PDA

View Full Version : Share your inexpensive Christmas gift ideas...


timzagain
09-06-2008, 09:25 AM
DH and I have decided that we MUST reduce our Christmas spending this year. I'm "crafty" but I have found that the people on my list don't really appreciate handcrafted gifts. I've found a few things on sale but I am still on the lookout for other good but inexpensive "semi-homemade" ideas. I'm shying away from gift baskets, because I've found that I end up spending more when I go that route!

Here's my one-and-only "semi-homemade" idea, so far. DD's teacher is extremely difficult to shop for! The kind of person that even the simplest thing will probably be too fussy for her taste! I'm going to buy DD an inexpensive plant pot, and let DD grow a plant (from one of the plants we already have at home) between now and Christmas! A fairly simple, non-flowering plant - easy to grow, and won't offend the teacher's sensibilities (the lady dislikes anything with even the slightest hint of a scent!) This idea will probably work best for those living in warm climates!

Any other ideas? Please share.

Perditamarie
09-06-2008, 10:26 AM
Here are some of my favorites for this year:

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_ss_gw?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=pausch&x=11&y=17

It also comes on cd for commuters and is even less expensive at a club store like BJs/Sams/Costco

My other favorite idea is a water bottle w/a built in filter, so it is green and totally portable! I have seen them for $10 at Target.

Looking forward to seeing more ideas!

prncess674
09-06-2008, 11:07 AM
Why not just ask friends and family to not exchange gifts. My close group of friends stopped exchanging gifts and just decide on a night to all go out to dinner. It saves a lot of money and hassle.

Julia M
09-06-2008, 11:11 AM
Well, the "good but inexpensive 'semi-homemade' ideas" can be hard to describe., since everyone's idea of "inexpensive" varies.

I try and check in at my local Barnes and Noble every week or so, because they have a cart that offers books at 75% off the lowest price. Usually between $1.25 and $2.50. It's hot or miss, but if you know people with unique interests, it can be a good place. I got my son Masters of the Battlefield, since he is really into history, especially wars. My brother is "into" Ben Franklin, and I found this: Book: Inventing America; the Life of Benjamin Frankin. I plan on putting a B & N gift card with each.

For girls, I try and hit Claires and Icing when they are having their clearance: used to be 10 items for $5, now it varies more, but still a deal. You can assemble a girls basket for $5-$10. They carry jewelry, accessories, even makeup and fancy toiletries. I just call and ask if they are doing a clearance sale before I go.

Not homemade, but some ideas.

It might help, though, if you posted a price range.

Julia

sk!mom
09-06-2008, 11:19 AM
Why not just ask friends and family to not exchange gifts. My close group of friends stopped exchanging gifts and just decide on a night to all go out to dinner. It saves a lot of money and hassle.

I agree with this. We decided years ago that when gift giving becomes a pressure rather than a joy- it's time to cut back.

In my large family, adults no longer exchange gifts at all. We adopt a needy family instead. Children from birth to 18 go in a draw. Since I only have one child in that age group- that's only one gift for me to buy.

I opted out of Secret Santa at work several years ago as it had also become just another pressure.

As far as teachers or others we want to show appreciation for- two words- gift cards. I'm a teacher and trust me, while we appreciate any gift, most of us have accumulated way too much. Even $5 to Starbucks is the best gift ever.

We enjoy the season a lot more now without the pressure of too many gifts to buy.

tarheel618
09-06-2008, 11:29 AM
I agree with the teacher ( I'm one) Personally, I love 5 dollar gift cards for Blockbuster or a book store. I can rent a movie or buy a book and that is a special treat for me.

For my daughter's teachers I usually do little gift bags that have a theme. Popcorn, candy and 5 dollar gift card to Blockbuster. Book marker and a 10 dollar gift card to a book store. But I must admit I usually include a 20 dollar gift card for the teacher supply store because I know that teachers love buying new things for their classroom and I feel that extra 20 dollars is benefiting my child. JMO

luckey-lasvegas
09-06-2008, 12:08 PM
For couples I usually attach two movie theater tickets that I get at Costco for about $7 each to two movie theater box of candy $2. I stack them together and tie them with a ribbon. If they are very close friends who I would spend a little more on I attach a gift card for a inexpensive restaurant like Applebees, Red Robin Etc. to the ribbon usally aroun $20. It winds up about being between $8 - $18 per person and it's a fun evening out for the recipents. If you would rather, attach a GC for babysitting instead of the restaurant GC for the couples with kids.

