Christmas Gift Ideas on a Budget ❄️ DIYs, Shopping tips and Inexpensive Gifts
Short on Cash?
Make musiciPods are great, but who has the time to transfer all her CDs onto one? My friend Gretchen Olson, who lives in Madison, Wisconsin, went through her husband's CD collection and burned a CD of his favorite songs, so he can listen to them on his computer at work as well as transfer them to his MP3 player for the gym. Put the playlist on an inexpensive USB key-chain drive (some cost less than ), and your giftee will have a handy tool to hang on to after he's transferred the music to his iPod.
Turn the past into a presentDarcie Rowan's father-in-law died when her husband was in his 30s. "He only had one picture of his dad and his mom together with him, but it was fading and peeling. I had the picture restored and enlarged. He was so moved," says Darcie, who lives in Brooklyn, New York.
Reel in a favorite recipeRose Minior knew her mom adored a particular restaurant's lobster dish. "I got the recipe, printed it, purchased all the ingredients and packaged it all in a gift bag. My mother was delighted," says Rose, who lives in Northbridge, Massachusetts.
Personalize themed ornamentsThe year Kathryn Johnson's daughter rode her first big-girl bike, Kathryn gave her an ornament with a cute bear on a little red bicycle. "When we moved from a townhouse into a new house where my husband would have to shovel snow, I gave him an ornament of an elaborately decorated shovel," she recalls. Two teenagers on her list who loved expensive caffeine got Starbucks-style coffee-cup ornaments. Kathryn, who lives in Glenn Dale, Maryland, often uses a permanent marker to add the recipient's name and date. "I know that when the ornaments are pulled out each year, they'll think of me and the family," she says.
Dress up inexpensive giftsFour wineglasses in the original box may seem bland, so instead Teri Gault, the founder of GroceryGame.com, wraps each individually in pretty tissue paper and puts them in a new gift box. "This makes the gift look like it might have come from a boutique," she says. "Whenever I'm shopping throughout the year, even when it's not for a gift, if I'm asked if I'd like a free gift box, I say yes."
Short on Ideas?
Give directionsLynn Morley of Belton, Missouri, gave her dad a reminder of New England after he retired to Florida. "I found a guy on eBay who makes street signs that give a location, an arrow and the mileage. So I got one made up that said, 'East Barre, VT, 1,414 miles,' and another that said, 'Grandkids, 1,400 miles.' He loved them so much, he put them on the golf cart he uses to drive around his neighborhood," she says. Google "personalized street signs" to find vendors who offer them, including Walmart.com and MyStreetSigns.com.
Fill in the blanksLast Christmas, Lynn's brother knew she had neither the time nor the energy to put together a memory book for her newborn son. The fuss-free scrapbook he created for her included pages already decorated and pasted with pictures of a pregnant Lynn, the baby's trip home from the hospital, and his first bath, as well as completely decorated, just-pop-in-the-picture pages for future milestones, from his first steps and birthdays to his first Kansas City Royals baseball game.
Give virtual photosSandy Otto of Madison, Wisconsin, found the perfect gift for her mom: a digital photo frame in which the pictures constantly change. "The best part is, it's connected to a phone line, so any family member or friend can download a photo to the frame without Mom having to do anything. She can sit in her easy chair and just watch the pictures appear right in front of her eyes," Sandy says. Each evening the frame chooses up to 30 different photos to display the next day. Check ceiva.com for details on the digital frames, which start at 9, as well as the PicturePlan subscription (/year) that allows uploading via phone.
Short on Time?
Shop only one storeStephanie Tamayo knows that everyone in her family loves outdoors clothing, such as jackets and sweaters, so sometimes she spends a single, time-crunched afternoon at a favorite outdoors-oriented store such as The North Face or EMS. "I can usually find something for just about everyone on my list," the New Yorker says.
Think of a themeIn Denver, Katie Wilson chooses a different theme each year to speed up gift buying for her two sisters and her mom. One year, they each received Crocs shoes, which are produced in Colorado. Because I buy two or three of everything, I cut down on all the stops I have to make and the time it takes to plan individual gifts," she says. Have a more diverse gift list? Make your theme a bit broader, like cashmere (socks, scarves, sweaters) or classic movies (Casablanca for your uncle, Monty Python for your nephew).
Pool your resourcesKris Maddox of Walnut Creek, California, splits her list of relatives with her brother's family. "We buy for half, they buy for half, and we send the presents from both of our families," she says. "It cuts down our shopping immensely, and also allows us to buy nicer gifts."
Make it a gameMy friend Amy Lemberger, in Madison, Wisconsin, and her husband both come from large families, and the adults make gift giving easy. "We each buy one present that's appropriate for both men and women. We draw numbers: No. 1 goes first and picks a gift. No. 2 can take No. 1's gift or pick a new one, and so on. In my family the gifts are always liquor. In Peter's family, it can be anything. It's fun and everyone laughs a lot," she says.
Help someone you loveCarey Bertolet of New York City remembers fondly the year her entire family decided not to exchange presents and instead gave the money to a family member who'd lost her possessions in Hurricane Katrina. "We felt like we had done a good thing for someone who deserved it, and it was a pleasure not having to deal with all the buying, shopping and shipping!" Carey wants the family to do this every year, whether they help a relative in need or contribute the money toward a teen's college tuition.
Make a big changeTrade in your spare change for a gift at a Coinstar machine (find the nearest kiosk at coinstar.com). If you let the machine count your coins and put the amount on a gift card for merchants like Amazon.com, Eddie Bauer, Starbucks, JCPenney or iTunes, the counting fee is waived. Coinstar estimates that the average 32-oz container filled with a typical mix of coins holds more than —more than enough for a couple of gift cards.
Let them hear books!Tracey Lloyd's dad and sister are avid readers, so this year she's giving them both rental subscriptions to SimplyAudiobooks.com, which does for audiobooks what Netflix does for movies. Their 10,000 titles are available on cassette or CD, or as downloads (perfect for MP3 players). Subscriptions range from about to a month, depending on how many rentals you want at a time. "If my dad dozes off while listening, he can start it again when he wakes up," says Tracey, who lives in Seattle and is addicted to the service herself.
Video: 5 CHEAP holiday gift baskets! | Inexpensive Christmas gift ideas!
16ofthe World’s Safest Airlines (This List Can Help You Say Goodbye toYour Fear ofFlying)
Dark Chocolate Avocado Mousse Recipe
Lady Gaga Taken to the Hospital in SeverePain
How to Get a Collateral Loan
Gowns, Bodycon, Heels: Tracking Blake Lively’s Impeccable PregnancyStyle
Our Readers Are Obsessed With This Crazy-Affordable Beauty Brand
23 Trendy Metallic Coat Outfits For Ladies
Healthy Dinner Recipes For When You’re Lazy
How to Catch Someone Stealing at Work
How to remove tan with gram flour Fairness with gram flour
How to Make Oatmeal Soap