I have learned that you can give some really nice unique holiday gifts without spending much if you are willing to put yourself into the process. Yes, it usually means a little extra time, but the results are always worth it. Here are a few different ways to express yourself without breaking the household budget:
Photos. Many people rate photos as their favorite gift to receive. Get creative and take some unusual
shots like all the grandkids hands, someone holding a sign with a message, trick shots (like the ones I received in a forward recently where it looks like children are touching the moon), black and white or sepia photos, and candid family photos. Find a frame and make it personal with hand painting, items glued onto the edges, or a fabric or scrapbook paper covering.
Blank Books. These can be turned into amazing and very memorable gifts!
Take a small one around and let all different family and friends write messages in the book or answer a question about the recipient (like “What do you respect most about John?”)
If you'd rather make the book completely on your own, write one hundred things you love about the person, funny memories you have of them, dates you'd like to go on together or things they are good at. Decorate the book with little illustrations, magazine cutouts, comics or stickers. This could be one of the best unique holiday gifts you will ever give!
Potted Plants. The containers are all around us and the seeds are very inexpensive. The one catch with this gift is that you need to have a little foresight. You will want to start this gift ahead of time so that it is at least sprouting by the time you give it.
Even better, keep several extra plants going at all times so that when you need a gift, you just choose one right off your shelf. My favorite plants to give: herbs, bulbs, hearty can't-kill-em houseplants (which are usually easy to start from a cutting) and cactus.
Personalized Calendars are other unique holiday gifts to give. There are free ones you can print online after uploading photos, but I still like the old ones my mom used to draw up. She'd let each of us submit our best artwork to her and then she would choose one of the pictures for every month and glue them in place. Simple, but memorable and a keepsake for your family if you are an artist.
Containers. Who doesn't have some clutter to contain? It is fun to make pretty containers to give away! You can find cast off baskets at every thrift store. How do you personalize them? Paint the baskets with spray paint or weave fabric around the handle and tie a bow or make a pretty liner out of fabric scraps.
I have also made beautiful containers out of cardboard shoe boxes by painting them with thinned glue and then covering the box inside and out with fabric. With all the different sizes of shoe boxes available, you can make a nesting set...and the stores are always willing to give away the boxes if you call and ask.
Other containers to keep your eyes open for: crates, gallon jars, tote bags (you can paint over the logo or glue on fabric cutouts), large metal pots and pails, bread pans or other rectangular metal dishes, etc.
This year, give unique holiday gifts and stick to your household budget by planning wisely. Know how much money you have to spend and how much time you have to shop and craft. Then stick with your plan and enjoy the process!
Mel, the Gift Girl has been collecting gift ideas for years and shares her favorites on her website. Check out her inexpensive holiday gift ideas.