Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Creatively Christmas

Creatively Christmas

Christmas is vastly approaching, and my husband and I happen to be part of families that have several birthdays going on within a dangerous vicinity of the Holidays. So with the economy being as it is, and money being tight (especially with a new baby in the house!) we have decided to try and be as creative and frugal about presents this year as possible. 

We are going to try to make gifts, but also keep our eyes open for great deals. I'm not the best bargain shopper, but in this day and age places like Ross and Amazon sometimes make it easy! (Keyword: sometimes... lol)

So, I keep my eyes peeled for things that I think people would like, or things I know they want. Luckily, my side of the family decided for extended family gifts (since there are so many of us and we are all tight on the green stuff) to do name drawings. This is always a great idea if you have a large family and everyone could use a break money-wise or even time-wise (who has time to shop for all those extra presents!?) So that means Gabriel and I only have to come up with two presents on that side. The thing that can get hairy is that we both come from decent sized families (don't laugh, because I do realize that many of my friends come from even larger families, but when it comes to gift giving I think our families are still pretty decent sized!) He is one of four siblings and has one set of grandparents still living, I am one of three with one complete set and my other grandpa still living as well. It makes it worse that my love language* is gifts! I love giving gifts, so I think of everyone in the family and it is so hard to leave anyone out! Including aunts, uncles, cousins, even if I rarely see them and they never give me a gift lol. But, fortunately for me, being creative about gifts can help you save money. 

We don't always have to go the stereotypical expensive route to give a good gift. Take for example the gift basket sold in stores, most can be replicated for half the price! Make your own Christmas treats and buy Christmas containers at the dollar store or half price at Hobby Lobby, and viola! A gift with a personal touch that costs very little, plus you can make a big batch of each treat all at once knocking out several gifts in one shot. You can also be smart about what to buy. It's easy to go for something that costs more that anyone would love, an ipad, ipod, recently released movies or video games, or even gift cards. But if you take some time to be creative about an intentional, personal gift you can save some serious money. For example, my dad is really hard to buy for, and he has expensive taste -he loves techy gadgets and things. I got him some Dallas cowboy (his favorite team) bar-b-q sauce last year, he loved it! Thoughtful and personal, but didn't break the budget. Or if there is something expensive someone really wants try getting a group of friends or family members to go in together, I have done this several times with my husband. When we were dating me and his family came together to buy him a Wii, when we were engaged we all pitched in on a guitar. He still got the gift he wanted, but I didn't have to go into debt (and spend the whole year until next Christmas getting out) to get it for him :) You can also go for a "quality time" related gift if the person you are buying for is one of those people who has everything or would appreciate that more. For instance, take them out to lunch, or to a movie they want to see. Not overly expensive, and fun for you both!

That brings me to making gifts! I recently taught myself how to knit using youtube* videos, a knitting website*, and a few books from the library. Knitting projects are fun, easy, and you can work on them while watching TV ;) Plus, knitted things are really in right now and super cute, you can make something with each person in mind by using their favorite color, making something specific to them and what they like, etc.
But if knitting isn't your thing, have no fear because there are tons of homemade gifts you can make! Gabriel, my husband, loves to draw, and is amazingly talented, he has made me many fun pictures as gifts. Photos are always fun and require little to no skill, buy a cute frame and put in a picture of you, your family, you with the person you are giving the gift to, or even something in nature you think they would like, easy and affordable. Also extremely personal.

And don't worry if you stink at coming up with creative ideas, Hobby Lobby* (both the store and the website) is full of fun craft and gift ideas complete with directions and a list of needed materials. There are so many cute things you can make! Buy the materials when Hobby Lobby has that department on half off, or keep your eye on their website for a 40% off coupon.

Pinterest* also has fun ideas! I found a recipe* for homemade sugar scrub for exfoliating the skin, very cute. A friend told me she took some lace or fabric and a soft hanger, sowed up the sides, adding a zipper or button to close the "bag" with a space for the top of the hanger to stick out, as easy as that you have a hanging accessory bag for your closet -perfect for hats, gloves, scarves, socks, lingerie, etc. You can add your own touches for decor. There are tons of things you can do if you just start looking, and using your creative juices. Whatever your skill is you can hone that and use it to make fantastic, homemade, personal gifts for everyone, and in the mean time save yourself a ton of money, and the stress of shopping during the Holidays lol. 

Please comment with your own fun homemade gift or money saving ideas! I would love to hear them. Only 27 days until Christmas! I'd better get started! =P 

Happy Holidays, everyone.