Avoid breaking the bank this Christmas with the help of these DIY gems!
I guess the gift of growing up poor is the development of resourcefulness. As kids we could not count on Santa providing what was on our wish list. In fact, those of us who were the product of working class America or elsewhere knew that many times we wouldn't even tell our parents what we really wanted so they wouldn't feel sad about not being able to provide it. Those were the days.
Fast forward to 2014 and most couples feel an incredible pressure to buy, gift, spend, and pile on debt to provide friends and family with their heart's content. Breaking the bank is becoming an American tradition. This is sad, poor judgment and serves to later fill us with guilt and regret. Do we really need to do this? The answer to the question of the day is no. No, we do not need to spend beyond what we can afford. We can make an effort with Christmas gift ideas filled with creativity, love and frugality.
I remember one year while my kids were still pretty young, I couldn't afford more than one gift for each and one outfit, but I still had extended family to think about and a big dinner at our house. In fact, our visiting family came to a total of 5 children under age 10, 4 couples, and a close friend. I knew all would bring Christmas gifts for our kids, so something needed to be done and quickly. Therefore, by Thanksgiving, I set my mind to create! Below is some of what I came up with and other ideas that you can do too!
- I went to my local fabric store and found great Disney Character Throw Pillow Cutouts. I got a bag of cheap filling, cut out 5 pillows, hot glued them together, and stuffed them. I then baked chocolate cookies, put them in baggies with red ribbon and tied them around the necks of the Disney Character pillows. They were gorgeous and the kids loved them! This gift cost about $5 each.
- For the couples I purchased $1 picture frames at a dollar store and had photos of us with the specific couple printed (different for each family member) then glued Silver Bows to the corner of the cheap frames. Nowadays, you can take this a step further and actually print text on the photo with personalized messages like "I love you because you always make me laugh when I'm down." This gift costs about $3 each.
- Do you crochet or knit? Yarn is available at relatively good prices, but if you need tons for great prices, visit your local thrift shop where partially started rolls of yarn in holiday colors are usually $0.25 to $0.50 cents. Hoodies, headbands and cellphone pouches for the gym are handy knitting projects that make quick thrifty gifts.
- Do you bake? A dozen cupcakes cost about $3 to bake and are a fabulous gift for an office friend. Frost in white and just throw some silver pearls on top! Cookies are great, but cupcakes are much easier and quicker to make.
- Buy wine in bulk! I recently found a great Italian wine which runs about $25 a bottle on sale at a local warehouse for $9 a bottle. We went and got a case! Keep your eye out for special deals like these. For your single friends, wine makes a lovely gift, attach a bow and $5 Starbacks card to the bottle and they'll love you!