Grumpy's Gal
09-06-2008, 03:35 PM
we have been doing this for years.

It's all about the "thought and meaning" and less about the money.

We have copied home movies and shared them as gifts. People really seem to appreciate this and it's something you can do yourself on your computer. So if you have movies of your extended family member when they were kids etc, that's an idea.

What about making a dvd for your teen nieces and nephews that include some pictures from each birthday party they ever had set to music?

or a small photo album / scrapbook that you fill with family pictures?

for a family, a family zoo pass.

Eeyoreloverforever
09-06-2008, 04:35 PM
but I do have a few ideas.

A pasta basket: colondar (buy on sale, if possible, or maybe the dollar store would have one), spoon for pasta (I bought mine at the dollar store, pasta, make a homemade sauce and bottle it, the recipe.

Movie basket: my dollar store has popcorn themed containers, a bag of microwave popcorn, some kind of candy (you could buy in bulk and put in baggies, napkins (my dollar store had popcorn themed ones), two cans of pop (buy a case and separate), and a rental gift certificate or a movie you bought on sale (my Wal-Mart has a 2 for $10 bin)

What about a tray of various home-made cookies? For anyone who isn't a baker, this is great!

a New Year's basket: party hats, horn blowers, plastic champagne glasses, confetti (all can be bought at the dollar store), maybe some treats for the night and/or a game to pass the time.

I don't know who you are needing gift ideas for, but I hope these give you some ideas.

addicted2dizney
09-06-2008, 04:44 PM
Keep em comin... I am getting some great ideas for this year! Thanks all! popcorn:: popcorn:: popcorn::

lntsmom
09-06-2008, 05:06 PM
and I'm a teacher. Combine the two, and what you get is a parent who sends classroom-usable gifts to teachers. I never give anything personal.

For example, for teacher appreciation last spring I gave my younger son's teacher one of those chair pads that heat/massage. They were originally $20 at WalMart. I got it on clearance after Christmas for $7.00. It was something she could use in her classroom.

I already have this year's Christmas gift for his teacher(s). Barnes and Noble had a huge clearance sale on the book the Busy Postman...the Christmas version. It originally sold for somewhere near $20. I got copies...sealed in plastic...for 75% off. A nice hardcover book for the teacher's classroom library is always something that will be appreciated.

If you want to give a "homemade" gift that costs nothing but your time, give the teacher a coupon saying you'll do her bulletin boards for her for the rest of the year! I had a friend who did that every year and the teachers loved it!

As for gifts for others, I've already started shopping. My older son is 13 and I've been getting him "practical" gifts for about 3 years now...things that, if they are still working, he can take with him when he leaves for college. WalMart was clearancing summer stuff last week. It wasn't a great sale, but I got him a milkshake machine for $15. I grabbed an electric ice cream maker for my younger son for that same price.

My kids don't need toys, and these are things they will use and enjoy all year long.

bucket o' butter
09-06-2008, 05:56 PM
DH and I have decided that we MUST reduce our Christmas spending this year. I'm "crafty" but I have found that the people on my list don't really appreciate handcrafted gifts. I've found a few things on sale but I am still on the lookout for other good but inexpensive "semi-homemade" ideas. I'm shying away from gift baskets, because I've found that I end up spending more when I go that route!

Here's my one-and-only "semi-homemade" idea, so far. DD's teacher is extremely difficult to shop for! The kind of person that even the simplest thing will probably be too fussy for her taste! I'm going to buy DD an inexpensive plant pot, and let DD grow a plant (from one of the plants we already have at home) between now and Christmas! A fairly simple, non-flowering plant - easy to grow, and won't offend the teacher's sensibilities (the lady dislikes anything with even the slightest hint of a scent!) This idea will probably work best for those living in warm climates!

Any other ideas? Please share.


