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Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 24 total)
Okay, I know this is a bit off “homeschool” topic but I wondered what you all did to save on gift giving at Christmas.
We have thought of just getting the kids a few things and nobody else – you know Grandmas, Grandpas, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, friends, etc.
I don’t want to let everybody down but I just don’t know how we are going to keep up with it all. It seems like every Christmas we get futher behind because of gift giving.
Making gifts is an excellent idea – which we did last year but we still ended up spending alot on supplies.
I would love to hear how any others who are tight on funds plan to do Christmas Gift Giving. Any thoughts, ideas to share or suggestions would be warmly appreciated!
Now this takes a lot of change for some people, but as a home school family, I think it shows much loving thought and great potential for humor and education. Here goes: A friend of mine told us of a tradition in their family, they take time considering and finding out the interests of their family members and then researching, finding , checking out and wrapping a -book from the library- to give as a Christmas gift to each other!! She had stories about the fun they had and the relationships strengthened because of the time they spent trying to find the right book for each other and the feeling of appreciation as you realize how much effort was put in to the choice. Not to mention the discussions that will take place as the books are read and then shared with the family or one on one.
Another idea I have done for several years now is to rent 2 or 3 musical instruments from the local music store and let the kids explore for a three month contract. It costs about $17- $25 to rent things like flute, clarinet, a snare drum, violin or some other new instrument. We had a few friends who would come in and show the kids how to hold the instrument and some basics ( or get a book from the library) and for the cost, we valued the opportunity and exposure to something new. The kids gravitated to different instruments(or none of them) and it was fun to watch. I considered the expense relatively small compared with something that would just be thrown away in a few months. Our children look forward to new instruments on Christmas but we always get a violin, that’s a favorite! Drums were a hit too, pardon the pun! And not as bothersome as I had anticipated.
When my kids were younger, they loved to wrap gifts and took it upon themselves to establish the family tradition of “re-gifting”. They would give their own toys to each other and it was so sweet to see their faces on Christmas morning. Of course the toy would eventually make it’s way back to the original owner, but no one here really made an issue of it. The older kids would make the younger ones leggo sets, and the leggos always made it back to the bin.
Oh! Now you have me thinking!! Gifts for relatives and friends—I loved the time we took graph paper and spent days creating crossword puzzles for gma/ gpa and friends on topics they were interested in–again, showing much thought for the person the gift was made for. Computers for grandpa by our 13 year old son, who was just learning about them, One about dogs and cats for gma who volunteers at a local spay/neuter group. And of course the clues can include personal inside jokes and messages. for the younger kids, they created word search puzzles and they had a Christmas theme. The time spent together making these gifts was even more rewarding than giving them. We made copies and gave the booklets to many friends as well.
I hope this helps someone.BookwormParticipant
Oh, I love the homemade puzzle book idea! A lot of our ideas/things we have tried are similar.
For family and friends that are close to you, consider giving service certificates–“Good for one car wash” “Good for one visit to read/visit with Grandma” “Good for four hours babysitting” “Good for one loaf of fresh homemade bread just when you need it–call a few hours ahead” etc. Or have an activity in your home–a Christmas craft, or cookie exchange, something very simple and inexpensive.
Some food gifts can be very expensive, but if you “specialize” in one thing, you can really stretch it. I inherited a terrific fool-proof fudge recipe that I can vary several ways, takes about 15 minutes to make and costs about $3 per batch if I catch the ingredients on sale, but when I wrap the pieces up in pretty foil or paper and put a bow around that $3 batch, it looks really special and I’ve never heard back from someone who’d have rather had slippers or a tie. 🙂
For family who live a longer distance away, how about a “family memories” book–have your kids call and email everyone for favorite Christmas memories and recipes, put them all in a booklet or even a website or blog or something, and then give everyone a photocopy (with careful planning could run only a few dollars) or the address to the blog. How about just a good long loving letter, decorated by kids’ drawings, of what you love about that friend or family member? A “Bible Verses for Aunt Sarah” booklet? A “Favorite Funny Things Said By Uncle Fred” booklet? A simple ABC booklet using cutout magazine pictures for a toddler cousin?
Another thing we’ve done–years that family portraits were just too high, we learned a little about photography, kept trying until we got a fairly decent home-taken portrait, and had Wal-Mart print off 5×7’s for everyone–they were only about $3, I think. (Can you tell I spend a lot of time trying to stay in a $3 range, lol?)
We’ve also found it useful to simply bring this issue up with family members. We’ve often been able to come to agreements like “We’ll only give gifts to the children” or something similar to cut costs for everyone. I think it’s a pretty common failing that MANY of us spend more at Christmas time than we can really afford.
I hope to see lots more ideas, I think we all need them!christinaMember
Such wonderful ideas!! I am getting some great inspiration for you ladies, and Christmas for us, too, is always an issue. When we have large families, and often living on one income, things get tough, without adding in the extras!
Some of the things we do, is throughout the year during our nature study, we make potpourri, scent it with lavendar, and this just sits in a 20 gallon bin over the year being added to constantly. At Christmas time, we fill bags and baby jars with the potpourri and decorate it up for gifts with ribbon, etc. We make bath bombs, which although there is a cost for the supplies, it is fairly inexpensive considering how many people it will make gifts for.
Scrapbooking cards is a good one…again…a cost for materials, BUT if you already scrapbook, or make cards, then you likely already have the passion and the materials! To make a bunch of cards and bundle them up as a pack of 12 makes an nice gift! Everyone needs to pull out a card at some point to give to someone!
Then for those crafty girls, there is needlepoint, making hot pads, etc!
