Thrifty Holiday Ideas - post 'em here!

Discussion in 'Mama's Simplifying and Thrift forum' started by ~*~Seeking*Simplicity~*~, Oct 30, 2005.

  1. ~*~Seeking*Simplicity~*~

    ~*~Seeking*Simplicity~*~ Amity's Focus Member

    Messages:
    2,327
    Likes Received:
    0
    Gender:
    Female
    I'd love to get some ideas for thrifty holiday ideas! Ideas for the litte kids are pretty easy (I'll share some of mine) but older kids/adults, not so much!

    So, share your ideas & maybe we can all benefit from each other. :)
  2. Stargazer441

    Stargazer441 Searching

    Messages:
    1,923
    Likes Received:
    0
    Gender:
    Female
    Location:
    N/A
    Edited post :)
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2011
  3. ~*~Seeking*Simplicity~*~

    ~*~Seeking*Simplicity~*~ Amity's Focus Member

    Messages:
    2,327
    Likes Received:
    0
    Gender:
    Female
    Okay, I'll post a few ideas to get started ;)

    mix in a jar - I've found recipes online & they are an inexpensive,nice gift.

    bath salts - simple to make, inexpensive. all you need is rock sea salt, baking soda, essential oils & packaging of your choice.

    books on tape - for the young ones who dont care about packaging (although even my older kids wouldn't mind necessarily). Our library has a lot of books on tape/cd. I check them out, copy & decorate the case myself. very cheap & the little ones love listening to them at bedtime or in the car.

    cute skirts for little ones - if you can sew even a little bit you can find pillowcases on clearance. cut off the closed end, add a waistband with elastic & you have a skirt. some of my dd's fave skirts were pillowcases. lol

    we have lots of church run resale shops around. many of the ladies crochet/knit & for one reason or another they donate their unwanted yarn. Gorgoeus,wonderful yarns very often! If you knit or crochet this can be a good way to get yarn cheap to make gifts. I have made my littlest a blanket in her favorite ballet pink for just a couple dollars, fancy scarves for my DDs, i just picked up some more fun yarns to make some things for them, havent decide what yet but with gorgeous yarn even the simplest patterns turn out to be awesome gifts! :)

    if you sew there are lots of simple,cheap gifts - potholders, napkins,pajama pants,etc

    gotta go change a diaper, I will post more later. :)
  4. JenTwo

    JenTwo Not really here...

    Messages:
    1,230
    Likes Received:
    0
    Gender:
    Female
    My side of the family sees handmade gifts as cheap and useless. They usually like them but when asked they are rude. :rolleyes:

    We are doing the three gift thing for our kiddos. DH and I are making each child a gift, this will be 2/3. DS is getting a felted wool blanket and for dd I am crocheting & knitting wool, felting, then sewing together patchwork-like. I must warn you, this is the most expensive of the gifts so far. :) DS's can be done a couple ways. The cheapest is to find wool sweaters and felt them then cut & sew together. I dyed yardage, cut and I am nearly finished putting them together. Here's a link to what the sweater ones look like and how to go about making them:
    http://www.jejune.net/diy/archives/001532.html

    Here's ds's as of a couple weeks ago, I've done a bit more since:
    [​IMG]

    Each of our kids are receiving stocking items that I've knitted or crocheted. DH is making a large wooden pull toy for DS and more wooden animals for both of them. DS is also receiving a felt wool dragon that I have nearly complete. I will probably make a mobile out of felt for dd's room, horses most likely.

    I didn't make them, but I'm sure some of you are talented enough to make the following. We bought three horses for DD from Debbie Ross via Wendy of Finicky Llama for their stockings. LINK We also bought a teddy bear from April Hayes Handbags for each child, made from DH's military uniforms (their third gift). They will also receive some wool food in their stockings from www.woolfood.com. The only other item in their stocking is a picture book I am having made by snapfish.com that has pictures from our vacation this summer.

    For DH I purchased a few paint tubes and a canvas. The total cost was $14. I will paint the children's hands and place them on the canvas as "flowers" then paint stems and leaves coming from them. I am personally making DH a scarf and a quilt.