I am a teacher and I think it is awful that any teacher would dislike a gift given to her by a student. I cherish anything that my students give me and I make sure I display it for the rest of the year if it is something that can be displayed. The gift may not be my personal taste, but it came from a child and it was important to that child. Shame on that teacher!

zoie101
09-06-2008, 06:32 PM
thanks for all the wonderful ideas!:cool1:

DVCBELLE
09-06-2008, 07:03 PM
For teachers I order off of vistaprint.com - they run specials ALL the time for free magnets, free notecards, free calenders etc. I make for each of my kids at Christmas the 100 free postcards (you do have to pay about $5 shipping) - you can also make a free post it note pad and other items in the same order so I make the little note pads for their assistants. Anyway on the front of the postcards I put " A note from Mrs. XXXXX" with some sort of school theme - their teachers LOVE them and then they have personal notecards to send hoem during the year. I usually then put those in a basket/purse from the $1 store with a Bath & body works antibacterial handsoap that I get when they are on sale for under $2 each & for under $10 I have a great personal gift.

If you go on vistaprint and the stuff isn't free - pm me and I can send you a link that has the sale stuff. I get emails all the time cause I order so much - and they encourage you to share the links.

fnkyyellow
09-06-2008, 07:14 PM
This is a bit off topic if you are looking for gifts for teachers & family, BUT
as a neighbourhood, about 10 couples get together at Christmas at someone's house and we do dinner and a gift exchange. The gift exchange is SOMETHING USED. That's right, we are always to re-gift. Surprisingly we don't have duplicates year to year and it is hilarious. A lot of "garage sale" left over stuff gets passed on.
It's an idea if you do a big gift exchange.

EthansMom
09-06-2008, 07:33 PM
I like to give teachers gift cards to the local Borders. Firstly, I get the gift cards by redeeming Discover Card points, so they cost me nothing. Secondly, there's a huge selection of books, music and movies... so something for any taste. Thirdly, the teacher could use it for something for the classroom or something for him or herself. Fourthly, there's a coffee stand in our Borders so even if there's a couple bucks left on the card, the teacher could use it for a cup of coffee... no need to be out of pocket extra money to use the GC.

I usually package the GC in a cellophane bag with a couple of Lindt chocolate truffles. So far, all of DS's teachers have seemed very happy to get GC's to the local bookstore. :thumbsup2

I like to bake, especially at the holidays. We don't exchange any gifts with friends or most adult family members. But for get-togethers (like Thanksgiving Dinner and family gatherings at Christmas), I like to take lots of homemade baked goods.

Today, I made up three homemade apple pies which I'm freezing for the holidays. I'm considering making up a box of their favorite homemade baked goods for the ILs' gifts this Christmas.... maybe an apple pie, some homemade gingerbread, some fudge... nothing elaborate or expensive, but a few enjoyable snackies for their personal consumption over the holiday season.

sherry7
09-06-2008, 07:53 PM
We cut way down on our gift giving a long time ago. Basically, I buy for my son, husband, parents, and mom-in-law. I usually participate in the office grab bag, which is a $10 limit.

My son is in high school now, and by that age, teacher gifts aren't the "thing" to do. (He'd be mortified, lol.) But, when he was in elementary school, I used to buy an inexpensive tin container with a Christmas theme. Then I'd fill it up with homemade fudge and cookies. It cost very little, and his teachers always said they loved it.

Another idea...watch the sales at CVS. (There's always a thread posted on the Budget board.) You can get lots of things for free, or almost free. Take these items and make up gift baskets. Or, just keep the stuff yourself, and use the saved money on other gifts. :)

timzagain
09-06-2008, 09:51 PM
Thank you all for your suggestions.

disykat
09-06-2008, 11:22 PM
I am a teacher and I think it is awful that any teacher would dislike a gift given to her by a student. I cherish anything that my students give me and I make sure I display it for the rest of the year if it is something that can be displayed. The gift may not be my personal taste, but it came from a child and it was important to that child. Shame on that teacher!

She didn't say the teacher has actually disliked a gift - she was speculating. I wouldn't condemn a teacher for "the kind of person who" and "probably," nor would I condemn her for not tolerating scents. Many people don't like and/or are allergic to scents.

OP, I commend you for trying to get something the teacher would enjoy, but wouldn't it be easier to just have your child make a card and leave it be if you don't think she would enjoy a gift?

I'm a teacher and the only place I've seen where everyone is obligated to give gifts to the teacher is on the DIS.

mickimousemama
09-07-2008, 03:22 AM
My Dh's family never seems impressed with my hand made items at Christmas, but My kids love to make stuff and so I let them :) Last year we made coasters from 4x4" ceramic tiles, I let them decorate them and then put modpodge on them, you can paint them, put on stickers, add a picture whatever your heart desires. We did hot cocoa sets, we made wooden serving trays, (kids painted them) I laminated a picture of the three kids to the bottom of it, then layered it with mod-podge. bought some nice mugs at the $ store and made home made hot cocoa in a jar and put that with some little bags of "snowman poop" (mini marshmallows) then put in the coasters they made and had a sort of gift basket :)

My kids also always make an ornament for each aunt/uncle/cousin/grandparent, we do all sorts of things, plaster ornaments, salt dough ornaments ect.

