With Christmas around the corner it is time to start thinking about gifts for friends and family. Unfortunately, this often means that Christmas can quickly become an immensely expensive time. Many people simply cannot afford to spend large amounts of money on gifts, but the pressure put on them do so can see them in financial trouble. There is a compromise to be made. You can give your loved ones great gifts without spending a lot of money. Quite often the time and thought spent on a unique home-made gift means more than something which has been bought. Here are some ideas for thrifty but lovely Christmas gifts.
1) Homemade perfume. It may take a bit of effort and a lot of patience, but homemade perfume can be a wonderful thrifty gift. Simply collect some aromatic flowers, herbs and spices and place them in a bowl. Pour water into the bowl until the ingredients are covered and leave in a warm, dry place. The longer you leave the recipe the stronger the fragrance.
2) Homemade fudge. Fudge is really easy to make. Add a bit of amaretto to give it a bit of extra kick and wrap it up in a nice box with a cute ribbon. Presentation is everything.
3) Customized apron. A great idea for Mom or Grandma. Take a plain white or black apron and, using some fabric paint, get your kids to make some handprints on the apron. Write their names below the handprints and decorate with some festive images for a lovely seasonal gift.
4) Mulled Wine. Everyone loves a cup of mulled wine at Christmas and it makes a great gift. All you need is a bottle of red wine, some cloves and spices. Use a nice bottle and personalise the label and the recipient will be able to think of you whenever they have a Christmas tipple. Also, everyone loves being given booze!
5) Personalised Calendar. Fill 365 pages with pictures of your nearest and dearest’s favourite things. So simple to make thanks to the multitude of photo design packages available for computers.
6) Rock n Roll Coasters. Perfect for the hipster in your life. Take ordinary drinks coasters and cover them with pictures of your friend’s favourite band or album cover. Laminate to make them water proof.
7) Home-made Bath Salts. Bath salts are incredibly easy to make and very cheap. All you need are epsom salts, salt, baking soda and some essential oils. Once again it is important to present them in some nice bottles and personalise the labels.
8) Home-made Jam. Very tasty and cheap to make. All you need is some strawberries, raspberries or blackcurrants. For a festive twist add some cinnamon. You can also buy Christmas jam spreaders very cheaply to add to the gift.
9) Salt Dough Dolls. You can make some great dolls or ornaments from salt dough. Possibly the most inexpensive thing on the list, all that is required is half a cup of salt, one cup of flour, half a cup of sugar and some acrylic paints. You can make them tailored to whatever theme you choose and they last for ages.
10) Photo Wreaths. Replace traditional wreaths with a fun photo wreath. Just stick some of your favourite photos to a circular piece of cardboard. You can use the same principle to make a home-made advent calendar. Great fun if a little cheesy!
Gifts for Kids
With kids quantity often beats quality so it is a good idea to give them lots of little stocking fillers. Jigsaws, books, puzzles and candy are all reasonable priced.
11) Kites. Kites are very easy to make and with a bit of artistic ability you can create a myriad of wonderful characters and shapes. There are many guides online on how to make them, but the basic materials required are just wax paper, garden canes or weaving reeds and lots of string!
12) Private Eye Kit. A detective kit can be made using an assortment of household items. A flashlight, magnifying glass and notebook serve as the basics and you can make business cards and write up secret files to add to them. Fake moustaches and glasses bought from a joke shop can serve as a disguise.
13) Alphabet Pebbles. Collect 26 smooth pebbles and paint them in different colours with a separate letter on each. They are educational and attractive to the eye.