Christmas is too close....please help me!!

speedylove813December 12, 2005

Hi! I am a first time poster. I am only nineteen and I just recently quit my job. I was only making enough money to put gas in my tank to get back to work again. I live with my fiance who makes enough money to pay the bills. This Christmas I have very little money to spend on gifts. I thought the best way to go is to make my own gifts but I have to stick to dollar store or thrift store items due to my extremely low budget. I know it sounds horrible but I won't have any extra income until AFTER the holidays. Please if anyone has any ideas for extremely low budget crafts that don't look cheap let me know. I don't have many days left for shopping or to make the gifts. Any help you can give me would be greatly appreciated. I'm not too worried on how long it will take me to finish the crafts because I am the type of person to stay awake as long as needed to get something done on time. LOL! Hope to hear everyone's great ideas.

Thank you soo much!


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If it was me.....I'd hit the dollar store for some strings of mini lights and a candy dishes with a lids and some ribbon...some of the girls did these last put the colored lights into the dish, and leave the cord hanging out....put the lid on and tie your ribbon around and make a fancy can add some extras (florals whatever if you can afford it) the lid as well. Basically you can plug in the lights and they give off a beautiful display of colors shining through the glass...because the lid is raised air does circulate...but they can't be left on for hours and hours....My aunt left hers on for 4 hours last year and it didn't get very hot at all....think of them as Christmas light boxes....perhaps some else remembers these and can post you a picture. I made 4 of them and they cost me about 3 bucks each. Someone called them "Christmas Illuminata"....

    Bookmark   December 12, 2005 at 8:27PM
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I have a really cheap idea. Purchase some cheap construction paper and make coupons for things that you can do for people, such as grocery shop for Grandma, wash your Dad's car, babysit for your Aunt, etc. This way, you are giving your time, not spending money you don't have. My husband did this for his Dad for his birthday. He loved it!

    Bookmark   December 12, 2005 at 9:38PM
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Thanks Budster for reminding me. I had forgotten about the ashtray lights. These are two ashtrays put together with lights on the inside. Just tie them up with ribbon and add the frills. Hope these help you out a bit.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2005 at 10:18PM
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I forgot to mention that everything came from the Dollar General Store. I think the ashtrays and the lights were a dollar each.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2005 at 10:22PM
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You cn get nice little wicker or metal sleds at Dollar Tree (Everything's a Dollar) then you can go around the store to fill them up. One you can put all kinds of eye/face /manicure stuff, another men's shaving cream razor blades etc.
Another bath items. etc. Then buy a roll of colorful cellophane and gather each one up and tie a nice bow around it. another could be a gardening sled with seeds, hand tool, some other yard thing.

Just use the sled/sleigh or cup whatever you find as your base.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2005 at 1:21AM
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Sharon's idea is a good one. You already have access to a computer and I bet you could google for coupon blanks and print them off to your printer. If you get about ten in a stack then you can take a glue stick and rub it against one end and they will stay together like a booklet.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2005 at 1:24AM
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Also decorated little trees are always nice for the gals. Candy and toys for the kids. Let us know some of the stuff you have seen at your dollar store maybe we can come up with more ideas for you. I purchased mini manicure sets for my daughters there-thought they were real cute for stocking stuffers.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2005 at 8:24AM
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How about a pretty plate from the dollar tree/store and fill it with homemade cookies or candy. Then handwrite a sweet note to go with it. Or there are no bake methods of cookies...everything from dipping the "dutch butter cookies"(the kind in the tin) in chocolate, dipping oreos, etc..
It's not the money that is spent but thoughtfulness of remembering and giving. Don't get caught up in money spending is too short.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2005 at 10:19AM
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Jenny - read through the list of "121 Fun Sayings For Simple Gifts" linked below. I'm sure one or more will appeal to you, and most are very inexpensive.

Just be sure to "package" it well... you know, wrap it in related paper, even a plain lunch bag with a card you printed on your computer with a bit of clipart or border. And maybe gussy it up with some ribbon or sparkles... A good presentation makes it really say you care!

Here is a link that might be useful: 121 Fun Sayings For Simple Gifts

    Bookmark   December 13, 2005 at 12:14PM
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Thought that I would chime in here. By all means check your local thrift shops and such. I have gotten some great presents there for little money. My GW around here keep all the Christmas stuff for this time of year. You can find some really cute things just waiting for embelishment. Also there are some very reasonable priced craft supplies. If you have a computer and printer email me and I will give you a ton of sites where you can download clip art and also gift items like notecards, planners, and candy covers . Just let me know.

Stacie Sich

    Bookmark   December 13, 2005 at 12:20PM
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On another forum someone told that Martha Stewart had given directions for the sugar scrub stuff that bath and body works sells for a mint. It was a cup of sugar, a cup of olive oil and vanilla extract, or almond extract and a dash of cinnamon if desired. Several fols have already made it and been very pleased with the way it turned out.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2005 at 4:10PM
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I saw something at a store here that was soo cute and would be really easy to make. Its like those gifts in a jar except its in an oven mitt! You could do brownies, muffin mixes, quick breads. Just buy the item you want to bake, transfer to your own package, type the instructions up on your pc, and slide it all into an oven mitt! Easy, cheap, and something everybody could use!

