When money is tight it is time to get creative. For some that is really easy because they already have hobbies that make great gifts. If you are great at sewing, crocheting, knitting, or making jewelry then you are all set in giving inexpensive great gifts for some of the people on your list. However you may not have time to make everyone on your list a complicated gift or you may not be particularly crafty. If you fall into either category, fear not there are things that you can do!
Baking is a popular choice for many families. It is pretty easy to do and no matter how many piles of cookies you have laying around you will still be happy for another plate of them. You can pick up fancy plates at the dollar store and fill them with your baked creations. If you aren't a baker there are still things you can do in the yummy treat world!
- Cookie dough kits. Even if you aren't a baker you can get a bunch of jars and make cookie dough kits. To do this find one of your favorite recipes (try mom's!). Measure out each dry ingredient one at a time into each jar. Leave it layered for a great look. Then print out the complete recipe and directions (make sure you let them know that all the dry ingredients are in the jar) and attach it to the jar with a ribbon. No matter how hard you struggle to make great cookies you have nothing to fear here!
- Fudge anyone can make! Everyone loves fudge and there is a way to make it in a way that everyone will love. You need one can of regular frosting (any flavor) and one bag of chips (chocolate, peanut butter, cherry, mint, and so on). In a microwavable dish put the jar of frosting and the chips. Melt and stir together. Put in a greased cake pan. Put in the fridge to get firm. It's fantastic. It's one of the best fudges you have ever had and you can make it. Try different combos such as cream cheese frosting and chocolate chips, chocolate frosting and peanut butter chips, vanilla frosting and butterscotch chips. You can also add any extracts (vanilla adds extra depth to any combo), nuts, and dried fruits as you see fit.
- Cheat with cookie dough. For all those who don't have a lot of time or who aren't great bakers there are tons of options at the store and through great companies for cookie dough. You can buy a few varieties, bake them, put them on a fancy plate and give them away!
Get creative with gift baskets.
When most people think of gift baskets they think of large expensive packages of presents. However, this doesn't have to be. Use small containers to make your own little gift baskets.
- In a coffee mug. You can make chocolate dipped spoons (melt chocolate and dip plastic spoons in them until they are "filled" with chocolate. Wrap them in celophane and put them in the coffee mug. For coffee lovers add a sample of fancy coffee and creamer and then wrap. For chocolate lovers add hot cocoa, a peppermint stick, and marshmellows. For tea lovers skip the chocolate spoon and add tea samples. You could also choose hot cider powder mix with a fresh cinnamon stick. Get creative and have fun with it. Oh, and don't forget how yummy melting that chocolate spoon in your coffee or cocoa will be!
- In a small basket you can get sample size toiletries and a fancy loofah sponge. Consider bath salts, bubble bath, bath bombs, massage oil, or other fancy items that one is less likely to buy for themselves. You can even make your own for most of these items!
- In a pencil box you can make a gift for a child. Include artsy things like color pencils, crayons, paints, markers, glitter, and glue. Have fun with it and you can come up with many great little gifts for a happy little youngster.
Household, toiletries, and other items you can make.
- Potpouri is something many people don't appreciate, however you can make great potpouri that will be used by the person you give it to! Buy your own dried flowers, herbs, and leaves. Pick out scents that will work well together (apples and cinnamon, roses and eucalyptus, and so on). Get a fragrence oil that goes with them and mix it all together. You can also dry your own citrus slices to add to it. Place in a pretty vase, bowl, or in a sachet.
- Bath salts are super easy to make. Mix salts (sea salt, epsome salt, and baking soda) with a little oil (olive, grapeseed, or another kind). Add essential oils. Bake at low until dry and put in a jar. It's simple!
- Calenders can easily be made on the computer. You can personalize them with things that the person getting them would really like. Grandma and Grandpa would love family photos, choose cats for the cat lovers, dogs for the dog lovers, or inspirational quotes. Have fun with it and print it off for really cheap. If you want to get really fancy binding them at a print shop is usually pretty cheap.
While you are at it, don't forget the power of your words. Sometimes the best gift of all is a letter or a hand written card. So many of us are busy today that we take for granted how good it feels when someone takes the time to write something out. Tell someone how you feel, send hand written messages on your Christmas cards, and make sure that you are giving a little of yourself everywhere you go!
You certainly don't have to stop with these ideas. The great thing about it is that you can get those creative juices flowing and even without any skills you can create great gifts to give your loved ones and your acquaintances. Brain storm ideas to gather more and more steam in coming up with inexpensive ways to make others feel special! Spend a little time doing it or a lot. It is all up to you.