    Okay... extended family... thread rack, doll cradle, blocks, animals, puzzles, food baskets, cutting board & utensil set. I have made a scarf for my mom (dyed it, silk), and I am making a felted purse for one niece. Allison, arasmom, just gave us another idea without realizing it. Instead of traditional Christmas cards for the grandparents we may take thin pieces of wood, cut diagonally halfway into the middle of the wood going lengthwise and put in a picture of our kids. There are also floorcloths that aren't difficult to make (google them).

    Wrapping paper ideas... you can make bags from cloth and use those, or use your children's drawings as wrapping. Make your own gift tags in a similar fashion.

    I have other ideas swimming around in my head but I think this may qualify for my longest post ever. :joker:
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2005
  5. JodiM

    JodiM 35yo Catholic Mama to 5

    Messages:
    1,954
    Likes Received:
    0
    Gender:
    Female
    We have alot of adults that we buy for every year, this year we have decided we just can't do it.

    I'm making vanilla extract, and huge batches of cookies, and sweet bread.
    Each family we buy for other than our parents, and bro/sis' are getting a bottle of vanilla & a "sweet" platter.

    For kids that asren't in our family, but that we exchange gifts with, I'm making hats (already have 2 done!) for the boys, and little ones- the girls are getting 'fuzzy' scarves.

    I know it's not the greatest, but we are wanting to get out of our debt, and can't afford huge Christmas spending.

    We told everyone we dont' want to trade gifts last year, and that didn't work out.
  6. KimberMama

    KimberMama Active Member

    Messages:
    1,904
    Likes Received:
    13
    Gender:
    Female
    Location:
    Not Here
    Every year we have the same problem. I love to give homemade gifts, DH doesn't value them as much as purchased gifts (especially for kids). Also, for the gift exchanges we are in we never know how to value the homemade gift. If the spending limit is $30, and I spent $10 on wool yarn and 40 hours crocheting, am I being too cheap?

    I still make homemade gifts, though! This year I am making crocheted wool scarves and loomed wool and cotton potholders. I also picked up a set of Knifty Knitter looms and have started making knit hats. So far I have made one for my son ($6 of wool yarn) and one for my niece's birthday ($5 for a fancy super bulky acrylic yarn the boys picked out). I am going to make one for DH for Christmas, and a few for the gift exchanges. Men especially like a hat in the color(s) of their favorite team.

    In the past I have made bath salts, bath/body oils, bath "tea" bags, and powders. People appreciate them and then put them in their bathrooms and never use them. It turns out most people take showers. The bottles collect dust and the oil goes rancid, which isn't what I had intended.

    I made handstamped notecards one year, and was told they were too pretty to use. One recipient told me she felt funny sending out a homemade card that she hadn't made herself. My solution has been to make very simple cards that don't necessarily look homemade. Nice sayings or simple designs work best.

    Small scrapbooks have been a hit, but they aren't especially frugal. Of course, for me, I have everything I need already so I could make a book without spending money on anything but the prints and adhesive. This is one time when the excesses of my pre-child days pay off now.

    Some years we have portraits of the boys done and frame them in inexpensive frames. This doesn't have to be very expensive if you have a good coupon from Sears or someplace similar. If you have a good camera you can go to a natural setting and take the pictures yourself. With 8 megapixels we can blow pictures up really big. The grandparents love getting framed photos for Christmas. This year we had pictures taken for basketball and will probably just use those.

    Each year I make chocolate chip cookies for my brother and any people I don't know well that I want a small gift for.

    There are some gifts the boys and I are going to make together, as I want them to be in the habit of making gifts and I think this year they are old enough to really participate. We are going to buy beeswax sheets and roll candles. We are also going to make melt-and-pour soaps, as we bought all the ingredients to make party favors and ended up not making them at that time. In the past we have also used giant stamp pads from Lakeshore Learning to make handprints. I am going to have them make a set of maracas for their 1YO cousin; fill small bottles with unpopped popcorn or beans and superglue the lids on (important to prevent choking). Decorate with stickers or with paper they've drawn on.

    I'm going to have the boys cover some watercolor paper in red and green paint and we'll cut it down and make cards. We have plenty of Christmas rubberstamps, red and green ink, and Christmas stickers.

