Here is a (very) short list of ideas for homemade or very inexpensive Christmas gifts (that could easily be used at other times of the year!)

Crochet/knit/sew a scarf or hat for a child

Take a favorite photo and frame it in an inexpensive frame for a distant relative

Create a coupon book to give to your spouse:  back rubs, date night, dinner for two at home, etc.

Coupons for your children:  30 minutes with Mom/Dad, picnic, extra game night, extra bedtime story, their choice for dinner, etc.

Coupons for neighbors, friends, parents, etc.:  help rake the yard, help spring clean the house (hint hint!), wash their car, etc.

Make loaves of fresh breads and wrap slices individually, labeling the flavor, and give a sampling to several people

For the kiddos, try our suggestion:  this year, at each house, the kids had to make their own gifts for one another….they chose names, chose the gift they would make, and made it.  The cost needs to be very low – no more than $5 each for materials – but preferably something you already have.  For instance, one of my girls chose to make bobby pins and barrettes with buttons as a gift.

Look up an inexpensive bath salt recipe online and make a batch.  Present them in cleaned, empty jelly jars with a small scrap of fabric covering the lid and tied with raffia or a ribbon.

Make flavored olive oil in small vintage bottles:  stuff fresh herbs into bottles, fill with olive oil, place a cork in each.  Tie with raffia, add some small silk flowers, and present in an inexpensive wicker basket filled with shredded tissue.

Make snack mixes, etc. and present in large clear plastic cups wrapped in colored celophane.  Tie a ribbon or raffia around each cup.

Make a set of scented sachets for a lady to place in her dresser drawers:  create 4×4″ pillows from scrap fabrics and fill with rice and some lavender buds, rosemary, or other favorite frangrance.

Pick up an inexpnsive calendar and paste your own photos on each month.  Be sure to add all the special dates the recipient has to remember!

Soup, jambalaya (for you Cajuns!), or other mixes – present with a wooden spoon and 2 pretty bowls.

Create a small pedicure kit for a young girl:  place dollar store finds in a small basket, paint can, or other container and wrap with ribbon.  The paint can has the advantage of a smooth surface that can be decorated very easily with paper and stickers you already have on hand.

Create placemats from photos that didn’t make the cut to go into your scrapbook:  on an 11×14 sheet of paper (posterboard will work, but since you’ll want to laminate it, it will get pretty thick), make a sort of “scrapmat” from your photos and scrapbook papers.  Be careful using items that are bulky, since once you are done, you will want to take these to your office supply store to have them laminated.  Sets of 4 are great gifts for grandparents, parents, etc.  You can vary this and use only papers with no photos for a more general theme.

Use the above method for creating coasters on a 3.5-4″ circle.  Laminate each.  (I recommend sets of 6 or 8.)

Let a young girl learning to cross-stitch create a sampler or small project for a grandparent or neighbor.

Be sure to involve your kids in the selection process!  They not only LOVE to make things, sometimes they have much better ideas than us big people do!

There are TONS of places online that can give you some great ideas for very meaningful Christmas (and other ocassions!) gifts.  I hope you and your family have a wonderful time this year creating this and other gifts so that you can enjoy the True Meaning of Christmas!



If you have some more great inexpensive or homemade gift ideas, please add your comment and let us know!