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Monday, December 7, 2009

M2M: Simplifying Your Holidays: Frugal & Creative Gift Ideas

Before you read on, don't forget today is the last day to link up your pics for the Christmas tree contest!:)

There are only 2 1/2 weeks left to get ready for Christmas.  For some of you this isn't so bad because you're well-organized and have been working on Christmas gifts for quite some time.  For some of us, though, this crunch of a time can get quite stressful, as we haven't even started.  Plus, we have to consider where the money is going to come from for all of these gifts we are supposed to get.  Well, maybe we just need a little inspiration to get us going.  Plus, maybe we can come up with ideas to help us curb the spending and invest in our creative resources.  Believe me, we are all in kind of a financial crunch this year, or at least, a lot of us are; wouldn't it be great to think of some great gift ideas that really do come from the heart?  Here are some ideas for frugal gift giving and creative gift ideas:
  • I remember a couple of years early on in our marriage, in which Dan and I would have a very low limit on what we could spend on each other for stockings and all.  I remember one year in particular: we had a limit of $10 apiece.  That meant hitting the dollar store and getting really creative.  It's amazing the things you can find for $10.  Some of those gifts were the best gifts I've ever gotten....all because we had to really think about it. 
  • Maybe your family could draw names.  That way each person has a particular person to buy for: just one gift.  Set a limit on how much each person can spend.  Another idea is to do a Bad Santa game, where each family brings one gift (we do this with the adults in our family), with a spending limit, of course, and then we each get to pick a present from the pile.  The next person can either pick a present or take your present, before it's been unwrapped, of course.  It makes the gift giving a lot of fun. 
  • Instead of having total Christmas gifts under the tree this year, play Secret Santa.  Each family member could have one person they are treating the whole month of December.  The gifts need to be smaller gifts, with set spending limits; they can even be homemade.  In each week of December, you leave your recipient a gift with a note.  Then, the Secret Santas are revealed Christmas Day.  It stretches out the giving and can be a lot of fun.
  • Instead of gifts this year, maybe you could have a Christmas cookie/Christmas candy exchange.  This would work well, especially for extended family gatherings.  Each family could bring a large tin or platter of their favorite Christmas cookies/candy, ready to give to another family.  Just giving tins of homemade goodies is also an idea for any gift giver.
  • Homemade Ornament exchange: this would work much like the Christmas cookie exchange.
  • Maybe you could put together a photo album for your far away family....you could even put together a photo album with journaling inside, just for your kids.  Give one to each of your kids.  It could be a step back into their family history, plus a whole lot of memories.
  • Journal Jars are fun and can be easily made.  You fill a jar, decorated by you, with strips of paper that each have a writing/journaling idea.  There should be a strip of paper for each day of the year or each week of the year.  That way, whenever your recipient is in a stump on his journaling or needs a boost, he can pick out an idea, and it just makes it even more fun. 
  • Your kids can easily make bird feeders for their grandparents out of cardboard milk cartons and a dowel rod, along with a little bit of wire to hang it with.  Paint can transform any milk carton into a really cute bird feeder.
  • Make your own pomander ball out of an orange and a mixture of cinnamon/cloves/other spices.  It's a fun project that has a lasting smell and an attractive look.
  • Fill a small basket with homemade bread and homemade jellies/jams made by you.  It doesn't cost a lot to make a whole batch of jelly or jam that could easily make gifts for several people in your family.
  • Everyone is getting in the green spirit today, it seems; why not make homemade shopping bags for those green-minded people in your family?  Sarah at The Fifth Street Palace actually shared this link for a pattern.  You could even fill those grocery bags with some hot cocoa, marshmallows, and some cute mugs from the dollar store. 
  • Maybe your family likes to read or likes to play games or watch movies together.  Putting together a themed gift exchange wouldn't be so hard, and it would definitely cut down on expenses. 
  • Instead of having huge gifts, maybe a spending limit is necessary on the gifts, but go all out on the stockings instead.  The stockings can sometimes be the best part of Christmas morning.

These are just some of the ideas I came up with.  I know there are many, many more out there with just a bit of careful searching and a spark of creativity.  So, let's have an idea swap!  Just leave a comment on this post, sharing your ideas for frugal or creative gift giving.  What ideas do you have?  We'd all love to hear!:)  Merry Christmas!

To read more from Mel, visit her over on Real Heart Prints.


e-Mom December 10, 2009 at 9:23 PM  

Wonderful post! Here are my ideas:
"Free Gift Ideas for Christmas"


Blessings, e-Mom @ Chrysalis

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