Contributed by: Crystal Miller
With Christmas just around the corner it is time to start thinking about gift giving, it you have not done so already! As a single income family we are on a budget and I am always on the look out for frugal fun Christmas gift ideas. The ideas I am sharing with you here are a few of the different things I have done over the years as well as some ideas that I may be doing this year. Perhaps it will spark some new ideas for you this Christmas season!
Gift Baskets are always popular:
Pick one or two food type gifts:
Then add any of the following:
Dish towels, spatulas, coffee mugs can be found at dollar stores or Wal-Mart very inexpensively.
Whole Wheat Cinnamon Pancake Mix
To this mix add:
Add extra milk if batter is too thick. Cook pancakes as usual.
In a saucepan heat the Sucanat and water until just boiling and the Sucanat has dissolved. Remove from heat and add the maple flavoring and butter, if desired.
Another option that gives this syrup more of a maple taste and still cuts down on the cost of pure maple syrup is to substitute 1/3 c. pure maple syrup for the 2 t. maple flavoring.
Put this syrup in small canning jars and top with a canning lid and ring. Seal in a boiling water bath for 5 minutes or give directions to store in refrigerator if you do not want to can it.
This can be easy to put together with items from a dollar store.
Possible items to add:
For the hand lotion: you can buy large quantities of hand lotion and scent it yourself with some essential oil or fragrance oil and then put it into smaller bottles for gift giving. Small size plastic bottles can be purchased at Wal-Mart in the cosmetics section.
Homemade Shower Gel
In a bowl mix together the shampoo and water. Add salt and mix well. The salt will help the shampoo to gel. Then add your essential or fragrance oils a few drops at a time. You don't want to over due the scent. If you want to add some food coloring to give it a bit of color you can, but that is totally optional.
Basic Bath Salts
Mix all ingredients together well. I find using my hands to do this does the best job. Put in glass canning jars or zip-type bags for gift giving.
Gift basket items can be put in a basket or a nice decorated box. I have done both. I have found beautiful looking baskets at thrift stores for 50cents. If I do not have a basket I will often just take a cardboard box and wrap the box only, leaving it open, with some pretty looking, foil type Christmas wrap.
Food always makes a good gift:
Small loaves of pumpkin bread or yeast bread or cinnamon rolls on a plate.
Cookies: peanut butter, chocolate chip, oatmeal, lemon bars, sugar cookies, gingerbread men, or any of your family's favorite cookies. Bake them ahead of time and freeze them. Then when you are ready to make a pretty cookie plate simply pull a couple of each type of cookie out of the freezer and put on your plate.
You can cover a plain white paper plate with foil and lay your food items on this. Cover with Christmas looking plastic wrap and top with a bow.
One year that we were struggling financially I even made different types of flavored popcorn and gave this away in zip-type bags with a bow on them.
Also you can give your own popcorn seasonings. Popcorn seasoning in a small plastic bag and some popcorn that you put in a small jar would be a cute, inexpensive gift as well.
Chili Popcorn Seasoning
Combine all ingredients. Pop your corn and butter as you would desire. Sprinkle your desired amount of seasoning over hot buttered popcorn and enjoy!
Cheesy Italian Popcorn
Mix all ingredients in blender until well mixed. This may take 2 to 3 minutes.
Pop some popcorn, butter according to your desire and sprinkle desired amount of seasoning on your popcorn. Toss everything to coat evenly.
Cake or cookie mixes given in jars or zip-type bags. The internet is full of recipes for this. A few that I have made are, M&M cookie mix, Peanut Butter Cup Cookie Mix, and Brownie mix.
Another frugal Christmas gift I have given over the years is cocoa mix. I will often pack it in ziplock-type bags and then look for inexpensive Christmas gift bags at the craft store to put it in.
Big Batch Hot Cocoa Mix
In a large bowl mix all ingredients well and store in an airtight container or zip lock bags. To use measure 1/3 cup of mix into a cup and add hot water and stir.
Gourmet type coffee is really simple to make. Add your favorite extract to regular ground coffee and mix well. Some good flavor choices are, almond, mint, cinnamon, or orange.
Flavored coffees or coffee creamers and tea mixes are always a good choice.
Cappuccino Coffee Mix
In a medium size bowl combine all ingredients and mix well.
To use: place a heaping tablespoon of mix into a coffee mug and add about a cup of boiling water. Stir and enjoy!
Amaretto Coffee Creamer
Mix all ingredients very well. Add your desired amount to a cup of hot coffee!
Fruit flavored Tea Mix
In a medium size bowl combine all ingredients well. Package in a canning jar or zip-type bag. To use: Add approximately 2 teaspoons to a cup of boiling water and enjoy!
Copyright: Crystal Miller, 2004
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