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21 Days to a More Organized Christmas: Gift Ideas That Won’t Break the Bank

In this series so far, we’ve talked about the importance of creating and sticking with a Christmas budget. We’ve also discussed how to create a gift list based upon your budget.

While you can take your budget and gift list and just go pick up a gift at the store or wait and find a deal online, there are other options to traditional gifts that can be less expensive. And for some on your gift list, these would be more meaningful than just buying something at the store.

Homemade Oreos from I Heart Naptime

1. Food Gifts

Unless your recipient has food allergies, it’s hard to go wrong with food gifts. Gifts in a Jar are always popular, though I’d recommend that you make and try the recipe-in-a-jar first, before making extras as gifts. We’ve had a few that looked like a great idea but actually turned out not to work well when you dumped the contents of the jar into a bowl and put the recipe together.

I also love the idea of giving homemade cookie dough. It can be frozen and saved to use after all the Christmas goodies are eaten up. And nothing quite beats freshly made chocolate chip cookies!

Other food gift ideas: Year-Round Yum, Vinegar Infusion Set, a coffee & tea gift basket, Homemade Marshmallows, and Homemade Hot Drink Mixes,

12 Days of Christmas Gifts for Teachers from How Does She

2. Consumable Gifts

As a minimalist, I love consumable gifts! They can be meaningful and memorable, but they don’t result in clutter. I shared five of my favorite consumable gift ideas here. JesseLeigh also shared a great post last year with many clutter-free gift ideas.

Other consumable gift ideas: Homemade Body Scrubs, Gluing Craft Box, 12 Days of Christmas Gifts for Teachers, a calendar, stationery or note cards, and gift cards.

Fingerprint Ornaments from The Gardner’s Dirt

3. Handmade Gifts

Most food gifts and consumable gifts are handmade, but there are plenty of other handmade gifts that don’t fall into those two categories. Handmade gifts are usually very economical and they can be customized especially for the recipient. Not everyone appreciates handmade gifts, but even if the gift you give isn’t something the recipient loves, I can guarantee that most people will feel very honored and blessed that you took the time and effort to make something for them.

I shared a number of do-it-yourself gift ideas for children here. Amy has a great list of 36 handmade gift ideas. And Brandy blogged on some great ideas for handmade gifts that won’t cost you anything.

Other Handmade Gift Ideas: The Question Jar, Homemade Playdough, DIY Car Mat Backpack, Fingerprint Ornament, and Build-Your-Own Snowman Kits.

Those are just a few of my ideas. I’d love to hear your favorite homemade gift ideas–especially those that have been especially well received! If you’ve blogged about it, be sure to leave your link in the comments.

Practical Application

1. Sometime in the next 24 hours, sit down with your Christmas gift list and finalize exactly what you are giving each person. If you find it helpful, use the Master List here or the Organized Christmas list here

2. Plan a shopping day or days in the next week and make a plan for where and when you’ll buy each item. If you’re planning to make any homemade gifts, write down all the supplies you need to buy and block off time on your calendar in the next week to ten days to make and finish these.

3. If you begin to feel overwhelmed at any time, step back and re-evaluate whether there are some things that you can cross off your list. It’s not worth making something if you’re going to be all stressed out about it for three weeks!

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20 Comments

  • The Prudent Homemaker says:

    We decided today that instead of cookies, I’ll be making Rosemary Olive Oil bread for gifts for friends:

    http://theprudenthomemaker.com/rosemaryoliveoilbread.aspx

    The other handmade gifts I am making were listed in the comments on my guest post yesterday.

    • Lucky @ Making My Own Luck says:

      What a great idea! Everyone in my family goes crazy when I make that bread, and your recipe makes 4 loaves. I still have rosemary growing in my garden too.

    • Coby says:

      I used to bake a different bread every year for my friends. They all really loved it. We have since paired down our Christmas list, so I no longer do this.

  • angel says:

    http://angelnavywife.blogspot.com/2011/11/homemade-christmas-gifts.html

    vanilla sugar, house seasoning, BBQ rub, jam, apple butter, playdough, hair clips, baking sets, tutus, chip clips, magnets, photo boxes, and recipe books have been my biggest hits! Photos and instructions/recipes at my blog.

  • Jennifer says:

    One year I checked out a library book that showed how to make homemade night lights. I am not crafty at all. I just bought a $5.00 big piece of glass at Home Depot. They cut it into 16 small squares for me for free. I painted simple designs (a checkerboard) on the glass, glued on some colored, see-through rocks and then glued the glass onto a night light base from the dollar store (the plastic covering the bulb just pops off). Everyone could use a night light for a guestroom or hallway or bathroom. Everyone seemed to really love them.

  • These Peppermint White Chocolate Covered Pretzels are on our list of homemade Christmas gifts.

    http://armstrongfamilyfare.com/peppermint-white-chocolate-covered-pretzels/

    I love homemade/handmade gifts! I love all the ideas you shared and plan on going back and checking all the links!