For the teacher I'd get a mug and put a few stickers maybe a teacher stamp or things for her room :)

dbelmo
09-07-2008, 06:35 AM
I would just like to add my two cents.....

As a teacher, I am very grateful for any holiday gift I recieve. However, my colleagues and I would like to share the following with you:

1. We have enough mugs (most schools won't let you have a drink on your desk-- so we end up bringing them home. No one else I know has a complete set and then some of a "profession" mug.)
2. Candles-again we love the thought, but we too have allergies to certain scents.
3. Lotions - no matter the brand or company-- the Allergies come in to play again.
4. Homemade Goodies- We know they are made with love, and take time-- it is very hard for us to consume a "treat" from the kitchen of...... the kid who had lice last week, the girl who never washes her hair (full of grease) or the boy who has cat hair all over his clothes and tells you the cats do walk on the counter when mom is cooking.

Please do not think that I am ungrateful for the gifts that are given, I just wanted many of you to know what goes through our minds with each gift!

A gift card or a service is very much appreciated, by the time you get the $2 antibacterial, the wrapping stuff, the card, etc==== get $5 GC to a local coffee shop or sandwich shop.

Thanks for listening.
dbelmo

loveabargin
09-07-2008, 07:44 AM
I would just like to add my two cents.....

As a teacher, I am very grateful for any holiday gift I recieve. However, my colleagues and I would like to share the following with you:

1. We have enough mugs (most schools won't let you have a drink on your desk-- so we end up bringing them home. No one else I know has a complete set and then some of a "profession" mug.)
2. Candles-again we love the thought, but we too have allergies to certain scents.
3. Lotions - no matter the brand or company-- the Allergies come in to play again.
4. Homemade Goodies- We know they are made with love, and take time-- it is very hard for us to consume a "treat" from the kitchen of...... the kid who had lice last week, the girl who never washes her hair (full of grease) or the boy who has cat hair all over his clothes and tells you the cats do walk on the counter when mom is cooking.

Please do not think that I am ungrateful for the gifts that are given, I just wanted many of you to know what goes through our minds with each gift!

A gift card or a service is very much appreciated, by the time you get the $2 antibacterial, the wrapping stuff, the card, etc==== get $5 GC to a local coffee shop or sandwich shop.

Thanks for listening.
dbelmo

:rotfl2: :rotfl2: This is funny. I have a friend who is a teacher. She invites her closest friends over on the last day of school and after she gets what she wants, she lets them have anything they want. Sad, I know. You put all that time into purchasing the "perfect" coffee mug. But the truth is, she has no room for all that stuff! Since I know this, when my child had her two years ago, I gave her a box of wine (not tacky to her, she LOVES boxed wine...I put on her doorstep, didn't take to school) and a letter telling her how thankful I was to have her as my child's teacher and why. She tells me that letter meant more than anything. She keeps it and reads it to remind her why she choose this career in the first place. :goodvibes

MrsPete
09-07-2008, 08:00 AM
DD's teacher is extremely difficult to shop for! I have to say that, as a teacher, I am slightly uncomfortable accepting gifts for doing my job. Perhaps it's different at the elementary level, where students are with the same teacher all day long.My other favorite idea is a water bottle w/a built in filter, so it is green and totally portable! I have seen them for $10 at Target.That's a great idea -- I would love to receive one of those.for a family, a family zoo pass.I still remember my grumpy old, doesn't shop grandfather's gift to our family every single year as a child: A membership to a science museum. I can't remember all that many other gifts that I received as a child, but that one was very much appreciated. We probably went once a month, we always saw the traveling exhibits when they came to town, and we'd fuss over the magazine when it arrived in the mail.

addicted2dizney
09-07-2008, 08:07 AM
I have purchased Christmas ornaments for DD's and DS's past teachers. (I made sure they celebrated first! :) ) My feeling was that is was something small that would not clutter up their house and it could get packed away once the holiday was done.

