It doesn’t matter how much money you spend on a present—its how much love and thought you put into it that really shows that you care. During the holidays, funds can be tight, especially when you have lots of people on your list and you’re on a tight budget. If you’re low on cash and high on creativity, try one of these gifts which are perfect to give your family and friends.
Friendship jewelry: Remember when you were younger and made bracelets out of just ropes, strings and beads? Relive these memories by making jewelry to give your friend as a token that will remind her of your friendship. All you need is colored thread or string and a few decorative accents, and you’re on your way to giving your BFF a new, meaningful addition to her jewelry box. (Here are some ideas from Buzzle.com.)
Baked goods: Everyone knows the way to anyone’s heart is through their stomach. Bring out the Betty Crocker in you this holiday season by whipping up some delicious treats. Whether its pumpkin pie, Christmas cookies or cute themed cupcakes (check out AC editor Marisa’s fun idea for turkey cupcakes here), whoever receives your home-baked goodies will be begging for more!
Calendar: For a homemade e-gift, you can create a one-of-a-kind calendar for a loved one who you won’t be able to see during the holidays. There are many free online templates available, such as this one from Smilebox. You can customize all the months to contain your favorite pictures, and even add birthdays or other special events with the touch of a button! When you’re done, download the calendar and print it or attach it in an e-mail. It’s a great way to show someone you’re thinking about them all year long!
Scrapbook: They say that a picture’s worth a thousand words. Remind a friend or family member of all the laughs and memories you’ve shared with a personalized scrapbook. For this project, you don’t even have to go out and buy one; you can simply take an old binder and decorate the outside with glitter and stickers. The pages inside can be composed of colorful construction paper with your favorite memories pasted on. Add captions and separate sections for a finishing touch. You can even create a tradition by adding new pages to the scrapbook every year!
Coupons: For a gift that keeps on giving, try making a coupon book. This should contain tickets for the recipient to use at their leisure. You can include anything from a “free car wash” or “complimentary babysitting service” for your parents and older siblings or “help cleaning your room” for a friend, so get creative! The possibilities are endless for this gift. Remember, the more personal, the better.
Mixed CD: Give the gift of music! Whether they’re into pop, rock, hip-hop or even classical, everyone appreciates some kind of music. Make a personalized mixed CD by taking songs you’ve already downloaded and burning them onto a blank disc. Although this gift is quick and easy, it can be extremely thoughtful. You can theme the CD (for example: cheer music or boy band cuties), fill it with your friend’s favorite songs, or introduce them to something you love. Any approach you take will leave your friend with a personalized mix she can take wherever she goes.
Holiday decorations: Being that ’tis the holiday season, decorations will be popping up everywhere. Spread some holiday spirit to your friends and family by creating handmade decorations that they can use year after year. You can make ornaments, cards, wreaths, wall hangings, or anything else that beams holiday cheer. Displaying these decorations will become traditions for your loved ones, and you can even add to their collection each year.
Your time: There’s nothing better than being with your family and friends around the holidays. One of the best things you can give is the gift of time. Visit a grandparent, call up an old friend or make plans with your besties (try planning an old-school sleepover, complete with girl talk, popcorn and some romantic comedies!). You can reminisce about old memories while making new ones. And the best part? The gift of your time is absolutely free!