1. Christmas Ornaments. Whether you make them, or purchase them
on sale after Christmas, women love new ornaments to put on their trees. I canít
remember the last time I bought one for my own tree. This is a great craft item
to keep you busy during the year (should you need it)!
2. Books. Books always make great presents, and run from
inexpensive gifts to major presents because of their price range and quality.
Small, paperback cartoon books are popular. There is a wide variety of subject
matter, from political humor to travel. Retired people always seem to enjoy
travel books, even if it's only to dream of vacation spots. Younger people seem
to favor humor.
3. Recipe Books. This is a great personalized present. Recipes
can be written up and presented in so many formats, from card collections to
books. You can even make a recipe book from pretty pictures that you've
collected from magazines during the year.
The recipes can all be in one subject- like chocolate for the
chocolate lover; vegetarian, or bread recipes. Or, they can just be family
favorites. This gift is upgraded when presented with one or more items featured
in it. You have so many choices with this gift.
The Pennypincher featured a URL a few weeks ago where you could
go and download free pretty recipe cards that you can make with your printer.
All you need is some heavier paper (card stock), and a printer. Here is that
link- Recipe Cards
4 Calendars. Again, there is a wide variety. These are not
usually able to be purchased ahead of time, so you may not be able to get them
on sale unless you buy them close to Christmas.
5. Food Gifts. A food gift is a great way to be creative and
personal. Food Baskets are now an art form. There are many retailers and and
people who make a living designing and selling different theme food baskets.
Our small food gifts are usually things like a jar of homemade
jelly with a bow on top, a fresh baked loaf of bread, a plate of cookies,
candies, or a combination of foods that weíve made and divided up. Recently
there has been a lot of interest in flavored oils and butters, To make a food
gift more special, be sure to include the recipe to the gift you are presenting.
6. Dress Up Boxes: This is a great idea for girls. You can
always find inexpensive clothing and jewelry items to make it interesting. In
Tightwad Tidbits we talked about checking out the Thrift stores after Halloween
for items to add to the box.
If you are giving the gift to someone who will just use the
collection to add to what they already have, keep the box simple. However, if
this is a "new gift" for them, decorate the box so they can display it in their
rooms. A lot of little girls already have an old trunk in their rooms for this
purpose. (Add a trunk to the gift, and it is a major present).
These are presents which are a little more personal, and
usually take more time. They are often sufficient for family members, but
can be scaled down for smaller gifts.
1. Computer Gifts. Make use of your investment in your computer.
There are many things you can make for gifts.
*Make return address labels. Customize the graphic on the label
to reflect the personís interests.
*Make a set of Personalized Greeting Cards that others can use
to send out on occasions such as birthday, weddings, and in sympathy. You make
the cards special by putting their name on the front of them, so it looks like
they made it themselves. They always come in handy.
*Another great gift is to spend $10 on a birthday software
program, and print out a "birthday sheet". It will tell them all kinds of
interesting things that happened on the day they were born. Make it more special
by framing it.
Here is a link to free
birthday info on the Internet
*If you have parents or siblings who likes to keep track of
family occasion, birthdays, etc., make them a calendar! Add events, such as
birthdaya and anniversaries. I use Calendar Creator Plus. The birthdays even
come up with the age each new year. It is a wonderful way to keep organized.
Once you have the data imputed, it is easy to make this a yearly
gift. You can change it by adding personal pictures and graphics. To upgrade
this gift, by them a copy of the software also, and give them a floppy disk with
the data on it.
*Make coloring books for the children. Most graphics programs
will help you do this. You can even make them a personalized story book, and put
in pages to color.
*Put together Journals and Diaries for family members. Don't let
this information be lost. It's more work than money...and should be appreciated
as a wonderful present.
*Funny Calendars or Themed Calendars with a new thought, recipe,
joke or other items as you turn each page.
1. Books. This will always be one of my favorite gifts in all
categories, because I love to read, books can be mailed easily, and they are
always on sale and easy to store. Cookbooks are usually colorful and always
welcome. Unless you buy your books at the last minute, and are sure the other
person doesnít already have a copy, it is good to give something more generic.
