We are all feeling the pinch this year as we rapidly approach the Christmas Season. Gift giving this year may be very hard on the family budget, or not an option at all. We are all conscious of the money we spend especially with the economic downturn. This article will help you use the less than stellar economy to change the way you look at gift giving.

This year we will only be giving gifts that have a dual purpose. As a parent I am tired of giving gifts that may only be played with a few times before they are discarded, or become broken. Our children range in ages from 3 months to 9 years old, 6 in total and XmasTreewe are buying gifts differently than we ever have before.

craftThis year we will be focusing on gifts that can be used for many things. Our daughters are very involved in crafts and so we will be buying them a sewing machine. One sewing machine to share between them ensures that the machine will certainly get a lot of use. We will not be buying a child's machine as I feel they will benefit more from an adult's Singer or Brother machine. This machine will likely take them through their middle school and high school years so this will defiantly be a gift that has longevity.

sewingCraft supplies will be a huge item on our list this year. Children may only play with a toy a handful of times but I have yet to find a child that doesn't like crafts. We will take $20.00 for each child and buy craft supplies appropriate for their age. Crayons, construction paper and glue sticks are great for younger children while an older child will appreciate feathers, beads, and polymer clay. I can't say enough about polymer clay as it doesn't dry out unlike its play-dough cousins and it can be baked so a child can keep their creation forever. WalMart stores have a wonderful polymer clay starter kit complete with clay and tools for under $10.00. Don't forget the craft supplies where boy's are concerned as there are a huge array for them as well.

dollChildren love the build a bear type workshops, however these types of activities quickly turn into a major hit to the wallet. This year I decided I would take doll patterns and sew together the pieces and give them as craft kits. A single kit will include the doll pieces, ribbon, yarn for hair, and anything else needed to put the doll together. This way my children get to stuff and assemble their dolls, as well as play with them. Many fabric stores will have craft blocks for this purpose. Fabric block will have a whole craft that can be cut out and assembled with the instructions printed on the fabric.

childskitchenKids are constantly growing, and it is hard to keep up with clothes and shoes that fit during a tough financial time in the family. Any clothes or shoes that are bought will be at least one size to big for the child. This ensures the the children get a chance to wear and get good use out of them. Underwear and socks are no exception to this rule, if I know there is a need all clothing items will be bought this way.

I know it may seem cheap but school supplies are not off our Christmas list this year. Every child will get new pens, and paper, or any other school supply they are running low on. I will also buy secondhand books that are appropriate for each child's reading level. Consider printing your own coloring books if you have multiple children; remember to use the lightest ink setting on your printer to stretch the ink farther.

stockingWe will be giving nutritious food in the stockings this year. Apples oranges and an assortment of nuts will be in the stockings along with miniature candies; cereal bars and other appropriate snacks are not off limits here. The stockings will each have a package of rechargeable batteries. A few months ago we decided we were tired of constantly buying batteries for every gadget in this house and began to slowly switch over to rechargeable. Giving rechargeable batteries in the stockings ensures that everyone can power their favorite toy for much longer than the Christmas weekend.

Give homemade gifts if at all possible. This year my children will receive homemade jewelry, clothes, and scrapbooks they can fill with their most precious memories. Our son will enjoy the homemade tool bench to hold all his play tools and other toys, while the girls are getting a homemade play kitchen. Always add personal touches such as decoupage with a child's favorite cartoon character or their name painted on.

I hope this look at some of the things we will be giving for Christmas this year will give you an economical idea where your own child is concerned. Remember that most children have no concept of price and it really won't matter what you give as long as they have something to unwrap on Christmas morning.

You can learn to make Polymer Clay Crafts to give as gifts, Infant or Toddler Pants Without a Pattern, and Turn an Old Sweater into Toddler Pants all in time for Christmas.