Friday, November 30, 2012

Christmas Presents on a Budget

Christmas can be such a crazy time of year- all the parties, decorating, caroling in the streets (do people still do that?). It can also be very expensive! While giving gifts can be fun and exciting, I certainly don't think you need to spend a ton of money to wow someone with a gift- especially since we often buy people things they don't necessarily want or need. They end up with a house full of useless trinkets, and you end up with an empty wallet. Not really the fun season of giving, is it?

I thought today, on the EVE of official Christmas season (but let's face it, it's been Christmas season on this blog since mid-November) I would share some cheap and thoughtful gifts for family and friends! All of these gifts are easy to personalize to people's tastes and you can add your own labels, stamps, etc to make it look unique!

1. Homemade Sugar Scrubs

Look at how cute these are! I got this recipe off letbirdzfly and lemme tell you, I hit the jackpot on that blog! She did a total DIY Christmas last year! Imagine how sweet these would look with personalized labels?

2. Homemade Ornaments
I had a cousin who handpainted ornaments for everyone in the family one year. They were so beautiful and unique and I still enjoy hanging them on the tree each year. I love ornaments with history and love in them, and I am sure your family and friends do too! In this photo, the person cut up a wedding invitation into strips and then put them into a clear bulb and gave it to the new bride and groom. Isn't that sweet? I am sure that is something they will treasure for years and this certainly wasn't expensive! Clear ornaments are great for stuffing with all sorts of sweet things! Or you could handmake some ornaments....maybe felt owls?

3. Homemade sauces/jams/spices/salsas
Is it delicious? Can you make it at home? Does it fit into a jar? BAM- good Christmas present! You can even make a variety of sauces and jar them into a smaller jars and give them as gift baskets to multiple people! Since most people eat (as far as I am aware) this is not a gift that will go to waste! This is also another gift that you can personalize for the giftee with a pretty homemade label.

4. Kniting/crocheting/sewing

Are you crafty in some way? Why not handmake a scarf or a hat for someone? You can often get materials on sale and people will appreciate the effort you have put into their gift! However, you have to be a pretty fast scarf above has been taking me months and it still is not long enough to warm anyone's neck! It might not make it under anyone's tree this year!

5. Food!

Everyone likes food! Gimme a bowl of cookies for Christmas and I will high five you and love you forever! Same goes for fudges, cakes, squares, and all sorts of other goodies

6. Teas or a Hot Chocolate Kit
You can find instructions for making your own Chai Tea here. Or maybe you can put some hot chocolate powder into a sweet jar with marshmallows thrown in for fun!

7. A Picture Book

Websites like Blurb allow you to make seamless photograph books at home, but you can also have these made at places like Walmart. Or you can print your own photos and go traditional with an old fashioned photobook. These are surprisingly affordable and worth looking into!

8. Homemade Playdough
Got a little person on your list this year? Why go and spend hundreds of dollars on toys that will probably break? How about making some colourful playdough! Maybe then the little kid will make YOU a gift with it! Who wouldn't want a lumpy pink kitty cat?!

9. Do a little DIY!
Maybe your spouse has been going and on about how they want to get some projects done around the house. Why not surprise them by fixing up a few things while they are out? I sure wouldn't mind if a design fairy came by and retiled my bathroom for me!! Plus, fixing it yourself can save a lot of money vs. hiring out.

10. Coupon Books!
Ah, the classic free gift! But it doesn't have to be the predictable "back rub" coupon for a loved one. You can offer to bring over a homecooked meal and babysit the kids so mom and dad can have a romantic dinner at home. Or maybe you can offer some man hours to help with a renovation or move. Time is a very valuable thing and these types of gifts can often be the most thoughtful.

'Tis the season of giving, right? I think that includes giving ourselves to each other: heart, mind, and body. Not just our wallets!

Let me know if you have any other great ideas for homemade gifts!

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