Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Cheap (but classy) Christmas Ideas

We are all feeling the pinch of the economy. Christmas purchases can push us to the limits. While I usually budget prior to my holiday shopping, this year I'm watching that budget a little more closely. Click the link for a free downloadable Holiday control journal from Flylady. I've used it for the past few years and it has been a great blessing to me in keeping my Christmas under control.

While many would like to make gifts for Christmas this year, they might feel ideas and/or talent are lacking. Baked goods are my #1 gift. They are very appreciated and don't clutter up a house. I like to make homemade cinnamon rolls or a cranberry nut loaf for wolfing down on Christmas morning. I also make tons and tons of decorated snowflake cookies. Each person in the family gets a cookie wrapped in an individual bag.

-Bake some homemade bread, place in a bag. Tie the recipe on with festive ribbon. Place on a nice cutting board for the perfect touch. If you have a bread maker, use it my friend! What could be easier than dumping in the ingredients, walking away and taking out a Christmas gift a few hours later! Check the recipe book that came with your breadmaker. It comes with tried and true recipes. One that contains cinnamon would be a perfect gift for Christmas.

-If there is a baker in your life, I really like a Bread Keeper with slicing guide. To see one at Amazon, click here.

-Make a "Gourmet Meal Basket". Put all the goodies in a basket for a delicious Italian meal. Pasta, olive oil, gourmet pasta sauce, breadsticks, Parmesan cheese and a dessert like a decadent chocolate cookie. A nice touch would be some red plaid napkins and candles with candlesticks.

-Have someone on your list that is a huge sports fan? Why not a "Game Snack Pack"! I made one recently for a friend's birthday and it was a hit. I covered a box in wrapping paper, added newspaper to the bottom and covered it with matching wrapping paper. I added popcorn, pretzels, chips, peanuts and candy. You could also add some gourmet root beer or a real microbrewery beer if your recipient likes that. Add some mini-footballs or coozies from his/her favorite team. You could even get a lap blanket with the team name on it. Most sporting good stores carry all kinds of goodies for major teams.

-Maybe a tea/hot chocolate basket for a friend. You could actually make up several of these baskets at the same time. Purchase several different boxes of nice quality teas. I have found some delicious discounted ones at Marshall's. Open the boxes and put in several of each flavor in each basket. I found some gorgeous Christmas themed china cups and saucers at our local HomeGoods store for under $6.00 or you might find a beautiful one at a flea market. Add some envelopes of hot chocolate. Add some freshly baked cookies or a box of Nonni's Biscotti (at Wal-Mart). You can even add a small tea spoon and a candy cane or two. A mini-box of chocolates is a nice touch.

-How about movie tickets and free babysitting for a friend/relative with small kids? Package it nicely with movie candy boxes. You can even get some cute popcorn boxes at Target for $1. Stuff halfway with newspaper and put the candy & tickets in it. Print out a certificate on your printer offering free babysitting for the night. Package it all in a plastic bag. I found both the shrinkable and non-shrinkable at the Dollar Tree recently.

-Think about a Zoo membership for a family with kids. Maybe place the membership around the neck of a stuffed zoo animal (lion, zebra...)

-Tickets for experiences like a not-too-far-away theme park are exciting. Package with a map of the theme park printed from the website, disposable cameras, sunglasses, hats and sunblock. Adding a gas card for the parents would be thoughtful.

Click here to read about Cheap (but classy) Christmas Ideas for pre-teens and young teens.

For gift wrapping ideas and solutions, click here.


Shannon said...

Thanks for the great gift ideas! Over on my blog, we're sharing thoughtful and homemade gift ideas and holiday traditions. I've shared your ideas there with links back here to your creative approaches.
I love how you customize each gift's packaging. I would have never thought of some of these, but they are perfect. I think I'm going to do that Game Day Pack for my hubby this year. He'll like having all his favorites for the football game.

Lindylou said...

I love your ideas here!!!! This is such a wonderful picture! What a total blast it would be to get a gift like that! You have inspired me! And I also love the simple cookies. I can't wait to try some! WTG!


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