The Holidays on a Budget
We all want to get the special people in our lives the perfect gift for the holidays. But who says the perfect gift has to cost a lot of money? Most people appreciate the time and effort you put into the gift giving process. The old cliché is actually true – “it’s the thought that counts.” So with that in mind, here are a few holiday gift ideas you can buy or make that are sure to please your family and friends (and not break the bank):
– Family Cook Books: Buy a nice hard covered notebook (you can usually get them for under $5.00). Use stickers, paint or markers to label the cover (e.g. “Hadland Family Recipes”) and write out all of your family’s past and present favourites. You can even go online and get some new recipes your family might like to try.
– Use Photos: You can print them for free on your home computer or go to a retail store and print them there. You can use the photos to make a collage, family photo book or scrap book, or individual magnets of each family member (all you have to do is buy magnet paper at a craft store. Cut out a photo of each person, stick it to the paper and then carefully cut around it). You could also buy a wooden photo frame and paint and decorate it yourself.
– Bookmark: Make bookmarks using photos of your family or characters from their favorite movie, TV show, book or singer. Print off the graphic you like and glue it to a piece of hard cardboard. Then cut the cardboard into whatever shape you want. Pierce the side with a small hole and string through ribbon or yarn.
– Coupon Book: Make a homemade coupon book with personalized coupons. A few ideas are: One free house cleaning, a free coffee at your favorite coffee house, one free car wash, etc.
– Memory Jar: Buy a large glass jar and then write down short memories or phrase that reminds you of your family on 365 pieces of paper (one for each day of the year) or, if you can’t think of that many, 52 pieces (one for each week of the year). Write a tag to hang off the jar stating the jar contains one memory for each day (or week) of the year. And instruct the receiver of the jar to take one at a time, read, remember and enjoy.
– Baking: If you can, bake cookies, squares, breads etc. It is a yummy gift idea that is sure to please. And if you can’t bake, try making a trail mix or party mix instead.
– Go to a Second Hand Shop: Look for books, DVD’s, CD’s or ornaments that are in good condition. Second hand shops are full of treasures. They are affordable and, even better, often times the money raised goes to a charity. So it’s like two gifts in one!
– Wall Art: If you can paint, use your talents to create fun art for your family and friends. Paint something they like, like a beach scene, or try something abstract in colors that match their décor. If you have no artistic ability to speak of, find a second hand book or album cover that’s cool and frame it to create instant art.
– Finally, if you have younger kids to buy for try making homemade crayons. First, find old broken pieces of crayons. Set the oven to 250 degrees. Place the crayon pieces in an old muffin pan, about an inch deep, and bake for 15-20 minutes. Let the new larger, multi-color crayons cool and pop them out. Make a homemade, personalized coloring book to go with the crayons printing off coloring pages online of their favorite things, place the pages in a report cover and label the front with their name (e.g. “Jamie’s Very Own Coloring Book”).
Whatever you decide, remember the best gift you can give your family is the memory of a happy holiday. If you think back ten years, chances are you probably won’t remember what you got for Christmas but you will remember the little things…dancing in the living room while decorating the tree, the smell of simmering apple cider, the Christmas tree falling over in the living room, your whole family gathered around the table eating dinner and chattering all at the same time. These are the things that make the holiday season truly special. The gifts are just a nice added bonus.