Low Cost/ Do It Yourself Christmas Gift Ideas

Updated on December 06, 2008
A.S. asks from Saint Clair Shores, MI
32 answers

Hi Moms!
I was wondering if anyone had any ideas for home made Gifts to give to my family and friends for Christmas. Unfortunatly this year we are super strapped for cash, but I really want to try and give everyone something. I have a 3 month old daughter and I would like to make something for friends and family incorporating her. I thought maybe buying christmas bulbs/ornaments and using washable paint to put her handprints on them and then using some sort of seal spray paint or something. I was just hopeing someone may have ideas for me, we can't afford to shop for normal gifts so your ideas will mean the world to me :)
Thank you!!!

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So What Happened?

First off I want to thank all of the moms out there who gave me great low cost/ do it yourself Christmas gift Ideas. I got over 30 responses in the first 24 hours and almost 50 total through this evening. There were many great ideas from many crafty women in our area. We have decided to make ornaments from the flour/salt dough mix. We are going to tint them with food dye, cut them out with cookie cutters, and then imprint our 3 month old daughters hand print in them, also we are going to write a to/from message on the back. I am going to make a hole in the top for a ribbon so they can be hung on the tree also attach a magnet to the back to they can be transfered to the fridge, that way its not only a seasonal item. Some of the other ideas I recieved I am going to use for other holidays, such as birthdays or Easter. Again, thank you everyone for all of the great Ideas and all of the well wishes for us being first time parents :). Happy Holidays! - A.

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C.B.

answers from Detroit on

We make homemade Christmas ornaments every year and the kids love it and it makes for a nice family tradition that everyone looks forward to even the people that we give the ornaments to. Last year we made snowflake ornaments out of craft sticks and we glued on buttons and put a festive ribbon on top and everyone loved them. I usually make either cookies or candy to go with it and everyone just loves it and it's very affordable.

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J.H.

answers from Grand Rapids on

Here is an idea I made last year with my daughter. We bought plain handled gift sacks, you can buy them in bulk at michaels or hobby lobby etc. they come in white or colors. Decorate them with ribbon, paints, stamps etc. People always use gift bags. We did different themes on the bags. I found the ribbon on discount, paints and stampers I had. The relatives loved them. My daughter was thrilled when she received a gift in one of them from Grandma!

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G.B.

answers from Detroit on

I think making ornaments is a great idea. You could also do something with a photo. Good luck! We are making gifts this year too.

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K.K.

answers from Saginaw on

make your own special x-mas ornaments for your family

4 Cups of Flour
1 Cup of Salt
1 1/2 Cups of Hot Water
Holiday Cookie Cutters
Decorations, Glitter, Paint, Beads, Etc.

Knead the dough and roll it out to cut out shapes with cookie cutters (just like if you were making sugar cookies). Place them on a microwave safe plate and microwave on high for about 2 minutes.

here's one for a snowman family...you can customize it...to however many members are in the family that you are giving

This cute little snow family craft idea is easy to bake up. Paint them white then have a ball adding the finishing touches. Be as creative and colorful as your heart desires.
Materials: 1 cup salt
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup water
acrylic paint in black, white, pink, green, orange, and red
paintbrush
two orange toothpicks
6 small twigs
felt scraps
2 mini pom poms
1 small gold glitter pom pom
pink and gold ribbon

IMPORTANT NOTE: This recipe for salt dough makes a lot of projects. If you only plan on making a few, cut this recipe into fourths or in half.
Preheat oven to 250 F. Mix together, salt, flour, and water until a dough is formed. Knead the dough on a floured surface until the mixture is elastic and smooth. If dough is too sticky, sprinkle with flour, continue to do so until stickiness is gone. BE CAREFUL. Do not add too much flour, this will dry out the dough and will cause it to crack before you get a chance to bake it.

THIS DOUGH IS NOT EDIBLE, though it won't hurt you or your kids, it just won't taste very good!

Roll dough in your hands to form different sized balls. Make three snowmen from the balls, then line them up on the cookie sheet. Make sure they are touching each other so that they will be one piece after baking.

