My Frugal Holiday: Homemade Gift Ideas

Our family on my side has decided to have a completely "homemade Christmas", due to the economy. Since not all people like "crafty items", my daughters and I try and make items I already know they like (or requested) and will be used. I also make cloth gift bags that can be reused-easy to make from pillowcases or old jeans (that can them be used as a purse or tote bag)

I thought I would share some of my ideas we are using or have used in the past, and hopefully get some others to add theirs!

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  • Homemade salsa
  • Homemade bread
  • flannel nightgowns
  • flannel PJ pants
  • candles
  • rose water perfume
  • knitted and crochet hats, mittens and scarfs
  • warming pillows (the kind with rice/beans inside that you heat up)
  • Embroidered personalized pillowcases and tea towels
  • crochet afagan
  • patchwork quilt
  • family photo of all the grandkids
  • sweatshirt/tee shirt with kids/grandkids handprints
  • scrapbook of family events with photos taken throughout the past year
  • fleece PJ with matching blanket or pillow
  • matching doll nightgown
  • stepping stones with kids handprints
  • Puppets
  • pot holders
  • poncho
  • fishing flies
  • couch/recliner organizer; it goes over the arm of the chair or couch and holds the remote controls
  • birdhouse
  • computer cover sewn with clear vinyl
  • certificates for the kids for a week stay at our place during the summer
  • photo calendar for the upcoming year
  • placemat/coaster set
  • my daughters make bead jewelry and are rather good at it; ear rings, bracelets and necklaces, and also matching hair accessories
  • sock monkey
  • stuffed animal or PJ animal
  • swimsuit cover up and matching tote bag
  • Raggedy Ann and Andy doll
  • doll house
  • coupons for free babysitting, cooking a meal for them, or washing their car.....
  • holiday potholders for all year, made of fabric scraps; a white snowman, red heart, brown gingerbread man, green clover, Easter egg, flower, firecracker burst, horn of plenty.....for patterns I used drawings from coloring books
  • family recipes written on cards in a recipe box (great for new brides or one who just left the nest)
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  • door snakes (keep out the cold)
  • decorate a clay pot with broken tile (mosaic) and add some flower bulbs, or packs of herb seeds
  • plant starts
  • Christmas ornament
  • dog treats for the dog
  • holiday pillow cases for the kids; this requires planning ahead as the holiday fabrics are not always available all year around, one pillowcase for each month
  • food gift basket; good item for those who have everything all ready, or those who are having trouble making ends meet-you can theme it, such as everything needed for spaghetti night, or chili, pizza, or items for smores....
  • interview an older family member on tape or video. Have them ell family stories and give to younger family members. It will be more cherished as years go by and they are gone.
  • picture book for babies or toddlers. Use old magazines for pictures and photos of family members, pets and animals along with favorite places.
  • sachets
  • jams/jellies I canned
  • meat (we farm and hunt)
  • fudge (all time favorite)
  • "gone green" shopping bags

By April from NW Missouri

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November 3, 20080 found this helpful

I loved the idea to interview older family members.

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November 3, 20080 found this helpful

I gave these gifts to recent high school graduates but they would work well for new homeowners or college students:

Clothes basket full of laundry items: detergent, stain stick, dryer sheets, bleach, roll of quarters

Box full of baking items: 5 lb sugar, 5 lb flour, 2 lb brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, measuring cups/spoons, wooden spoon, spatula, mixing bowl, recipe box filled with blank cards and a few family recipes

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November 3, 20080 found this helpful

What wonderful ideas.

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November 3, 20080 found this helpful

I love your list of ideas. There was a lot I never thought of. I also have a few to add.Hope you don't mind. Stuffed Christmas tree, the one that stands alone. Christmas Stockings w/ name on it.

Christmas garland, make gingerbread boys/girls.

and stuff them joining them with ribbon between.(patterns from cookie cutters or coloring books).

Holiday place mats for all holidays, or use old shirts, dresses, what ever to make place mats for ever day use.

Little stuffed Christmas wreaths made out of little circles.they call them yoyos but over stuff them. and then use fishing line to string them together into a circle tie off, and add ribbon to finish off. There are more but just a few to add to your great list. Thanks for the ideas especially with todays times. Nancy Pottstown, Pa

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November 3, 20080 found this helpful

I find that any gift I give that includes a photo; either an old one or a new one, is always welcomed. You can purchase any kind of frame your budget allows, even a plain wooden one from the dollar store can be painted and decorated with sea shells and various embellishments.

One year I received a photo of my Mother, shortly after her death, that was taken long before I was in her life. I treasure that gift and it brings me joy daily.

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November 4, 20080 found this helpful

Not only would these gifts save money and help eliminate stress, but they would be appreciated and used. I'm at the age where I'm trying to eliminate the trinkets (dust catchers) from my home to simplify my life. Every year, more get donated. How I love gifts that are well thought out. A pair of flannel jammies would be much more appreciated than a crystal vase.

