Thursday, December 8, 2011

Budget Christmas Gifts

I have found Christmas to be oh so very hard to budget. My husband and I have never been able to afford to buy each and every person a gift on both sides of our family. Here are some things I have found make easy and thoughtful gifts, even when I have desired most of all to buy those very nice and shiny gifts you see in department stores and malls.

Make a gift basket for the couples in the family. Be creative. Get a small gadget for the guy and make something pretty for the girl. If you sew, knit, or crochet, make something small for the lady. Put together a movie night basket with a bag or two of popcorn and one of those cute $5 movies from the Wal-Mart movie bins (you can always purchase the movie on a separate tab and put a receipt in an envelope and stick it under the tissue paper in the basket, in case they have that movie already).

Make your own hot cocoa mix, put it into miniature mason jars with marshmallows on top, use pinking shears to make lid covers from fabric or buy pre-cut fabric, and tag the with instructions written in your neat handwriting on card stock. Buy dollar store mugs to go with it. Nice Goodwill purchased mugs will also work fine (and you can get them for as low as 50 cents!).

Bake! My mom has been baking her lovely crescent rolls every Christmas since I was three or four years old. It never gets old and everyone loves to use them for their Christmas dinner and day after Christmas dinner (she makes a lot). Last year I made braided bread loafs and cookies. I am told they were enjoyable.

If you knit, crochet, sew, or do any sort of craft, make nice items for loved ones. This does take a lot of preparing before Christmas. I like to start a few months in advance normally. It is an investment buying the equipment and materials to make these gifts. Fabric can be expensive, but buying sheets and leftovers at a thrift store or Goodwill is a good start. I have been purchasing fabric, yarn, and tools since I first started my hobbies so this year I have a lot less material I have to purchase to make them.

Make a kit for that family member that does sew, crochet, or knit. If you have a quilting or craft magazine, purchase the amount of fabric, yarn or other material needed to make that item and throw in the magazine as an extra gift. Keep it simple though. Try kitting a ten-minute table runner, throw pillow patterns, and small items like pin cushions from scraps.

For those who have husbands who are good at woodworking, or if you are good at it yourself, come up with ideas for shelves, benches, small tables or coffee tables, or jewelry boxes even. It means a lot when you tell them who made it! Refinish an old wood chair or furniture you find in a thrift store or flea market. Paint it in wild colors.

Give an indoor or outdoor potted plant and decorate the pot.

Whatever it is that you are giving, of any type of budget, put it with a nice and thoughtful note, letter, or card telling that person how much they mean to you.

This year I am keeping things much simpler than the previous years. I have found only "under 1 hour" items to make for the most part. All other longer-to-make items I have either already had put together months ago, or am finishing UFOs from earlier this year or last year.

I hope this was helpful and that you have a very merry and blessed Christmas!!