Break or cut orange toothpicks in half. Insert toothpick halves, point size out, into the each snowman head for the nose. Insert twigs for arms into each snowman. Be sure to both of these steps BEFORE baking.

Paint snowmen with white paint. Use the wrong end of the paint brush to dot on colored buttons (we used green on one, red on another, and orange on the third).

Use a smaller paintbrush to repeat this method for adding eyes and mouths with black paint. Alternatively, you can use a black Sharpie marker if you prefer.

Embellish your snow family by fashioning scarves and hats out of scrap pieces of felt and adding a pom pom to the top of the hat. Add on ribbon and make ear muffs out of a small piece of gold ribbon and tiny pom poms. Use photo as a guide. Let dry completely and display.

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M.F.

answers from Benton Harbor on

My son's daycare made this for us, when he was an infant. and it is so cute he made sure to hang it on the tree this year when he helped me decorate. Take a piece of white felt, and brown washable paint, a red pom pom and two moveable eyes. To make Rudolphs head, put paint on the bottom of your daughter's foot and then place on the white felt, then do the same for each hand. Place one hand at top right and the other hand at the top left to make it look like antlers. Let dry, and glue on the pom pom at the bottom where the heal of her foot was, and the eyes on the top part of the foot. They also took a whole punch and punched to wholes in the top of the felt, and ran red yarn through it so you could hang it, and put the date on it.

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M.S.

answers from Detroit on

Hi A.,
I hope you can follow my steps becuase it makes a cute gift. It's a Christmas wall hanging. Take a 8 x 12 piece of fabric (it can be any size 8 x 8, 8 x 10 etc. ) I used red and white stripped fabric like a candy cane.
Take green paint and make your daughters hand prints to form a circle like a wreath. (my son was 3 when I did this so it took 5 handprints to make a wreath)(the fingers are pointing outwards). Then use red sparkle paint to form little balls in between the handprints, these are the holly berries. Glue on a red ribbon. Turn the top of the fabric over a little bit at the top and sew or glue it down. Run a dowel threw it
and you have a cute holiday wall hanging.
I love mine and hang it up each year.
Have a great First Christmas with you dear daughter.
~M.

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B.J.

answers from Detroit on

Congradulations on 1st time mom & dad, jobs are tight, I'm self employed hair stylist, who just needs 100 or so more clients, call for appt. ###-###-####, best of luck to you in the market. Now, you will need empty baby food jar, ribbin, ice cream stick, virgin olive oil, & granulated sugar. This is called the (one minute miracle). You could put the childs hand print on the jar, cute, then 1/3 sugar to olive oil in jar, place stick and ribbin around lid with directions on sm. paper, print mix with stick, place one nickel size amount in palm of hand, mock wash hands for one minute, rince in luke warm water, your hands will feel as soft as a childs skin. Perfect for over worked moms hands, and even dads, anyone who works with boxes, lots of papers, ectra.,,things which make ones hands very dry. We gave this to our day care privider, they loved it, this retails for $30.00 at J.C.Pennys stores. Best of luck to you, I prefer homemade gift, they are more personal. B.

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M.A.

answers from Detroit on

Last year when I was very strapped I made an ornament of my son's handprint. It's kinda big, because my son was 13 months at the time, but it's very cute. I also took a picture of him sleeping by the tree and used that for my Christmas card, which I bought for less than 20 dollars.

Another great idea is to make Angel Wings out of your daughters feet. You would put them back to back and put a face picture in between and then draw a halo around it. Make that into an ornament.

Good luck!

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J.D.

answers from Detroit on

Hi A.!
Just an idea for you to consider:

Create your own photo collage using 4 or 5 of your pictures you've taken of your daughter for friends/relatives on your list! Take your memory card or photos to be scanned to Kinkos and use their photo machines there. You can create a 5x7 collage using your own pics. Then, frame the collage and it's a great gift! I make these for all my 15 month old daughter's grandparents as gifts, and they love it, 'cause they have 4 or 5 pics of them with her, or just pics of her, all in a nice framed collage.

I'd encourage you to check it out - just try to have someone watch the baby so you can focus on what you are doing. Oh yeah - these collages are only $1.99 each - not bad, eh? And you can get frames for around $5-7 at Kohls when they have their sales, which is like every day there :) All in all, a nice gift for maybe $10 at the most.

