Frugal Gift Ideas A baker's dozen

When "frugal gifts" are mentioned, sooner or later (and usually sooner), these
three ideas come to the top: baskets of special goodies; mixes in a jar; and
IOU's of time or services. If you're tired of, or feel uninspired by those
things, look just a little farther. There are other ways to make a little money
create a generously special gift. Let me ask first... do you give the mailman a
"tip" at Christmas? Why not give him a warm pair of snug gloves instead? If you
knit, it wouldn't take long to make a pair for a couple of dollars. (I hope
that's less than the cash you'd otherwise give!) For those closer to you, here
are some ideas:

A picture of you and/or your family in a nice (second hand, perhaps) frame.
You don't have to have special or "professional" pictures made. Casual is best
A 2002 calendar made on your computer and personalized with birthdays or
other special days.
Hot pads are just densely woven material filled with rice or other grains.
Just sew three sides of a rectangle, then fill it with grain and sew the fourth
side closed. Add a tag with instructions to heat two to three minutes in the
If you knit, don't stop at sweaters or warm things. Knit dishcloth and towel
sets from cotton yarn for the kitchen, or face cloths and hand towels for the
bathroom. A two dollar towel is a luxury when it's handmade.
If you do other crafts, look for unique patterns and ideas. Personalize them
by using the right colors, styles, etc., for the person in mind.
Jewelry can be made very inexpensively with materials like shells, rocks,
buttons or feathers. Mountings are very cheap at craft stores.
If your giftee likes popcorn, package up a "special seasoning", (or
dehydrated cream soup or sauce) and add a bag of popcorn. (This makes a video
seem like an extra special gift.)
If you're sending gifts to family or friends far away, look at what is
naturally abundant where you live that they might not have access to. Pecans and
black walnuts, citrus fruit, piñon nuts - depending on where you live, these
things might seem common and cheap, but to someone else, they may be hard to
come by, and expensive.
If you have muslin or something similar on hand, make small (1 - 2 tablespoon
size) muslin bags. Fill with oatmeal mixed well with a drop or two of essential
oil (extracts for food will work). To use, drop a bag into the tub while running
bathwater. Package these in a plastic bag or container with snug fitting lid.
Use your computer to print out bookmarks, calendars, labels, patterns, forms,
recipes, pictures and so forth. Present them in collections, either in booklet
form (use a stapler) or paste onto index cards and present them in a recipe box.
For children, print a collection of coloring pages from the internet.
Buy or make a recipe box and fill it with your special, ethnic or cultural
recipes. Make it as large a collection as you can.
Many house plants can be easily propogated by cuttings, so if you have some,
find out what it takes and get it started before Christmas. Tie it up with a
pretty bow.
If it's too late to start a potted plant from one of your own, find an
interesting planter (mug, wide mouthed vase, canning jar, etc.). Put a few small
rocks in the bottom and fill with planting soil. Plant herb or other seeds, then
water and keep it warm until time to give. Print instructions for watering,
light, and anything else necessary.

Cindy Sue

Oregon Grown and Raised

Ambition is that grit in the soul which creates disenchantment with the ordinary
and puts the dare into dreams.~


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