Dbelmo, I was laughing reading your post! I have heard all these things way too many times from friends of mine that teach. What are your honest thoughts on an ornament? I must say that I usually go the $5-$20 GC route depending on the teacher. My kids are in Middle school and HS now so I tend to go smaller on the gift being there are so many teachers.

Another thing I did as a Homeroom mom.. Somehow, someway I always seemed to be the lead parent for my kids classroom.....:rolleyes1 After a few years you did kind of see the pattern that Dbelmo was talking about. I got to the point that I would ask for $5 a kid and put it all into one Mall gift card or American Express gift card. The teachers were thrilled because they could use the pooled money to buy something that they really wanted. I would say that was the most popular gift of all I gave to teachers and it cut down on the gift clutter. Occasionally I had a parent who would not send in money but most of the time I had 100% participation and the parents were grateful know that the gift was being taken care of.

starann
09-07-2008, 08:10 AM
My best friend is a 2nd grade teacher. She said (after 4 or 5 years of teaching) that she has more than enough mugs and often gives away the one she gets each year. Same thing with 'teacher' themed stuff.

I know she LOVED the BBW antibacterial no wash (needing no water) stuff. She doesn't have a sink in her classroom and uses it so the kids can 'wash' their hands after sneezing or coughing or after lunch.

She also loves gc .....a lot of the kdis in her calss are from lower income famililes and she appreciates any gift she gets, but at the end of the school year she ususally gets rid of a lot of the stuff. Which is sad to think that these families save to get her something and it usually works out ot be something she can't use!

I know in the past I have gotten my kids daycare providers gift, but they were in home daycares and I was friends with the owners. This year the yare in a church daycare and I barely know the teachers, so it will be smaller giftcards (maybe $10 a person) for their main teachers.

EthansMom
09-07-2008, 09:36 AM
Another thing I did as a Homeroom mom.. Somehow, someway I always seemed to be the lead parent for my kids classroom.....:rolleyes1 After a few years you did kind of see the pattern that Dbelmo was talking about. I got to the point that I would ask for $5 a kid and put it all into one Mall gift card or American Express gift card. The teachers were thrilled because they could use the pooled money to buy something that they really wanted. I would say that was the most popular gift of all I gave to teachers and it cut down on the gift clutter. Occasionally I had a parent who would not send in money but most of the time I had 100% participation and the parents were grateful know that the gift was being taken care of.

We did something like that last year for the teachers' end-of-year gifts. The room moms sent home a flyer letting all of the parents know that we were accepting donations ($10 recommended, but any amount would be fine) for the teachers' (2 co-teachers) gifts; that the $$ would be used to buy GCs for the teachers; and that all students, regardless of participation would be signing the teachers' cards. Instead of one big GC, we ended up getting each teacher 3 GCs (one to a local restaurant, one to the bookstore, and then for the older teacher who does crafts we got her a GC to Micheals and for the younger teacher who drinks a lot of coffee we got a GC to Starbucks).

The parents loved the ease and price of the gift and the teachers really seemed to love the GCs.

timzagain
09-07-2008, 09:42 AM
She didn't say the teacher has actually disliked a gift - she was speculating. I wouldn't condemn a teacher for "the kind of person who" and "probably," nor would I condemn her for not tolerating scents. Many people don't like and/or are allergic to scents.

OP, I commend you for trying to get something the teacher would enjoy, but wouldn't it be easier to just have your child make a card and leave it be if you don't think she would enjoy a gift?

I'm a teacher and the only place I've seen where everyone is obligated to give gifts to the teacher is on the DIS.


Actually, I am not speculating! I know the teacher quite well! We went to high school together. She taught my older girls and my nephew. Add to that the fact that I have either worked or volunteered at the school in so many different areas over the year, which has given me the opportunity to work with and observe her!

She has a whole long list of things she won't wear (religious reasons), won't use (like the scented stuff) and won't eat and places where she won't shop! She's a bit of a back-to-nature sort of person, and I have seen her house - the patio is full of potted plants! I don't think she'd scoff at any gift she received from her students, but I'd rather give her something she might actually like, instead of giving her something that won't suit her lifestyle.

This is going to be a hard academic year for DD - long story, but chalk it up to the differences between our educational system and the US system. Our children are required to write a common entrance exam at 11, for placement in secondary school. School placement is based on exam performance, and it goes without saying that all secndary schools are not created equal.

