Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Sharing simple gift ideas as we get ready for Christmas

Well many of you have been such an encouragement to me as I have transitioned from the a happy mom, wife, and friend helping to prepare for Christmas.

I wanted to share some simple things that we did to stretch our gift giving dollars.  Some things didn't even cost money at all. On average we spent about $3.00 per gift that is being given out.  We didn't spend alot, but we found things that each person will love.  Simple can be effective!

You could write a letter.....

You can give someone something that you do not use.  Examples are this little snowman set.  This was Grandma Joan's and as Aunti L was going through her things.  This was found still in plastic.  She knew she would not use it, she offered it to us.  We happily added it to our Christmas decor.

 Another example is going through your purse or wallet stash...Do you have something you don't use, could you pass on something that is still in nice condition to a daughter, granddaughter, niece or son (my son love's to use my husband's old wallets)  Also I gave my four year old little girl a wallet I don't use.  She loves it.

I did shop at local thrift stores and some yard sales and was able to find some things for not much money.  I mean come on the dresses look brand new.  (Maybe it is too cold where you live for yard sales, but I am sure there must be thrift stores) We also shopped ebay and Facebook yard sale sites to find some items.  (not pictured are a small tv i got for my son and some video games using these types of sites, as well as books)

I shopped at Michael's here is what we found to use for gifts......

I purchased Journals and matching pens for $1.00 each and will add them to the Frozen jewelry  I bought on ebay to make gifts for 4 of the girls in our house.  We also found little tiny sewing kits for $1.00 that we will add to gifts for two children. (one is in a fashion class, one is in boy scouts)  I also found a shopping list and will use one of the pens as a teacher gift for my son's teacher.  I also found some pieces great for making earrings on clearance for $2.00 and will give those to my nephew's wife. 
I also got some princess stickers on clearance for $3.00 and used them to add to and redo some of the pictures I got my daughter from the yard sales.  The one on the end with note book paper has been designed to be a dry erase board type object for her.  You can get dry erase markers and write on the glass of the frame and wipe it off.

We went to the dollar tree.......

I found cologne for each guy in the house.  (I got my husband the one that says Hot thrills.) LOL  For the 14 year old boy in the house we will combine some cologne, hairbrush, and men's shampoo for a simple gift.  We also found some space and science themed kits and books to give to another boy we are close to.

We made wreaths using things we had on hand with the exception of the letters purchased from Michaels, and the sparkly paper we covered them in came from the dollar tree.  I made one for my house and one to give as a gift to my best friend.  The wreaths I had gotten from someone throwing them away when I did my curbside picking several months ago.  You don't have to have a wreath to make something like this though.  You can cut a big circle out of cardboard and decorate.  Your kids can help.  Aunti L loved the one we gave her.  It is on her door!  One year we did something like this, covered it with scrap book paper and family pictures and gave them as gifts.

We made another teacher gift using a Progresso soup can.  We reused tissue paper and ribbon from a package we received earlier this week.  We glued the paper to the can and the ribbon and added some scrap booking jewels I already had on hand.  I purchased some red pens for $1.47 at Walmart, and viola! We have a pen can!!! (this is something your kids can do with supervision.  My 9 year old son helped!)

I also purchased two finger nail polishes and a bottle of nail polish remover to give as a gift for a girl.

We handmade our gift bags out of paper sacks we had left from making home made microwave pop corn bags, and my kids colored them.

We made book marks using cereal boxes, scrap and construction paper, yarn and glue sticks.

You could also give the gift of a special family photo. 

They don't cost much to reprint.  I redid one of my husband's mother, and two grandmothers.  They all have passed on now.  I re-framed one for my husband and one for my nephew.  (I found the frames at thrift stores) I dressed them up a little with craft stuff I had.

One of the biggest things you can give someone and it will cost no money at all is.....YOUR TIME.  You can be creative and play with your kids, or grandkids, or any kids in your life. We set up and played war.......

...maybe your mother, friend, aunt, dad, husband or wife could use the gift of your time to get  a project done. Or maybe there is something they are unable to do for themselves that you could help with. 

This is what we have been up to.  This being posted.  Most of my Christmas stuff is now done.  I have three packages left to wrap.  We may at this point, skip holiday baking I am not sure.  We have a Christmas party to go to Saturday morning.  I do have to possibly shop for items for Christmas breakfast.  My son specifically requested breakfast, and I plan to make that happen.  We should be able to spend the upcoming days loving on each other and spending time, and doing some devotions as we wait to celebrate our Savior's birth.  I hope everyone is having a great week.  (oh and cleaning i musn't forget i gotta clean...bah humbug...LOL)


  1. Haha- isn't it funny how the thought of cleaning the house can turn one back into a Grinch again- lol.
    This was an AMAZING post, MJ! I LOVE all the gifts you got for everyone- the handmade gifts are truly wonderful and I know the people receiving them will appreciate them.
    Great minds think alike because I got my son the same little science kit at the dollar store and I got my grandmother a bottle of her favorite perfume (the knock-off brand) at the dollar store too- haha.
    I think the letter writing is a wonderful idea! And you got some excellent buys at the thrift store (the dresses do like they are in great condition!) and at the craft store- I love the journals and pens sets.
    Please tell your little rascals that they did a fantastic job on the pen can, gift bags and bookmarks- I really love those bookmarks! :)
    Great job, MJ. And great post to inspire others to have a frugal Christmas!

    1. Thanks Dawn, I am so happy you enjoyed it....I am grateful for everyone's encouragement. It has been a tough year with the moving twice and the loss of my husband's brother....if it hadn't been for everyone's encouragement I don't know if we would have pulled it together. I will pass on the comments to the kids...They will be excited.! I hope we talk before then but if we don't for some reason....Merry Christmas!

  2. Oh and you are right I can't wait to see the kids faces when they open their gifts...that is a great see their joy!