Holidays On A Budget: Gift Giving


The holidays are here, and I for one could not be more thrilled.  There is nothing better than snuggling up by the fire with a blanket and some hot cocoa while watching "A Christmas Story," (or my personal favorite, "Elf") for the hundredth time.  People are caroling, cookies are baking, snow is falling..well not so much the snow part in Florida but you get the idea.  So why are some people acting more like the Grinch than Cindy Lou Hoo?  The answer: Money.  Many of us have more people to buy gifts for than funds allow.  Having so many loved ones is a great problem to have, but with people going into debt left and right, you have to stay within your budget.  Be not afraid, for I have divided your Christmas list into categories and found inexpensive, yet unforgettable gifts for everyone in your life. 




 This season the etched baking dish is a huge favorite among both new and experienced DIYers.  Filling it with brownies is optional (but very encouraged in my house).  I plan on doing this for my parents, my friends’ parents, my parents’ friends, etc.  Step-by-step instructions can be found here.  Here's my favorite holiday dessert recipe . This also looks like a tasty holiday treat.  

  • Buy a couple of holiday movies from the $5 box at Target and a box of popcorn and you’ve given your parent(s) a fun night that the whole family can enjoy.  If you are more of a gaming family, pick up a new board game and some snacks.
  • If you’re like me, you love decorating frames.  If you aren’t like me, you probably love buying cheap, already decorated frames. Either way, print out a nice picture and put it in the frame (some parents aren’t tech savvy enough to do this themselves. Sorry, Mom.)  What makes this gift really special is writing a note on the back.  For my grandma, I ModgePodged scrapbook paper to the front and back of a frame, and used a Sharpie to write a note that covered the back and told her how special she was to me.  For a while she even displayed the frame backwards.  Parents love the sentimental stuff. 


Significant Other:

52 Things I Love About You Deck of Cards

I did this for my boyfriend and he thought I was so thoughtful that it never even crossed his mind that I was also cheap!  The rings can be found at Staples.  I made the cards look "weathered" with a stamp pad.  The complete tutorial can be found here.

Here is a link to the labels I used.  I wrote on them by saving as a PDF and "signing" them in Adobe Reader.  I used Californian font. 
  • Don’t feel like cutting/gluing this holiday season?  Give an experience instead of a thing. Memories last forever!  Take your better half ice skating or to a favorite restaurant (if you’re feeling generous, even spring for appetizer/dessert), or to see their favorite team play.  See a cheap concert in your area or go on that camping trip you’ve been talking about for months. 


Friends: does all of the work for you...
Besides shopping and shipping, sigh.

Suggest that you all participate in Secret Santa.  That way, you don’t leave anyone out but you only have to buy one gift.  My best friends and I can’t be together for the holidays this year so we registered on this site.  It emails each person and randomly assigns who they will be buying a gift for.  The site is great and lets everyone make a wish list, just incase you get that friend who has everything.  Feel free to do it the old-fashioned way by picking names out of a hat if you're lucky enough to have your friends close by! 





Hot Chocolate Snowmen

These adorable snowmen are perfect for 

mass-gifting.  They are made from stage-2 baby food jars or 1/2 pint canning jars. The top jar is filled with marshmallows. The middle jar is filled with hot chocolate mix. The bottom jar is filled with mints. 
How to make the hat: Place a piece of black felt under the lid of the top jar and wrap a black ribbon around the top of the lid.
How to make the scarf: Tie a piece of patterned scrap fabric and cut the ends of it to create fringe.

Use a sharpie to give your snowmen a face and use a hot glue gun to keep it all together .

Merry Kissmas and a Chappy New Year

This blog has a cute, inexpesive idea that is also quite punny.  Plus, you can never have enough chapstick, especially during these cold winter months.  I think that I reapplied my chapstick at least twice just in the time it took me to write about this gift!

-Jessica Ball