I hope this helps those of you on a tight budget who would like to give something but find it difficult financially. Please add some of your suggestions as I would love to hear of other people's ideas.
If you can't afford to buy gifts this Christmas but you have a computer and printer, then search the web for free printables. All it costs you is the time searching and the cost of the paper and ink. There are gift tags, bags, boxes, wrapping paper, bookmarks, colouring and activity pages and poems.
For children, I give homemade activity books. By printing the pages two to a page it makes them easier to manage, saves paper and ink.
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Funny old books are nice - you can still get them cheaply at library sales, thrift shops. There's all sorts of great stuff at thrift shops - from vintage to brand new - Put together little collections of them to give - things look better grouped....
When times were tough , a friend of mine made a coupon booklet for her children , in which they could redeem a coupon for a day out with mom , go out to dinner , rent or go to a movie . This made it easier because all of these could be bought at a later date also it gives you one on one time with each child , builds a special memory for them to grow up with .
You can crochet with the fancy wool around the $1.00
wool stretch gloves that you buy in dollar stores. Maybe someone would give you what they had left from making a scarf. Also, I crochet beads around plain white socks for little girls.
Blue dog. Donna R.
I have used lunch bags (I like the white best but they are now hard to find around here, brown looks just as nice) paint, stencil or the best one let kids make Christmas designs on it. You roll 2 rolls down at the top, punch 2 holes to run curly ribbon and fill it with home baked cookies, candy, a couple candy canes, a few dollar store toys, trail size shampoos, soap etc.. or whatever depending on the person you are giving the gift to. When bag is full tie a bow, curl ribbon, add nametag and you have a gift all ready to go. My family and friends all love it when I do this as they have a bag to keep, plus a lot of fun seeing what other treasure is in the bag. The kids think I am just the greatest as I give them a whole bag of candy and toys. For items I put in bag I have a bin that gets jewelry, toy cars or what ever I may find at flea markets, yard sales or on sale at stores all year. Then I have fun going though as half the time I have forgot what I put in the bin. LOL I also use a couple of dollars to buy ribbon and such whenever I see it on sale even if I don't need it at the time. I have paid as little as 5 cent for a large roll of curly ribbon. Don't just get the Christmas colors as this bag thing works great for last minute birthday and other occasions as well. Children like to come in the door with "Mom I need a birthday gift for so & so for a party tonight or tomorrow. Hope this gives you some help and maybe a new tradition to start. You can make the bags anytime during the year, rainy or sick days when the kids need something to do make bags. This is also a lot of fun for children's bible study class, if your church is visiting nursing homes or somewhere let children make bags to put little gifts in. Growing up my Mother used many brown grocery and lunch bags to wrap gifts in all hand decorated.
Last year I made the mistake of buying all things in groups like soaps and stuff, and lipgloss (which EVERYONE does).So this year I'm gonna get some green and red paint, pens, and some glitter and clear glass ornaments and write their name on the ball, so they can have something they can use. I'm gonna put candy canes and stuff in a bag and pass them out to my friends @ school!
i think that this site is a good idea but needs more recipes on home made nick nacks im 19 and on a very low budget but would like to give my family nice gifts that are easy to make please keep up the good work because there are plenty more people out there like me
Family cook book is a great Idea! I also take my old holiday cards from the year before and cut out the fronts with my scrap booking sissors. I use them as gift tags or glue them to the front of lunch sacks for gift bags.
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Jan in NC
If you have a Walgreen store nearby, every month they have items you can get free with rebate. If you ask for a Walgreen card instead of a check they will add 10% more on the card. Today I got shampoo and body lotion that will be free when I get the rebate back. 4-5 of these in a basket makes a nice gift for some lady. (10/25/2004)
Jan, after 18 years of working as an Insurance Professional, I am now a SAHM. My loss of income was tremendous, and I'm always looking for inexpensive ways of doing things. Of course, I have Cadillac taste, so anything that I want to buy is just too, too expensive right now.
How crafty are you? Try purchasing inexpensive socks, scarfs, sweatshirts or jeans and adding some of your own designs to them to make them "an original". I see a lot of websites that are selling home crafted items that sell for big dollars. Of course, I don't have tons of time to sit in front of a sewing machine, but with just a little bit of time you can really have a great gift.
What I did - take little girls socks (from the dollar store - 5 for $1.00) and some scrap material. From Wal Mart, or even an old blouse that you may have. Sew on a little "ruffle" to the bottom of the sock flap. Then, make use the same fabric to sew "patches" of flowers, or letters to make a name on a sweatshirt or sweat pants.
If you are not that crafty, then simple glass bowls (from Rag Shop or Wal Mart) filled with home made cookies or candy, tied with a ribbon work well too.
Holiday gifts come from the heart. I just recently figured that out!
Good luck, and God Bless. (10/25/2004)
By Fia from NJ
Try your local Dollar Store. I have bought several Hallmark brand items at one in my town. Some things do look like they cost a dollar and other things can be quite nice. They have hardback books that originally sold for $25. You may have to shop on a regular basis to find the deals. They have alot of cute frames and some of them sell great candles. You probably can't buy for everyone on your list there, but it's a good place to start. (10/27/2004)
I'd suggest going to a mall or strip mall, even outlet store for an hour or two some afternoon. Go in, make your way immedieatly to the back and hit the clearance bins. If there's nothing there that catches your eye, move onto the next store. I managed to find a $5 shirt for my hubby from Old Navy, some great wine bottle covers from Bombay at $3 each, and some clearance hardcover books from Waldenbooks for other family members. (10/30/2004)
I was reading in the section of homemade gifts and I thought of you. This is super easy, doesn't take a lot of money and will mean the world to the receiver. If the present is for a family member, think about making up a family recipe book. You could gather all the recipes from each member and make up a special book for everyone. Anything that someone is known for. You know, that favorite cake that some aunt makes or your cousin's cheeseball. When you request the recipe, ask them for one of their other favorites (it may add another to the list of family favorites). Do it on the down low so they have no clue of what your doing. Maybe add pictures or little family stories to go with them. Use your imagination. Type them up, make as many copies as you need, put them in plastic sleeves or a photo album. You can find all kinds of ideas for this. This is a real gift from the heart that you can't put a price tag on. Anyone that would receive this would cherish it forever :) Hey, and you might consider to give it to a friend as well. My family is itallian so we have a lot of itallian food. Almost everyone loves that type of food. You could even get their favs and add it to yours as well. Maybe family and friends favorite recipes. Just a thought. (12/02/2004)
You can make a nice jar of homemade bath salts. All you need is a nice jar which you can get at a dollar store or walmart maybe you have one stashed in a cupboard somewhere. You need epsom salt a nice smelling essential oil food coloring and maybe some pretty ribbon to spice it up. You can also make a spa basket or box with towels and lufa maybe some small candles and soap or lotion. (10/18/2005)