Ways to stretch the "gift budget" at Christmas or Birthdays

Anne - posted on 12/06/2010 ( 21 moms have responded )

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I would love to hear ways you have used to stretch your Gift Budget. Remember that a Gift of Time that "does not cost money" is often the most Extravagant" you can give.


In our family for the kids that read we have an envelope on the tree (If you do not do a tree you could find somewhere that works for your family) giving a clue to where to look for either the next clue or the gift. The clues can either be wrapped or just another piece of paper. Either way it is a fun way to make the "gift" giving last longer with out spending more money. We usually do 3 clues that will lead to the gift. for the children that do not read we have used pictures either cut from magazines or drawn. Now with the internet and "clip art" so easy to find you could use pictures from the computer.

The clues should be kept simple according to the age of the child. Our daughters were 21 and 25 years old the last time we did this. Because both girls were older we made the clues relate to them as a team to solve one set of clues to find matching gifts.

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Carla - posted on 12/08/2010

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Hate to sound like a commercial, but Hobby Lobby is Christian-owned, so I thought I'd throw it in here. I was there today, and everything is 50-75% off! If you have home decor on your shopping list, THIS is the place!

My daughter and dil buy pretty grandkid photo frames and give us the most recent pix of the kiddies. Grandparents just eat this stuff up, and it's fairly cheap ;)

Nikkole - posted on 12/07/2010

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Im actually making all my husbands family's gifts :) it costs a little more than to just buy the things im making but it means more and i LOVE doing crafts and sewing!

Rebecca - posted on 12/06/2010

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I spent about $30 in yarn and am knitting hats for the nieces and nephews, and some toys.
http://www.ravelry.com/projects/rlmeals/...
http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/...
I can probably get 3 hats out of one $2.47 skein of yarn, and you can probably expect to pay at least $20 for this hat in a store. I'm thinking of doing sock and fingerless mittens for some of the adult girls. Still don't know what to do for the guys! Also, I'm knitting and crocheting some Christmas ornaments to give as gifts, and to use on my own tree!
http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/...
http://www.hookandyarn.com/uploads/snowf...

Also, I make hot chocolate mix and put it in quart sized mason jars with a ribbon and tag with instructions. Also, homemade preserves. Starting this year, we are doing homemade gifts for everyone. I only decided this within the last month, so I've got a late start! But I've already picked out some stuff for next year that I will be working on all year long. I can probably only knit so much before there's not anything I can make that people will actually use, but I can't also do some other crafts that I'm sure will be appreciated. I made myself a shawl that cost $20 in yarn. I'd expect at least $60 for something like this...just guessing.
http://www.ravelry.com/projects/rlmeals/...
http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/...

I'm just saying that if you know how to do things by hand, you can save an enormous amount of money, and handmade things are almost always more appreciated and cherished that finding something for everyone at a decent price (because how good of a gift can you get for $10-$20 nowadays? And we have 20 people in our immediate family...us, our parents, siblings, and nieces and nephews).

Heather - posted on 12/06/2010

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We do about 50% of our Christmas shopping at thrift stores. You can find really cool stuff there: clothes, toys, books, movies and more. It's a TON cheaper than buying new, but it's still new to your family. These are often my kids favorite items because it's something they have never seen, and often isn't made anymore. We actually just bought our girls their birthday presents at the thrift store yesterday. They both got bicycles. Instead of this costing 50 dollars (or more) we spend just over 10. :)

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Carla - posted on 12/12/2010

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@Rebecca, you are like me--I love symmetry! Probably won't get to it before this Christmas, maybe, tho!

Rebecca - posted on 12/11/2010

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No problem! I only changed it because it wasn't quite symmetrical...had a ch5, sk 2, sc in next sc, then CH5 SK 3...made one chain of stitches go across three sc and the other only go across 2...it looked funny to me, and it was SUPPOSED to be centered...anyway, if you can't figure it out, I'll copy and paste the new pattern instructions I made onto a PM for you.

Good luck! I'd love to see a picture when you finish, and I'll post one, too, when I find my camera!!!

Carla - posted on 12/11/2010

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@Rebecca very cute! I can do the edging, I think, cuz it won't take long, however, if I get stuck, I'll message ya! Thanks, honey!

Rebecca - posted on 12/11/2010

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@Carla: I just finished a beautiful knitted snowflake! Here's a link to the website, just click "download now" to get the PDF (it's free). There are several knitting ornament patterns, and there's at least 2 others I want to try of the 5 patterns shown. http://www.knittingdaily.com/media/p/202...



I don't have a picture of mine yet, but you can see in the PDF they did theirs in blue. I did mine in Aran (it's an off white for those of you who don't know!). It turned out beautifully, and I'm going to add a little thin ribbon to attach it to the tree. The only thing I would do differently is the decrease. Since you're a knitter, I'm assuming you'll know what I'm talking about! Instead of a S1, K2tog, PSSO, which leave a little left leaning bar at the decrease, you can do a S2tog, K1, P2SSO, which gives a beautiful center decrease that creates a "vein" of knit stitches from each point to the middle of the snowflake. I did my snowflake the first way because that's what the pattern called for, but another member on ravelry had a picture of hers posted the second way, and I asked her what decrease she used; I will do that for my snowflakes from now on! This one is a gift, but I want to make several for my tree for next year.



