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Do any of you use any arts and crafts ideas to save money at Christmas time?
Old 11-08-2008, 05:31 PM   #1
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Do any of you use any arts and crafts ideas to save money at Christmas time?

Do any of you use any arts and crafts ideas to save money for Christmas gifts?
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Old 11-08-2008, 05:37 PM   #2
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Probably wrong forum for this thread, but ....

To save money at Christmas, we just buy things we would normally buy and then give these things as gifts. You know: soap, deodorant, tooth paste, candy, socks, underwear, etc.
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Old 11-08-2008, 05:40 PM   #3
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I though I would ask sense we have been talking about saving money and living expenses.
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Old 11-08-2008, 05:49 PM   #4
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BAH HUMBUG!

just kidding...
most people have so much extra stuff already. only very new couples would get store bought gifts from me.
i make homemade gifts, and have done so for years and years. it's a tradition thing vs a cost thing. and it brings out the inner child in me.
i have a ball doing homemade gifts. i make an extra for my household for the memory.
some green and red felt, a little glue, some scissors, a needle and thread and some imagination makes the best xmas ornaments money can't buy. i've made cool stuffed xmas tree ornaments, 5" long, with stitched on ornaments and garland.
i've been known to collect real pine cones from the woods, dry them out, and put them in medium size wicker baskets with a small stuffed bear and a bow. they make wonderful fire starters.
the cones, not the teddy bears. I cut that one off at the pass, huh? i saw a few of you pre-drooling over that one.
but the all time favorite received, i'm told, is homemade cookies and small loaves of fresh bread. i look up international recipes and surprise folks with a new flavor each year.
if you really want to go traditional, make popcorn balls wrapped in red and green clear plastic wrap. you wanna see a warm smile and maybe a sniffle or even a tear or two? gets 'em every time.
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Old 11-08-2008, 06:28 PM   #5
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LOL!'s response reminded me of a stocking stuffer gift SO once gave me. It was a much cheaper version of the kind of soap I use. I switched and it's saved me some $$$ over the years.

This year I've bought the kind of cards where you put in a photo; doesn't save any money, in fact costs more all totaled but that's as far as I care to go with "crafts."
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Old 11-08-2008, 07:09 PM   #6
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When I was younger I made a lot of homemade Christmas presents . I baked lots of goodies . I made pinecone wreaths . I made dolls . I made cross stitch stockings , etc. I can not believe I did all that while working part time and being the mother of two small children . I did it more for the creative aspect than to save money . I wish I had that energy back .
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Old 11-08-2008, 07:21 PM   #7
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I neither give nor receive holiday gifts or cards.
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Old 11-08-2008, 07:24 PM   #8
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I wouldn't go so far as to give toothpaste.. but useful gifts will be on the rise for many good reasons.

Last year to my US friends/family I brought food (mostly cheeses) and implements (those new-fangled stovetop cappuccino machines that were <$50 here and >$80 there). This year, I have canned a lot of homemade plum jam to accompany some purchased cheese instead.

The stovetop cappuccino maker seemed cool, but who knows how many uses they actually got over the last year on the part of the recipients. I'll try to discreetly take a poll.

The plum jam is kick-ass.. my first go-'round and I am loathe to part with it but it was a fun experiment and has piqued my interest to explore food conservation (especially since it ended up tasting so much better than a purchased preserve).
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Old 11-08-2008, 07:43 PM   #9
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tacky and cheap
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Old 11-08-2008, 07:49 PM   #10
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I think calling homemade gifts tacky and cheap is a bit off the mark. It's all about perception.

However, if I am on the receiving end of a homemade gift I would much rather have it be something I can consume such as cookies, jam etc. The little knick-knack things I have received in the past normally get passed onto goodwill, not because they are homemade, but because I don't have dust collectors anywhere in our house.

As to the cards, add me to those who do not give or send them. Actually we do not give gifts either which makes Christmas shopping a lot faster than for most.
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Old 11-08-2008, 07:52 PM   #11
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I have at times given homemade "artsy--craftsy" gifts---but more for the creative aspect than to save money. I am still working and hope when I retire to be able to do more of this sort of thing.
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Old 11-08-2008, 08:32 PM   #12
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I think you have to take into account how well the giver and the giv"ee" know each other before you can accuse the exchange of being "tacky".

What I noticed personally was my own tendency (shared by DH) to give more impersonal, yet vastly more expensive, gifts to people who were rich... whereas our 'regular' friends would be happy with something cheaper, yet more intimate. It wasn't that I scaled down intentions to give expensive gifts to less-rich friends; it was more that I instinctively knew that rich relatives would not appreciate "humble" gifts.

I never gave such expensive gifts in my life as I did to members of DH's family who were above our "station"... no more! We never got a thing, a single thing, not even a card or written thank-you from them in return, but that's not the main reason for cutting back on the largesse; more the pointless waste of money and consumerism.

