Christmas on a Budget


Christmas is fast approaching. If you are on a strict budget, it is time to start your Christmas shopping in order to take advantage of sales and search for bargains.

Attend fall garage sales and yard sales to look for gently used baskets. These make great packaging for gifts. Wash baskets with a damp cloth and set them in the sun to dry. All you do is place some sizzle or Easter grass in the bottom of the basket, arrange the gifts and wrap in cellophane wrap, which can be purchased at dollar stores. Gather the cello wrap over the top of the basket, tie with a ribbon and curl the ends with scissors.

If you know someone who loves to sew, embroider or do other needlework, make a hobby gift basket. Quilters also love gift baskets under the Christmas tree. Baskets can be personalized with just a little thought. Let’s take a look at some creative baskets that will bring a smile to the face of the gift recipient

Quilter’s Basket

Go to a fabric store and choose remnants. Roll these, tie with a ribbon and curl the ribbon ends with scissors. Arrange the rolled remnants in the basket on a bed of quilt blocks 9 inches square. Add a pincushion, quilting needles, spools of thread to match the fabric, pattern templates, pinking shears and scissors. Arrange all items decoratively, wrap the entire basket in cello wrap, gather above the basket, tie with a ribbon and curl the ends with scissors.

Tea Lover’s Basket

Many flavours of tea can be purchased at dollar stores. While you’re there, pick up two Christmas mugs or pick up two tea cups and saucers at a flea market or garage sale. Wash and dry the cups, arrange them in the basket and add the boxes of flavoured tea, along with small jars of jam, marmalade and honey. If you want to add a nice touch, throw in a box of lemon tea cookies. Wrap the entire basket and finish as described above.

Bath Lover’s Basket

A dollar store is a great place to shop for gift items for those who love a bath. Choose two bottles of fragrant bubble bath, herbal shampoo, sachets and some candles. Pick up a towel and face cloth, roll and tie with crinkled ribbon of raffia. Place all items in the basket on a bed of crinkled tissue paper, wrap the entire basket in cello wrap and add gift bows.

Tip: A wide variety of baskets can be made in this way. Instead of a basket you can use a large clay pot for a gardener’s basket. Add a trowel, garden fork, flower or vegetable seeds, garden gloves and one or two gardening magazines. The same can be done with a fishing tackle box, lures, fishing line, sinkers and other fishing equipment for anglers.

There are many gifts that can be made at home that will delight the gift recipient. They are easy to make and are great economical gifts.

Cookie Mix in a Jar

Use your favourite cookie dough recipe and place the ingredients in a wide-mouthed jar. Arrange the ingredients in layers to resemble sand art. If you don’t have a recipe that will work, you are welcome to use this one:

  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup flour
  • ¼ cup coca powder
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • ½ cup chocolate chips
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup white chocolate chips
  • ¾ cup quartered walnuts

Layer the ingredients brown and then white, placing the walnuts at the top of the jar. Wrap a ribbon around the jar neck and once the lid is in place, add a tag with the following directions:

  • Preheat oven to 375°F
  • Spray a 9 x 9 inch cake pan with non-stick cooking spray
  • Pour ingredients into a mixing bowl
  • Mix well
  • Add 2/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 eggs
  • Beat until thoroughly mixed
  • Pour into cake pan
  • Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean

Other ideas for gifts on a budget include homemade candy or cookies, photos of your family or children for grandparents, aunts and uncles, IOUs for babysitting, gardening and other chores.

The new mother will love to receive an IOU for babysitting services and family members enjoy receiving photos of your children. Elderly relatives always need a hand with gardening, snow shovelling, lawn mowing and a host of other household tasks. Use your imagination and give a gift that will truly help out the recipient. You will enjoy giving a helping hand and stay well within your budget this Christmas. Enjoy!

This post was written by

jason – who has written posts on Budget Clowns.
Father of three and married to a lovely women. Always looking for ways to save money, and invest it properly for my children's future.

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