Monday 21 November 2016

Christmas Presents On A Budget

With Christmas fast approaching,  I'm sure most of you have made plans or bought a few presents.  For those who struggle to find the money to spend on presents,  here are a few frugal ideas

*  Biscuits ( cookies ) in a jar made a delightful teacher's gift,  Kris Kringle,  office party present or a present for a friend.  If you have elderly family and friends this would be ideal.  Many elderly can't or wouldn't bake for themselves.  You could give the biscuits ( or other baking ) in a cellophane bag bought from the discount stores.  Tie the top up with recycled ribbon and add a gift tags.  For a larger batch of biscuits,  use a glass coffee jar ( Moccona comes to mind ),  decorated baby formula tin or an icecream container with a ribbon tied around for presentation.  Here are two suggested biscuit recipes on my blog

Peanut Butter Choc Chip Biscuits

Cranberry Hootycreek Biscuits

Biscuits in a jar

*  Teenage boys can be hard to buy for.  They want expensive branded gadgets / clothes and shoes.  A budget gift could be deodorant and shower gel bought at half price.  Lynx toiletries come on sale quite a few times during the year and cost about $3 each at half price.  Team this up with a couple of giant biscuits wrapped in cellophane bags tied with a tartan ribbon.  They'll devour those biscuits before you know it.

Always buy on sale

*  Make a set of handmade cards.  Kmart sells packs of white blank cards 25 per pack for $3.  Using a glue stick,  recycled ribbon and bits and pieces from around the house you could make an elegant set of card that are unique.  Present them in a handmade box,  a decorated recycled one or maybe buy a suitable size from the $2 shops.  Add a few postage stamps and a novelty pen for the receiver to use.

Using scraps of wrapping paper

*  Not crafty ?  Then maybe the garden is where you'll find a few presents.  Take cuttings from your plants and re pot them into saved garden pots,  containers,  planter boxes or fruit boxes.  Clean the outside of the pot and add a ribbon or saved colored plastic from bunches of flowers etc.

A raspberry cutting we grew

*  Now is the time to plant a mix of lettuce seeds in a pot for a beautiful display to give at Christmas. Both useful and very frugal.

Grow different varieties of lettuce

*  Make handmade soap.  If you make the soap in the next week or so you'll have just enough time for it to cure ready for Christmas giving.  The ingredients only cost a few dollars but produces $30 - $40 worth of presents.  You might even have some of the ingredients in your pantry.  Soap making is not as hard as it seems.  Just follow the instructions carefully and you'll be fine.  Wrap the bars of soap in cellophane and add a ribbon.  This soap could be added to a decorated hand towel or set of face washers.  Here's one of the recipes I use Soap making
Handmade soap

Gift wrapped ready to give

*  Men can be hard to buy for.  If they have a bbq then make up a few jars of spice rubs for meat.  Save your baby food or mustard jars to use and add a hand made or printed label.  If you'd like to bulk up the present,  make it into a gift pack buy adding paper towel,  tongs,  canola spray,  foil and cling wrap.  Men who bbq always need these items and it's saves them digging around in the kitchen. I know from first hand experience.  Darren has a tub of his " own " things next to the bbq.

* Google,  Pinterest and Youtube could be your best friend when searching for frugal or free gift ideas.  With a little planning now,  you don't need to spend a fortune on gifts.  Remember,  it's your budget.  You know what you can afford.


  1. Many of the gifts you mention--good suggestions, all--are what we give to people we aren't really close to, "just because." A number of years ago, I decided we would give to immediate family only. If a neighbor gives me something, I thank them...but I don't run out and buy or make something for them. After about two years, people that are just peripheral to your life stop giving to you...probably with a big sigh of relief. This is a huge timesaver and moneysaver at a busy time of year. My advice is to put your time and your money into the people you love the most. PS My kids are grown now, but I never gave teacher gifts. I did take the time to write each of them a nice note, which I believe was appreciated more than some of the gifts they got. In really special circumstances, I sent a copy of the note to their supervisor.

  2. Wonderful ideas Wendy! I'm loving your soaps, and can see the leaf mould I sent you has been used well. I'm so pleased! Love, Mimi xxx

  3. A great post Wendy! I only buy store bought gifts for my immediate family and thats what we budget for. Our budget doesn't extend to friends but this year I will get baking and make some yummy biscuits for friends and work colleagues. Those who are good at sewing can make something too!
    Store bought christmas gifts are bought earlier in the year when there are mid year sales so that we can afford nice presents without the nice big price tag. I'm happy to say that all our gifts for this Christmas are sorted and already wrapped so no stress on me this year. It pays to be organised!


  4. Hi Wendy,

    Great post!!!
    I'll be using some of your ideas this Christmas. Now to get the Inlaws to appreciate handmade gifts....


  5. Those lettuce seedlings in a basket are pure genius.

  6. I remember one year I was so broke I didn't know what to do for presents.
    I make bathroom and toilet signs for my Mum to put on her doors by sewing cross stitch signs. They were still in the house when it was sold after my parents passed away. I also made short bread biscuits for some of my other family members and made up hampers from my baking and other cheap finds. We had a Kris Kingle at work so I bought a nice plate from the op shop and put homemade biscuits on it and wrapped them in a cello oven bag with a pretty ribbon. I think the recipient love them. This year things are a bit tight due to me working casual due to my health. We have adopted the Samaratian's purse idea where we will buy only what we need not what we want. So if the girls need something for school or to wear they will get that. I love the lettuces in a basket.

  7. Dear Wendy, I'm sending some blog love your way, in my post on Goats Milk Soap. I've mentioned your gorgeous rose and leaf shaped soaps, so I hope you get some visitors! Love, Mimi xxx


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