ThriftyFun News November 13, 2004 - Christmas Gift Ideas

ThriftyFun News
Christmas Gift Ideas

Volume Six, Number 44 November 13, 2004


Today's issue has Christmas Gift Ideas. We received a lot ofgreat submissions, more than we could fit in one TF News. Wewill publish the rest between now and Christmas in the DailyThrifty Tips newsletter.


Thanks for reading,


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This newsletter contains:

Gift Advice:

  • Extending Your Dollars
  • Gift for Students Away at School
  • Christmas Gift for Smoking Friend
  • Christmas Gift Suggestion for People Away from Home
  • Ordering Christmas Presents by Mail or Online
  • Remedy for Sneaky Peeky Kids at Christmas
  • Plant Cuttings for Gifts
  • Stocking Stuffer Ideas
  • Gifts for Teachers
  • Gifts for Teachers, Pastors, Doctors and Friends
  • Mail Gifts Media Mail

Wrapping Tips:

  • Wrapping Christmas Packages for Several Children?
  • Decorative Tins for Gift Containers

  • Wrapping Paper and All Occasion Cards
  • Budget Gift Wrap
  • Ask for Christmas Gift Boxes
  • Baskets of Presents

Edible Gifts:

  • Good Fudge Recipe
  • Chocolate Chip Cookie Wreath
  • Flavored Coffee Recipes

Craft Gifts:

  • Inexpensive Seashell Picture Frame
  • Snowman Jar Craft Idea for Co-Workers
  • Quick and Easy Crocheted Snowflake Necklace and Earrings
  • Etching a Glass Bottle
  • Making a Cutting Board
  • Gift for a Poet - Muse Rocks

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Gift Advice

Extending Your Dollars

To extend your dollars over the holidays remember the Dollar Stores. I frequent 3-4 stores every few weeks. I have found scrapbooking supplies, color books with the latest super hero in them, candles, bath supplies, baby shampoo and lotions. Of course, this is a great place to buy your wrapping paper, bows, tags and bags. Also don't forget the food section.

By Sandy Schmeling

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Gift for Students Away at School

Buy a box of stationary, fancy or plain. Place sticker address labels on the envelope for your address and return address. Buy postage stamps and apply them to envelopes. Enclose a funky pen. Now there are no more excuses as to why they didn't write. Also, amazing how often you hear from them if they know a 'Care' package will follow, or perhaps extra money might get sent for a pizza or a treat, in a return letter from you. LOL. I used this on my granddaughter while she was in College! It worked!


By Gladys Hill

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Christmas Gift for Smoking Friend

I have an elderly friend who knowing we don't smoke, won't smoke in our home, and always brings an empty Peanut Can with her to put her cigarette stub into.

She is a retired postal worker. This year, I glued used postage stamps to the outside of a can, decoupage it, a couple times. Safeway had small Christmas cactus' in green plastic decorated pot they were just the right size to fit into the can. Placed the lid on bottom of can, cactus in can, added a bow and gift tag.

By Gladys Hill

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Christmas Gift Suggestion for People Away from Home

Have a student, loved one in senior care home, kinfolk or serviceman/woman, living away from home? Give them a subscription to the local newspaper. It gives them news from their local area.


I gave one to my nephew in Iraq. It is mailed to his service address in USA, then sent from there with his units mail. He and his buddies love it. It takes a while for him to get it, but he says they all look forward to getting it, however late.

By Gladys Hill

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Ordering Christmas Presents by Mail or Online

Here's something to keep in mind if you plan on ordering Christmas presents online or by mail.

Using a credit card as payment gives you the right to contest the bill if the item isn't received or is returned. You must write the credit card company about the transaction to preserve your consumer rights.

Also, if an item is returned, only the purchase price will be credited. Any shipping and handling charges or return postage will be your responsibility.


By Cheryl from Missouri

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Remedy for Sneaky Peeky Kids at Christmas

If your kids peek at gifts under the tree or search throughout the house for presents, wrap them immediately upon bringing them in. Mark them with a code only YOU know!

Or trade wrapped gifts with a neighbor.

By Linda

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Plant Cuttings for Gifts

I often give plants that I have started from cuttings as gifts. To brighten these up I use a water pic from the florist with one or 2 blossoms from my yard to add a bit of color. I stick the pic into the soil, and make a bow that matches in color or compliments the flowers or the pot and voila! This would be at least $20 at a flower shop!

By Linda

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Stocking Stuffer Ideas

Batteries make great stocking stuffers!

By this time of year September's school supplies are running down. Fill stockings with supplies like pens, pencils and glue sticks.

By Linda

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Gifts for Teachers

As a former teacher, I know that teachers do not need gifts in apple motif, mugs or perfumes. What I loved the most were gift certificates to restaurants, movies, Starbucks, and Wal-mart. Home-made edibles like banana bread that I could freeze until after the holidays were great. Even a thoughtful note on a card telling your child's teacher how important she is and what a great job she does are A plus gifts. A gift of time, such as an offer to help with a field trip, work in the classroom, or do school-related tasks at home would make you a much-loved parent.

