Every year it's a struggle for most people to buy everything they need for Christmas, and this year it's going to be harder than ever. There are so many people who are out of work or just plain broke this year, but there are a lot of things that you can do to make this the best Christmas ever. Over the years, I have learned how to make money spread a lot further than it should.

Things You Will Need

Basic craft supplies, cooking supplies and a little free time.

Step 1

Make a list of people who you are going to give presents.

Step 2

  1. Make part of your gifts. I'm not talking about something will be shoved in the attic never to be seen again. If you have basic craft skills, you can make some fantastic presents without spending much money. You may have most of the supplies that you need at your home already. Here are a few easy projects that you can make.

Bread Dough Clay Jewelry


white bread that is getting stale (use your leftovers)

white school glue

acrylic paint

clear spray paint

jewelry wire or paper clips

jewelry findings

Tear the bread into small pieces, and put into a bowl that will not be used for food. Squirt some glue in, and stir. Keep adding glue until it forms a firm dough. Form earrings, pendants or bracelets out of clay. Let it dry. Paint jewelry and spray with clear spray paint to seal.

Egyptian Scarab Earrings

Roll a small ball of clay, and flatten into an oval.

Press a T into the oval to separate the head and wings.

Push in a small wire shaped like a U to make the earring hook.

Paint with dark brown paint, and let it dry.

Dab a little bit of gold or silver paint onto your finger, and smear all over the scarab. Let some of the brown paint show through, so that it looks antiqued.

Let it dry, and paint on a thin layer of white glue. This will give the spray paint a higher gloss when you spray it on.

Let it dry, and spray with a coat of clear spray paint.

Attach earring to kidney earring wires.

Scarab Pendant:

Make the same way as the earrings, but put a larger U shaped wire for a leather cord to go through.

Scarab Bracelet:

Make scarabs, but put 4 U shaped wires into the sides of the scarab. Put 2 wires on each side, and hook the next scarab's wire through the one before it. This will create a chain of scarabs. Add findings to hook the bracelet together. Let it dry, then paint, and seal with spray paint.

Personalized T-Shirts



computer image transfers


You can get a cheap package of white t-shirts and iron on computer image transfers from somewhere like Big Lots. Take a picture of your whole family, and print it on an image transfer. Iron it onto the t-shirt, and you're done. Each shirt ends up about $3 each when it's done.

Patchwork Quilt


old clothes cut into 6" squares

safety pins, needles and thread

1 flat sheet

1 old blanket

embroidery floss of contrasting color

Cut up old clothes into 6" squares, and lay out squares on the floor or table to create a pattern. Sew the quilt by the row. Sew the pieces from each row together, then sew the rows together. You can sew it by hand or machine. Once you create the top, you are ready to put the quilt together. Put a sheet on the bottom, then an old blanket, and then the quilt topper. Pin it together with safety pins before you start sewing. Stitch through the quilt at all 4 corners of each square, and pull back through. Tie the two ends into a knot and trim. Leave a 1/2 inch of string hanging as a decorative touch. Pin a piece of wide bias tape around the edges, and sew it into place.

Step 3

Entertain yourself and your family.

Why pay money to have holiday fun, when you can create your own at home. Here are some easy entertaining ideas that are low cost and fun to do.

Have a Cookie Party


one batch of cookies

12 copies of the recipe

milk, hot cocoa or drinks of choice

appetizers (optional)

My niece did this a few years ago, and everyone loved it. Invite friends and family to come to the party. Each person needs to make one batch of their favorite cookies, and make at least 12 copies of the recipe to give out. Set up a table for the recipes, and take one copy as each person places their recipes on the table. If the recipes run out let people make a copy of the one's that you took up. If you want to make some other sandwiches or finger foods, they will love it. We spent hours talking and eating junk food. At the end of the party we divided up the left over cookies, and everyone brought a zip lock bag full of cookies home.

You could make this even better by making it a combination Cookie Party / Tree Decorating Party. Put lights and garland on the tree and have each guest make an ornament out of baker's clay. If you have kids at the party, this is a way to occupy them while everyone is talking. If you make red and white dough, the kids can roll them into snakes, and twist them together to make a candy cane. Let it dry, coat it with glue and sprinkle with clear glitter to make beautiful ornaments that turn out perfect every time.

Baker's Clay Ornament


5 lb bag of all purpose flour

1 lb salt

just enough water to make a stiff dough

acrylic paint

clear spray paint

Mix all ingredients together the night before you use this recipe to allow gluten to form. Make ornament, push a paperclip into the top to make a hook for the ornament. Bake in the oven at 450 degrees until it browns. Let it cool, and paint with acrylic paints. Spray with clear spray paint to seal.

Have a Sing-A-Long. Get your family together, and sing. It lifts the spirits and helps you get into a holiday mood. If you want to make it even better, go to a nursing home and sing for the patients. A lot of people in nursing homes feel forgotten at holidays, They love to have visitors especially ones who will lift their spirits. We used to get together with people from our church to visit one of the local nursing homes. We would make little bags full of little goodies for the patients - always call first to find out how many you would need and the best time to come. We would fill the bags with lotions, socks, sugar free candy and other things that they might like or need. It was always a mood lifter for the people at the nursing home and us.

Step 4

4. Go to free events. Every church and school has holiday events that start at the beginning of December. You can check the local papers and online for event listings. Last year, my husband and I went to 2 free plays and several musical events. We loved it!

Step 5

4. Look for freebie online to give as gifts. There are many different types of freebies that you can get online. If you want to get free stuff, you need to start early because some of the free stuff takes a few months to be delivered. I have a site that lists a bunch of free stuff you can get on the web. It is located at the address below.


Step 6

4. Make one day your own personal "Christmas Movie Festival". Pull out all your old Christmas movies, pop some popcorn or grab some Christmas treats and kick back and enjoy the day. You could even pull a table into the living room in front of the TV, and start wrapping Christmas presents.

If you try even part of these things this Christmas, you will save money, and enjoy your Christmas.

Tips & Warnings