Inexpensive Holiday Gifts

Updated on December 04, 2009
D. asks from Blue Bell, PA
30 answers

What can you get family members to show you care with out spending a ton of bucks ? I was thinking of personalized stationery. Do you have any suggestions ? Looking for a showstopper gift with a beer budget !

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J.W.

answers from Harrisburg on

Hi D.,

We did calendars last year (but without the dates because I did 10 of them for all different people) and they were a HUGE hit. We actually had some relatives getting jealous because they didn't think they were getting one (we don't usually buy for them) but were estatic when they found out they got one.

1 mom found this helpful
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M.N.

answers from Philadelphia on

I would say something with photos is always a winner and oftentimes relatively cheap.

A few ideas of smaller gifts:

zazzle.com - you can make magnets for about $2-$3 each and they are really cute. I made a set of various ones for each set of grandparents last year.

artscow.com - I haven't ordered anything from them yet, but they offer a lot of free items (where you only pay for shipping) when you sign up, including free photo books.

I have also made photo books on Kodak Gallery and other ones. I make one a year for each of the grandmas (actually on Mother's Day) so they have a collection.

Also an idea I read somewhere and may try: get a wooden frame and a photo of whatever you want as well as some tea cup hooks. Screw the tea cup hooks into the bottom of the frame and you have a fun place to hang keys.

All of these require little money and not a ton of time, but can also mean a lot.

Good luck!

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A.G.

answers from Philadelphia on

Wonder Time Magazine or Family Fun (don't remember which one) had a great idea in the most recent issue. Make a 'cousin book' with digital photos. Then put some info for each person's page (name, birthday, favorite book, etc...). I was thinking of doing this for everyone, not just cousins.
Then you can color copy the pages and have them bound at kinko's. it's probably $30 each.

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S.K.

answers from Philadelphia on

Last year, I used MyPublisher.com to make small little brag books for all of our family members. They have hardback ones for around $30 but I made the little paper ones that run around $10-12 each. And...if you go to their site, they usually have a place to sign up & get a free hardback book if you buy one (great 2 for 1 deal for g-parents). And...they send out coupons this time of year for like 40% off if you reach a certain amount so I bought 11 books for around $70 I think last year & everyone loved them. I put pics of my girls from the previous year in chronological order. $ is tight for us this year but I may do it again. (We usually do a pollyanna so this was in addition to that last year)

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S.H.

answers from Philadelphia on

I did this last year for family members. Go to MyKleenex.com and you can design your own tissue boxes. They are less than $5 a piece. You upload your own pictures, etc. You can also have writing, etc. They have a lot of great tools. They were a big hit.

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D.B.

answers from Philadelphia on

HI D.-

It's D. again. I think sometimes the best and most inexpensive gifts are the ones that we make. It depends on who, like what family members and ages and all that the gifts are for, but here are some ideas I have done in the past. We like to cook and bake in our house, so my girls and I have a salsa recipe and we made homemade salsas, homemade tortilla chips and went to the dollar store and got salsa bowls and that made a nice little gift. We would jar the salsa in those little "ball" jars that you get at the market, the ones people jar jelly in and then we would make a label for it. You can even tie the top with "raffia" which you can get at any craft store and it is cheap.

Also, I think we saw this in family fun magazine last year-take pieces to a puzzle and take one for a base, which would serve as a reindeer head and then add two other pieces one for each side (left and right) and hot glue gun them to the back of the base puzzle piece. Next, you paint them and after the are dry, glue squiggly eyes on them and then glue a pin clasp to the backside and you have yourself some cute Christmas pins. We made them last year and they were cute.

Next and last idea is simply gathering some meaningful photographs of loved ones and either compiling them into a photo album that you can creatively decorate or you can go to a Good Will store around you and pick up some cheap frames and decorate them yourself with a nice photo inside.

Hopefully this helps you-

D.