My DD has been diagnosed with ADHD, and it does present the teacher with some challenges! As a token of appreciation, we will be giving the teacher a Christmas gift, and we will probably give her a larger gift at the end of the school year, which will also mark the end of DD's tenure at the school!

Inigo
09-07-2008, 11:08 AM
When I taught, I'd give away or donate (to Goodwill) the things that I didn't want, since a person can only have so many items that say "World's greatest teacher". I took care to take what I donate to the Goodwill in the larger town 30 miles away, so that, if my families shopped at our local store, they wouldn't see their gift on the store shelf.

I did that with one mug, and I swear the exact same mug came back to me the next year.

lntsmom
09-07-2008, 06:15 PM
My take on ornaments for teachers...if the teacher is very young- under 25- there is a chance it will be appreciated. I know that I loved the ornaments I got that first year or two. However, I've shied away from ornaments since I heard one coworker talking. She had gotten married over the summer after her first year of teaching. The next December she came to work steaming. it seems her dh's mother had done an ornament collection for her children: one dated ornament each Christmas from birth through the age they married. She showed up at this coworkers home, extremely excited, with an early Christmas present. You guessed it...it was the ornaments. The coworker was furious- she had planned a "themed" tree and felt as if her MIL was being invasive by bringing ornaments and wanting to put them on the tree.

I was shocked...since I had two kids of my own by that time and have ornament collections for them. I felt sorry for the MIL and wondered if the coworker would change her tune once she had kids of her own. I often pray that my boys marry women who are accepting of me...and who don't view every little thing I do as a challenge to their authority.

So, since then, I have given no ornaments, other than cheapies used in place of bows on boxes.

I would rather have a giftcard, as others have said. However, I know a lot of people feel the way I do...gift cards can be a major PITA. I've had friends give me cards they got from parents because there wasn't a store near where they lived or because it was from a store they don't regularly shop at. I don't like it when my kids get gift cards because they never want to leave a penny on the card...meaning we always go over by a bit, so the gift ends up costing me, too.

Honestly, I'd most like something for my classroom. I have often given indoor recess games (toss across, simple board games), items I know the teacher needed (hula hoops and balls) or books. I've also given things like alphabet stamp sets and stamp pads, sets of those creative scissors, etc. Things the teacher could stick in a writing or art center. I greatly appreciate it when parents give me things for the classroom...and at Christmas you can pick up things like board games, card games, etc. for next to nothing.

tchrrx
09-07-2008, 06:34 PM
As a teacher, I appreciate any gift, card, or thoughtful action that comes my way. Do I keep every gift? Of course not. I don't keep every gift that family gives me either. Some things are simply not my taste. Would I ever admit that to the gift giver or act anything but grateful to them? No.

Favorite gifts from this past year:

- anything Disney. It showed me that my kids really knew me & put some thought into it.

- a box of See's chocolates. I'd heard they were good, but never had them. Wow!

- ornaments- I write the child's name & year on the bottom of the ornament. It's fun to think about them as I put the tree up each year.

- I have received some nice jewelry. I don't wear it often b/c I am not a huge jewelry person. I do thoughtfully remember the child when I do wear it though.

- gift cards are always nice b/c they can always be used. If giving a g.c. though, please include a nice note or card.

addicted2dizney
09-07-2008, 06:57 PM
[QUOTE=lntsmom;27425267]My take on ornaments for teachers...if the teacher is very young- under 25- there is a chance it will be appreciated. I know that I loved the ornaments I got that first year or two. However, I've shied away from ornaments since I heard one coworker talking. She had gotten married over the summer after her first year of teaching. The next December she came to work steaming. it seems her dh's mother had done an ornament collection for her children: one dated ornament each Christmas from birth through the age they married. She showed up at this coworkers home, extremely excited, with an early Christmas present. You guessed it...it was the ornaments. The coworker was furious- she had planned a "themed" tree and felt as if her MIL was being invasive by bringing ornaments and wanting to put them on the tree.

Yikes! I do the same thing for my kids.. I hope my future DIL will like it! :lmao:

Dismom55
09-07-2008, 10:01 PM
I have done a variety of things to creatively save on gift giving over the years. First I have done homemade baked goods, canned goods etc. Lots of homemade items too. What I have done in recent years is I do my shopping all year long, looking for those items that are on clearance.