    We buy about 1 roll of Christmas wrap each year. For everything else we reuse gift bags that we have received, and sturdy Christmas boxes purchased at Costco years ago. Most people give us back the boxes after they open their gifts.

    Kimberly
  7. BlueRoseMama

    BlueRoseMama Amity's Focus Member

    Messages:
    5,330
    Likes Received:
    0
    Gender:
    Female
    Location:
    When I dare to be powerful -- to use my strength i
    I felt like last year I kicked ass at the home made gifts ideas. People loved them, I worked hard for them, and they only cost a little over $100 for ALL of the gifts we needed. Here are the pics:

    This was a beautiful Ceder 4X4 that I got from a local lumber shop. I drilled holes in the top and added tea lights... then I sanded them down, and sealed them with linseed.
    [​IMG]

    Beeswax shell candles. I bought wicks, wax, and shells. Put them together. (I melted the wax in a electric wok that I use for batiking which also uses melted wax)
    [​IMG]

    Beaded keychains. You have to use the heaviest fishing line that will go into the beads. And crimps and needle nose plyers... but they are great. I had one on my keys for about a year.
    [​IMG]

    $2 worth of bamboo... $3 vase... 1/2 a bag of $2 rocks... just add water. My brother loved this.
    [​IMG]

    These sets were for different people and the board was $12 at Ikea for my mom. I also included some pics of the kids with her board and magnets. It was perfect and under $20 total. (I also glued magnets on the shells that were too small for candles)
    [​IMG]

    Don't know if you can see it well... but it is an origami crane mobile. I just used origami paper, fishing line, and sticks. I love these. Each of my kids have one in their rooms. They are so beautiful and versitile. For Cyan's (which I made for her 4th birthday) I just took pictures from a garden magazine. All flowers...
    [​IMG]

    Ilove the ideas (and more if you have them) for this year considering I did all of these last year. lol...

    Val
  8. ~*~Seeking*Simplicity~*~

    ~*~Seeking*Simplicity~*~ Amity's Focus Member

    Messages:
    2,327
    Likes Received:
    0
    Gender:
    Female
    I think it is so unfortunate that so many have family that do not appreciate home-made gifts. Our family always makes a big to-do if someone has made something, they really appreciate the talent! My dh brags that I made something. Recently I made something & did not want to give it away but I was going to see my grandmother so I gave it to her with flowers inside. She didn't mention the container at all & I am dying because i am worried she may throw it away not realizing i made it LOL(she is in give everything away mode right now lOL). I am often haunted when I go to homes & see things i made & gifted previously & no longer think it was so great, but there they have it displayed LOL my absolutely favorite gifts are the ones that were homemade. As a kid our family did not often make us gifts, but often the gifts we got were bought from the people who made them, perhaps this is why our gifts are well recieved?

    My thought is that i try to find something that i think the recipient will like, i make something i think is nice - if they dont appreciate it they are rude! LOL If i get a store-bought item that isn't me I dont say anything other than a heart-felt thank you, i cant imagine criticizing or showing less than gratitude for a home-made gift!

    I like that wool square blanket! I might try that!

    Regarding the wrapping paper - I have a horrible time watching all the gorgeous wrapping paper get thrown away each year. Whenever i can I steal away the paper after the packages have been opened & any ribbons/bows that are still good & re-use them next year. I cant help it. LOL

    I've got some vanilla beans here, I really need to try my hand at making some vanilla!
  9. duckydolittle

    duckydolittle Quack! Quack!

    Messages:
    303
    Likes Received:
    0
    Gender:
    Female
    Location:
    grumpville
    Well - my half my family is receptive to home made presents and the other half isn't. This year, I've decided to take things into my own hands and host the family Christmas, and the majority of us agreed to make our presents this year. Well - everyone but 1 member. She doesn't have enough time. :rolleyes: My favorite presents are the handmade ones by far. So much love goes into homemade presents.

    At any rate - for my mom I just finished crocheting an afghan. It's beautiful, I really should take pictures. It's a rose filet design. Took me two weeks at 10 rows a day but it was so worth it. :) I could have finished it faster had I more time.