Also, if you are able to get to Flower Factory - they have 5x7 frames at wholesale cost. Just another idea!

God bless you,
J.

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S.G.

answers from Detroit on

Hi A.
We do a lot of handmade gifts in our family. I get a ton of great ideas from Parents and Family Fun magazines. Check out their websites to get some ideas. We are thinking of doing the snowman door stop from Family Fun this year. Also, every year the grandparents get photo ornaments of the kids. My mom likes to hang them up each year to show how the kids have grown.

Have Fun!!

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A.M.

answers from Detroit on

My parents and in-laws loved getting the girls' handprint ornaments that we made for their first Christmases. I used Crayola Model Magic to do the print in (it comes in various colors). I took one of the small packs, rolled it out into an oval, placed her hand in the middle and pushed down on her whole hand a little. The nice thing about the model magic is that if it doesn't look right the first time, you can roll it out again and do it over. Be sure to leave room at the top to put a hole in before it dries. Then once it was dry, I used glitter glue to write their names and the date on it. I am sure a marker would work just as well. String a pretty ribbon through the hole and you have a cute ornament.
have fun~
A.

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P.L.

answers from Grand Rapids on

what about making small votive candle holders from used (and washed) glass jars. I always have a lot of small glass jars around. You can decorate the outside in a million different ways...with torn tissue paper, paint, leaves or small bits of evergreen branches and pinecones, or just tie some pretty fabric scraps around them. You can wrap a wire around the top with a loop for hanging if you want. Then just drop in a little tealight candle.

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J.G.

answers from Saginaw on

You could make christmas ornament with your childs picture on it!! i saw a present were you bought cheap kitchen towels or oven mitts, hot pads and put your childs hand and foot prints on them for Grand parents maybe!! i am i the same boat with the gift giving thing, My daughter is 2 1/2 she is making holiday rugs for her grandparents.

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D.T.

answers from Detroit on

I do a lot of homemade foods for xmas. I think ppl like that plus if they don't they can throw them out after a week w/o guilt. One thing I made one year which was my favorite and even recieved well by my MOL. I bought one of those wreaths from Michaels and the little mini foam picture frames from the foam section and decorated the wreath w/ the pictures in the frames. Used xtra ribbon etc It was colorful and simple and everyone loved it! If you have xtra frames you can add more pictures next year. I have also seen coasters that you can put pictures in....I liked those.

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R.M.

answers from Detroit on

Hi A.,

One year, my children and I decorated beautiful clear and frosted ornaments with paint markers (tips were fine enough for drawing designs and writing names and messages). Each was very unique (and the teachers were very happy to have personalized ornament as well). This was very inexpensive and gave the children a chance to be creative at the same time.

R. Morton

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P.C.

answers from Detroit on

You could make picture frame out of popsicle sticks and paint them. Insert a picture and there is a present sure to be treasured.

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P.B.

answers from Detroit on

A.,

I have done this for both of my kids for Christmas presents to the grandparents. I get a phot album from local store put a picture of my little on in the front then if the outside allows stickers. I buy the ones that you can spell out your own words. Grandma Love Madelyne and then use her middle and last name. You would need to by glue to insure the letters do not fall off.

Best of luck and Merry Christmas.
P.

Simple idea

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C.M.

answers from Detroit on

Being a mom to a little one keeps you busy, I'm sure. I'm all for the traditional cookies as a gift. People love them. You can go to the dollar store and find some nice holiday plates and include that with your gift. Another idea is to create some cards and package them with envelopes. These make nice gifts too and are inexpensive to make. You can use your computer or stamp them.

If you are interested in earning extra cash, become and Avon Rep. I have been a rep for 12 years and love it. As a leadership rep, if you sign up with me, I will support and help you succeed, plus I will pay your start up cost. I can give you more information if you're interested. Just e-mail me at [email protected]____.com

Good luck with your gifting.

C.

