By Kristen Ellis
Well, there are some steps to giving a great gift with very little out of pocket expense.
The very first step is to make a list! Sounds simple doesn't it? For some it really is. But if you are like me, you get the "rebound" list. What's THAT? Oh, where you start the thinking of "If I buy for this one, then I have to give this one a gift too". If this is the case, then you MUST start early!
So, you have your list- great! Here's the hard part. What to get everyone! Through trial and error, I have found MOST people do appreciate a gift that is handmade. Now do not panic if you aren't exactly crafty! I do not mean you must go crazy here. Just put yourself into the gift is all, while considering the recipient. I will list some ideas that are simple and won't break the bank!
Family Movie Night Basket - This one is so easy and everyone I have given it to loves it! Find a medium sized basket and fill it with these items (or similar)
Family themed movie
This gift is great because you have shopped for an entire family! Instead of 3, 4, or 5 individual gifts at 10.00 each, for under 20.00 you have it covered!
2. On the same thought buy a Family Game Night package
An inexpensive Board Game
3. For the Ladies
Spa Gift Set - include small toiletries in an exotic scent along with a bath pouf in a basket. Add a few votive candles with holder and it'll look fantastic!
Recipes in a Jar - Your favorite recipes dry ingredients layered in a large mason jar, along with a handwritten copy of instructions. Wrap it up in a cute kitchen towel for a great presentation! Gratitude Journal - For just $1 you can purchase a blank journal. Add embellishments to suit the recipient. Fill in the first page as to why you are grateful for them!
A Trip Down Memory Lane - Several ways to do this:
1. Buy a photo album and create a simple scrapbook. Add extra items such as postcards, pictures, and other things you have shared with the recipient.
2. Buy a wooden frame at the craft store. Paint it and decorate it with a theme that corresponds to a picture of you with the recipient. Ex. glue shells on it for a beach photo.
3. A treasure chest! For about $5 you can purchase an unfinished wooden chest. Glue on photos and adhere them with Mod Podge. They can fill it with their favorite momentos.
4. For the Guys- Yes, guys like handmade too!
Fisherman, hunter, outdoorsman? Get a small plastic tackle box at any hardware store. Fill it up with emergency staples geared towards their passion! Ideas include a flashlight, power bars, compass, disposable camera(for the one's that get away!), and a certificate printed off the computer stating "World's Best Fisherman, etc".
Techie? - Decorate a T-Shirt with Computer slang (This Bytes for example). Or make a Password Journal for them to keep. Just decorate a blank journal with a computer theme. Make a Mouse Pad for them. You can purchase Blank Ones and decorate them yourself!
Handyman? - Again you could fill up that "Tool Chest". Fill it with candy or even handwritten notes. Find a great picture of him "in action" and frame it in an unfinished wooden frame that you have embellished with the phrase "Tool Time" and pictures of various tools etc....
5. The Kids (Little Ones)
Create a Board game - Decorate a blank piece of cardboard after a model of "Chutes and Ladders", "Candyland", etc. You create the theme! Do they love Pokemon, Yugioh, Barbie? Each space can relate to their interest. You will need a large piece of cardboard, paper relating to the theme (maybe from a book, magazine, or even off the computer), game pieces (gumball machine?), and "cards". For the cards you can use index cards. They will love it!
Bubble Bath Heaven - In a basket combine bubble bath, bath crayons, and small bath toys. My son loves those Grow a Towels and the Sponge Capsules. Again go with a theme! Have fun with this one!
Gift Certificate Books - Make your own coupon book. Include items such as - stay up 1/2 hour later, trip to the zoo, make cookies with mom or dad, family movie night. You name it! Cost? Nothing except the quality time you get later.
6. Tweens and Teens -
Here the coupon book could work again. Trip to mall, extra 1/2 curfew for one night, lunch date with mom or dad. You get the picture.
Give them a "their baby book" and include a letter with it. My mom did this and I loved it!
Books related to their hobby.
Make a decoration for their room. Lamps are easy ! Buy a fairly blank one and embellish the shade to match their room (Sports, Dragons, Pop culture, etc). Or a bulletin Board. Cover blank cork with fabric related to their interest. Wrap some coordinated ribbon and adhere with push pins for a French style memo-board. Click here for an idea of the finished product.
Now, of course, not everyone on your list will appreciate the handmade. You know who they are! Be prepared. Shop early, check out clearance shelves, buy off season. Have a drawer set aside for gifts. That way you'll always have some on hand.
I hope some of these ideas have helped. I will be writing another guide with more ideas soon!
I am an Ebay Store Owner, car rental agent, and avid crafter. I have a very large family and have found handmade gifts to be a great money saver each year!
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