1 mom found this helpful
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K.K.

answers from Atlanta on

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W.F.

answers from York on

Here's my plan for the holidays... I asked our relatives to give me a list of birthdays and anniversaries without telling them why I need them. Blamed the need on my bad memory! What I'm really doing is making a calardar (staples.com has the cheapest, started at 9.99) and using pics of our kids for each month. I'm putting everyone's birthdays on the calendar and anniversaries if I have them. My parents, my in-laws, grandparents and siblings will get them for gifts this year. It takes a bit of work, but I'm hoping the "Family Calendar" will be worth it! I hope that helps!

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R.F.

answers from Philadelphia on

Photo gifts are always a great thing. I use Snapfish. They are reasonably priced too.

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D.C.

answers from Reno on

I am giving Scentsy wickless candles. They are a great gift, and very inexpensive! You can get them at www.danacarey.scentsy.us

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J.C.

answers from Philadelphia on

My husband and I have been giving inexpensive gifts year after year. People really like the handmade gifts. One year we did bread, another year sticky buns, scarves, etc. Last year we gave photos, which went over well too. I must say out of all of them, the sticky buns were the favorite. Everyone enjoyed them on Christmas morning or New Year's day, and they freeze well too.

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N.K.

answers from Pittsburgh on

Try Craigs list or ebay-- I found several good like new and new toys for my kids. Offer to babysit if they have kids so they can have a night out and buy them movie tickets. Personalized stationary is nice if they actually write letters or thank yous but so many people don't anymore. Who are you buying for that makes a difference.

B.K.

answers from Pittsburgh on

Hi D., Personal gifts are the best. Crafts or projects that you can do with your children as gifts for Grandparents, aunts & uncles & close family friends are even better. You can make tree orinments, holiday aprons, personal t-shirts or sweatshirts...you just have to think "outside" the box! Planning ahead and catching great sales is crucial too.

Putting together coloages of pictures is a great gift for just about anyone...and can free up much needed storage space! If you have a special poem or saying in your family print it onto some card stock and center it in a frame...then cut out all the people you want from old and new pictures and surround it! You can use tape or glue (I like the glue sticks) You can keep it small at 8x10, or go nuts and do an 11x14. You can find frames very resonably priced just about anywhere! Best wishes

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D.W.

answers from Philadelphia on

If they drink coffee they have nice coffee mugs at starbucks. they are $10 each,and you insert photos in them. another thing you can do is a nice picture of the kids with santa clause in a nice photo frame. you can also buy snowglobes at walmart about $3-4 each and put pictures in them also. if have never done it do the hands or feet imprints. you can buy kits for those in target or walmart.Last year everyone in the family got pics of tommy and santa clause. it was his first christmas and that was that because he was only five months old. i am half broke because i am the only one working while my fiancee stays at home with our son. good luck to you. i think something with pictures or something homemade is nicer than stationary. take care.

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L.T.

answers from Pittsburgh on

I like the idea of personalized stationery, but I don't know many people these days that actually send letters. Mailing labels or address stampers might be put to better use.

Some gift ideas I've used that were pretty inexpensive:

Decoupaged photo frames personalized to each individual

Photo calendars through Walmart

Disks filled with photos I have taken throughout the year

Food gifts (shop grocery sales)
- cookie mix, new spatuala and baking sheet
- jars of mixes - soups, stuffings, cookies
- trays of baked goods

One year I went to Michael's craft store every week starting in early November with the coupon from their weekly circular (usually 40% off) to buy art sets, craft kits, home decor items, candles, photo frames, or art supplies to make a basket of items. You could buy craft kits for the kids to make/personalize - stepping stones, mugs, tote bags, trinket boxes, holiday decorations, calendars, bird houses, "catch alls", etc.

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C.B.

answers from York on

Hi, D.!
I'm not sure if you have one where you are, but I LOVE to shop at the Christmas Tree Shoppe. NOT Christmas Tree Hill, oh my goodness, they're expensive, but the Shoppe. They have sooooo much for so little! It's great! Just about anything you could imagine.