    My mil always comments on my cloth napkins, so I started watching for remnants in farm designs (she's farm-ey) and have cut out enough to make her a dozen napkins. I made her a filet afghan last year. I also bought a fleece blanket kit on sale at Joann's regularly priced $30 - I bought it for $10.

    My sister will get a fleece blanket like the one I'm making my mil. She's not into homemade gifts, so I am not going to worry terribly about her lol. She'll either like it or not. <shrug>

    My niece has a coffee kitchen - so I have crocheted her coffee colored dish cloths. My other big plan for her was to crochet her a baby afghan - she's been ttc for a long while now, and I just KNOW that by Christmas she'll be pregnant, and if she's not pregnant by then, she'll be pregnant soon.

    I sewed my other niece some napkins. Also, she just found out she was expecting, so I planned on crocheting her a baby blanket as well.

    I have another branch of the family I'm not sure what to get. Most likely they won't show up to any family event - but I thought I'd try to make the youngest niece a fleece poncho and the oldest niece a hat and scarf set. They pitched the last set of stuff I got them for Christmas though so......it makes it kind of hard to make them presents.

    I plan on baking goodies for all the men in my family. With the kids help of course. ;)

    I thought I'd get little sacks, let the boys paint/color them as they choose, and then fill them with goodies like homemade lavendar sachets for the dryer, milk baths, scrunchies, homemade cookies and candy etc.

    The boys have a variety of crafts they will do - like reindeer pins made from puzzle pieces painted brown, salt dough ornaments, and I bought some frames from Rainbow Resource the kids will decorate and put Christmas pictures of the boys in.
  10. duckydolittle

    duckydolittle Quack! Quack!

    Messages:
    303
    Likes Received:
    0
    Gender:
    Female
    Location:
    grumpville
    Oh, and I'm uber excited to see what my family makes ME! I know my niece is making me a stained glass clock - because that's what she's making everyone lol! I am so happy and excited.

    Last year my other niece made me a scarf, and I loved it so so so much. I always feel as if homemade gifts have more of a "soul" or "presence" than store bought gifts.
  11. Barb

    Barb Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    9,754
    Likes Received:
    60
    Gender:
    Female
    Location:
    Drinking latte somewhere.
    we love homemade gifts, but they're not always received well by dh's family. This year with my surgery and disneyland, christmas will be lean. I will trade for as much as I can for my kids (and have already got a stash) and will buy gently used as well. Dh and I will not give each other gifts at all this year.

    Last year chelsey and I took flip flops and decorated with hotglue gun and faux fur, gemstones etc. I thought they were darling and we got $1 target toe socks to go with them. The teens said they liked them but I think they got tossed :(
    and we worked hard on them

    I've done the tiedye tshirt thing and silk hair scarves and they went over better. The kids really liked helping and squirting dye and it was a fun family project.

    Baking is ALWAYs fun but we got tired of sweet breads, cookies , fudge. So one year we just melted wiltons chocolates and bought a huge thing of pretzels at cosco and did chocolate dipped pretzels. They liked those alot

    My family has gotten digitial photo dvd's for mothers/fathers day. They LOVED these. Made my dad cry. If you have windows movie maker and windvd creator and a dvd burner you could make these.

    we're going to do beverage in a jar mixes (from the hillbilly housewife site) for duty aids, teachers, mail carrier, neighbors etc this year.

    The inlaws may get nothing this year. I'm annoyed with them

    I LOVE these - i am going to see if dh will make them with me! That might be an awesome gift for a few people on my list - sister/bil, aunt/uncle, some friends.
    Those are just beautiful!
  12. qtkitty

    qtkitty Natural Lye Soap Maker

    Messages:
    315
    Likes Received:
    0
    Gender:
    Female
    Location:
    NC
    I don't know i still like basket ideas .. even if you make the items yourself .. putting it into a little basket or box with a little raffia grass as filler... and a big bow .. and a tag .. seems to make it EXTRA special .. KWIM .. even if you have " store bought only " people on your list.. It is all about the presentation. ( If they ask you can always tell them you got it from a very exclusive little shop AKA your home *lol* .. let them think you spent big $.. i know me bad .. but yah know what if they turn their noses up at homemade .. i bet you tell them it was from an exclusive little store they will be drooling over it .. because homemade is a BIG thing in stores now)