I also, do things thru the year where I end up with a nice gift and I have spent nothing. This year we have been collecting the points from Pepsi, on the caps inside the boxes, so far I have collected 5 pepsi t-shirts for gift giving. I have decorative candles that I purchased earlier this year on clearance. I have a storage box full of items I have collected on clearance, right after halloween I will go thru the box and determine who get what. Sometimes I have a person in mind, sometimes I just think that would be a nice gift because I would like to receive it. I also get an ornament for each family member every year. Something I feel is indicative of them.

I have been doing the ornament for my kids for 35 yrs, one each year. Now I hope they would want to put them on their tree, but if not, well I hope that some day they will, but if not store them until they do want to use them. I have never had anyone complain. If I receive or have purchased an ornament that I don't care for anylonger, usually it ends up in the back of the tree, visible should anyone ask, but out of sight if I don't want to see it.

I also shop craft fairs, sometimes you find the most cutest things and if you are very lucky at a very good price too.

I also recycle gifts, I am highly allergic to lotions, perfumes etc and every year someone gives me something I simply can not use, so I regift it, it would be a waste not to, but I do be very careful, I tape a note as to who it came from and make sure I regift it to someone that person does not know.

I also do shopping at dollar type stores, sometimes they have things that I have seem elsewhere for much more.

I also make use of layaways, if I do not have the ready cash and I am at a store that has layaway, I use that if possible.

One last thing, we do not have credit cards, have not for 35 yrs, but if I did I would not purchase gifts on credit cards unless I had the cash to pay it off at the end of the month, you might save on the purchase, but the interest you pay will eat up the money you saved.

melancholywings
09-07-2008, 10:25 PM
We have some Greedy Entitled Ungratefuls in our family and have trimmed down our gift giving because of it. I got fed up with stressing and spending money on family who felt entitled to a gift, don't recipicate - not even to DD and then loudly complain about what ever we get them. These are adults even!
For everyone else we're making tye die shirts with DD.

MerryPoppins
09-07-2008, 10:51 PM
I have also purchased a special ornament for each of my children every year. Many are from family vacations we have taken. All are dated. We hang them on the family tree each year, but my hope is that they will someday want to take them with them to make Christmas in a new home more special. I would think they would bring back many happy memories. If the new spouse doesn't want them, I guess they'll remain on my tree instead. I'll leave that up to my child, I guess. Thanks for sharing how that DIL felt. I'd never imagined that anyone would feel that way.

As a teacher, I always enjoyed my gifts. Some were not my cup of tea, but they were precious to me because of the child that gave it to me. Some of the ornaments that were given to me over 20 years ago still hang on my tree and I still think of those kids each year. I have given away some of the mugs and things over the years, but I keep quite a few in my cabinet to use.

erin.w
09-07-2008, 11:00 PM
I have a good idea, what about a note letting you know that a donation was made in their name to a charity? I think I would appreciate that as a teacher, more than some of the clutter type stuff.

Some sites I've thought of using:
www.angelsgate.org
www.heifer.org

Doesn't have to be a big donation, as any amount would help the charities!

MerryPoppins
09-08-2008, 12:08 AM
A few years ago DD and I made throws for people on our list. I got fleece on sale and while they weren't terribly cheap, we still saved money and I still see family members using them so I know they were appreciated. You can also buy finished fleece throws and cross stitch or applique something on them if you're crafty.

I've given a BBQ basket, with several rubs or sauces, cookbook and some sort of tool for the grill.

I've done a salad basket, with a bowl, crutons, craisins, a recipe and tongs.

I've done the movie baskets with popcorn container from dollar store, microwave popcorn, large candy and a gc to Blockbusters.

I've done ice cream baskets, with gc for ice cream, a dipper and toppings.

Margarita basket with 4 cute margarita glasses and a container of margarita mix.

I've even done a birdfeeder with a sack of birdseed. (Picked up an inexpensive feeder at the dollar store and my friend said it's her favorite feeder to this day!)

If anyone else needs gift basket ideas, I'd be glad to help. I have tons of them. It's one of my favorite gifts. I usually just go hunting for something on sale that grabs my interest and then see if I can find some other inexpensive things to go with it. I stay away from the high dollar items.

luckey-lasvegas
09-08-2008, 12:47 AM
I have a good idea, what about a note letting you know that a donation was made in their name to a charity? I think I would appreciate that as a teacher, more than some of the clutter type stuff.

Some sites I've thought of using:
www.angelsgate.org
www.heifer.org

Doesn't have to be a big donation, as any amount would help the charities!

