My Frugal Life: Consider Crafting for Christmas

For many years we had to live like lots of Americans, payday to payday. But December of 1977 was the worst. Everything hit that month; insurance, car tags, we had to buy a new car battery, and we ended up with only 5 dollars in our pocket with just 3 days left before Christmas.


We had no Christmas gifts for our 13 year old daughter and 11 year old son. My husband and I talked it over. We knew it isn't gifts that make Christmas and that there are many parents out there who can never afford Christmas gifts for their children, but I'm sure many of those parents cry themselves to sleep on Christmas Eve. My husband and I decided I would go to the Salvation Army store to see what I could find.

The next day, to my great disappointment, I found that everything in the store was totally picked over, it was plain to see that I wasn't the only parent who was Christmas shopping at a second hand store. For my daughter, I found an ugly necklace made of sea shells, which I knew she would never wear and an even uglier, stretched out sweater that should have been thrown in the rag bag.


For my son I found a Hawaiian shirt that he wouldn't have worn to a dog fight and a mangled leather belt. I took my treasures home and wrapped them while I cried. I could picture the kids disappointment and disgust when they opened their so called gifts on Christmas morning. They knew we were having a rough time financially that month, but Christmas is Christmas.

The next morning the kids were excited. My daughter carefully opened the necklace while my son tore into the wrappings of his Hawaiian shirt. With big smiles on their faces they both were saying things like, "Oh, I just love it. Thank you so much, this is beautiful." We all knew they didn't mean a word of what they said and that their gifts would be making a trip back to the second hand store in a few days, but because of their attitudes, we were all able to have a happier Christmas that year.


ThriftyFun wasn't around back then, but if it was, I would have spent the 5 dollars on craft supplies and made some of those cute new craft projects that show up on their website every day like magic, then my kids would have actually loved their gifts instead of just pretending. Get crafting, it's never too early to start preparing for Christmas.

Amuck from Fairview Heights, IL

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May 27, 20090 found this helpful

Yes, I've been crafting my whole life! (I'm 54). So, What do yo do when everyone in you family already has everything you can make!? <LOL> My mom can't handle another piece of pottery (she already has at least 20 pieces!) & my kids don't need any more afghans or homemade long johns, jewelry, knitted sweaters or hats. I keep trying to be creative, but can think of nothing my family doesn't already have too many of!

To all of you new crafters out there, have fun & enjoy, but to people like me, the more ideas you guys post, the better! We lifetime crafters need practical & useful ideas, we can give as gifts this year!

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May 28, 20090 found this helpful

I have been trying to embroider sets of pillowcases for Christmas. They are fairly inexpensive to buy. I enjoy making them, & they are from the heart. I need to complete 2-1/2 sets more. For most people, they will be my only gift. They are also inexpensive to mail.

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May 28, 20090 found this helpful

Looks like you received the gift that year-evidence of children with a good heart, manners and understanding and wisdom beyond their years! That's the blessing of Christmas!

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May 28, 20090 found this helpful

How about writing letters from all family members for grandparents and placing in a binder. You could theme it. What I have learned from you, what I love about you, favorite memory/sayings, recipes, etc

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May 28, 20090 found this helpful

Gifts that create memories are always welcome-they can't gather dust on the shelf. Plan an outing, movies, skating, nature walks, etc. Can be low in cost but high in value.

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May 29, 20090 found this helpful

The best Christmas Gift I received from my Grandma was sewing lessons! Now I make things for MY grandchildren, and their dolls, and pets! When they are older, I will teach THEM how to sew...My Grandma made each of her 23 grandchildren a set of mittens and a touque and scarf for every Christmas. She sewed each of us a new jacket every year....she would go to the thrift shop and buy the extra large clothing, cutting it up to make two kids jackets from one huge coat. She made us housecoats for our birthdays, from bath towels, super-sized housecoats, and flannel shirts...all from the thrift shop...and she taught all of us to do the same! Knowing how to sew is a great gift and saves a LOT of money!!

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May 29, 20090 found this helpful

To Cyinda: Have you considered a "coupon book?" You can choose anything from taking someone to a movie, paying for a haircut, dusting & vacuuming, etc., etc. The sky is the limit when it comes to giving/making those coupons. I still have ones that my daughters made (now 30 & 31) and I'm waiting for the right time to "cash in on them!" It's a gift of love with no monetary expenditure (at gift time) to you, so you may want to consider it. You can be as crafty as you want to be i.e. different colour papers, ribbons, "medals" etc. Have fun, it's really the thought that's behind the gift, not the gift itself.

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May 30, 20090 found this helpful

Even though we can afford gifts and all, the only ones we buy for are the smaller grandchildren. I make gifts for everyone else. I usually give knitted dish cloths to the women and some baked goods for the men (or beef jerkey). They all seem to appreciate the homemade gifts.

One year, I made a Day Planner for everyone. I sewed the pages by hand and then covered it and had a bound book to give. I have made note pads (personalized).

Right now I am knitting a layette for our new grandbaby to be. It is due in January, so I still have some time. I am knitting a sweater and want to make a pair of long pants, a hat and booties to match. It is done in yellow.

Debbie Jenn

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