  • Kelly says:

    Last year, I made jars of just-add-water Potato Soup for my relatives. They LOVED it! I modified this recipe a bit http://allrecipes.com/recipe/potato-soup-mix/detail.aspx . I also found that the soup consistency was much better if I put all the ingredients in the blender to make a finer powder. It cut the volume of the mix in half, so make sure to adjust the instructions, too! Allrecipes has a nice collection of dry soup mixes that are PERFECT for gift giving.

  • Heather says:

    I’m making Thumb Print Reindeer Ornaments for the Grandparents this year. They are super hard to find stuff for & this is something I think they’ll appreciate. I’m also making chocolate potato chips, chocolate dipped spoons, popcorn with M&M’s & Oreo Rice Krispie Treats. I figured out yesterday that I buy for almost 30 people for Christmas (most are stocking stuffers) & if I bought store gifts for everyone I’d be broke.

  • Kaidi says:

    When it comes to teachers’ gifts then in many cases, the teachers won’t eat home baked goods unless they know the family very well. They are graciously accepted, of course, but then get dumped… In other cases the teachers might have dietary reasons. Thought I’d share this here.

  • Angi @ schneiderpeeps says:

    Great ideas! I love those fingerprint ornaments. I think I’ll be making those with my little one. (the teenagers’ fingerprints just aren’t that cute anymore)

    One year my son made silhouettes for us of all our children and made them of all the grandchildren for the grandparents. He even made them for aunts and uncles who don’t have children – of their pets. It was very inexpensive and very well received. We’ve had a few additions to our family these last few years and so my daughter and another son are working on these again. I wrote a tutorial last week…http://schneiderpeeps.blogspot.com/2011/12/silhouettes-tutorial-for-fun-and.html

  • Carrie @ My Favorite Finds says:

    I just packaged up 24 mini jars of body scrub last night to give as gifts. Also, the homemade Oreos you have featured here are amazing! I made them last year for a staff luncheon and they were sooo good! I try to give food gifts that aren’t sweets. It’s just my own preference-I think as a teacher and being married to a pastor, we are bombarded with sweets at Christmas-many of which are appreciated, but also go to waste because we can’t or don’t eat them all. I prefer to give frozen chocolate chip cookie dough, or breads, or something that can be frozen and pulled out after the holidays.

  • Sidney says:

    My niece asked for doll clothes/accessories for her (Target version) American Girl doll. The store bought clothes for these dolls are ridiculously priced – more than I pay for clothes for myself! So, my niece and I sat down with an American Girl catalog last summer and she showed me what outfits she liked and I’m trying my best to reproduce them. So far I’ve made a sleeping bag and pillow, three pairs of pajamas, two dresses, a jumper, a skirt, an ice skating outfit and two pairs of pants (now that I just typed that all out, I’m thinking some of them will be saved for next year’s birthday present!) The only things I’ve had to buy for all of this were a pattern (on sale for 99cents) and a zipper for the sleeping bag (used a 50% off coupon). All the fabric I’ve used were scraps I had left over from other projects or clothes that were no longer wearable. I know this isn’t a mass-producable idea like a lot listed here – but I’m so excited to give them to my niece. Hopefully she’ll like playing with them as much as I’ve enjoyed making them!

  • Carolynn @ mylittlebitoflife.com says:

    I like to make coaters. You can personalize them, monogram them, match the recipient’s decor, put a picture on them, etc. Here is my vlog on how to make coasters! http://mylittlebitoflife.com/?page_id=488

  • Michelle says:

    I love to plant paperwhite bulbs in votive holders, grow them, and give them as gifts:
    http://navigatingdomesticity.blogspot.com/2010/01/frugal-flowers-during-winter-months.html

  • BethB says:

    I mentioned this in another thread but the best gift I ever got from my SIL was the year she made Chai Tea Kits. I had the idea of making small jars of spice mixes (taco seasoning, pumpkin pie, apple pie, Italian seasoning, Healing Spice mix, etc.) and teas as gifts but this year I don’t have anyone to give them too since I’ve already done all my shopping.

  • Debbi says:

    I do lots of homemade gifts (usually food related) but the thing I’m finding most helpful today is the practical application box! I’ve got a few gifts bought and ready to wrap and some ideas for others, but I really need to sit down, finish the list, and come up with a plan for the rest. Christmas is coming much sooner than I’d like.

  • Lucky @ Making My Own Luck says:

    Our Christmas party that we throw every year is this weekend. After it’s over I’m looking forward to making a few gifts, wrapping presents and just enjoying.

  • Michelle @ Simplify, Live, Love says:

    We’re making mittens from wool sweaters I bought at Goodwill and then turned into felt. They are super easy and so cute! You can see how we’re doing it here:
    http://www.simplifylivelove.com/2011/12/how-to-make-wool-mittens-from-recycled-sweaters.html

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