare the layered mix:
In a large bowl, combine the flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, baking soda and salt, stirring until well blended. Place mixture into a 1 quart jar. Pack down this layer. Add the brown sugar to the jar, firmly packing down. Layer the white sugar on top of the brown sugar, firmly packing. Layer the pecans and then the dried cranberries into the jar. Adjust cap. Makes base for one recipe of Layered Pumpkin Cranberry Bread.
Attach the following directions to the jar:
Pumpkin Cranberry Bread
Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour (or use spray) two 7-1/2x3-3/4x2-1/4 inch loaf pans (or 4 small loaf pans). In a large bowl, combine the pumpkin, oil and eggs, stirring until well blended; set aside. Place contents of jar into a medium bowl; mix until well blended and brown sugar is no longer clumped. Add flour mixture into the pumpkin mixture, stirring until well blended. Divide batter evenly between the prepared pans. Bake at 350F for 40-50 minutes (30 to 35 minutes for the small pans), or until inserted toothpick comes out clean and tops of loaves spring back when pressed.
Buy a foil Christmas tree shaped tin and make a cake for each family. Make your own icing with food coloring added. Top with sprinkles, candy, gumdrops, M&Ms, and candycane pieces. Different decorations for different families.
Or melt chocolate stir in Chinese noodles, place spoonfuls on wax paper until hard. Make microwave peanut brittle and give to each family.
I make pear nut bread and give loaves to each of my family members. They look forward and depend on receiving the bread each year. (09/24/2005)
I make bath products every year: bath salts, oils, foaming bath, bath fizzes, etc. I scent them with essential oils and herbs. They are quite easy and very economical to make. I buy the bottles and corks at the dollar store and when they are filled I melt some canning wax (in a old coffee tin) and dip the bottles upside down into the wax. Dip them in to cover the whole cork, up to the rim of the bottle. This seals in the fragrance. When cooled I decorate around the rim with dried flowers and ribbon. Looks very professional.
If your interested, I have a whole lot of recipes on our freebie site. Let me know and I'll give you our address.
Best of luck to you and I just know you'll do wonderfully with whatever you decide to make. People always love things made especially for them.
You can look at a lot of great ideas and directions to make gifts for Christmas at this web site. Enjoy!
This year, the gifts are coming from our son, who will be just over a year old at Christmas. I'm going to make a mold of my son's hands and feet in a disposable pie plate of plaster, and then when it's dry, I'm going to pour soap into the molds, to make little hands and feet soaps. I'm going to attach a little poem with it too. And for people who won't use the soap, I'm going to make ornaments using the same mold and some modeling clay, and personalize them with his name and the year and a cute ribbon at the top. (10/08/2005)
Try filling men's tube socks with deer corn. You can buy it at a feed store and it costs about $5 for all you'll need. After filling the sock, sew the top shut. I ironed appliques on the socks for a bit of decoration. Instruct the recipient to microwave it for no more than 2 minutes for a warm, portable little heating pad. Everyone in my family loves them! They can also be put in the freezer and they feel really good around your neck after a workout! (10/09/2005)
I run a in home daycare and give all my children and parents gifts every year, it can be a lot money. So this year I decided to make their gifts, so here goes. For the moms, I took used metal coffee cans, cleaned and spray painted them (a Christmas color) and bought wall border at dollar store/ flea market. I cut the border to size of can around, and to top and bottom. Take craft glue, put on back of border and put around can. But before you put border on can, punch two holes, one on each side, from inside out. Let border dry. Now take a piece of wire approximately 12" long, and twist it around and around a long screwdriver to give it a curled look. Take the two ends one on one side the other on the other side twist around with needle nose pliers to make a handle. Add a bow to side of handle. Now go to the dollar store and fill with what ever fits the person.
For the girls I made fleece scarfs and bought dollar store gloves. On the gloves I sewed pcs. of scrap lace, bows, and tiny flowers to match the scarfs. Very pretty sets. The boys will be getting marshmallow shooters, with a bag of marshmallows. (directions can be found on internet)
For the dads, I made microwaveable moist heating pads, made from fleece bag I sew, (approx 8"x 8"). I bought a 50 lbs of corn for $5.00. I filled each bag with approx. 6 cups of corn, and stitched closed. There was a hand written instruction card, to heat in microwave 5 mins. They really work. The 50lbs of corn made 15 heating pads.
