Christmas is costly, even as it’s dear. Hanukkah can be high-priced as well. Holiday gift-giving offers families and friends a prime opportunity to express affection and appreciation through generosity. But the price tag can be a tall order for many of us, particularly in tough economic times.
With unemployment stuck at high levels, costs soaring, and money worries plaguing far too many, how can non-crafty folks find creative ways to participate in holiday gifting without breaking the bank?
10 creative no-cost or low-cost DIY holiday gifts
Consider these 10 simple, but thoughtful, gestures of generosity. Maybe these benevolent brainstorms will spark additional ideas for holiday enthusiasts.
1. Cook up a treat in the kitchen.
Baked goods are a perennial favorite for holiday gifting. Pre-mixed cookie recipes, homemade jams, and spiced tea concoctions are also popular picks.
Here’s another possibility. Why not create a casserole, whip up a wonderful lunch repast, or beef up the barbecue as a holiday treat? This makes a wonderful holiday gift, particularly if it gives the more frequent cook in the household a break.
2. Produce a playlist.
Who wouldn’t appreciate a custom-burned compact disc or online playlist of favorite downloaded songs? This gift oozes with thoughtfulness, as it requires the giver to consider the recipient’s own musical tastes, even if songs are copied from an existing collection. The compilation could include holiday picks, a themed assortment, or simply a bunch of beloved tunes.
3. Chip in on chores.
Kids, in particular, can brighten parents’ holiday season by giving gifts of their own labor. How about pitching in with housecleaning, laundry, ironing, errands, or other tasks? Plenty of youngsters create adorable holiday gift certificates for jobs around the house and yard, and moms and dads love such presents.
4. Fill a jar with goodies.
Don’t toss those empty peanut butter jars, oatmeal canisters, or lemonade tubs. Washed out, these make handy receptacles for all sorts of collected gems. Candles, nuts, pocket change, pot pourri, scented pine cones, sweets, and other treasures fit nicely into such vessels for creative holiday gifting.
5. Pass along a prized possession.
Regifting is de rigueur these days. New, unused items can make great gifts, especially if they are presented to suitable folks. That third set of dominoes, which is still unwrapped, might be just the thing for a young math lover. The youthful perfume that sits in its original package in the dresser drawer could rock a teen girl’s world for Christmas.
Hand-me-down exchanges are perennially popular. Some families, friendship circles, and other groups may agree to this practice in advance. Creative givers come up with amazing ideas for pass-along presents. A favorite book, a second-hand puzzle, a vintage Christmas tree ornament, or an extra set of hand tools can be a great gift for the right recipient.
6. Deck the halls for one who can’t.
Holiday decorating lights up the home life of almost anyone. Why not offer to set up a Christmas tree or string outdoor lights for a senior or shut-in loved one? What a great gift to last the entire season.
Better yet, how about stepping in to take down and safely stow decorations after the holidays have passed?
7. Pick out a few pictures.
Photographs make terrific gifts. Homemade collages and photo books become lifelong treasures, particularly when they are assembled as love-driven holiday presents and perhaps captioned with sweet sentiments.
8. Step in with a shovel.
As the snow flies, a homemade punch card for snow clearing makes a wonderful gift for the holidays and the rest of the winter season.
9. Script something special.
Written or recorded, an original story, song, or poem is a true gift from the heart. Humorous, holiday-themed, or wholly serious, the gift of words or music is always appreciated.
10. Spend time instead of money.
Here’s a holiday gift favorite. Folks of any age can draw up tickets for board games, read-alouds, family date nights, and other special outings.
Imagination and thoughtfulness are the keys to creating the best do-it-yourself holidays gifts. Anyone can put heart and soul into a prized present, with or without spending a dime.
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