I'm also all for homemade gifts. I love to make photo projects too. I recently got a really cheap, but very pretty, plate with fall leaves all over it (you can get holiday themed ones just about anywhere) and put a picture of my son in the middle of it and then painted his name with glitter glue and then put glue around the picture itself and then put bird seed on the glue for a frame. You could something similar with anything holiday related, or everyday things, if it's something that you would like people to be able to have out all year round.

Baked goods are always a winner too, imo, and you can place them in/on some very pretty plates, bowls, jars.....whatever, that the recipient can use after the goodies are gone.

I'll keep thinking on this one! Lol! HTH!

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A.K.

answers from Los Angeles on

How about a really cool ebook from Little Bird Tales? Kids can create art, stories or import pictures, then add their voice over each image! The end result is a one of a kind gift, momento, love note and story all rolled into one. You can draw online using their art pad, alter pictures using the art pad (we like to add word and thought bubbles), create a story or tell what's in the picture and then record your child narrating, making a commentary, or singing their favorite song or carol! A one month subscription is only $4.95 and you can create as many albums/books as you want, send it to everyone who has an email address and sit back and let the love and thanks roll back in. Everyone I send these to LOVES them like you can't imagine. Especially relatives from far away. The 30 day sub. is viewable for 60 days. A one year subscription is only $24.95 and as many of you know, that is CHEAP for a kids site. No ads, no merchandising and no links to any other sites, so your kids are safe. And it's a truly GREEN gift, because no natural resources are wasted. And did I mention it's totally fun for the kids. Makes a great gift, too. www.littlebirdtales.com

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M.B.

answers from Philadelphia on

D.,

Nothing is better than gifts that are made with love. I have one daughter (3) and we decorated picture frames (the foam ones with the magnets for the fridge) and inserted our holiday picture. We decorated photo boxes. I think this year we are going to make keychains with name blocks on them. One time we got one of those photo mattes with "grandchildren" written out and inserted pictures of all the grandchildren for my mom. If you don't want to make things there is always tickets to the movie theater and gift certificates to their favorite restaurant. I believe that there is no need to give someone something they will never use. Since letter writing is a forgotten art please make sure the stay will use it the starionary before investing in it.

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E.S.

answers from Pittsburgh on

Last year I received The Lakeside Catalog in the mail and fell in love with it. It has lots of gift items that don't cost a lot. My sisters and I decided not to buy anything for each other a few years ago, but the one always bakes and packages up stuff for us. So I decided to buy these small angels for their visors that say something like "Sister, I love you, so please don't drive faster than your Guardian Angel can fly".

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D.B.

answers from Oklahoma City on

I did this for my kids. Go to santasofficialmail.com and you can personalize your own letter from Santa Claus for kids! They are less than $6.99 a piece. They are sent from North Pole, Alaska to make it even more authentic! The kids LOVED THEM!!!

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T.B.

answers from Philadelphia on

Every year my sister n I do up baked goods and give everyone little baskets.
I make gel candles from home so I can personalize the candles to everyone preference on color and smell!! Prices vary from $3.50 up to $10.00.
For some family members I have made fleece blankets - material not that pricey a Wal-Mart. I got a yard for about $5-6 and you can have fun picking different patterns.
My girlfriend makes candy wreaths. Not sure of your budget - $20-25.00 each.

If interested let me know.

Good Luck!!

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C.H.

answers from Philadelphia on

Hi D., last year i made slate hanging plaques for all the grandparents... I bought them at a.c.moore and went each week i had a 40% off coupon and got them for about 6 or 7 dollars a piece. There are insructions on the tag on the plaque on what you can use on slate... I sprayed mine with a clear acrylic sealer then use a small stencil and acrylic paint to put "bebops house" (thats what my daughter call there granparents) and then just did a couple small stencilled flowers on it... For the other set of grandparents i actually put a picture of my girls on it and sealed it in the end with the acrylic sealer. They were a well appreciated gift, and came out really cute...good luck with your search...i'm trying to figure out what to do this year too...i guess i'm off to a.c.moore.

