Since we are talking Holidays..... could use Brain-storming ideas for home-made gifts

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by Mom2oddson, Oct 31, 2011.

  1. Mom2oddson

    Mom2oddson Active Member

    All this Holiday talk made me realize that I am very far behind this year. I could use some ideas for home-made gifts. Things that are easy and won't cost an arm or leg.

    I usually start making things in July, but this year just got away from me. I have about 35 people to make things for. The ages are from 6-85. It can be ideas (recipes) for baked good, simple sewing, crocheting or knitting ideas. Or even things that are off the wall. I like being different.

    Any ideas would be greatly appreciated. (and maybe I'm not the only one needing ideas for this year)

  2. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I enjoy putting gift baskets together- tailored for the individual's or couple's particualr likes and interests, of course. I have found that I can get baskets at the dollar store and add odds and ends, maybe one 'special' bigger item (a photo of them in a nice frame, a plant, something for the garden, or a bottle of nice wine, as examples), gift certificates, homemade cookies/candy/fruit, etc and it costs a lot less than buying a gift basket that is already made and will only have half the stuff enjoyed.
  3. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Kids - especially girls, but even boys if they are involved in music or art - often enjoy a strong, re-inforced denim book-bag, with a shoulder strap and an outside pocket. Use recycled jeans... some imagination, some leftover fabric...

    Quilted place mats

    Fleece pillow cases (really a treat in the winter!) - get remnants if you can
  4. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Crocheted dish cloths make nice presents. I have my own simple pattern. I can pm it to you if you'd like. And they're great dish cloths.......I made me up a huge batch while I was at it. lol

    I'm crocheting the grandkids hats, scarves, and mittens........well just mittens for Aubrey as I did matching hats and scarves for her and Nichole last year.

    If you have readers in the family, 2nd hand book stores are fantastic for savings, so is Good Will.

    Kids around 8-12 (especially girls) love the pot holder loom sets you can pick up from walmart for around 5.00 and it gives them something to do. Kayla can't get enough of hers.

    Last year I found a sale on good wallets at Odd Lots......I snatched up one for each grown male for maybe 5.00 ea. Men always seem to need a wallet or can tuck it away for when they do need it.

    You can go to Red or for free knitting / crocheting patterns of all kinds including holiday / seasonal ones. They range from simple to elaborate.

    I love to bargain hunt at the Dollar Tree, Dollar General, and Family Dollar......and Odd Lots.

    We bake cookies and brownies to give away too.
  5. Signorina

    Signorina Guest

    Check out your local home center (or a HOBO store if you have them nearby) for odd tiles. H and I have made striking coaster sets from the small (3x3 or 4x4) tiles and trivets or cheese boards from the larger (10x10 or 12x12) tiles. (Marble tiles make nice cheese boards) Just add little rubber feet or felt/cork stick-on pads (in the hardware aisle) to each corner. Then tie the coasters together with a ribbon and add a wine opener or tie on a cheese spreader/knife to the cheese board. You can often find sets of spreaders at TJ Maxx/Marshalls for under $10 and split them up.

    I like HOBO (home owner bargains outlet) because they usually have odds and ends of really fine tiles (not enough to do a bathroom or floor) for less than a $1 each. Lowes and Home Dept often have them too on clearance. Sometimes, high end tile showrooms will sell their discontinued samples. We did coaster sets of various colored glass tiles from sample closeouts and everyone loved them.

    I am not talented craft wise and can't sew anything but a button. Can't knit or crochet (I wish)...but sticking felt protectors or gluing feet on tiles is something even I can do!!

    (Love to bake but often find the ingredient cost adds up higher than a purchased gift or goody) I do have a failproof fudge recipe that makes a ton which I often give away. I am happy to share it. It uses marshamllows, hershey bars and choc chips - so it's not too spendy. I also like the DownEast Maine pumpkin bread recipe on for hostess gifts. It makes 3 loaves and freezes beautifully. I wrap it in Saran and tie with Raffia and bring on Thanksgiving etc.
  6. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

  7. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Last year I got a boatload of mini baking dishes, red and green ceramic, at Michael's for $1 each and made a monster batch of gingerbread - cake, not cookie - and another one of cinnamon bread. People loved them! I think I spent about $30 on the dishes and ingredients, on 18 people. Not bad...

    For those that need something more special, if you have a "special" recipe for cookies or muffins, put all the dry ingredients in a BIG mason jar and tie a mini wooden spoon (craft stores, you can get them cheap)... And instructions... With a pretty bow around the lid.

    Or remove the center of a mason jar's lid, fill with potpourri and then put a circle of pretty, thin cotton fabric (remnant bin!) under the screw-on part of the lid.

    I had a friend that crocheted covers for simple round glass tree ornaments out of embroidery thread. Beautiful, and since she passed away mine is treasured.
  8. ctmom05

    ctmom05 Member

    My ideas are truly simple because that's the kind of person I am:)

    I'm making chocolate covered spoons, like the ones you get in coffee shops. I have holiday motif cellophane and ribbon to wrap them with. Those can really be made to look quite festive/elegant.

    I'm also going to can homemade applesauce and decorate with fabric squares over the lids, for a country look. I enjoy creating in the kitchen.

