A present exchange is a great way to share the Christmas expense especially with a much larger family. There are many ways you could approach the present exchange. You can do a random gift exchange. This involves putting everyone’s name in a hat and pulling at random who you get a gift for. You may want this secret by not telling the person who is getting a gift. A neat variation of this would be to put numbers in and whoever matches them gets gifts for each other.
Grab Bag Gifts
Dollar stores and other places of similar intent have great gift ideas for a grab bag gift party. This can save a lot of money especially for kid’s gifts. The grab bag gifts can also make great stocking stuffers. You could use plain brown paper bags to put the gifts. Then decorate the bags with ribbons, markers, crayons and the like. You could enlist the help of some willing kids to help you decorate the gift bags. Small toys such as cars and dolls are great grab bag gift ideas.
Making your own gifts is a top way to save money at holiday time. From gift jars to homemade holiday cards, there is something to make for everyone on your list.
Gift jars are a great gift for the cook in your life. These can be soup mixes, cookie mixes or even herbed rice or pasta. Just get a good clean dry mason jar. Make sure the lid fits tightly. Mix in the dry ingredients of the recipe and attach an instructions tag to the jar. Add labels for a more festive look or add ribbons to the jar for decoration.
Sample Soup Gift Jar:
Fill the jar with beans. Examples are a bag of 15 bean soup, kidney beans or a white bean such as navy beans. Add favorite spices such as black pepper, cayenne or oregano. Attach a tag that explains what to do with the beans (i.e. boil the beans until done in enough water to cover the beans).
Another soup idea would be to add a couple cups of pasta such as egg noodles or rotini noodles, appropriate spices and maybe some dried vegetables such as carrots or celery. Don’t forget to attach the instructions.
You can make holiday cards or Christmas cards with any basic craft supplies. You will need:
markers, crayons or colored pencils
scrap paper such as construction paper or other colored paper
heavy card stock
extra craft supplies such as foam pieces, felt, toothpicks, sequins, buttons, string or yarn and glitter
First, decide the size of the card. This is easiest if you know what size envelope you will be sending out the Christmas cards in. Cut the appropriate size from the heavy card stock. You can make a card that folds like a traditional Christmas card but it is not necessary. Use the ruler for even sides.
Next, decorate the card appropriately. You can add glitter, buttons, foam shapes, drawings, even photographs to the card. Make sure to let any glue dry before you send the card. A homemade card is sure to get responses.
Grandparents and other relatives especially like picture frames of the kids and family. You can take simple picture frames you buy at any craft or hobby store and decorate them up with sequins, glitter and foam pieces.
You can also make a twig picture frame.
1. Choose the picture that you want to frame.
2. Find some twigs that are of the same size. In a pinch, you can use craft sticks or dowel rods.
3. Cut out a backing a little bit bigger than the size of the picture. You can make this backing from heavy paper such as card stock, felt or thin cardboard (like the kind you get from cereal boxes). Cut out another piece the same size. This will be the front. Cut the center from the front piece so that the picture shows through. Glue the picture to the backing. Then attach the front piece. Let it dry.
4. Glue the twigs to the picture frame. You can add sequins or other decorative items to add your own flair to the picture frame.
Have a Family Get Together
Whether you get together with family or friends, it doesn’t have to be an expensive get together. Have a simple party at a family member’s house or a friend’s house. Since many families sometimes have family members who live considerable distances, consider a place or home that is easy travel for those long distance relatives.
A family get together can bring the family together for game time. Bring plenty of board games and other types of games. You could invest in a couple of DVD games (both new and classic) that are now available. Board games can be fun for the whole family, even a younger generation.
Keeping Under Budget
Most holidays cause a little bit of stress on all parties involved regardless of the budget. But staying to budget can be easy with a little creativity and simple activities. Remember that a little goes a long way and it really is the thought that counts.
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