Now, we don't do a lot of gifts for the holidays themselves, but somehow in addition to Christmas in December, it seems half our family members were born in November and December, so we have umpteen birthdays to celebrate as well. But just because it's that time of year, doesn't mean you need to break the bank celebrating, right? Here are some great ideas for unique (and frugal) gifts this season:
- Baked goods - I did oogles of cookies last year and they were a huge hit. But don't limit yourself there. Do you have a yeast bread or sweet bread recipe that everyone loves? Or perhaps fudge, homemade cocoa, or granola? I save up those plastic salad containers I get from restaurants and use them to give away cookies. Or how about empty jelly or peanut butter jars to give away granola or cocoa?
- Canned goods - Homemade jams, pickles, and salsas tend to be a big hit with family and friends too. Not to mention, my family is just beside themselves when I give them something I canned ("YOU did this?"). Trust me, people are impressed and who can beat a gift that tastes great?
- Crafts - I crochet. Not well, but I crochet. That's a couple of my handmade baby blankets in the photo as well as a scarf I did for my niece. If you have a talent, USE IT! And don't forget the local library should have a selection of books to help fuel your ideas.
Other Mindful Presents (that you don't have to make yourself)
Ok. So you don't want to make everything yourself, but there a ton of great (and frugal) options out there, so you don't have to be a superhero to have a simple-green-frugal holiday.
- Farmers' Market - check out your local farmers' market. Ours has a a huge selection of gift options - anything from canned jams, salsas, honey, and baked goods to soaps, lotions, stained glass art, metalwork, jewelry, and pottery (the dolls and soap in the photos are from our market). And just think - you're supporting the local economy, your local farmer/artist, and giving a truly unique gift.
- Etsy - I've only used Etsy a few times, but it's a great place to find handmade items from around the country. I've bought both cloth bags and bags for steeping tea from Organic Needle. I gave one of the tea bags to my mom who just loves it. You just never know what you'll find.
Last year was the first year we started making our own holiday cards. Seriously, most people set them out for a few short weeks and then they get tossed. What a waste! So I save up old cards, colored paper that finds it way to us in the form of junk mail, and anything else I can get my hands on (like old calendars) and make my own greeting and holiday cards. You don't have to get fancy and buy a bunch of supplies. I just save and recycle as much material as I can. Have fun with it. And if you have kids, let them join in the fun. For more on making your own cards, see posts here and here.
Seriously, "Buying Hand for the Holidays" is the way to go. Not only can it be a frugal option, but it's also an opportunity to support your local community, share quality time with the kids, and all while offering a wonderful gift to your loved ones. I know you're still trying to figure out what Jr. will be wearing for Halloween, but take it from me and Kroger (I still can't believe the Christmas decorations are up already), the holidays are just around the corner and with a little planning, a sharp eye, and a cookie sheet, you can make this year the best Simple-Green-Frugal holiday ever.
So, there must be a million other ideas out there for simple-green-frugal handmade gifts. What have you done in years past?
To join in on the "Buy Hand for the Holiday" Challenge, visit Crunchy Chicken's challenge post and leave your name in the comment section.