Super thrifty Christmas gifts... please add your ideas!

Discussion in 'Mama's Simplifying and Thrift forum' started by BlueRoseMama, Oct 30, 2004.

  1. BlueRoseMama

    BlueRoseMama Amity's Focus Member

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    Ok I have to make a list, and get the things as I can this month with money I make here. I can't pull much out of our budget as you guys saw. lol.... So I would love some ideas. These are ones I have so far and I thought they would be good to post, I will add pictures when I can:

    #1 Origami Crane Mobile. A friend of mine got some awsome origami paper. She bought a pack of 5X5inch for $5 at a local craft store and made a bunch of cranes. She was looking for a mobile for her baby, and she made 12 crains out of papers that went together color wise, and then got two sticks and a bunch of fishing wire. Then she took a needle and put it through the center of the cranes and hung the first 4 cranes on the first stick, and then the second stick hung on to the first with 3 more cranes. It looks SO cool I can't even tell you! (I will get a picture and post it when I finish one). She said getting the balance was a little tricky, but it cost her about $1.50 and what a cool gift!! So I am going to make those for the three teen/young wemon in my life for Christmas.

    #2 Magnet boards... getting a cookie sheet is easy. It even usually has a hole in it already. So what I have done is taken a cookie sheet (even one from the dreaded dollar store would work for this... you don't cook with it, in fact you don't touch it at all) covered it with thin fabric (a quilters woven would work the best) glued to the backside with a glue gun and tied a nice ribbon to the top to make it hang. Then I am (have not done it yet) taking a bag of river rocks, and putting magnets on the back of them. This will be a gift for my mom and for my MIL.

    #3 Peg Boards... similar thing, only I am going to get a few of those loose squares of peg board stuff, and then I will paint them. Hopefully I will do well enough to give away and be happy about. I am taking small glass stones (like the ones you put in the bottom of vases) and gluing them on to silver tacs. This is going to be for a few friends. I may even find a few really cool beads and make tacs out of them.

    #4 Sea shell candles. I am taking a lb of bees wax... mixing it with a lb of paraphin and a bunch of wicks from the craft store and pouring the wax over the wicks in some seashells that I have had forever. It will make the cutest little candles. (Got this idea from Martha Stewart as I did the rock magnets)

    Ok I need more. These will be fun and inexpensive. I am very excited about this... I also have batics I can make, but most of the people that I am giving to are adults. My sister is the only one with kids and we don't really give each other gifts. I may this year... It would be a nice gesture. Anyway... anyone else doing something low tech and cool??

    Love Val
  2. littlelemon

    littlelemon Active Member

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    Good thread, Val!
    I have made the crane mobile before as a gift. The balancing IS tricky, so as a tip-when you cross your two sticks (I used dowels), cut a notch on the top of one, and on the bottom of the other so that they fit together nicely. Then use a long pronged push pin to hold them together, and wrap the intersection with the fishing wire. For some reason the weight of the tack in the center seems to make the balancing a bit easier.
    Anyway, I do a lot of origami, and this year I am making notecards for both of my grandmothers. I am just going to buy the blank cards with the envelopes at JoAnne's with my 40% coupon and paste a variety of origami designs on the cards. I will tie the cards and envelopes up with a ribbon, and there they are.

    FYI-Origami for Christmas by Chiyo Araki is my all-time favorite origami book. They have such classic and beautiful designs in there, many which do not have to be used for only the christmas season. I finally broke down and bought this book after checking it out of the library so many times. They also have some breathtaking, beautiful holiday projects and the instructions are supurb.

    I am also giving apple pies that I made a few weeks ago to close family.

    I LOVE your cookie sheet idea. I have been trying to find a magnetic board forever! I never thought of a cookie sheet :)
  3. Ocelot

    Ocelot New Member

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    I saw something at my sons school that I had not thought of in a long time but we loved them as kids.
    A square piece of wood maybe 10"x10" with nails nailed in a grid maybe 3/4" apart and put a tons of rubberbands on the nails.
    Anyone else remember these?
    I think it would make a great inexpensive gift.
  4. Shannon

    Shannon Amity's Focus Member

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    A Geoboard! I'm going to make one for my ds. I've had the stuff for a couple of years and just haven't done it yet. :rolleyes:
  5. mamabear

    mamabear ~*~smile~*~

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    Great ideas mamas! I haven't thought of any yet, besides melt and pour soaps and flaxseed neck/shoulder packs - those are cheap for me as I already have the materials!

    What is a geoboard? What do you do with it?
  6. Ocelot

    Ocelot New Member

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  7. bear

    bear perry county ohio

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    how about gifts in a jar?

    can do cookies, cakes, brownies, soups. Those are cheap to do.

    sand art kits

    critters kits for the younger ones (of course parents will have to help put them together if really young)
  8. BlueRoseMama

    BlueRoseMama Amity's Focus Member

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    Humm.... I am interested... what is a critter kit??

    Love Val
  9. Kbsmama

    Kbsmama Active Member

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    We've got to get started! We are celebrating Christmas and birthdays with my family Dec. 4!!!! And we will be handing out birthday gifts to DH's family Nov. 20. I am giving Christmas-y things to those with birthdays before Christmas. They probably hate that, but, oh, well...

    I am making whole wheat pancake mix and wrapping the bag in holiday cloth and tying on a santa hat pancake mold I got on clearance from Crate and Barrel.

    I am also giving out Christmas mugs (from garage sales) filled with chai tea bags from my co-op(Frontier).

