I know that one thing we are doing for sure is purchasing magazine subscriptions from Amazon, as I mentioned recently. This will account for at least 2 or 3 of our gifts.
Another thing that we will be doing for our own children, rather than buying them "stuff", is that we are going to create a fun family day, which will include going somewhere that Abbie loves (which may or may not cost money), but will create a special memory for our family.
As for each other, Ryan and I have set a small budget so that we can put together a stocking for the other person, and we will make very simple, inexpensive stockings for the kids as well. Opening stockings on Mom and Dad’s bed was a very special childhood tradition in his family, and so we are continuing it in our family as well, but these are the only gifts that we will buy each other. If we wish to do something special, that doesn’t cost money, we are welcome to do that!
But what I wanted to share with you today are a few previous ideas of gifts that I have made for others, particularly when we had very little money:
1) I made this for my daughter, last Christmas. You can’t see all of the words clearly, but the middle section lists the meanings of her three names. The last section has the verse Zeph 3:17, which I felt was a special verse for her, and beside that it says "cherish".
The frame was bought in the IKEA as-is section, for $5, and the rest of the supplies are just scrapbooking supplies. The papers were on 40% off, the ribbons I already had, and the letter punch-outs (which I covered with papers) were the most expensive part at about $8 for the package.
She just loves it and thinks it is so special, and it hangs above her bed and looks beautiful. I love that it is so meaningful, and that she will probably keep it forever. I intend to make one for each of our children.
2) Two years ago, we became very infatuated with the game Settlers of Catan, and so did my husband’s teenage brothers. We couldn’t afford to buy them the game (around $50 at the time). Instead, we decided to make it!
We used colored craft foam from Walmart to make the board pieces (the hexagons that are the water, wheat fields, etc.). We used a pack of playing cards, put sticky labels over them, and wrote our own Development cards, and Resource cards. We bought dollar store dice.
And the roads, towns and cities? I made baking clay, and dyed it four different colors. Then I shaped all of the individual pieces (very painstaking, I must admit) and baked them. They work great! And the boys just loved the game! Our total cost? About $10, maybe less. I wish I had a picture of ours to show you!
3) Items including photos have been the best grandparent gifts these past 3 years since our daughter was born. Here are a few examples of what we’ve done:
- I took black and white newborn photos, including one of her cute little feet, and printed the foot picture with her full name and birthdate on it (no extra cost when I printed them at Walmart). I put the photos into black frames (big enough for two photos, side by side). I believe our total for four sets of grandparents was about $40, so $10 a gift.
- Last year my Mom requested a scrapbook of Abbie. I found a cute, but small (the pages were about 5 x 8) scrapbook on clearance at Winners (similar to Ross), for around $6, I think. I printed out 20 photos, then I used my huge pile of scrapbook paper, some markers and stamps, and a few very cheap embellishments and made 20 simple pages (each one took me 10 minutes, tops), following her development from her birth up to 2 years old.
- Ryan’s Dad is often difficult to get a gift for, as I know is the case with many Dads. Last year we bought him one of those travel mugs from Starbucks, where you can personalize them by adding your own photos. I printed off a few cute photos of Abbie, arranged them on a piece of colored paper, got her to add some scribbles, and added the words "World Class Grandpa, love Abbie" (he works in world class manufacturing, so I thought it was a perfect title).
I hope that this serves to jumpstart some ideas for some of you! Personally, I am excited to go visit the gift festival myself and glean some frugal gift ideas for this Christmas!