I LOVE heifer.org !
another one is
www.cotni.org/75-smilepacks

erin.w
09-08-2008, 07:50 PM
I LOVE heifer.org !
another one is
www.cotni.org/75-smilepacks


Great site! Thank you!

MerryPoppins
09-09-2008, 10:40 PM
I forgot what we do for our neighbors each Christmas. I go to www.recipegoldmine.com and look through their gift jar mixes. DD and I make up quite a few of these each year to give. We've done several of the cookie mixes and soups. We also like cocoa and coffees. These aren't bad to make, especially if you do several of the same mix. We just do it assembly line style. You could even package coffee or cocoa with Christmas mugs or a jar of cocoa and a jar of cookie mix. The small size of drink mixes make good teacher gifts (if the teacher isn't afraid to drink something from a kid's home). When I taught preschool (before my public school days) I used to give these to my co-workers and my DS's teachers. They loved them, because they asked for the recipes.

JackJack08
09-09-2008, 11:38 PM
For teachers I order off of vistaprint.com - they run specials ALL the time for free magnets, free notecards, free calenders etc. I make for each of my kids at Christmas the 100 free postcards (you do have to pay about $5 shipping) - you can also make a free post it note pad and other items in the same order so I make the little note pads for their assistants. Anyway on the front of the postcards I put " A note from Mrs. XXXXX" with some sort of school theme - their teachers LOVE them and then they have personal notecards to send hoem during the year. I usually then put those in a basket/purse from the $1 store with a Bath & body works antibacterial handsoap that I get when they are on sale for under $2 each & for under $10 I have a great personal gift.

If you go on vistaprint and the stuff isn't free - pm me and I can send you a link that has the sale stuff. I get emails all the time cause I order so much - and they encourage you to share the links.

I did notepads last year for the kids teachers. I got them off of e-bay..$3.50 each...super cheap and they were so cute. They were the talk of the staff room! Same idea as above "A note From Mrs. Smith..." and then you can scroll through dozens of faces/haircolors/glasses etc...to pick one that looks like the teacher. Soooo unique...and inexpensive! I think
I typed in stick people on e-bay and went from there. There are several people that do them. You can also get the same figure done on stickers for books. "This book belongs to Mrs. Smith"...that idea. For like...$1.50-2.00 per sheet of 25 or 50. Something that teachers can certainly use but makes them a little more fun.

3goofyboys
09-10-2008, 12:00 AM
My take on ornaments for teachers...if the teacher is very young- under 25- there is a chance it will be appreciated. I know that I loved the ornaments I got that first year or two. However, I've shied away from ornaments since I heard one coworker talking. She had gotten married over the summer after her first year of teaching. The next December she came to work steaming. it seems her dh's mother had done an ornament collection for her children: one dated ornament each Christmas from birth through the age they married. She showed up at this coworkers home, extremely excited, with an early Christmas present. You guessed it...it was the ornaments. The coworker was furious- she had planned a "themed" tree and felt as if her MIL was being invasive by bringing ornaments and wanting to put them on the tree.



This is OT, but when I did my first "grown-up" tree, I planned on a themed tree. Well, 10 years later, I still put up the lovely themed tree, but I also put up a fantastic hodge-podge tree. I got so many great, meaningful ornaments that I wanted to put up, but that didn't go with my tree so I just decided to put up a second tree. Hopefully your coworker came around and decided to display the ornaments, because while my themed tree is beautiful, the hodge podge tree is where all my memories are.

addicted2dizney
09-10-2008, 07:37 AM
This is OT, but when I did my first "grown-up" tree, I planned on a themed tree. Well, 10 years later, I still put up the lovely themed tree, but I also put up a fantastic hodge-podge tree. I got so many great, meaningful ornaments that I wanted to put up, but that didn't go with my tree so I just decided to put up a second tree. Hopefully your coworker came around and decided to display the ornaments, because while my themed tree is beautiful, the hodge podge tree is where all my memories are.

I do the same thing!:goodvibes The tree in my living room is what I call my "Department Store Tree" all white lights and only gold silver and white decoartions. It's beautiful. Our family room tree is the real tree in the house.. big colored lights and just about every kind of ornament under the sun! Each one is unique in some way.. either a gift we got, a trip we went on or the kids ornaments that I have purchased for them each year since birth. It's great and gives me the chance to have my real family tree and my "sanity" tree that is neat and uniform. :goodvibes