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S.M.

answers from Detroit on

Hi A.,

You could take a picture of your daughter and make frames to give as gifts. Or instead of the gift involving her, you could use her hand prints on the paper you wrap the gift in. I'd think homemade gifts like baked goods, melt and pour soaps (can get at a hobby store, seasoned nuts, homemade candies. You can use regular coffees or teas and make them special by flavoring them with spices, or flavorings as well. Check online for great homemade gift giving ideas.If there's a craft you're good at, incorporate that in the gift giving. Or for another family with children, exchange babysitting, by making coupons you both could use. Another way to reduce, reuse, and recycle would be to give someone something you have, but don't use. Such as costume jewelry, a candle you never used, a special plate, that has cookies loaded on it, etc. Use your creativity.

Merry Christmas,

S.

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R.G.

answers from Detroit on

I make cookie tins, coffee cakes, and miniture banana breads for everyone. They love it!!!

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L.J.

answers from Detroit on

if you go to a pottery painting place than you can maybe paint her hand print on something besides xmas things like a mug or plate they usually cost about 15 to 20 dollars

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C.J.

answers from Lansing on

A.,

Sears had a coupon sent out to some families in our area for $4.99 pictures with no sitting fee. If this is still available you could have her picture taken (or take it yourself if you have a digital camera) and put the picture on an ornament.

Or take a recent photo and put it onto the transferable paper and iron her picture onto a fleece scarf (you could buy the fleece yourself and cut it into scarf lengths with fringe).

We use our son's artwork for gifts and put his school picture in a corner with the date for family gifts. This might be something you can do when your daughter is older.

Good luck.

-C..

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C.C.

answers from Detroit on

The first christmas with my daughter, we did a lot od handmade ornaments. The grandparents and family loved them -- and what a way to mark and remember the time. If you don't want to go the breakable ornament route -- we didn't I figured she'd break them as we went and we would have even more drama. Use some contruction paper and cut out the shapes you want -- can get really creative -- use 2 colors, shapes, all that jazz. Use some white non-toxic paint and put your daughters handprint or even a few fingers on them. On one, or even all her fingers you can draw a face, hat, scarf, arms.. make a snowman! You can buy contact, or even the self stick lamenating paper to seal them in. They went over huge with our family! They take a little time, but the cost is low, and the rewards were great.
PS. you can even put pictures on them too!
Good luck!
C.

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T.A.

answers from Grand Rapids on

A.,

I know what you mean about not much cash for Christmas this year. I have seen clear glass Christmas bulbs, where they took the hook off the top (so its open and you can put stuff inside) and rolled up a photograph to get it through the hole (once its in the bulb it will unroll on its own) and then cut up shiny glittery paper or ribben to make a sort of confetti and put some of that in the bottom of the bulb until it reaches the bottom of the photograph. Then just put the top/hook peice back on the ornamanet wipe off you fingersmudges and your done. They look really special too!

Something I am doing this year is making a couple of recipes from my husbands families side. Croation Nut Bread (Polteetza) and Croation Nut Cookies (Kifle) they are delicious, fairly easy, and freeze well, so I can make them in advance. I am also making some homemade cinnamon raisin bread too. If you want to recipes send me a message and I will be glad to pass them on!

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A.T.

answers from Detroit on

Hi A.,
As a mother of 3 I have come to learn that when you have a new baby, most people don't expect much from you as most of your time and money goes towards the baby. However, something that I have recently learned is craft stores have these wonderful kits that range from $10 to $20 and go a really long way. One year my kids and their friends as well made personalized soaps, bath salts, lotions, lip balm and chap sticks. Another year we made little glass candle holders with beads and a charm on them. This year we are most likely going to bake mini bread loafs and or cookies. If you are thinking ornaments, you can get styrofoam balls and cover them with glitter baby hand or feet prints. I suggest going to your local craft store and seeing what they have that would be really inexpensive. We are also thinking about getting some bar soaps and some fabric and wrapping the soap in the fabric and tying a cloth ribbon around it for the women folk. They can place this in one of their dresser drawers for a clean scent on their unmentionables.
Good luck!

A.

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C.C.

answers from Detroit on

A.,

Another great idea that you can do with portraits is to purchase a 5x7 double frame that's hinged in the middle. You place your daughter's photo in one side and in the other her stamped handprint. We did this when my daughter was little and gave it to my grandfather. Seven years later and it's still on display.