I would love to see everyone else’s ideas!! =)
The best ever homemade gift idea I have found is rice filled flannel bags. We have made dozens of these over the years and always have requests for more. They can be made any size, but our most popular is a rectangle, 6 and 1/2 inches by about 18 inches long. We make them with 3 to 4 sections, filling each section with about 3/4 to a cup of rice, pinning right above the rice and sew across that section, add more rice, sew, etc. We usually double sew the outside and ends for safety measures. We put each one in a ziploc bag with a little note or rhyme explaining their use. Heat 2-3 minutes in microwave for soothing heat, to wrap around your neck, take to bed for cold feet,etc. Keep one in the freezer to use for a headache or when cold sounds good. My dad used these when he had cancer radiation treatment on his throat, immediately after his treatment he took one out of a cooler and placed it on his neck. Ice would have been too cold, he found it very soothing and kept his neck from getting the ‘sunburn’ effect. We keep a wicker basket full of these!christinaMember
What a wonderful idea!!! Thank you for posting it!!!!!! =)csmammaParticipant
Thank you to everyone who took the time to share your Christmas gift giving ideas! I have gained such wisdom from you! May the Lord bless you this Christmas- truly.
We decided to do a white elephant gift exchange this year. Not sure what to give up. But, money is way to tight to buy for anyone outside our family. We also thought about making mittens out of left over felt as an ornament or just doing a sock exchange. cute fuzzy socks are always fun. :0) The ideas above sound great though I should reconsider our plan… JodiRosebud6Member
These are great ideas. One of the things we have done for years with the adults that will get together at Christmas is draw names.(Note: For us this includes three generations of adults and we usually do not give additionally to the adults included. So, if I do not draw my Mom or Dad then I don’t buy for them that year. Might seem strange but in a lean year it helps.)We usually do this at Thanksgiving and there is a dollar amount limit. Many years we have had to rig the drawing because one of the craftier members of the family has been working on a project for a particular someone, but no one seems to mind. Many times the gifts are extremely practical – tiles for the bathroom being redone, small wall quilts designed for that person, towels for the kitchen in the new home, etc. We try to make it more interesting by having fun with the wrapping. One year we hid several gifts in the tool box being given to one person and had them give each of the gifts to the rightful owner as he found them. It was a lot of fun. We did a small photo album(7×7) featuring a page for each child, grandchild, and great-grandchild. Very little expense(used supplies already had and duplicate pictures) and still a valued gift she keeps nearby. I like some of these ideas, too. They would be great additions. Is there any chance that Bookworm would share this famous foolproof(I need that) fudge recipe? Sounds delicious. Oh, I just remembered. My brother made deer for the yard from logs and sticks he found in the woods. Very low cost.
One other thing that we do is something you start in January. We have a large plastic jug and any time my husband or myself comes home with change in our pocket we put it in the jug. It helps if you pay with even dollar amounts and then put the change in your pocket not your wallet. This really adds up. Last year we had over $300.00 in the jug and it paid for the kids’ gifts. This is saying something because we have six children.
Hope this helps,
I’d be delighted to share the recipe. It was a gift to me from my mother.
IN a large microwave-safe bowl (if you have a very large measuring cup, at least 6 cups, it helps) put 1 stick butter or margarine, 2 1/2 cups sugar, and not quite six ounces of evaporated milk. Cook on high for 6 1/2 minutes, then stir, then cook for another 3 1/2 minutes. Then pour into a large bowl with 1 container marshmallow creme, 1 package chocolate chips (can also use peanut butter chips or whatever flavor you want) and 1 tsp vanilla. Beat together until smooth, then pour into a 9×9 pan and chill.
Variations: peanut butter chips work very well. So do mint chocolate chips. Vanilla and butterscotch chips make the fudge softer; I’ve tried lessening the milk but it didn’t help much. Hershey’s used to make a fantastic raspberry flavored chocolate chip but I haven’t been able to find them for two years–that was the BEST! I made a bunch of milk chips and dark chocolate chip batches this year because I got those on sale for $1.10. Sometimes I add coconut to the batter, then substitute coconut extract for the vanilla.
For ease: I usually line my pans with buttered foil, then all I have to do to get it out is pull on the foil, peel it off, and cut with a large pizza cutter. And if you have the chips and marshmallow creme waiting in a bowl and pour the boiling syrup over that, it all melts and mixes up better. If you get the kids and an assembly line going, it’s possible to do 5 or so batches in an hour. 🙂
I made eleven batches last week. 🙂
Thank you so much Bookworm for sharing this recipe. It was fantastic. I waited until I had a chance to get to the store and try it. It was easy and tasted wonderful. I look forward to sharing it with all my friends and family. That is if I can keep my husband and children out of it long enough to wrap some of it up.
You’ve still got time for this simple idea! I posted an inexpensive, personal gift idea using children’s art work to make a set of note cards for family members and friends. A set of 10 cards costs about $2.50. It is easy to do last minute…check out my blog to see the card sets we made last year! hope this blesses someone!
Plus click on the “a homemade Christmas” to find a lovely blog by a 17 year old home schooled girl with lots of other easy homemade ideas!ShannaParticipant
I am making these for family members for Christmas. They are SO EASY!!!! You can find a free pattern http://www.sissonfamily.com/Sewingroom/images/2006projects/thesnuglet.pdf.EsbyMember
I know I’m late replying, but I thought I’m mention something my mom and I do. A few years ago I asked her to stop buying gifts for me, except for kitchen washcloths and towels. They are easy for her to buy, and I really like knowing I get nice, pretty towels once a year. For my kids, she gets them a subscription to Highlights magazine.
My mom is a bookworm like me and we share many interests. So every Christmas I buy her a couple of books. After she has read them, she gives them to me for my birthday. It’s a great system, it’s easy on the budget, and we have a good time with it.
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