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Throughout the year, after Christmas and until before Christmas of the next year, whenever you see a bargain gift, buy it -- whatever it may be. Put the bargain in storage or in a gift closet or space. Then during Christmas time, take the bargains out and separate them by his, hers, and unisex. Buy some big, cheap baskets in a thrift shop and fill them up with your bargains. Use tissue as filler, then wrap the baskets up with cellophane and put on bows. Your receivers will have a unique bounty of goodies. Don't worry if the bargains aren't part of a theme, as long as they are appropriate to the gender, it won't matter.
I enjoy making gifts using baskets from thrift shops and filling it with tons of the samples I order from the internet. If the items are basically shampoo, conditioners, etc. I will line the basket with a couple of hand towels and wash cloths.
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We had a big family and now our children are all grown, married, and we have lots of precious grandchildren. The problem is that we can't afford to give individual gifts to all, but still want to give something to each instead of drawing names as our children do among themselves. We have decided to do family gifts.
This year, I'd like to do a gift basket for each family, filled with inexpensive items. I have a list of ideas, but would like more input. Please keep in mind that some of these will have to be shipped.
For those who may be looking for other family gift ideas, one year I spent many hours scanning almost all the pictures of our children's growing up years, then burned them onto CD's. Our kids are very sentimental about their youth, so it was the best gift we could have given. The greatest cost was time.
With our children getting older and moving out, my husband and I are working on a cookbook of my favorite recipes. We are including memories about the recipes and possibly photos. They will end up being priceless.
I read about this somewhere - 'movie baskets'; DVD, popcorn, tissues, if it is a weepy. I am going to run with this idea this Christmas.
When I do "movie baskets" I use a large holiday gift bag. I put a Blockbuster gift card for whatever amount I want. Then I add microwave popcorn, soft drinks, and movie style boxes of candy such as Sugar Babies, Whopers, Hot Tamales, etc. At the movies they cost about $2.00 but I get mine at the Dollar Tree for $1.00. A large gift bag can get kind of costly, but you can go smaller and less expensive. I have used this idea quite a few times, especially for parties where everyone brings a gift and then they are exchanged by one of several ways. It has never failed to be a hit and people have actually fought (playfully) over it. Enjoy!
I have been buying movie rental passes on eBay for less then $1.50 each, including shipping. Some I got for $1.00
Also, the Dollar Store here has plastic popcorn containers (look like movie popcorn boxes) that would be nice to use as baskets for the movie gifts. I also bought 10 popcorn type bags there for $1.00.
I've been using the rewards points from my checking account to get $5 Starbucks gift cards all year.
Last year, my mom who loves to give to everyone but is unable to afford it was down in the dumps. I bought discontinued 6 x 6 scrapbook albums that had the white pages, and page protectors in it for $6/ea. I then interviewed her about early memories from when she was a child. Because of time constraints, I added a couple of photos that she had but picked up Betty Boop stickers for the page about school (her first lunchbox), and a map of the area in which she was born. Each Christmas I'll be adding more pages.
She is also well known for her cooking/baking abilities. She made goodies and stuffed them in a decorated candy bag. And they were personalized, i.e. Splenda sweetened cookies, lactose-intolerant specialties, etc. She also included the recipe hand written which will mean so much!
MP3s or video files on CDs are good gifts...not just necessarily popular songs or movies, either. Are they storm buffs? Find videos of lightning, and tornadoes and other storms. (I love those, myself.)
you can make things like bath salts and those scented bags people use to keep closets fresh. You should be able to find all kinds of recipes online.
Put in nature-ish things like shells and acorns and other things that kids like to play with. Jump ropes and bubbles and bubble kits make good gifts for the kids that fit easily into baskets.
Travel games are fun, and those are small and usually inexpensive. Hope this helps!