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Topic: Frugal Christmas Gift Ideas

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Subject: Frugal Christmas Gift Ideas
Date Posted: 9/27/2013 12:18 AM ET
Member Since: 8/24/2008
Posts: 1,362
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I know it is early, but this year I'm going to be quite limited on my Christmas budget (I quit my job to go back to school).  I thought it might be nice for us to share ideas for inexpensive Christmas gift ideas.  I'll share a few, and I will update as I find more.

1.  Homemade chapstick.  I made this last year and it was a great success.  One step that the recipes don't tell you is to make sure you don't overhead the beeswax...if you do, you will have bumpy chapstick.  I think my cost was around 10 cents per tube.

2.  Soy candles.  I'm going to try these this coming week.  I'll let you know how they turn out.  A gal on Craigslist had 28 lbs of soy wax for $25, that's enough for about 50 candles or 30 candles and some lotions.

3.  Potholders.  I crochet these.  I can't give these to my family (Grandma does that), but I can give them to co-workers and friends.  They cost about $3.00 a pair to make.

4.  Jewelry.  I made some last year.  I see people wearing it.  I bought some really pretty beads at Jo-Anne's for 40% plus and extra 15% off recently, so I'm going to make some really unique pieces this year.

I'll add more when I come to them.  I need "guy gift" ideas...

Date Posted: 9/28/2013 10:28 AM ET
Member Since: 6/25/2009
Posts: 210
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I dont know what yarn you use for pot holders, but I use 't-arn' or tshirt yarn I cut up myself, or any other old clothing that is kind of hardy looking that I would think stands up to a washer machine and continual use. Its free when I use my old clothes or old cloths from my family.

Also I make rugs from the recycled fabric yarn too :) 

Date Posted: 9/29/2013 2:56 PM ET
Member Since: 1/8/2008
Posts: 7
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Have you thought of searching the net for some seasoning mixes that you can give out as gifts.  They are alot of No Salt seasoning mixes and some dry mixes that you use.

Date Posted: 9/29/2013 8:55 PM ET
Member Since: 4/7/2007
Posts: 335
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Question for Vitalia: where do you get the chapstick containers? I love your ideas and would like to make some of the same gifts.  Guys can be really difficult. If your male family members and friends drink alcohol, you could infuse vodka with seasonal fruit and/or herbs and spices and put it in fancy bottles.  For men who don't drink, maybe sachets filled with scents to use as car air fresheners. Obviously you wouldn't want anything floral but citrus or sage might work.  Men use chapstick! You could give that to everyone.

Date Posted: 10/1/2013 12:05 AM ET
Member Since: 8/24/2008
Posts: 1,362
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I bought the chapstick tubes from e-bay.  I think I bought a package of 50 or 100, it was enough so that I have enough for last year and this year.  You can re-use them if you can get you family to save them for you (boil them so that they are sterilized).  The expensive part of this is your cocoa and shea butters.  Find a friend and split the costs.

I made my first soy candle on Sunday.  It turned out pretty nice, but I discovered that a wick with a wire is necessary.  The wicking I was using had no wire and I had to pour the candle twice...not fun.  On the plus side, it smells nice (I used cinnamon and orange essential oils...it will take more than you think) and I discovered that soy wax melts at a 2 to 1 ratio.  In orther words, 2 cups of wax flakes makes one cup of liquid and a 1 cup candle.

Date Posted: 10/1/2013 1:25 PM ET
Member Since: 10/25/2007
Posts: 1,253
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If I know people won't mind, I buy used stuff from Goodwill or thrift stores. I make sure they are in good condition and I've found some really nice, like-new stuff before. Pinterest might be a good place to look for making cheap presents too. Gifts in a jar (brownie mixes etc) also are easy and cheap to make

Last Edited on: 10/1/13 1:25 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Subject: Chapstick instructions?
Date Posted: 10/6/2013 12:13 AM ET
Member Since: 10/29/2009
Posts: 2
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I would greatly appreciate directions on how to do this. Not only at Christmas time, but at other times that my children's schools have class parties or especially along with valentines, I like to include some chapstick along with each one.

Subject: Some more gift ideas
Date Posted: 10/6/2013 12:29 AM ET
Member Since: 10/29/2009
Posts: 2
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1. Crochet potholders are great. Have you tried looking for or designing a cover for those on your list that have tablets/kindles? Also if you can crochet on a smaller scale, such as doilies, those can be put into picture frames with some pretty paper.

2.Baked goods are often welcome and many things can be made ahead and frozen. Some of these tasty treats are bound to be tempting to some of the men on your list.

3.Some sturdy cardboard or cardstock cut into whatever shape, decorated with jigsaw puzzle pieces in a similar color group can be fashioned into a picture frame for those small pictures that often come with school packages. A piece of magnetic strip on the back and it's instant  fridge fashion.

