Last Minute, Low-Budget Christmas Gifts

wpid-2012-12-19_13-18-59_842.jpgAnyone else out there feeling the financial crunch? Going down to one income after Little Guy was born left us with a lot of bills, so our budget for Christmas gifts is pretty much non-existent. Being a hardcore crafter, I usually subject my family to handmade items. However, I know that not everyone has the time or skill set to knit, sew, or crochet his/her way to a gift on a budget. Here are some ideas for last-minute (easy) Christmas gifts that you can give on a shoestring budget, arranged by recipient:

Parents/Grandparents

1) Everyone who has children or grandchildren (or great-grandchildren) loves photos of them. Want to make it extra-especially-awesome? Try transferring a photo to canvas for an artsy look. Cheap canvas can be found at any major craft store this time of year!

2) Write a letter. A real, paper letter, preferably handwritten. Pick out the good things you remember or love about them and give them the gift of love and affirmation. It doesn’t have to be perfectly spelled or written beautifully or even express yourself particularly well. Just say nice things that you mean and it will be treasured. Pop it up a notch by making it pretty on nice paper and putting it in a frame.

Spouse/Significant Other

1) Again, write a letter! Maybe you say how much you love your other half all the time, but it is something else to have it in writing to read again and again. What do you love about him/her? What are your favorite memories? Write it all down!

2) Plan a date. Have it all planned out – no effort or thinking required on the part of the recipient. Give a little card on Christmas stating that you have planned a special date. (If he doesn’t like surprises, you can tell him in the card what the date will be). Inexpensive dates: walk in the local park followed by hot chocolate; oldschool board games and popcorn; hot wings and karaoke…you get the idea. Choose things the other person will enjoy.

Older Kids

1) At the risk of sounding like a broken record…write something. You may feel like you are fighting all the time with your tween or teen, but of course you still love her. Tell her about how great you think she is, how proud you are of her, what you love about her…you get the idea. Maybe your teen will roll her eyes, but I would bet she will keep it somewhere (and look at it when you aren’t around).

2) A taste of freedom (within reason). Give a card saying that you will cart your child and posse around for a day of something he or she likes – browsing the mall, hiking, etc. Promise to stay in the background and be as non-existent as possible. Older teens can get the keys to the car if you are ready for it.

Younger Kids

1) Re-gifted used toys or thrift store toys are great for young kids. They usually don’t know or care whether an item is new or not. Find something he or she is interested in. We were fortunate that some of my friends gave us their old children’s toys – Little Girl is getting some fabulous farm toys and Legos this year, and Little Guy is going to be very happy with his tractor! Just be sure to clean them and check for lead content if you have babies around or your kids are still putting toys in their mouths.

2) Craft supplies and the time to make the craft together is a great way to spend time with your kids. Give a box with a prepared, unmade craft inside. Sit with your child and enjoy the show as he makes it. Remember to allow as much autonomy when crafting as possible, even if he isn’t doing it “right.” Every effort has something beautiful about it!

I hope this gives you a few ideas! Going into debt over Christmas will just create angst that you don’t need – and you don’t need to have money to show someone you love them. Can  you add to this gift list?

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