By Linda

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Gifts for Teachers, Pastors, Doctors and Friends

Great gifts for teachers, pastors, doctors, and even friends are edibles that can be frozen now to eat later. Basics like homemade bread, banana bread, muffins, are always welcome.

By Linda

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Mail Gifts Media Mail

Save postage on gifts that go long distance by giving gifts that qualify for media postage, which is much less than regular parcel post. Media postage can be used for dvds, cds, books, tapes, movies--information that doesn't contain advertisements can usually go media rate. Check with the post office for more details. This rate is not available at UPS, just the postal service.

By Lynn

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Gift Wrapping

Wrapping Christmas Packages for Several Children?

I have five grandchildren. Instead of buying one large gift, I buy several smaller ones. The children really enjoy getting to open so many gifts. I have 5 individual boxes with their names printed on them. As I buy gifts, throughout the year, I place the gifts into the child's box who is to get the gift.

I start wrapping gifts the middle of October. I wrap only one child's gifts a day. Place the gifts back in that child's box. I tag them that day also. By having the gifts in that child's box, if I forgot to tag one, I know that child is to get the gift.

By Gladys Hill

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Decorative Tins for Gift Containers

Looking for a way to get rid of clutter and save money? Get rid of any decorative tins you've been collecting by using them to put gifts in instead of using wrapping paper or buying another expensive gift bag.

By Kimberly

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Wrapping Paper and All Occasion Cards

Keep wrapping paper and all occasion cards in the house. I live 8 miles from town and this saves me a lot of money. Just yesterday, I bought 4 rolls of different kinds of wrapping paper, $.50 each, never opened.

By Betty G.

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Budget Gift Wrap

If the budget is small, wrap Christmas packages in newspaper. I used the Sports section for my husband, Comics for the younger kids, Home life & Fashion for my older daughter. You can highlight any articles they may be interested in. Tie with inexpensive yarn.

By J

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Ask for Christmas Gift Boxes

If you will need boxes for Christmas gifts, start asking for them now whenever you shop in clothing stores. Close to Christmas they sometimes run out.

By Linda

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Baskets of Presents

Never pass up baskets which are somewhat used or being sold cheap. Save them all for christmas gifts. Anything can be put in them, two or three items of the same theme, such as yarn, crochet and crochet book, etc, and then wrapped with pretty cellophane paper and a ribbon. Makes a great christmas gift.

By Racer

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Edible Gifts

Good Fudge Recipe


  • 4 c. white sugar
  • 1 large can carnation milk
  • 1 stick butter or margarine
  • 1 package chocolate chips
  • 1 pint marshmallow creme
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • Add nuts, if desired


Combine sugar, milk, and butter. Stir and cook until softball. Add chips, marshmallow creme, and vanilla. Beat until cold and pour into pan.

By Robin

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Chocolate Chip Cookie Wreath


  • 3/4 c. butter flavor Crisco
  • 1 1/4 c. firmly packed brown sugar
  • 2 T. milk
  • 1 egg
  • 2 c. all purpose flour
  • 1 t. salt
  • 3/4 t. baking soda
  • 2 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips


Heat oven to 375 degrees. Line baking sheets with foil and grease lightly with shortening.

Combine brown sugar, shortening, milk and vanilla in a large bowl. Beat at medium speed of electric mixer until well blended. Beat egg into creamed mixture. Combine flour, salt and baking soda. Mix into creamed mixture just until blended. Stir in chocolate chips. Divide dough into four quarters. Divide each quarter into 12 pieces. Roll each into a one-inch ball. Arrange balls on baking sheet almost touching to form an 8-inch circle. Flatten balls with fingers slightly. Repeat with remaining balls to make three more wreaths. Bake one sheet at a time at 375 degrees for 12 to 14 minutes or until lightly browned. Do not overbake. Cool completely before removing foil from baking sheet.


  • 1 1/4 c. confectioners sugar
  • 3 T. Crisco shortening
  • 2 t. milk
  • 1 t. light corn syrup
  • Red and green chewy candies or gum drops.

Combine confectioners' sugar, shortening, milk and corn syrup in mixing bowl. Beat at medium speed until smooth. (If too thick, add additional milk, a few drops at a time. If too thin, add additional confectioners' sugar.) Icing may be refrigerated, covered, up to one week. Spread or pipe frosting over wreath. Cut candies as needed for flowers and leaves. Place in clusters around the wreath. Attach a colorful bow to side of wreath, if desired.

By Robin

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Flavored Coffee Recipes

Put several of these flavored coffee recipes in a gift basket for a wonder gift for a coffee lover.

Cafe Bavarian Mint Flavored Coffee

  • 1/4 C. Powdered Creamer
  • 1/3 C. Sugar
  • 1/4 C. Instant Coffee
  • 2 T. Powdered Baking Cocoa
  • 2 hard candy Peppermints

Process in a blender on liquify until well blended. Store in an air tight container. Use by tablespoonfuls according to taste.Spoon in cup and add hot water.