4.Shopping at goodwill, thrift stores, yard sales is absolutely a good idea. Be on the lookout not only for as-is gifts, but things you can use in your crafting/upcycling to make some new things.

Date Posted: 10/7/2013 5:29 PM ET
Member Since: 10/6/2007
Posts: 460
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Crocheted dishcloths/wash cloths - Do a google search for free patterns and you'll have a tough time picking just one!  I have a couple of patterns I use a lot.  I buy the peaches and creme brand at Walmart ($1.77 a ball, every day, where I live) and can get 1 good sized cloth from each ball.  Even better, I watch for sales at Michaels and stock up when they sell Lily's sugar and cream for $1 to $1.25 each.

Another much-appreciated gift is home-baked goodies or candy on a nice dinner plate or platter or serving bowl.  I get great buys on dishes at estate auctions or the Goodwill.



Date Posted: 10/13/2013 9:52 PM ET
Member Since: 1/30/2010
Posts: 8,637
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I bake sugar cookies and all different kinds of muffins, and make toffee, microwave chocolate fudge, microwave peanutbutter fudge, and microwave divinity.  No one else in my family makes any of it, and they all love it, so it's what I stick with.  My kids (grown and mostly grown) all get used books as well.

Date Posted: 10/17/2013 1:39 PM ET
Member Since: 11/11/2005
Posts: 5,238
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The year that I was out of work, I also had to get creative for Christmas gifts.   For my friends, relatives, extended family, I made a bunch of molded cinnamon "ornaments" (I used a heart shape) and tied a ribbon to them.  They can be used on a Christmas tree or hung anywhere at all during the rest of the year for that cinnamon scent.  It takes a lot of cinnamon, but I bought cinnamon in bulk at Costco (or rather, I had a friend buy it for me who had a membership at Costco).

For my Mom, I burned a bunch of my CD's that I knew she liked.  (I know, slightly illegal but this wasn't mass production.)    And for my brother and SIL, I cashed in some of my credit card points for a gift certificate to a national steak restaurant.    I think that Coke Rewards points offers something like that also.

Last Edited on: 10/17/13 1:39 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 11/13/2013 12:40 PM ET
Member Since: 12/27/2010
Posts: 406
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but I discovered that a wick with a wire is necessary.

Acutally, it is not necessary. I make Soy Candles all the time and what I do is put a pencil on top of the container I am using, tape the pencil to the sides of the container so it doesn't move and then tape the wick to the pencil. I use the pre-tabbed wicks. Very easy! wink

Subject: Already October!
Date Posted: 10/7/2014 1:17 PM ET
Member Since: 4/7/2007
Posts: 335
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Christmas is sneaking up fast. Does anyone have any new ideas for this year?

I'd like to make something special that has the added benefit of being easy to transport.


Date Posted: 10/16/2014 4:49 PM ET
Member Since: 2/23/2006
Posts: 4,505
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Along the lines of spice mixes, I saw cute ornament filled with dip mixes!  A good guy option.  What guy doesn't like dip?

Last year I made t-shirts for all the guys in the family!  I have a cricut machine, so if you don't have a cutting machine you might want to see if a friend might have one.  I bought t-shirt vinyl on eBay, then used the cricut to cut out sayings in the vinyl.  The were all just black wording, but they came out great!  I used funny sayings I found on t-shirt sites, recreated them on the cricut, then cut them out and ironed them onto plain t-shirts I got at Walmart.  Total cost per shirt, about $6.00.

I also made little hand sanitizers for everyone.  You can buy different scents on Etsy (it only takes a few drops per bottle of sanitizer).  I bought a big jug of unscented sanitizer at Sam's Club, poured it into smaller bottles I got at the dollar tree (3 for $1).  Then added a little scent and food coloring.  Shake it up and you have cute gifts!

Lip balms recipe: 2 parts oil to 1 part beeswax.  You can get beeswax and lip balm flavoring plus the tubes or pots on Etsy or eBay.  There are stores that sell it too, but many are better for bulk orders due to the higher shipping costs.  Any oil works.  I used almond oil, but canola oil or olive oil also make a nice product.  You can make it a sugar scrub for lips by adding sugar to the mix.  Want a lotion bar?  use a soap scent in this recipe and make it a bar form.  Use a muffin tin or candy mold to form it.  Cute ice cube trays work too!

Fizzy Bath bombs... 2 parts baking soda, 1 part dry citric acid (found online, or in the canning supplies section of the store) add a little food coloring, scent, and a drizzle of oil to hold it all together.  Mix with your hands, then press into muffin tins. It should be moist enough with the oil to hold it's shape.  They will harden overnight.  When the acid and baking soda hit the water, they fizz!

There are also lots of recipes for homemade facials.... oatmeal and brown sugar is a great soft facial scrub. Grind the oatmeal in a food processor a little, mix with the sugar, and put in a pretty bag with a ribbon.  Just Google... so much out there!

I could go on and on!  I love these types of crafts!