Anything that can be used as a reference book is great. People that like to
travel enjoy books about other countries. Books on hobbies are also a good
2. Magazines: This is a great gift, because it keeps on coming
all year. My mother gave us a subscription to a magazine one year, and then for
the next decade just kept renewing it. We enjoyed that magazine and really
appreciated it. It also reminded me of her when I read it.
3 Software: For the family with a computer, software is always a
good gift. There are endless games, from Trivia to the ones I don't like :-) You
can also buy collections of clip art, learning programs, hobby software , and so
much more. Again, easy to store and mail, and also easily purchased on the
4. Pictures. Many people are rushed, and do not take the time to
make simple, yet lovely accessories for their home. Use your computer and
special fonts to print out poems and then frame them. Add dried flowers or other
special accents. Take advantage of inexpensive calendars out of date to make
artwork. To make the gift more special, find pictures that will have meaning to
the recipient- such as photographs from areas they have visited, animals they
love, or people they admire.
5. Office Gifts- Everyone has some sort of place in their home
where they pay their bills. Many people have small "offices" or spaces, as I do
for my computer business. There are all sorts of little things people can use,
from electric pencil sharpeners, letter organizers, decorative computer paper to
small paper shredders. I would also include in this category scrapbooks,
stationary, and fine pens.
6. Handicrafts. If you have the skill, knitted and crocheted
items of clothing or household items are personal and make great gifts. There
are so many things you can sew, like aprons, place mats, and napkins. You can
personalize plain white t-shirts with family pictures. There are needlework
projects, handmade jewelry, and doll patterns.
Most of our fabric stores are now craft stores. There
is an huge variety of crafts for every level of skill. Most make great
presents. For more traditional crafts, you have an abundant supply of
free patterns on the Internet. Again, we featured a URL in The Pennypincher with many free patterns:
To see a picture of some Christmas Stockings that you can knit
or crochet, Christmas
And if don't forget that giving supplies to a person who does a
particular craft is also a good present. One of my daughter-in- laws loves scrap
booking. Most young people starting a family probably have an interest in
it...or will have. Supplies range from beginner's kits to lots of accessories.
Other hobby kits are possibilities.
7. Plants. Most people love a little greenery in their home.
When it comes to plants, sometimes smaller is better. Almost everyone has a
little niche where a pretty plant would look nice. For special gifts, use a
beautiful container. Also, be mindful that some people have allergies and do not
use real plants in their home. Also, some people just prefer the convenience of
Here is where I get into trouble! Some peopleís idea of a big
present is a new stereo or television for their room (according to my children).
The following are my ideas of big presents.
1. Sweaters- Sweaters always make great presents, especially in
December. The best time to buy them is after the prior Christmas. Sweaters with
Christmas designs are cute, and they are marked way down after Christmas. Just
watch out for tight necks or scratchy fibers.
2. Handiwork- depending on the skill level you posses and the
time it takes to complete the project, handiwork qualifies as a major present.
Obviously there is a big difference between a quilt and a pair of potholders,
and everything in between.
3. Magazine Subscriptions- these can cost a bit, depending on
the magazine, but if you are giving this present to someone who lives far from
you, you will not have any mailing expenses. This is a great gift, because it is
enjoyed all year.
4. Crystal- if you are hand delivering your presents, crystal is
always a good gift. Whether itís candle holders, bowls, glasses, etc., it is
always appreciated. Unless the people you are giving it to have a lot of money,
they probably will not have much and appreciate it all the more.
5. Household Accessories- Be very careful here, as I mentioned
previously, to not make a strong decorative statement. However, there are many
things you can buy such as baskets, decorative soap, candles, potpourri, clocks,
kitchen towels, mirrors, etc. Just keep them small.
6. Blankets, Quilts or Throws - These items are always
well-used, and particularly useful during the cold winter months. Young
people, in particular, often do not have an adequate supply of blankets for
visitors or occasions when the power goes out.Enjoy the Season and Remember the True Meaning of Christmas