Cafe Cappuccino Flavored Coffee

  • 1/4 C. Powdered Creamer
  • 1/3 C. Sugar
  • 1/4 C. Instant Coffee
  • 1 Orange flavored piece of hard candy

Process in a blender on liquify until well blended. Store in an air tight container. Use by tablespoonfuls according to taste. Spoon in cup and add hot water

Cafe Viennese Flavored Coffee

  • 1/4 C. Powered Creamer
  • 1/3 C. Sugar
  • 1/4 C. Instant Coffee
  • 1/2 tsp. Cinnamon

Process in a blender on liquify until well blended. Store in an air tight container. Use by tablespoonfuls according to taste. Spoon in cup and add hot water.

By Kathy

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Craft Gifts

Inexpensive Seashell Picture Frame

I've bought picture frames (with wide borders) from the Good Will or other thrift stores. I use craft paint (any color) to paint them and then a satin varnish. Then I hot glue a variety of shells to the frame. I use shells I pick up at my beach and the frames cost only a couple dollars. Sometimes I insert a meaningful beach picture or I will leave it empty for the receiver to fill.

You can also bleach (dilute with water) the shells to make them look more weathered. Paint the frame with a true white paint. Then do a second coat of off-white or cream. When both coats are fully dry, lightly sand the top coat so that the white and even wood-grains show below. Hot glue the bleached shells on the worn frame for a fully weathered look.

By Hache

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Snowman Jar Craft Idea for Co-Workers

These cute little snowman are easy to make and can be filled with some candy.

You will need:

  • Baby Food Jars
  • Polymer Clay, Orange
  • Small Black Buttons
  • Film Canister
  • Black Paint
  • White Paint
  • Black Permanent Marker
  • Hot Glue or Tacky glue.


1. Spray or Paint the Jar white and let dry.

2. Glue buttons on the jar for eyes.

3. Form orange clay in shape of a carrot for the nose. Follow the instructions on the clay. Dry in the oven and glue in place.

4. Use the Black Permanent Marker to draw the mouth to look like coal. Just draw dots.

5. Paint the baby food jar lid black. Let it dry completely. Glue the film canister without a lid upside down on top of lid. This will look like a top hat when you put it back on the jar.

6. Fill with various candies like M&M's.

Simple homemade gift and frugal!

By Laura Lange

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Quick and Easy Crocheted Snowflake Necklace and Earrings

Snowflake Makes 3

Using crochet cotton and a size 11 hook Chain 4. Join with a slip stitch to form a ring, Work 13 double crochet in ring, slip stitch in top of first double crochet. *Chain 3 skip next stitch, slip stitch in next stitch. Repeat from * around the ring. Fasten off. Stiffen if necessary. Add wires for pierced ears and make a chain for the necklace.

By Debra in Colorado

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Etching a Glass Bottle

It's easy to give store-bought bottles a "homemade touch" by etching them with a special message or design, then filling them with something your recipient will love.

Tools & Materials

You'll need a Dremel rotary tool, a bottle, clamp or slip-free rubber mat, a soft cloth, glass cleaner, paper, pencil, permanent marker and masking tape to complete this simple project.

The Steps

1. Sketch your message or design on a piece of paper or clip out an image from a magazine.

2. Cut it out to create a stencil and secure it with masking tape to the glass bottle. Draw your design onto the bottle using a permanent marker.

3. Gently clamp the bottle to a table or use a rubber mat to provide a slip-free work surface.

4. Wearing eye protection, use the Dremel rotary tool along with an silicon carbide grindstone (#84922, included in Dremel XPR rotary tool kit sold below) to etch over your permanent marker design. Use the tip of the bit to etch into the surface of the glass.

5. Clean the surface of the bottle with a soft cloth and glass cleaner when finished etching.

By Kathy

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Making a Cutting Board

This project takes giving a gift with a personal touch to a whole new level.. Follow these steps to create a fun and functional cutting board designed (by you!) to match their kitchen and their personality perfectly.

Tools & Materials

You'll need a Dremel rotary tool with plunge router attachment, the 18" Dremel Scroll Station, contour sander, 3.4" piece of hard maple, cloth, mineral oil, construction paper, pencil and pattern.

The Steps

1. Trace the desired pattern onto construction paper to the actual size you want, and cut it out.

2. Then trace pattern onto the wood and cut it out using the Dremel Scroll Station (don't forget to wear proper eye protection).

3. Use the Dremel rotary tool and #335 router attachment with #612 router bit to shape the edges (both available at Option: You may want to drill a hole through the wood in order to hang your finished piece.

4. Using a contour sander, prepare the surfaces and edges for finishing.

5. Apply mineral oil with a soft cloth to the entire cutting board.

By Kathy

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Gift for a Poet - Muse Rocks

These are a great cheap gift for a budding poet. First you need between twelve and twenty five flat smooth rocks. Now with a paint marker or a permanent maker write words to inspire that budding poet. A quick list of words to use would be:

Quiet, ocean, peaceful, angry, darkness, mountains, green, happy, solitaire, music, soaring, create, world, Anyway, you get the idea.

Adjectives are best but you could also use verbs. These are a great way to help with writers block. Add a notebook, a nice pen and a bowl for the rocks and you have a pretty special gift. You also could use a pringles can decorated to your taste and then they could shake up the stones to make it more random. Hope you like this idea.

By Debra in Colorado

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