You can also purchase clay and make handprint ornaments of your daughters hand for family to hang on their tree.

Homemade bath salts are another great idea. You need Epson salts, scented oils and small bottles to put the salts in for display. You can find the oils and bottles at your local Michael's at great prices.

Have a great Christmas and treasure this first year with your special little one! :)

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M.N.

answers from Jackson on

Hey ther A.,
This gift idea might not incorporate your daughter much, but I did this one year when I was strapped for cash. Get the mason jars with the handles (I found them at Dollar General). Two jars will hold the dry ingredients of one batch of chocolate chip cookies. Give as a gift with the recipe. Maybe add a picture of you little one to make it extra special. Not only do they have half the ingredients to make everyones favoite cookie,, but they can enjoy milk in their new mugs.
Hope this helps. Merry Christmas.....ohh also, wrap them in brown paper (grovery sacks) and twine....cheap and cute.

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R.H.

answers from Detroit on

Hi A.,
You can make candles.... or rather decorate plain ones. You get a plain candle, then buy sheets of wax and cut out whatever shapes you want and then 'decorate' the candle. My girlfriend did this for me when she was going to chiropractic school and didn't have a lot of extra cash. I LOVE them. I don't burn them often so I can put them out each year with my decorations.

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M.W.

answers from Detroit on

I'm making a recipe book of treasured family favorites collected from family members and including any interesting stories from my special memories or notes from the recipe contributor - even may include a picture if I have one of the recipe being made (me, my kids and parents, whomever). I'm typing it on the computer. Then print and put in a photo album with saved back-up on a CD they can store on their computer also. It can also be typed and copied into a story book format.

BTW, if you are looking for some extra income, let me know - I also lost my job (well, the local operations was closed after being purchased by another company). Now I have a home based business and control how many hours I want to work - balancing personal and work life and loving it. I'll show you how if you are interested. My business is listed on Mamasource. ~M. (Together Live Well, LLC)

ahhhhhhhh the gift of being with family and creating memories - taking lots of pictures and spending time with the kids of all ages!

Have fun with the holidays!! ~M.

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L.C.

answers from Saginaw on

Us too... seems our formerly shrinking gift list has suddenly increased in size enormously. Meaningful boyfriends of our daughters, and a niece who is getting to the fun/expensive age, plus a lot of friends who mean a lot to us and we want to remember, but not necessarily improve their net worth by ourselves.

This year, we've made 25 scone baking mix, from my favourite (and well-loved by many) recipe from a 1914 cookbook, which have been bagged in cellophane food bags (they were 25 for $4 from Michael's) with crystalized brown sugar in smaller bags (100 for $5, also Michael's) to sprinkle on. I want to include a very small silicon pastry brush if I can find 25 of them for around $2 each, otherwise it will probably be a small tree ornament. They look great, tied with holiday (on sale) ribbon, and I'm going to add an ingredient and instruction card, probably on gift tags I already own. The cost so far is $1.86 each.

Another year, we had got given a box of marked (scarred, bruised, some buggy) apples which we trimmed carefully and made into applesause for us, and then made the (good) peels and cores into almost-free apple jelly. We canned them in very small jars (1/2 cups I think), wrapped them with lovely ribbon, and for the cost of the sugar and the jars and the ribbon, gave about 40 people presents for around $30. I already own the canning equipment, or I wouldn't have done that one.

Be careful with suggestions including colour printing at home: the cost of the ink may be a great deal more than you'd think it will be. Many cartidges will only print about 50 pages, so if you were thinking calendars for many, you'd be into it for several rounds of ink cartridges, in several colours. Yikes!

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D.D.

answers from Detroit on

Hi A., You could go to Sears for photos, the sitting fee is @$15 (which is often waived)and you can buy the $10 package which includes - one 8x10, two 5x7, eight wallets and 16 minis all of the same picture. The minis you could put on/in ornaments the wallets could go in mini picture frames and the larger ones you could give in nice frames to grandparents. The frames can be picked up pretty cheaply from Kohls or Michaels (I get all my 8x10 frames from Michaels for about $5 each).

Good luck and congratulations, enjoy your first family Christmas - they just keep getting better and better!

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