Christmas time can be a big hit to your budget; however, it doesn’t have to be. In an effort to share a few ways to make the Christmas season a bit more economical, we will look at how to help your kids create gifts for others, how to exchange clutter for new gift items and share a strategy for saving 20% on popular gift items.
1. Help Your Kids Create Gifts for Others
Relatives, friends and especially grandparents would often times prefer a gift created by a child instead of one purchased. It does take some time but can be an economical option as well. I can think of several gifts either our boys made when they were younger or we received from others; all of which were inexpensive and well received.
Snowmen (See photo)
Supplies: 2×4’s, white paint and brush (or spray paint), black and orange markers, small amount of scrap material, buttons and a glue gun.
Parents can cut the 2×4 with a basic cross cutting saw and then paint it. Children can then use markers to design the face and parents can then assist their children in going on the fabric and buttons. The expense can be lessened if you have new homes going up in the neighborhood. Scraps of 2×4’s can usually be secured from their trash.
Birdhouses (See photo)
Supplies: fence pickets, drill/driver with a 1” diameter bit, finish nails, a small stick or dow stick, smaller bit for the hole drilled for the perch and a cross cutting saw (if you want the peak of the roof to have 45 degree angels then that will require a miter saw).
Parents can cut the wood to preferred lengths. I cut it so that our younger child would build the smaller bird house and our older child would have the larger. The child can then assemble the birdhouse with nails, safety glasses and a hammer. Parents may need to help position the wood.
Painted Flower Pots
Supplies: paint, paint brushes and terra cotta pots.
This is probably the simplest of the 3 projects. These pots, when finished, can be a great addition to a grandparent’s kitchen window seal.
For those gifted in baking, then a batch of cookies, small cake or loaf of homemade bread can be a great gift and one in which the kids can be involved.
2. A Way to Exchange Clutter for New Gift Items
Multiple businesses are around who will give cash or credit for used items. Places such as Once Upon a Child, Play It Again Sports, Retool, Runway Fashion Exchange, Plato’s Closet and Hastings Entertainment all will purchase used items. Items can be sold and then the money used for gifts. This is helpful as gifts are received at Christmas that then need a place, and by selling stuff ahead of Christmas, not only is money gained but space is created as well.
One such business that I’d like to emphasize is Hastings. At Hastings you can sell books, cd’s, video games and gaming systems. You will receive more if you take store credit instead of cash. But with the credit you can then do a couple of things.
You can purchase gift cards to various restaurants and even shoe stores. At the shoe stores you could then use the gift cards to buy shoes, socks, jerseys, etc.
Or you could use the store credit to purchase items at Hastings. Hastings does carry a lot of “dark” items which I would not recommend, but intermixed are some worthwhile gifts. When our boys were younger we used Hastings credit to buy a lot of games, stocking stuffers, appropriate kid toys and even an acoustic guitar.
3. How to Save 20% on Popular Gift Items
One great present is gift cards. I have seen multiple restaurants that offer a bonus gift card for each gift card you purchase. Typically it is a 20% bonus, so if you buy a $25 gift card you will also receive a bonus $5 gift card at some places, at other businesses, when you buy a $50 gift card you receive a bonus $10 card. So you can give the gift and receive extra to use for your family.
4. Other Gift Ideas
Consider what you are gifted with and what you can then share. I know one family who has pecan trees in their yard. They have given bags of shelled pecans for gifts.
Consider your deal finding strengths. I stay up on sources for great deals on books. When I have found new books that I’d recommend at great discounts, then sometimes I have stocked up and used them as gifts to people who’d appreciate such reading.
Finally what homemade items can you make and share? In addition to baked items like pumpkin bread and cookies, salsas and jellies are great gifts as well. If your gifted in photography then photos of grandkids and snapshots of meaningful places in a person’s life can be great gifts as well. Use your imagination and think about your skills and the resources that are readily available near you.
These are 4 ideas for how to make Christmas gifts more economical. I welcome hearing about other ideas as well, so please feel free to share.