Are you out of ideas of what to give your loved ones for the holidays this year? Looking to be more frugal in your gift-giving? Some of the nicest things I’ve received have been those that although they don’t cost much, are made or assembled with love and thoughtfulness. Why not add a personal touch by making homemade gifts for those on your Christmas list? Take a look at these five frugal ideas for gifts from the heart!
Homemade Jar Mixes
Jar mixes can be made for anything from brownies to soups. They involve taking a predetermined amount of dry ingredients for a recipe and layering them in a quart or pint jar. A festive looking plastic bag can also be used (I found some at my local Dollar Tree), but they look prettiest in a jar. An excellent website where you can look up recipes is found at The Recipe Link. This site contains mix recipes for cocoas and other beverages, muffins, soups, desserts and of course cookies and brownies!
To assemble these mixes you will need glass canning jars in pint and quart size, as well as jar lids and rings. This is a great way to make use of used jar lids instead of throwing them out. First, print out the recipe to attach to your gift, which will give instructions on the liquid ingredients that need to be added by the recipient. Next, tightly pack the ingredients into the jar, pressing down with a flexible spatula if needed. You want them to fit the first time! Place the lid on the jar and use a piece of colorful seasonal cloth to cover it. Then screw the band around the fabric to secure it to the jar. For the finishing touches, use ribbon, twine or raffia to tie the hole-punched printed recipe around the mouth of the jar. These are great all-around gifts for just about anyone on your list, even an aspiring young baker.
A few years ago, I found a package of 8 blank cards and envelopes in the dollar bin at Michaels. I used them to make birthday invitations for my son, but it got me thinking that they could also be used to create a set of stationary with inexpensive personalized touches. It’s as easy as choosing some scrapbook paper that can be cut & glued in cool shapes on the front of the cards and mixing in some buttons, ribbon or stamps to add an “I bought this at a specialty store” look. You could also buy cardstock and cut it yourself to create the desired size of cards. Purchase this multi-use cute stamp that says “handmade with love” and stamp in on the back page of each card. Then tie some matching raffia around the set and put it in an attractive gift bag. Because each set can be so unique, you can give the same gift to several people.
For those who love to display photos you can easily make a picture frame that will be a great addition to their collection. Purchase a silver or black acrylic picture frame or find one unused in your home that is in good condition. Choose some buttons, shells, puzzle pieces or any other “3-D” item you can find and hot-glue them onto the frame. Buttons and the like can be purchased in bags at a craft store such as Michaels or Hobby Lobby. If you want to make multiple frames for the same person, select some in a few different sizes and use the same color tones throughout for a unified look.
Home Baked Christmas Treats
What’s better than homemade treats for the holidays? Spend some time looking for a new recipe or pull out your favorite festive recipe and bake large batches for gift giving. These are especially good for Sunday School teachers, school teachers, a classroom of students or neighbors. Make these treats more personalized by baking some gluten-free cupcakes or reducing the sugar content for those with diabetes. This way everyone can enjoy your home-baked goodies! Wrap them in colorful cellophane, put them in a festive bag or tuck them into a cute holiday pail and you’re good to go!
Here’s my quick recipe (pictured here): Mix chopped pretzels, peanuts & mini-marshmallows in a bowl. Melt almond bark and pour over the mix. Spread on a wax-papered jelly roll pan and refrigerate for at least one hour. Break into pieces and put into festive bags for sharing.
See my article on frugal theme packs for lots of unique ideas!
Christmas doesn’t have to be expensive to be full of good cheer! Have a blessed holiday season!