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Old 12-08-2004, 08:48 PM
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Special Inexpensive Gift Ideas

By Beth Fisher

Being on a tight budget, normally we make most of our Christmas gifts. Over the years I've found that you can come up with a more personal, and more appreciated gift this way.

I wanted to share a few ideas that we are using this year that are great for last minute gifts.

Recipe File Box - This is a great activity for the whole family. Take an index card file box (3x5 or 4x6), and let the kids cut out small pictures of food from magazines. Cover the box, one side at a time with white glue, and glue pictures on. When box is completely covered (outside only), let dry thoroughly. When dry, mix 2 parts white glue to 1 part water, and brush this mixture over entire outer surface of box. Let dry. Include a package of index card dividers marked for different food categories, a package of plain blank cards and about 25 of your favorite recipes to get their collection started.

Christmas Memories Book - Another great project for sharing memories with family. Let kids cut out pictures from wrapping paper. Cover outside of 1-1 1/2" 3 ring binder with glue, one flap at a time, and glue pictures to outside. Let dry. Use same glue mixture as above to seal the surface. Add a package of tab dividers marked: Christmas stories, Christmas gifts, Christmas giving, Christmas thoughts,and Christmas recipes. Add package of notebook paper.

Fill out first page of each section as follows:

Christmas stories (put your favorite fictional or true Christmas story here)
Christmas gifts (this is to list gifts received by the person receiving this gift, so at the top of the page write 1998, then on the first line put "Christmas memory book" from "your name". This way they can remember who gave them what gift.)
Christmas giving (this page is for the recipient to write what they gave as gifts, so just write the year at the top with instruction to fill in what they gave to whom)
Christmas thoughts (this is the section for them to write special happenings, so fill in a few memories that you have of Christmas with this person, or their family)
Christmas recipes (this can be an ongoing collection, but add one or two of your favorites)
(This gift is especially appropriate for a newly wed couple, or a new baby, but can be great for anyone.)

Foaming Vanilla Bath

1 cup oil (any vegetable oil)
1/2 c. liquid soap
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup honey (optional)

Blend the ingredients together. Shake well before using. Use 1/4 cup per bath.

You can be very creative with the packaging of bath products. Take an empty wine cooler four pack (complete with box). Spray paint the box white (or gold or silver). Sponge paint with contrasting color. Wash labels off of bottles, keep lids. Decorate the bottle with paint pens, with designs like squiggles, etc. Pour foaming bath in each bottle, close lids and put in box. Gifts for the Kids You don't have to break the bank to give kids practical and fun gifts that they will actually use.

Go by what your child likes to do and be creative.

Coloring book - Take a 3 ring binder, add a zipper pouch with crayons, and print out coloring pages from the internet. has several coloring pages.

Coloring Pages

Just print out the pictures, and punch 3 holes and put them in the book with the crayons.

Craft Bag - This can be done very reasonably. Take a large shoe box, and fill with odds and ends that can be used to make things. Cotton balls, tissue paper, glue, markers, paper, etc. Be creative. Even things like buttons and ribbon.

Makeup Kit - This idea is great for teen girls. Take a shoe box and fill with nail polish, polish remover, cosmetics, etc. You can cover the shoe box and write on the top "Beth's Box" (use appropriate name, of course).

Garden Gift "Basket" - For the garden lover. Use a large clay pot for your "basket" fill with seeds, gloves, tools, plant food, etc.

Of course, we are baking a lot of gifts, as we always do, but recipes are easy to find. I thought I'd share some "new" ideas.

Hope you enjoy them, and have a Merry Christmas!

printed from's Frugality Corner newsletter

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