Showing posts with label Homemade holiday gifts. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Homemade holiday gifts. Show all posts

Friday, December 20, 2013

Celebrate the Holidays on a Budget

It’s that time of year for gift giving and party throwing again. But, your generosity and thoughtfulness need not break the bank this year. With a little creativity and ingenuity, you can have a festive holiday season – on a budget.

Homemade holiday gifts

Why should you utilize money saving ideas at the holidays?

Aside from the fact that spending may create stress and buyers’ remorse in so many individuals by January 1, celebrating on a budget can be beneficial in a number of ways. For example:

  • Giving frugal Christmas gifts encourages creativity.
  • Utilizing money saving ideas demonstrate fiscal responsibility to children.
  • Homemade holiday gifts remind us of the real reason for the season – spending time with family and friends; enjoying good food, music and conversation; and creating wonderful memories for years to come.

How can you celebrate the holidays on a budget?

There are a number of ways you can utilize money saving ideas this holiday season.

1. Food:  The food you’ll serve guests at your holiday parties doesn’t have to be elaborate or expensive. In fact, most party guests claims they enjoy munching on finger foods throughout the evening over a formal sit-down dinner. A few things to keep in mind:
  • Keep your food choices simple, and be sure to include some healthy options, too.
  • Dress up the platters or trays with inexpensive decorative plates, trays and plastic wrap for a bit of festive fun.
  • Food items can serve a dual purpose at the holidays. In addition to serving food to your guests at parties, food items make great gifts, too. Check out this recipe for delicious chocolate bark:
2. Decorations:  Items from nature, such as tree and evergreen branches, acorns and holly make great additions to your home decor during the holiday season. Create a classic, inexpensive statement for your front porch by adorning an old sled with ice skates, mittens and holly branches for an inexpensive festive look.

3. Gifts:  Handmade gifts make thoughtful presents from your heart. A framed photograph of a special pet, a childhood memory or a recent experience will remind the recipient of your thoughtfulness throughout the year. Other handmade gifts ideas include: art work, food gifts and services such as baby/pet sitting services, car detailing or another specialty of yours.

Knit scarf as holiday gift

Additional homemade holiday gift ideas:

  • Love to knit? Whip up an assortment of scarves throughout the year in a variety of styles and colors. Give a scarf to each person on your gift list, making that your signature gift of the year.
  • Have a great recipe for gourmet popcorn? Make a batch, divide it into decorative tins and you’ve got a treat anyone on your list will enjoy receiving.
  • Does hot chocolate signify the holidays for you? Buy an assortment of mugs, fill them with hot cocoa packets and marshmallows and you have a simple homemade Christmas gift for everyone on your list. They’ll remember you throughout the year as they continue to use the mug.

The holidays are meant to be a fun, festive time of the year to spend with family and friends. By incorporating some ideas for frugal living, you can accomplish celebrating on a budget this year. Enjoy!

Kathy Rembisz 
Contributing Writer

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Homemade Holiday Gifts

When I think of homemade holiday gifts the first thing that pops into my head is COOKIES. When I was growing up, my best friend's mom would make hundreds of cookies and give them out to all their friends and family. That is no exaggeration either; they really made hundreds. They had one room in their house during the holiday season that was just for the cookies. She had them piled up high from candy cane cookies to traditional chocolate chip. Along with the cookies were all different tins and containers to choose from. That room was heaven for us kids and of course we always provided our taste-testing expertise! I definitely had my fair share of cookies over the holiday season.  

Homemade holiday gifts are always a great way to show your extra love. Not to mention you can save a lot of money too. There is something about a handmade Christmas gift that makes you feel extra special. If you are giving a homemade gift you feel a great accomplishment of doing something by yourself and if you are receiving a homemade gift you feel extra warm on the inside because you feel special that you were thought of while the gift was being made. When I was growing up I always felt good when I would give my family a homemade ornament from school. The look on my family's faces when they received the gift was also a feel-good moment. They were always so excited to see my masterpiece.  
There are a lot of handmade Christmas gift ideas out there that can bring a smile to anyone's face. The key to making it special is to think of what you would like to receive as a homemade gift. Most likely if you think it is special so will the person who receives your wonderful gift. It can be anywhere from cookies to a handcrafted ornament.  What it really comes down to is the idea of being thought of. There are a lot of easy homemade gift ideas that can save you money too. You just need a little imagination and maybe a little help from the Internet to get the juices flowing. Here are my top 10  Christmas homemade gift ideas that are pretty easy and cost very little to make. I normally get all my supplies and ideas from local craft stores or even dollar stores. I like to wander through the aisles and see what kind of craft ideas I can come up with to make a great homemade Christmas gift. They also have crafts displayed that you can make yourself or use to get ideas.

Nothing beats a homemade gift for the holiday.

  1. Cookie In A Jar 
  2. Candle Jars
  3. Best Christmas Fudge
  4. Fabric Covered Boxes
  5. Personalized T-Shirt From a Child
  6. Homemade Memory Box
  7. Ornaments of all kinds -- You can make them from dough, paper, popsicle sticks, buttons, etc.... The most important part though is to add a picture to it. That is always a crowd-pleaser and you can't go wrong with it.
  8. Homemade coupon book offering services to friends or family, such as, mowing the lawn, doing the laundry for a week or shoveling snow.
  9. Memory Book  -- This is a great gift for a family member who doesn't live close to you. You can make your own memory book at half the cost of buying one through a photo company. It just takes a little more time and some creativity. You don't even need a book. You can buy some scrapbooking pages and instead of buying an expensive book punch holes in the paper and tie all the pages together with ribbon. It is very cute and inexpensive.
  10. Homemade Wooden Signs -- I make these every year and they are a great Christmas present. I get the wood from a local hardware store where I can pick through the odds and ends. You can get them very cheap and they come in all different sizes. You may even get lucky and look around your house and come across some old wood that was left over from a do it yourself project. Paint or stain the wood whatever color you like. Next search around for good sayings to put on the wood. Once you have figured out what you want to say go to your computer and make a sign.  I use my printshop program but you can use any kind of program that has lettering.  Pick the font and size you want and print out. Before printing though make sure you check the "Print reversed for iron on transfer box." This will  print it backwards. What you want to do next is take the paper and put it on the board so the ink side is on the board and you are looking at the back of the paper  Make sure it is lined up correctly and then rub the lettering onto the board with a pen.  It will leave a light shade of lettering for you so you can just paint over it. This is much easier then stenciling and comes out nicer.

Homemade gifts that they will cherish forever.
Happy holiday shopping and may you be able to save a few dollars over the Christmas season.

Marci Psalmonds
Contributing Writer