Tis the Season to be Economical – Five Creative Gift Ideas

Every year people talk about putting more meaning in Christmas by spending less on gifts. This may be the year, when for many families, keeping their shopping list budget friendly is now a necessity rather than an option. Whatever you choose, remember to keep your heart in it knowing that people can tell when a gift has been thoughtfully created. Try some of these easy, time-friendly gift ideas for your whole shopping list:

  1. Photo calendar - Choose a theme from among your collection of digital photos on your computer. For example, grandparents and out-of-town relatives may appreciate a collection which includes photos of the kids from the year's vacations. A nature or pet-inspired theme could also work well. If you're not sure, just include your favorite photos from throughout the year. It's easy to upload your photos onto one of the print websites like Vista Print or Café Press. You can then order as many copies as you like. Note, that it's much easier to have the photos print-ready before uploading them. In other words, if you're adding any special effects, doing any cropping or adding text to your photos, do it before you get to the websites.
  2. Photo album - A photo album is even more economical than a calendar, but will be cherished just the same. Search craft stores or discount department stores for photo or scrap books on sale. If you tend to mail pictures to relatives throughout the year, then leave a few blank pages so they have room for future photos.
  3. Postcard Size Artwork - You can purchase postcard size paper and create watercolors, water pencils, acrylic or oil works of art, inspired by your photos of people, landscapes or objects. The benefits to keeping the art small are numerous - a smaller size means less expensive frames to buy, less postage if being mailed, less time for each piece of art, and you may find, easier to create because the details are on a smaller scale. Choose something that you enjoy rendering. This will make the process quicker.
  4. Baked Goods or Other Food Items - This is an old favorite, but try recreating it by choosing healthier or organic, ingredient-friendly recipes. Try out a few recipes in advance, so you know they'll like it. Make it more creative by including a recipe card with a plastic bag spice pouch that includes the dry ingredients (if possible) to use. This will ensure that the recipe gets created again. Look for glycemic friendly recipes for anyone avoiding sugars due to diabetes or weight-loss efforts. How wonderful for them to be able to enjoy a treat without the guilt!
  5. Gift Card with a Twist - If you feel like €10 isn't enough for a gift card or that they're too impersonal, what about adding a date to it? Buy a gift card for your favorite coffee or smoothie shop and include a message that says - to be shared by us after the holidays or there's only one rule for this card, we're making a date to share it! This is a wonderful way to make time to spend with friends or family and is also perfect for the person who has everything.

Remember, the last thing people want you to do is go into debt because you wanted to buy them something you couldn't afford. Keep the holidays simple. Give with the heart, rather than the wallet.

author: Clarissa Adkins

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