    You could do something like a Spa basket .. with a bath sponge, fluff, wash cloth and/or luffa.. some bath fizz,bath bomb, bath salts, or bubble bath..a soap ( hand made cold process, hot process, or melt and pour).. a lotion or butter ( from a base or store bought).. a mug with a specialty tea, flavored coffee, or homemade flavored hot chocolate. By doing a theme it will make it extremely special .. like you could do .. Chocolate and have hot chocolate, with chocolate smelling bath items, a brown bath sponge, natural light brown raffia filler, and either a chocolate patterned ribbon or a brown ( with gold accent would add richness ) on a deep brown basket. .. or just do a color theme like red or purple.. or do a Relaxing Spa .. with Lavender scents and a Quietly Chamomile Lipton tea packet or 2 .. and do all the items in white or white and blue
  13. volvomom

    volvomom New Member

    Messages:
    501
    Likes Received:
    0
    Gender:
    Female
    We are limiting our four children to one gift each

    and we're giving to the American Red Cross instead of buying for the 11 other children in the family. We are blessed with excess anyway. I am glad hurricane season is almost over with (Nov 30) because it's hard to choose which hurricane disaster to donate to (Katrina, Rita, Wilma). (We survived Charley last year with just a tree falling on the garage roof.)

    I appreciate homemade gifts but I have no time to make them since I have four children and my 2yo is special needs.

    I have taught my mother to buy gifts from thrift stores and she's really good at finding treasures! (Why not since she can power shop solo eh?)
  14. JodiM

    JodiM 35yo Catholic Mama to 5

    Messages:
    1,954
    Likes Received:
    0
    Gender:
    Female
    We do these all the time, and roll them in crushed pecans... they are a huge hit.

    I even break the pretzels in half sometimes, and get double. (Yes, we were broke that year! LOL)
  15. volvomom

    volvomom New Member

    Messages:
    501
    Likes Received:
    0
    Gender:
    Female
    LOL! Me too!

    The inlaws may get nothing this year. I'm annoyed with them
  16. stephanielynn

    stephanielynn New Member

    Messages:
    2,624
    Likes Received:
    0
    Gender:
    Female
    Location:
    georgia
    i'm good at being thrifty, but not so much with gifts. just subscribing to this thread for ideas....
  17. Mamax4

    Mamax4 Amity's Focus Member

    Messages:
    3,303
    Likes Received:
    0
    Gender:
    Female
    Val, you're so freaking cool. Will you marry me? :kittypink
  18. LatteLover

    LatteLover Amity's Focus Member

    Messages:
    9,997
    Likes Received:
    0
    Gender:
    Female
    A big hat box full of dress up clothes (Ross and those types of stores have hat boxes really cheap).

    DD and I are making "before" the holidays crafts to send to a lot of singles in our families. Things like countdown chains, and decorations and cookies and candles.

    I am making a melted record bowl for my brother and filling it with goodies.

    For a friend who loves making cocktails, I am getting him a tiny cutting board, paring knife, a bottle of martini olives and regifting some glass stirrers.

    Oh, I have several ideas but it is way too early in the morning, I will post back.
  19. Kerri

    Kerri New Member

    Messages:
    3,030
    Likes Received:
    5
    Gender:
    Female
    Val, you gave me a great idea. We have a 2 by 4 of maple that's about 18 inches long. I'm thinking I could drill some tealight-sized holes into it to make a long low candle-holder, maybe to put beside the bath or something? Then I could still sand and polish it, etc. I don't have the drill bit, what size did you use? But that would be cool if I had the equipment!

    Kerri
  20. LisaC

    LisaC Bird Nerd

    Messages:
    763
    Likes Received:
    0
    Gender:
    Female
    Location:
    the beautiful forest
    Great ideas. I usually made a lot of homemade gifts but honestly I had a revelation that my family doesn't appreciate them. They say they do but when year after year I give homemade gifts and then don't see them being used in their homes, I am done. I did make a few things over the summer before I decided I was just going to buy stuff for family and make homemade things for me and my little immediate family.

Share This Page