The Season of Gifting: Nine Sentimental DIY (And Budget-Friendly) Gifts For The Holidays

December 10, 2012  |  

Between the kids, the friends, the co-workers and the significant other, the gift-giving season can be strenuous on the pockets. You strive to get everyone the perfect gift, while putting the trimmings on the Christmas tree, feeding the family on Christmas Day, and pleasing professional contacts with a great gift idea. But at what cost?

On average, Americans are expected to spend about $854 on gifts this holiday season alone, according to Yahoo! Finance. To some, that’s close to a week’s pay, which usually means cutting back extremely during the coming New Year. Minimize that expenditure and give inexpensive gifts that are more sentimental then the latest iPhone and you could have a win-win on your hands. Here are a few gift ideas that are budget-friendly, do-it-yourself, or simply straight from the heart, without costing you a whole paycheck in advance.

 

Prepare and Give Your Tastiest Dish

One great idea to give this holiday if you are trying to budget while gift to a whole family is prepare and give your favorite dish or treat! Whether it is cookies, homemade candy or pie, or making something straight from the heart, something straight from your stove is a great gift for an entire family. It also saves on the money spent buying individual gifts. If someone has been raving about one of your scrumptious side dishes since Thanksgiving dinner, gift them one for Christmas. Or if baked goods like cookies are your specialty, bake a couple dozen and find a special holiday cookie tin. The only real cost is a little grocery money, elbow grease in the kitchen, and time.

Gift Your Time and Service

Giving the gift of your time and service to another family member or friend who might be in need could make the best Christmas for everyone involved. Giving your time out to help them cook or clean, offer babysitting services, or taking them out for a good meal could mean so much more to those around you, especially if you live long-distance.

Hand make coupon-like cards with individual and personal deals for each friend or family member that they can redeem from you at any time. For example, “Redeem this coupon to spend the whole day together” or “Redeem this coupon to prepare a meal together.” These type of thoughtful messages sent to your family and friends let them know how much you appreciate the time you have with them, and how you crave more of it in a special and different way.

Write a Letter

In the style of Beyonce, this Christmas, pen a letter to a special friend, family member, or maybe even a co-worker, to let them know how much you care in words. These days, everyone is communicating via social networks, emailing. and texting. Communicate in a different way (in full sentences!) by writing a heartfelt and sincere letter that could be a keepsake for years to come.

The best thing about letters are that they are truly personal, from the paper used, to the writer’s penmanship. Get creative and choose a special type of paper and unique pen to write with rather than spending more money on a holiday card that no one holds on to past the holidays. Maybe you’ll even want to ask your friends, family or significant other to write a letter back.

Make a Personalized Mixtape

Your husband might be a big Jay-Z fan. Your grandmother might still love the sounds of Marvin Gaye. So why not gift them their favorite music to listen to in an old-fashioned way? With the onslaught of music technology like Pandora and Spotify, the need for mixtapes is outdated, but that doesn’t mean they are not appreciated just the same. (A cassette player might be hard to come by, so feel free to make a CD.)

Take it back to when making mixtapes were special and create one or two for your loved ones, tailored to their favorite musicians. Or go down memory lane and create a mix tape that reflects a special moment in time with your significant other. Your best friend might not have heard “Lyte As A Rock” since those college nights of partying. Create a mixtape that brings her back to the good old days (and nights!).

Make Photo Collages of Memories

You probably have a lot of snapshots of both big events and ordinary days. Consider making a photo collage of those memories to gift for the holidays. There are plenty of photo collage kits at your local arts and crafts store and computer software that’ll help you create a great collage of memories this holiday season.

Frame and Gift A Special Keepsake

Remember the first date you and your husband went on, where he brought you beautiful flowers that you still keep the petals of? Or you and your best friend’s first concert, where you still have the concert tickets of the show? If you still have a keepsake from a great moment in time between you and your loved one, take the time out to frame and gift it as a memorial piece that will be shared and kept throughout the years. Framing a keepsake is simple and inexpensive, and definitely more personable than buying your significant other the latest and greatest gadget.

Share Your Favorite Things As Gifts

Take the time out to give something that is a favorite of yours that another might enjoy, like a book that changed your life or a hand-me-down from your family. It doesn’t cost a penny to gift something you love to those who could find inspiration from it.

Give the Gift of Experience

Instead of pouring your money into the latest gadget for your child or the best golf clubs for your husband, give your family the gift of experience this Christmas. This could be a family trip to somewhere inexpensive, like the nearest museum for the whole family, or a cooking class for you and your husband to enjoy together. This could also be a trip during Christmas to a festive location or vacation, instead of spending your money on individual gifts and presents.

Share Your Talent

Are you a singer? Belt out a beautiful song live for the ones you love. A writer? A poem or short story is a one-of-a-kind gift. An artist? Give the ones you love a piece of art that they can admire every day and show off to guests. Your talents are a gift to you, and you can pass it along to others in this small (and inexpensive) way.

What are some of your favorite inexpensive gifts to give or get during the holiday season? Let us know with some suggestions!

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  • ATF

    I enjoy sentimental and thoughtful gifts more than expensive ones! These bring memories that you cherish because gadgets and stuff gets old.