10 DIY Christmas Gifts for $5 or Less

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Whether you're on a strict budget or just have a large family and many friends, you should be able to find a few Christmas gift ideas you'll enjoy making - and giving - in this list.  Don't forget about the chai tea kit idea I shared last week!

1.  The gift of food is always appreciated.  Perhaps the most frugal of all food gifts is a beautiful, crusty loaf of homemade bread, wrapped halfway in brown paper and tied with a bow.  Add a sprig of evergreen for ornamentation. Might I suggest a loaf of authentic German pretzel bread or bagels made from scratch?  If bread is not your preference, then homemade maple granola or candied pecans presented in a large glass jar are unique and easy alternatives.

2.  For the bookworms in your life, consider homemade bookmarks.  If you are skilled at crocheting, consider crocheting a bookmark, including a few beautiful beads near the top so they may drape from the top of a cherished book.  If you are not skilled at crochet, you can make lovely bookmarks with an assortment of ribbon and then sew beads or a pretty button onto the top. 

3.  Have you been making jams throughout Autumn?  An assortment of homemade jams is a gift an entire family would be sure to enjoy.  My blueberry jam recipe is a yummy, easy option.

4.  If you have accumulated many pins and broaches over the years, consider turning them into elegant magnets by removing the pin segment from the back and hot gluing on a strong magnet in its place for display on a refrigerator.

5.  For the movie buff family, consider putting together a frugal movie basket; include popcorn, a box or two of candy, and a Redbox movie code or two (there are often free movie codes going around).  Or, if you are technologically savvy, include a video of the family from years past.

6.  For children, consider giving a homemade craft box.  Using a fun school box or wood box, fill it up with scraps of card stock, fabric, ribbon, buttons, etc.

7.  Has your family recently experienced the loss of a loved one?  Ask others to contribute a favorite story or memory and then compile a dvd or journal recounting each one.  Interview and record each contributor on video, if you like. This gift would be treasured for many years!

8.  Several years ago we made a wind chime as a family, and right now it's a fun addition to my son's room.  Using an assortment of wire (even old wire hangers twisted into long spirals will work!), hang fun ornaments, art pieces, or collectible items from each ending.  We used three-inch clear glass circles (look for these at a craft store) and painted various designs on them.  The circles had holes at the top that made for easy hanging.

9.  If you have a green thumb, a plant cutting in a beautiful small pot would make an elegant, simple gift, especially if you have a unique or especially beautiful plant to share.

10.  For the homemaker or busy mom, consider putting together a homemaking binder or recipe binder and customize it to their activities and needs.  Be sure to use a durable, appealing design.

Hopefully, you've found an idea or two in this list that would work for you, or at least you've been inspired to think more creatively about your frugal gift-giving this year. 

In an upcoming post, we'll discuss Christmas decor ideas.  If you're visiting here and are not a subscriber yet, now's a good time to get free updates via email and follow along via Facebook.

What are some of your frugal gift ideas?  What have you done in years past? 

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  1. It is lovely to find someone like myself who is always full of ideas and so willing to share them with others. I am thinking of making my fruit sourdough loaves to give as gifts this year. I sometimes wrap a loaf in a lovely inexpensive tea towel and tie it up with coordinating ribbon. I'm sharing quite a number of these type of ideas at an evening seminar this week for the mothers who come to a pre-school music group that my church runs.
    I have found some oversize tea towels in beautiful designs - rather than use them to dry dishes I suggest to the recipient that they use them as food covers - my neighbour did this for me and I love to pass this idea on.

  2. Hello Jaime~ Thank you so much for your comment and your kind visit to The Santos Times. I have enjoyed my visit to your blog and I love this list. The chai tea gift sounds wonderful for a number of my friends and I am so thankful for the idea. God bless you and I am sure to visit again.

  3. I love homemade gift better then store bought one! these are great idea, Thanks for sharing them!

  4. Great ideas, love the wind chime one, might have to try that as a 'kit' to give. We do all sorts of frugal gifts so we have lots to give out but don't end up spending $$$$. What have we done in years past? Special sugars: vanilla, lavender, rose petal. Handmade ornaments, scarves, jewelry, song books, recipe books, and gifts in a jar are some and I am glad to add your ideas to mine! Thanks so much for sharing this to the Christmas Party!

  5. Great ideas! My daughter will enjoy making some bookmarks. We are also making body care products as gifts.

  6. Thank you for the ideas - our budget this year is so tight, so we may have to do the granola idea for our family! Love your blog!!!

  7. this year i made large recipe cards of all my favorite, easy recipes. i took photos of everything throughout the year. on tues & wed ritz.com had 6c prints that are 3.5x5. i put a picture of what the dish looks like done on the back, and lamenated the whole recipe card. i'll punch a hole in the top and connect them all with an O ring. gonna give these to my college aged cousins. this year for their birthdays, i made freezer meals for them eat throughout the following months (they didn't last 2 weeks in their freezers!), and now they want to know how to cook those same meals.

  8. Jaime, these are great ideas. Thanks so much for sharing.

  9. Emily, freezer meals for college students?! What a great idea! I love it, and I'll bet they were tremendously blessed by those meals!

  10. Good ideas all, here!

    Thanks for sharing this! I hope you'll stop by Free 2 Be Frugal sometime soon.

  11. Thanks for the great idea. I am going to make craft boxes for my children. They love to dig through craft supplies. (I'm enjoying your music too.)


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