Don't forget canning supplies -- like boxes of lids, gardening gloves, sandpaper and boxes of nails or screws, helping with minor home repairs (fixing a leaky faucet or replacing a toilet ring), buying a gas card, paying a credit on someone's utility bill, a container of coffee or tea, reusable grocery bags, new plant pots, plastic lunch containers, anything that will be used regularly.

When our son was young, for Christmas we'd buy his teachers things they always needed for the classroom: Whiteboard markers, construction paper, pens, pencils, and paper for the classroom, replace classroom games, magnets, etc. His teachers were always so much happier than getting another mug or ornament for their tree.

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November 4, 20080 found this helpful

A calendar with the whole family's birthdays and anniversaries on it.

A kit for the car, with wipes, rubber gloves, reflector, scraper, etc.

Emergency kit for home, with flashlight, batteries, blanket, pillow, little radio, candles, matches.

Personal repair kit, with eyeglass repair kit, needles and thread, small magnifying glass, and one of those grabbers on a handle for reaching things (Walgreen's).

Snow shoveling "gift certificate."

Leaf-raking, yardwork "gift certificate."

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November 7, 20080 found this helpful

I really like the pillow case per month idea.

Also, I like to give homemade (by me or someone else) ornaments.

For children or grandchildren, when you give them an ornament each year, when they are grown they have their own set of ornaments & the memories attached to each one.

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November 18, 20080 found this helpful

Great ideas! I received hand painted glass ornaments and well crafted felt tree ornaments from my best friend which I treasure and have used for years.

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November 18, 20080 found this helpful

I love and have used most of the ideas listed in addition we do a home made tree and have for several years. One grandchild is designated to do the decoration. We supply the tree and two strings of white light the designated grandchild then makes all decorations for the tree. When tree is taken down decorations are given back to the person who decorated it.

I made Christmas stockings for everyone and we draw names for filling a stocking. No small children here. Youngest is 13

If anyone in family can do woodworking some things that have been made here

1 Saddle tree for holding saddle

2 shelves

3 Work bench for garage

4 A peg board for hanging halters

5 Woodburned jewelry tray

6 Woodburned replica of picture of deer

We are very lucky that there are many talents in our family

We had a nice driveway sign that had become weathered and not very readable and my son in law resurected it by sanding and refinishing

Painting and refurbishing loved treasures is always a hit as well.

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November 18, 20080 found this helpful

I really appreciate these ideas. This will help. I will add 2 of my own:

The last 2 years, we give a new ornament a piece to each of our 3 grown children and included with it a small paper, on which is written, an activity to do with them after the first of the year. I.E.-night out to a movie with us, or restaurant, etc. That way, more money was available, as well as something to look forward to over the winter months.they picked the ornament from a pile without knowing what was included with each.

Last year, I used old burlap coffee sacs, cut them up and resewed them into smaller gift sacs. I stenciled a green painted Christmas tree onto each. Tied them with a raffia bow and attached a bell. They were a hit. I got my coffee sacs from a local coffee shop.

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November 18, 20080 found this helpful

I love these gift ideas, especially the ones for teachers. I usually make gifts also. Last year I made bath salts for everyone (Epsom salts, scents, and coloring found at the craft store, shake in a canning jar and your done!) I found matching candles at a discount store. Add homemade fudge and you have decadence in a box.

Home made recipe book using a plastic 4x6 "brag" photo album including favorite, inexpensive and easy to make recipies, fun table graces, inspirational quotes and pictures.

A friend of mine made lap quilts by cutting up her DH old work shirts. We loved them and my kids have worn them out from tons of use.

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November 18, 20080 found this helpful

We started this tradition 2 years ago. Not only have we saved money, but we have started up hobbies that we had long ago put on the back burner. It is also a tremendous amount of fun to open the gifts and see what everyone has made. I can't believe that anyone would ever want to give or receive a gift card!

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December 1, 20080 found this helpful

Thanks for the great ideas! I will use some this year for sure. In past years I've given food gift baskets filled with homemade goodies, and sets of 3 homemade ripstop nylon shopping bags in a tiny stuff-sack to keep in a purse or pocket. Making cloth gift bags has been a great way to use up old fabric remnants, ribbons, trims, ricrac, buttons, and sequens as well as old linens and clothes. Our large family has also experimented with giving charitable contributions in each other's names instead of gifts. The most successful have been things that the recipient family member can "own-donate," such as a specific farm animal through the Heifer.org group, but we haven't yet found a way to make contribution-giving as personal and fun as gift-giving, especially since most of us do this on our own anyway and have our favorite causes. Any suggestions?

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December 11, 20080 found this helpful

I love the potholder and Pillowcase idea! I cant wait to make them!

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November 18, 20090 found this helpful

Just a thought. For years I got my empty burlap bags from the local peanut shop. When I was in girl scouts, I once made my grandmother a pair of bookends made from bricks that I covered with paper and colored. Good idea for kids, I guess. carla

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