Also I will be making fleece ponchos, for one it takes a piece 40"x60". You can find instructions in (Pack-o-Fun Magazine, Holiday Special). They are really easy to make, and it doesn't take long. Hope you can use these. (10/18/2005)
One year I made jars of relish and sauce, jars of pickled onions, cookies, and home made fudge. And using small boxes that I got free at the supermarket covered them in Xmas paper I put one of each thing that I had made (small cello bags for cookies and sweets), and bobs your uncle. (10/19/2005)
I got this idea from another website. Buy a plastic dog/cat food scoop (less than $2 usually) and some chocolate Hershey Hugs and Kisses. Fill the scoop as much as possible and tightly wrap up to the handle with plastic wrap. Attach a note that says "A scoop of hugs and kisses for you". I thought it was a cute idea and my mom loved it. (12/16/2005)
I find the best thing to do for cheap chrissy presents is to personalise stationary to suit the persons taste. Some of the best ideas are:
By Emma D
Put lights in jar. Push in potpourri. Put on lid. Light it up.
Mix the cinnamon, applesauce, and glue in a bowl until they form stiff dough. If the mixture is too thin, add cinnamon; if too dry, add applesauce. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out to about 1/4 inch on a surface lightly sprinkled with cinnamon. Cut shapes out of the dough using Christmas cookie cutters. Place the cinnamon shapes on a cookie sheet and make a hole in the top using the sharp end of a paintbrush or a skewer. Allow the cut-outs to dry for 24 to 48 hours, or bake them in a 250°F oven until hard. You could also make these ornaments free-form. Decorate the ornaments with fabric paints in squeeze bottles.
Another delicious idea is to prepare homemade chocolate-covered cherries. Use a recipe for soft center fondant or basic fondant, which can be found in the candies/confections chapter in most slightly older cookbooks (i.e. Joy of Cooking). (Fondant is a cooked mixture of water, sugar and/or corn syrup.) Soak maraschino cherries in Tawny Port wine (Taylors is good) overnight, leaving the stems on the cherries. Purchase chocolate specifically designated for dipping, as well as some paper candy "cups" and small white cardboard boxes to fill with the completed chocolate-covered cherries. The dipping chocolate, candy papers and boxes can usually be found at stores that sell cake decorating supplies (such as Michael's, MJ Designs, etc.) or gourmet cooking supplies. When ready to assemble these confections, wrap enough fondant around the cherry to enclose it, then holding the cherry by its stem, dip the cherry into the dipping chocolate, completely coating it in chocolate. Place on waxed paper until chocolate has cooled and hardened. Place each completed confection in a candy paper cup and fill boxes with them. Gift wrap the boxes, and you have a very unusual gift to give. (Note: by leaving the stems on the cherries, your gift recipients will know they have a handmade treat!)
What I do is get those big Hershey bars and I put a bow on it and put the card under it. It looks like really pretty. (10/25/2007)
This year, I saw these when my family and I went to get a Christmas tree. Now they made theses little candle holders out of the small tree stumps. I thought it was really cute, but it was $10, so I found a few small stumps and took them home. I've carved them and bought candles from the dollar store and they are ready to go. It was cute, inexpensive, easy, and simple. Also when you burn the candle, it smells wonderful, like pine trees. (12/09/2007)
I made this book out of paper bags. You have to fold little gift bags in half and tape together. I put felt around the edges to make a cover. Now you have a book. I put pictures of my family, but you can put anything inside. Enjoy! (12/17/2007)
What I do is take old x-mas cards and cut out little parts and make my own x-mas card. It works! (12/21/2007)
If there are kids in the mix I would suggest the new fad of mini marshmallow guns.They are easy to make and the PVC components are very inexpensive. (06/14/2008)
My brother and sister-in-law love wine and love to cook. So for Christmas I made a gift basket which consists of some pasta, a bottle of their favorite wine, some candles (for candlelight dinner), a wine pairing book and also a recipe book of different kinds of pastas. I had seen these online, but thought this could be more personal and it was also cheaper. Depending on what kind of basket and wine, it can go anywhere from 20 dollars and up. (12/18/2008)
I made a personalized calendar for my dad this year you can download templates on Microsoft online and copy and paste the photos in. It looks much more professional on the computer! (11/01/2009)
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