Share your inexpensive Christmas gift ideas...

Discussion in 'Budget Board' started by timzagain, Sep 6, 2008.

  1. timzagain

    timzagain Rena

    Apr 18, 2007
    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.
  2. Perditamarie

    Perditamarie DIS Veteran

    Jun 25, 2006
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  4. prncess674

    prncess674 DIS Veteran

    Apr 8, 2003
    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.
  5. Julia M

    Julia M DIS Veteran<br><font color =red>not clever, not wi

    Jun 10, 2000
    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.

  6. sk!mom

    sk!mom DIS Veteran

    Dec 30, 2000
    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.
  7. tarheel618

    tarheel618 DIS Veteran

    Jan 4, 2007
    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
  8. luckey-lasvegas

    luckey-lasvegas All our $$ is in IRA's - Ice Rink Activities

    Dec 23, 2004
    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.
  9. Grumpy's Gal

    Grumpy's Gal DIS Veteran

    Oct 5, 2004
    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.
  10. Eeyoreloverforever

    Eeyoreloverforever Mouseketeer

    Jan 30, 2003
    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.
  11. addicted2dizney

    addicted2dizney DIS Veteran

    Apr 29, 2007
    Keep em comin... I am getting some great ideas for this year! Thanks all! popcorn:: popcorn:: popcorn::
  12. lntsmom

    lntsmom <font color=teal>Soarin' is addictive!<br><font co

    Apr 3, 2005
    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.
  13. bucket o' butter

    bucket o' butter DIS Veteran

    Jun 22, 2008

    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!
  14. zoie101

    zoie101 1038 miles to the north

    Jul 16, 2008
    thanks for all the wonderful ideas!:cool1:

    DVCBELLE Princess at Heart

    Aug 1, 2006
    For teachers I order off of - 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.
  16. fnkyyellow

    fnkyyellow Harry Potter fanatic

    May 21, 2008
    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.
  17. EthansMom

    EthansMom <font color=red>spare yourself from asking me to d

    Jul 13, 2003
    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.
  18. sherry7

    sherry7 DIS Veteran

    Apr 29, 2001
    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 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. :)
  19. timzagain

    timzagain Rena

    Apr 18, 2007
    Thank you all for your suggestions.
  20. disykat

    disykat DIS Veteran

    Jun 5, 2000
    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.
  21. mickimousemama

    mickimousemama Mouseketeer

    Sep 7, 2008
    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 :)

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