Awesome, Yet Inexpensive Gifts
Gifts that convey the priceless feelings of love and friendship
Christmas and the holiday season is a time of joy, excitement, goodwill, love, and ... overspending. Gift giving should be a joyful, pleasant, heart-warming event. The experience is more or less ineffective if you spend December in a rush of shopping for gifts that are not likely to be used or appreciated and you further complicate the issue by purchasing those gifts with a credit card, loans, or by raiding your emergency funds.
So, before we even continue with suggestions for awesome yet inexpensive gifts, take a few moments to be honest about the gifts you intend to buy. Are there some gift exchanges that no longer hold meaning for you, or that would stretch your budget to the credit card point? Now is the time to honor the needs of yourself and your family and have the courage to kindly and politely step away from gift exchanges that you either secretly resent, find meaningless, or that you simply cannot afford without borrowing money for the purchase. Your self esteem and your budget will be grateful.
Last year, The Fat Dollar posted an article, Inexpensive Gift Ideas , listing frugal gift ideas. Take a look at the article for many great gift ideas.
To make a gift meaningful will take some thought. A great gift will acknowledge or celebrate a cherished aspect of the person who is receiving the gift. Avoid giving a gift that implies that you are wanting (or trying!) to correct some fault in the recipient. Gifts such as diet books, scales, housecleaning products, exercise equipment, self-help books, and so forth should only be given if they have been specifically requested.
Here are some more ideas to fire up your creativity and inspiration for getting the perfect gifts for your loved ones.
1. Make a family calendar with the birthdays, anniversaries, and other special family days printed on the calendar. Free templates for the calendar are available from WinCalendar (http://www.wincalendar.com/word-calendar-templates.htm), and Calendarlabs.com (http://www.calendarlabs.com/) to name a few.
2. Take photos of the cherished family pet, print them at a do-it-yourself or while-you-wait lab, such as the ones at Walmart or CVS. Make sure the photos are sharp, colorful, flattering and have little to no background clutter. Include a photo of favorite toys, and other special characteristics of the pet. Use a photo editing program to crop and clean up the photos if needed. Put these in an album - add titles and dates if you like. Choose one to frame.
3. Take photos of the family home and lawn, even the family car, (see hints in #2 above) and put these in an album. If you have photos of previous cars or homes and/or photos of the current home over the years, include these.
4. Ten Thousand Villages (http://www.tenthousandvillages.com/) has frequent clearance items selling for less than $10.00. These are handmade items from artesians in mostly third world countries and make a very unique gift.
5. If you love to cook or bake, give a coupon for a month's worth of freezer dinners, or perhaps even a meal-a-month coupon. You can also do the "gift for each month" with cookies, pies, breads, or anything else that you enjoy baking and you know the recipient really enjoys.
6. Most women will adore you if you give them an assortment of dark chocolates. Buy chocolate bars and make your own label sleeves on your printer. (A sleeve wraps around the bar but does not replace the wrapper.) Have each sleeve say a message like "I love you" or get really creative and specialize the saying on each sleeve.
7. If you have older kids, make a "book" of your favorite sayings, quotes, and thoughts. The more they have heard you say the lines in the book to them, the more special the book will be, so just jot down your everyday words. You can make it humorous, sentimental, or take any slant that feels natural to you. Use one of the small photo albums and insert the pages, photos, and pictures to make your book.
8. If you know someone very well, then take idea #7 and make a book of that person ... quote them, perhaps have photos of their interests and everyday lives, their music taste, vacation favorites, etc. ... anything that communicates the person and their personality and individual tastes. You could even make a book that tells the person what they have meant to you.
9. I'm not sure how "awesome" this one is, but it's something the kids can make. I got the idea from the Cottonelle give away of a toilet paper storage box. Take an empty oatmeal container, cover it with pretty wallpaper or other designs, perhaps painting the edges, and put a couple of rolls of toilet tissue in it. The oatmeal container makes a perfect holder for two standard sized toilet paper rolls. Of course, this is probably a gift best reserved for the grandparents since it is questionable whether your casual friends would appreciate this type of gift!
10. If these ideas don't get you started, then try some of these sites for ideas:
63 Gift Ideas for Under $10.00 (http://www.betterbudgeting.com/articles/money/63giftsunder10dollars.htm)
Ultimate Gifts Under $10.00 (http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/holidays/gift-ideas/gift-guide-under-10#slide-1)
Mabel White's 101 Gifts to Make for Under $5.00 (http://www.mabelwhite.com/GiftIdeas.htm)
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and happy gift giving!
Remember the meaning behind the gift giving and you will have an easier time staying within your budget. That's The Fat Dollar way!
Images courtesy of Microsoft Images
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