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R.B.

answers from Philadelphia on

If you feel up to it, baking is always nice. I have a few 'go to' recipes because my recipients enjoy and look forward to getting the same things. I make cinnamon biscotti, which is slightly time consuming, but makes an abundance so is worth it. People really appreciate you using your own time to make a gift. I never try to dress up the packaging either. Just a plain bag and a pretty ribbon or label and I am done. Let me know if you want any recipes. Good luck. This is not an easy time of year.

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M.A.

answers from Allentown on

We are in the same boat this year. Homemade gifts is always a great way. You can make salt dough ornaments. My daughter and I did that last year and then I took a picture of her in her Christmas dress, printed them out myself, and bagged them up in christmas cellophane bags, and that is what they all got. It went over great.

This year, my daughter and I have made all of the adults on our list mosaic address signs. It cost about $150.00, and I have gotten about 20 gifts out of it.

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H.F.

answers from Pittsburgh on

One thought would be to put together a slide show/movie for your family members of your kids from the past year and accompany it with a custom calendar. For mine, I use Microsoft Moviemaker (allows me to import the photos, music and use different effects on the photos and to move from photo to photo) but there are other programs out there as well. When I am done putting it together I publish it to a DVD so that it can be played on DVD players as well as computers but if you don't have the capability, you could publish on a regular cd for playing on computers alone.

This would cost you the time (possibly the cost of a program... which you can get a cheap knock off program to do the same as Microsoft Moviemaker).

The other part of this idea was a calendar for your family members. You can do custom calendars at Walmart, Target, Sams Club or many other places including online photo places like Snapfish, Flickr, Shutterfly, York and Kodak. You can usually pick which photos for which month and some have more than one format. Usually this is inexpensive and something personal that friends and family would enjoy. There are other photo product options. We bought our children's grandparents mugs the one year with our daughter's photo on them.

Also, if you are handy with a sewing machine and have a little extra time, you could make a lap quilt for grandma's or a special aunt or friend. I used old white pillow cases last year for the one I made for my grandmother along with quilting scraps I bought at Michaels. And then I used iron on sheets for my inkjet printer and made a collage of photos for each white square. Each square was a great grandchild. My grandmother really seemed to enjoy it.

You could go simpler and do just a quick pillow with a large photo of your three kids. You can sometimes find patterns for these at places like Michaels.

Anyhow, just a few quick thoughts for ideas with photos for gifts. Hope this helps out a little. Best of luck with your gift buying.

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A.P.

answers from Pittsburgh on

LOVE the idea of personalized stationary. You could also do magazine subscriptions for each person.

good luck

M.L.

answers from Erie on

I received homemeade stationery once and thought that was a cool gift! I was also thinking of homemade dip mixes or baked things like that are in the "gifts in a jar" books you see around. I always liked receiving homemade things. :)

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J.B.

answers from Scranton on

I think personalized stationery is a great idea! Also, if you want convenience you can check out www.JillMall.com and shop online for toys etc. Or if you want to buy healthy products like bath bars with no animal fats I can help out.

Email me for more information.
J.
http://www.GetwithitGoGreen.com

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I.B.

answers from Allentown on

Hi D.,

I'm a stay at home Mom too. I have 4 children 2 boys and 2 girls.

I have my own home based candle business. The candles make a terrific gift. They are made from a veggie/soy bees wax base. The 16 ounce jars last anywhere from 88 to 120 hours. I'm running a special on them 2 for $30.00 that includes taxes and shipping if your local?

You can view that candles at: www.trisharaycandles.scent-team.com

I. B.

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