I don't care if it's "tacky". Not having servants was once "tacky". A gift should express either a true bond between two people or at minimum an expression of recognition that they will appreciate X,Y,or Z. I think it's "tacky" that I bought a set of crystal glasses ($400+) as a wedding present for our niece (as per their gift registry), who married a very wealthy family's son who displayed Renaissance museum-quality oils in his LR, but who never thought to write us a thank-you, or even ever invite us over for dinner. However, at the time I was so confident in my "non-tackiness"!! We had made the appropriate homage.

They initiated a divorce w/in a year. Who knows what happened to the glasses; they are probably forgotten in some storage room. I've had it with "etiquette" as I always seem to be on the wrong end of it.

I no longer know anyone who keeps track of gifts and cards as people used to in the 1950s and '60s.

Freebird is being very cool in keeping with the spirit of the holidays on a budget!!
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Old 11-08-2008, 08:52 PM   #13
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We never exchanged gifts between adult relatives. We used to give toys and clothes to our nieces and nephews when they were little, when they really looked forward to it and enjoyed it. Once they got to their later teenage years, we stopped. And that was how my siblings treated my children too.

We take turn hosting Thansgiving, Xmas, and New Year dinners. We have good food and drink, and a merry time. All the kids look forward to it, when they get together with their cousins. For us, the extra work of exchanging gifts would detract from that family get-together experience, not add to it.
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Old 11-08-2008, 09:48 PM   #14
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Unfortunately for me, I think you have to be borderline talented in the craftsy department to be able to give arts and crafts as a gift.

While it won't save you as much money as homemade gifts, I think it's worth mentioning at the mall today I saw several stores having "going out of business sales". In this economy many stores seem to be closing up shop, especially higher end stores like jewelry and furniture. I'm seeing big discounts in the 50% to 75% off range.
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Old 11-08-2008, 10:25 PM   #15
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I traditionally bake a lot over the holidays. One of my friends and I do a day of it with favorite recipes. Not one single time has anyone been less than pleased with a gift from my kitchen. I cut back a bit more each year but still plan to make Banana Nut Bread, Mexican Wedding Cakes, Cherry Almond Biscotti, English Toffee,Fudge and Toll House Cookies. About 1/3 of the stuff will be frozen here and enjoyed through the next year. The rest go to friends and the kids workplace.

I do spend a little money on my kids. They still appreciate the new socks and undies and if I spot something special, then they get that as well. We have a lot of fun with gag gifts. I still have a hand cranked paper shredder from my son a few years back sitting on my office shelf. I bet it cost him $3 at the dollar store!
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Old 11-09-2008, 09:47 AM   #16
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I should also have asked for good and cheap ideas for christmas gifts.
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Old 11-09-2008, 10:12 AM   #17
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We often make presents. DW is one of the world's fastest knitters -- one year every relative got a sweater, other years hats, gloves, felted slippers, etc.

One year I made wooden mallets for everyone (for kitchen or shop):

Mallets.jpg

mallet.jpg

I've made photo albums from old family slides that I scanned in.

I've made calendars from pictures with funny speech bubbles added.

01Schnapps.jpg

I just did a test batch of peanut brittle. It tastes great, but sticks to the teeth too much, so that's out, and I have to find some way to get rid of it.

We might make almond rocca.

I also considered making personalized stamps, but it costs about $7 per sheet plus the postage for that sheet. I might make personalized photo return address stickers.

Still working on ideas for this Christmas.
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Old 11-09-2008, 10:13 AM   #18
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Not talented or creative enough to do homemade gifts and I'm not really into crafts anyway. However, a very good friend that I exchange gifts with gives me a tin of homemake candies each Christmas. I truly enjoy that gift!
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Old 11-09-2008, 11:15 AM   #19
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I don't think handmade gifts are tacky at all. I have done quite a few over the years.....knitted scarves and afghans, paintings, personalized frames, banana bread, cookies, pumpkin pies, granola. This year, everyone is going to get a pumpkin pie with a card.
Honestly, how much more STUFF do we really need?
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Old 11-09-2008, 12:14 PM   #20
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I've made gingerbread cookies for my family, with their names written on with frosting, for years. We all have too much stuff, and my sis-in-law begged me to stop sending things to her kids, so I've switched to consumables. These can be mailed cheaply and arrive intact with careful packaging.
I buy locally made soap that I know is particularly good, to support local crafters. I don't have the inclination to make it myself.
I make jelly with handpicked wild highbush cranberries, and homegrown crabapples. But that's expensive to mail and hard to make, so only a few people get that.
All my family is far away so mailing cost is a big consideration.
I've gently made it clear to them that I'd rather have just a card, or a pair of socks, so we can all get through the holidays without money adding to the stress.
Nothing beats a new pair of socks.
But I do love getting and receiving cards and I haven't been satisfied with any I've tried to make by hand yet, so I buy Unicef cards and that makes me feel better about the expense.
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