    For my niece (3), I am making a craft box with colored pasta (if it ever goes on sale for cheap), colored rice, string, paper, glue, markers and crayons I bought on sale during the school sales.

    My favorite thing we are doing is a video tape of stories and songs for our niece and nephews. DH plays guitar, and I am going to get DS to read a story (he is just learning to read, and I think it is so cool!), and DH and I will read some stories, too. I'm hoping to get started on this soon.

    For my sister-in-law (19), I am making a big batch of Monster Cookies in a basket or else a gallon glass jar (a local burger joint near my IL's sells their olive jars for 50 cents each; I bought a bunch last summer). This is a special treat because I used to make these every Christmas and I stopped when I discovered I am allergic to peanut butter. I will include the recipie, and maybe she can start making them every year :).

    I made a bracelet for my niece (13). I'm trying to find something neat to give her that maybe is "empowering," but I don't know what that would be.

    I'm still trying to figure out what to give my nephew (15). I did order some Lance Armstrong Live Strong bracelets, so I'm going to give him one of those, but I need something more....

    We are giving framed pictures to our parents and grandparents.

    I think that's it. I was going to make some big tote bags from burlap coffee bean bags that our local bagel/beanery gives away when they roast beans, but I broke my sewing machine (I don't think it was meant to sew burlap)...so much for my crafty Christmas....
  10. KimberMama

    KimberMama Active Member

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    Crocheted (or knit) dish cloths are inexpensive and useful. For Christmas you can buy red-white-green variegated cotton yarn, or use yarn in the colors of the gift recipient's kitchen.

    Loom potholders. Mine are my all time favorite potholders. They aren't that expensive if you already have a loom or pick one up at a yard sale. My loom has gone missing so I am going to splurge on a metal one and wool loops. Over time it will pay for itself.

    Crocheted neck scarves went over big last year, and literally cost less than $2 to make.

    For the men I give to, a batch of homemade chocolate chip cookies is always well received.

    One year I did scented oils and bath salts in scavenged jars.

    I have lots of pour and melt soap supplies, so I will do those this year.

    One year we did herbed vinegars and olive oil. A little more expensive because we needed to buy bottles, but it was a big hit.

    Homemade vanilla would be a nice treat for the cook in your life. You just need vodka, a vanilla bean, and a bottle. Or do vanilla sugar, which would be cheaper.

    For grandparents, you can do the kids' handprints. We use the giant washable inkpads from Lakeshore that are $4 each, and a nice cardstock. Frame in a dollar store frame, or just punch a couple of holes at the top and string some thread through to make a loop for hanging.

    Cinnamon ornaments are cheap if you buy the cinnamon someplace like Costco and already have cookie cutters. Recipes can be found online.

    Kimberly
  11. 3Gs4Me

    3Gs4Me Blessed Beyond Belief!

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    Colored rice and pasta

    Don't buy it, make your own. All you do is mix a bit of food coloring in with some rubbing alcohal in a ziploc, pour in past or rice, seal bag, mush around to coat all the rice or pasta and then let it sit in the bag for a bit turning over once or twice. You then spread it out on paper towels or paper grocery bags to dry. The alcohal does smell strong so it is best to do it where you can open a window or in your garage.

    I used to do this all the time when I taught head start.
  12. Kbsmama

    Kbsmama Active Member

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    I am going to make my own--I'm just waiting for the (uncolored) pasta to go on sale! ;) I used to work for head start, too!

    You had that baby yet???
  13. BlueRoseMama

    BlueRoseMama Amity's Focus Member

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    I want to know too... where is that little lady??

    Love Val
  14. 3Gs4Me

    3Gs4Me Blessed Beyond Belief!

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    No baby yet

    I have been having contractions on and off for the last day and a half so hopefully she will be rearing her lovely little head soon enough. I have been dealing with some extremely serious extended family issues so I think she is waiting for things to calm down before she comes out to greet us.:heart:
  15. Suzie

    Suzie Amity's Focus Member

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    I've been thinking about you, BobbiJo.

    I hope you have an easy and safe labor. I'll be watching for the baby anouncement.
  16. BlueRoseMama

    BlueRoseMama Amity's Focus Member

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    Why yes... yes they are. :D

    Love Val
  17. bear

    bear perry county ohio

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    critter kits are basically, pompom balls, pipe cleaners, foam pieces anything that a child can use their imagination and create critters.
  18. sleepypnutsmama

    sleepypnutsmama New Member

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    Great, thanks for starting this thread, Val. I was thinking of this the other day...trying to get going for the holidays...on a very very slim budget.

    A few ideas....

    For my husband's grandmother who lives close by and doesn't need anything, I was going to give her "cookie of the month". Every month I'll deliver to her a batch of cookies that she can put in her freezer for when company comes over.

    Decorating small or large inexpensive photo albums with batting, fabric scraps, lace, beads, etc.

    I have dedicated the next few days to searching through my craft and gift books for more ideas. I'll post more as I find them.

    I love your ideas for the magnet board!

    Keep those ideas coming! :)
  19. Kbsmama

    Kbsmama Active Member

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    I have my sister's name for a drawing, and I just thought this morning that I could make her some salt water taffy. She loves it! :)
  20. georgiadoula

    georgiadoula New Member

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    i did the scavenged and dollar store jars with nice lids and then bought sea salt and epson salt and peppermint oil and red food coloring and layered the two salts in the jars for a peppermint looking bath salts... it made the house smell so good for at least a week and my gift receivers loved their gifts.

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