Every holiday I get surprised with extras added to my gift list, whether it is the mailman or a school teacher, it's always nice to thank those who have helped you along the way every day of the year. Over the years I have come up with some great ideas on how to have those gifts around the house just for such an emergency or how to stretch a tight holiday budget.
One thing I like to do is when I see a clearance item on sale at a bath and body store I will purchase the kits then take them home and store them in either a closet or now a hope chest. You can find many wonderful trial bath products in beautiful gift bags under $3 once they are on clearance. I also look in the toy departments, I don't know how many times my sons have in the morning just before the bus comes tells me they need a present for school.
Here are a few other inexpensive gift ideas:
*Freebies- Are you in direct sales? Do you go to meetings and receive freebies (I get full size products won through raffles at my AVON meetings), or receive good quality freebies in the mail but it's just not for you? What about overstock items? Use those items to make up a small gift basket and add those freebies or trial size products to the basket, you never know you may receive a customer in the process.
*Gift jars- find a recipe that your friend/relative likes and buy all the dry ingredients for the recipe, layer them in a canning jar, on your computer make up a nice gift card filled with all the instructions for the recipe. Decorate the top of the gift jar with pretty fabric and ribbon and punch a hole in the recipe card and attach to the lid. Inexpensive! You can make several gift jars with one grocery trip for under $20 if you shop when there are sales.
*Coupon books- for the neighbors or your kids to make for grandparents. Use your handy clip art files and make out a coupon book filled with items you or your child is willing to do. Like cut the grass, 15 minutes helping out in the kitchen, no complaining, going to bed on time, retrieving the mail on a cold day etc.
*Soap making- It sounds harder than it really is. You can go to a craft store and buy a brick of glycerin clear soap for $6, look around your house for little additives to add to the glycerin soap. If you do not want to buy a scent look around your bedroom for a perfume that you can add to the soap as it is setting in the molds. I just used old fluted pie pans that were kid size for the ones I made this year and added some plastic flowers that I no longer used to decorate the house with. Scents are really inexpensive and they do last a long time, just be sure the person you are making the soap for is not allergic to any particular scent.
For Boys: add little plastic figures like frogs, cowboys, Indians, cars etc
For girls: add little ballerina objects to the soap as it is setting, or small shells from a trip that you made to the sea shore.
Just use your imagination and your soaps will be a hit!
*Tins filled with goodies: do you have a favorite cookie or treat recipe that everyone loves? Why not make up a couple batches and put them in a wonderful holiday tin, you can find these at Dollar stores sometimes for 2 for $1 or look around your house do you have any tins that you have been holding onto? Include the recipe with your goodies if its not a trade secret
*Make a Wreath-You can go to any craft store and buy simple wreaths and accessories for under $10! Why not decorate a wreath for the holiday, or to go with the recipient's décor.
*Make up a month's worth of menus including a shopping list with each item on the list. This is especially wonderful for those busy moms! Or better yet look for a company online that offers that as a service.
*Go to a resell shop for books- Do you have a reader in your family? Many resell bookstores have wonderful books that look brand new for under $2 find out what the person you are giving to likes to read, visit your local resellers bookstore and purchase a collection of their favorite books then go home and make up a couple bookmarks on your computer.
*Compile all the family favorites in a Family Cookbook and give it to everyone in your family.
There are so many things you can do on a tight budget all it takes is a little time and imagination.
Have fun being creative and have a Merry Christmas!
Rebecca White is a mom to 3 boys and has been married to her high school sweetheart for 14 years. During those 14 years she had many holidays that were so tight they barely could pay bills, so she learned to be frugal and creative when it came to gift giving. To find wonderful inexpensive e-books for gift jars, soap making and more ideas please visit her site at http://www.supportformoms.com