Sorry for all the technical talk...you may not even want to do it...but I wanted to show you because I really thought these snowflakes were beautiful. Oh, by the way, the edging is crochet, but it's easy (I modified it, too).



EDITED TO ADD: IF YOU LIKE IT AND WANT TO KNOW HOW I MODIFIED THE CROCHET, PM ME AND I'LL LET YOU KNOW!

Carla - posted on 12/10/2010

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@Rebecca--I made a sweater with this pattern to wear over tank tops. Very cute!

Carla - posted on 12/10/2010

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@Rebecca--yes, I am proud to be carrying on a lost tradition--using our hands to provide for our families. My grama was never without some sort of work in her lap, and I find it comforting to be doing something she taught me.

Will check out the websites you provided, I can't crochet much anymore because of chronic tendonitis and carpal tunnel, but CAN knit, but am always looking for new ideas!

God bless, darling!

Charity - posted on 12/09/2010

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I make cookies for everyone in my family. They seem to really like it and I buy the pre-cut cookies at GFS. This year I am making them my self I found books of cookie mix for $1 so I am saving there and I am wraping them in paper my boys get to darw on so not only do their aunts get cookies the get art from them.

Rebecca - posted on 12/08/2010

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I also love Hobby Lobby! They have awesome sales BEFORE Christmas! 50% off a couple weeks ago on all Christmas decor...I haven't been in lately, but you can on their website and see what their weekly ads are.

@Carla: I do use crochet thread and steel hooks. Here are some snowflakes I'm making right now.
http://www.hookandyarn.com/uploads/snowf...
You can also use starch to stiffen them, FYI!

And here is a link to the knitted clear glass ball covers I'm working on (scroll down just a bit to see the ornament; the pattern is free, but you have to join Ravelry to see it):
http://knitfreedom.com/free-patterns/how...

My grandma used to make doilies, chair sets, house shoes for us, bookmarks, and all sorts of beautiful work. She taught me how to do a doily when I was a kid, and I had forgotten how until I decided to teach myself again last year. Now doing it makes me feel somehow like I'm carrying a part of her with me, carrying on a tradition and art that many my age (28) have either forgotten or never knew about. And I like homemade stuff, so I'm working on a whole bunch of handmade ornaments for our tree that will be keepsakes and special things for my kids and grandkids in the future. And you can gift them as well!

Heather - posted on 12/08/2010

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LOVE Hobby Lobby! It's great for notebooks, and such as well! They have GREAT products and tons of Christian decor, and most items are extremely well priced! :)

Carla - posted on 12/08/2010

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@Rebecca--do you make your ornaments out of crochet thread and steel hooks? There are simple to very elaborate patterns and after making them, saturate in a solution of sugar and water, and after they dry, iron. Very, very cute!

Sarah - posted on 12/08/2010

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Last year I filled jars with the dry ingredients for chocolate brownies, layered up like sand art, and put on a label with instructions on how to bake them.

This year I'm making jars of Christmas chutney to give, not for the children, obviously!

Julie - posted on 12/07/2010

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Buy year round!
Buy at sidewalk sales and year end sales AFTER Christmas... for the next year. You'll be happily amazed at how much money you'll save AND you don't have to be buying gifts all in one month -

Anne - posted on 12/07/2010

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Jessica if they are not Diabetic try cookies or breads like banana bread or any try "quick Bread" You can get either Very Small bread pans from Cooking or Bakery supply type stores. Or from stores like Wal-Mart small aluminum bread pans that you can reuse or just keep the bread in the pan. fudge goes over good also. I have a great banana bread recipe that I have used for over 30 years if you or anyone else wants it message me.

Jessica - posted on 12/06/2010

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Did some homemade tutus for the small gals and had my girls paint on canvases (5 for $15 at Michael's). Had them decopauge coffee cans to place homemade cookies in. I don't knit but like the cook book idea. Putting together gift baskets with jam I made this summer but need ideas for other things to put in these. The crowd is 55 and older...

Rebecca - posted on 12/06/2010

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Sorry about the Ravelry links in my last post. I didn't realize until now that you have to be a member to see those (it's free to sign up...it's a knitting and crochet community). Anyway, sorry about that. I was just trying to show examples of what you could do!

Anne - posted on 12/06/2010

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Garage sales and the second or last day or an Estate Sale are usually good places to find things also. One year I did manage to go to the first day of a sale. (My mom made and sold ladies hats in the 1940-50's so I wanted to get there early to go through the "Lots Of Vintage Hats" that were advertised. I did not find any of her hats, but I did find 3 complete sets of Kitchen towels with the price tags still on. When I opened them on Christmas Morning we all got a good laugh at the money saved.

Jennifer - posted on 12/06/2010

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I shop all year long. As I see things that i know someone I care about will like I pick it up wrap it and it's ready for the Holiday. I shop at after Christmas sales and anytime the toy aisle has a clearance I scour it. For my daughter's 5th birthday i caught WalMart having a major toy sale and ended up with Barbie play sets and My Little pony and Baby dolls Galore. It was enough for birthday and Christmas AND some for my neice and I only spent like 40 dollars. I also make alot of gifts. This year i bought a scrapbook on clearance and I already have scrapbooking materials and I printed out recipes on pretty colored paper and cut them with different style shears and scrapbooked a cook book for a new mom.

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