    I got a recipe for peanut butter fudge that looks like even I could make it. I say it that way because I've not enjoyed success with fudge making previously, but this recipe looks like a winner; it doesn't depend upon precise temps etc.

    There's a some other nice homespun ideas on a website that I frequent; Christmas | How to save money and get out of debt - frugal recipes - Living on a Dime®.

    My budget is limited, but the ideas I am coming up with are things I would feel good about creating and sharing with others.
  9. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    We make Limoncello and put it in small decorative bottles. Only for the adults!
  10. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    I've been kicking around the idea of making some bird seed ornaments (they can use the extra food in winter).
  11. keista

    keista New Member

    A friend of mine made and posted about Jolly Rancher Vodka. For adults only, obviously, and Certainly not dirt cheap (you'd want to get reasonably nice bottles), but certainly a fun idea.

    Jolly Rancher Vodka Tutorial : Mix That Drink

    Another idea is cotton candy. Crazy, huh? Well, the "latest" machine ($40 from Nostalgia Electrics) lets you use hard candy to make the cotton candy. What makes this such a novel idea is that you can use SUGAR FREE candy to make cotton candy! So, yeah, there's a bit of an investment, but after that it's just pennies for the candy and cello bags. I got one for DD1 for her first report card. It should be in Thursday and I'll post a review if anyone is interested.
  12. Mom2oddson

    Mom2oddson Active Member

    You guys always have such fantastic ideas.

    Signorina, I love the coaster/cheese board idea. What a unique idea.

    Witz, I made your lemoncello last year and it was a BIG hit. Can you PM me the recipe again. I can't find my copy.

    Lisa, would you please send my the pattern for the dish cloths.

    I should be able to make some very nice gift baskets combining the ideas here. I even have mason jars for the gifts in jars so I won't have to buy those.

  13. DS3

    DS3 New Member

    My grandmother in law makes these awesome dishcloths and scrubbers. You need a special material for the scrubbers, but they last, are washable, and I always look forward to her boxes at Christmas time. She also sends home-made jam.

    Myself, I usually paint pictures of something they like. Takes about a week for each one, but they love getting something thoughtful and hand-painted just for them. You can always buy the little ornaments at hobby lobby or michaels and hand paint those as well.

    To go off a little of the 'gifts in a jar', I like to print out quirky sayings, quotes, etc. and put them in a jar. I made one for my hubby last year for valentines. Just decorated the jar, and then filled it with little love quotes, and 'things I love about you'. He loved it! Too bad the jar didn't survive the shipping back from Iraq. If you are shipping, tin cans may work better.

    You can also decorate a coffee can with pictures or what not and put a slit in the lid for instant piggy bank! My kids love to help make those.
  14. ctmom05

    ctmom05 Member

    Wonderful ideas .. .. .. keep 'em coming!
  15. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Home-made bath bombs - I haven't done it, but have received... its supposed to be easy.
  16. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    I'm going to try the Jolly Rancher looks pretty cool.
  17. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Be SURE to check freecycle for any supplies you might need for either the gift or packaging it.

    Cut up outgrown/damaged clothing to make gift bags.

    Around here people are moving to cloth napkins. Either use fabric from outgrown/unliked/freecycled clothes or from your stash or freecycle or get cheap xmas material on sale and sew up festive napkins. They don't have to all be one pattern, but having them the same size is useful.

    An idea for someone with medical problems or allergies is to get an invisible medical bracelet - They start at $10 per year so it is a bit of $$ but not super expensive and is super thoughtful. You get a card to keep in your wallet and a key tag for on your keychains. It has a PIN number. You put all your info into their database, which uses the same security that online banks do. If something happens to you, emergency medical personnel will find it and either call in your pin or send it via text to the company and then they get your medical info, name, next of kin, etc.... right away.

    Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS), easy fudge inside a cookie cutter wrapped in celophane makes a nice gift, esp if you have a few kinds. Alton Brown has an amazing, super easy peanutbutter fudge. To dress it up, add sprinkles, chopped nuts, whatever on top. You could even get a little bottle of gold dust designed for food use and make chocolate fudge look amazing.

    Making spa products is super easy. Small investment in a few things and you can get a lot of things. the easiest is a sugar or salt scrub. Mix either sugar or salt (regular cheap kind from the grocery store) and put it into small containers. the smallest gladware type containers are awesome for this. Add any vegetable oil and a few drops of essentail or fragrance oil so that it is a paste consistency and there you are. Done.
  18. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Can also use damaged table cloths for this (or for place mats)...
  19. 1905

    1905 Well-Known Member

    The best thing: Chocolate covered pretzels. 1 bag of chocolate wafers from Michaels ($1.97 on sale), put in microwave for 90 seconds, dip pretzels- add sprinkles if you want, or other candies, in 5 minutes they're hard, put them on wax paper, that bag will make you a TON of them. For 10 bucks you can have everybody's present! Also, the dollar store has clear plastic bags with Christmas themes on them to bag up the pretzels, tie with pretty ribbons. Everybody loves these! by the way, I make these all year, just made a bunch for Halloween with my students. I always post about these, but they are a hit and so easy.
  20. DS3

    DS3 New Member

    I am so going to look into this! (Not for gifts mind you, I LOVE chocolate covered pretzels!!!)