    Bookmark   December 13, 2005 at 5:13PM
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Thank you so much to everyone for all your ideas. They have been a great help to me. By the way those ash tray lights are gorgeous. About the dollar stores I have near by...I live by a Dollar Discount, Dollar Tree, Dollar Corner, Dollar King, and Dollar General. The Dollar Discount I haven't been into in a few weeks and they get new things in constantly so I'm not positive on what they have exactly. The Dollar Tree has a knick knack aisle with little Santa figures and things like that. They have a beauty aisle, a children's toy aisle, afood aisle, a cooking/baking aisle, and a school suplly aisle including also small novels. They also have a small section in front with Christmas items such as very small stockings, tree ornaments, and decorations. The Dollar Corner has a small craft area, a cleaning supply area, lots of nail polish and make up, a knick knack aisle, a candle and photo frame aisle. The Dollar King I have only been in once and it was months ago. The Dollar General is almost identical to every other Dollar General I have ever been too. I went to the Dollar Tree and didn't find a sleigh basket or anything. Is there anywhere else I may find a cheap basket to fill? By the way again I really appreciate everyone's help and comments. Thank you so much!!

    Bookmark   December 14, 2005 at 5:07PM
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If you crochet I have a hat pattern I would be glad to e-mail to you. You can get 2-3 hats from one skein of yarn and have some left for trim on others.


    Bookmark   December 14, 2005 at 6:37PM
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Gordon. I saw those potholder mitts filled with candies in one of the stores for over $5. that would be nice to fill with little kitchen gadjets!!

A simple little Christmas gift bag with handles would do just as good. One year I got one from a neighbor with a set of coasters, a nicely packaged memo tablet and pencil and some other things that I know she got from the $ store. It was a lovely gift.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2005 at 7:50PM
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I made a really easy fudge today and I think I will make another batch and put it in cookie cutters for my DD to give to co-workers. The fudge is just cho. chips and sweetened cond. milk. Nuts if you want.
18 oz. cho chips and 1 can sweetened cond milk, melt together and add nuts. Pour in to 8x8 pan. (I'm going to try cookie cutters) The fudge is wonderful!

    Bookmark   December 14, 2005 at 7:51PM
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Woo thanks for the easy fudge recipe, I think I'll give it a try.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2005 at 8:24PM
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gluecille,let me know how you like the fudge. I used semi-sweet cho chips (grabbed the wrong kind) It turned out great, but want to use milk cho next time.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2005 at 8:31PM
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Like other poster said, I have made home made cookies during "lean years" and put them in baskets you can buy at most Dollar Stores for a $1.00 each. I know at Dollar Tree you can find a whole roll of red or green saran wrap to wrap them in and just add a bow

    Bookmark   December 14, 2005 at 11:40PM
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You can find TONS of baskets and tins (usually Christmas ones) at thrift stores also.

Another idea that might be cheap. Wilton icing bags (cone shaped) from Walmart, you put in hot chocolate mix (about 1/2 cup) cable tie off that bag, put into another cone bag, add some chocolate chips (to hide the cable tie) and I prefer mini chips, but any will do. Then marshmellows, and some sprinkles if you can find them. I got christmas tree sprinkles at the Dollar Tree but they sold out fast. Cable tie that off and add curling ribbon (again Dollar stores have it cheap). You can add a tag or not. I bought a bulk container of mix to use, and you can get a lot out of one.

Don't think for a minute shopping at the Dollar stores is shorting anyone gifts. Being creative and putting things together like this will result with a nicer gift then if you went to the mall.

I once saw a cookie bag that said "When I care enough to give the very best....I make it myself!!" Might be nice to add to the homemade cookies.

I have a MIL that is in a higher income bracket than us (way higher), and I always feel like I couldn't ever come up with the perfect gift, but over the years I have found she appreicates the ones I make over anything store bought. Because most people either don't have time or creative enough to make it themself!


    Bookmark   December 15, 2005 at 8:42AM
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Just remembered another one....using the same cone bags. Put in bath salt crystals, then a puffy sponge, tie off and add a ribbon. Makes a bath salt cone. VERY CUTE! And if you get different colors on the bath salt you can layer them too.

I used to make my own bath salt, but found it just as easy and cheap to buy it.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2005 at 8:45AM
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Oreo Truffle Kabobs!

Take 2 packages of Oreo Cookies and blend until fine crumbs, then add 2 blocks cream cheese stir until mixed. Roll into balls and dip in melted white, choc. or peanut butter chips. Push through bamboo skewer and place however many you'd like in Saran wrap or a cellophane bag. Tie with a pretty ribbon and add the recipe card. So easy, inexpensive, unique and delicious! Make it Christmasy by using red and green ribbon!

    Bookmark   December 15, 2005 at 9:56AM
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Buy kitchen whisks at the dollar store...fill them with Hershey's kisses (or knock-offs) wrap with a little celophane add a bow and a card that says "We whisk you a Merry Christmas"

Take an individual package of micro pop corn (They come about a dozen or so packages in a box) Make a computer generated wrap for it that says "Just Poppin' in to say Merry Christmas"

Go to the dollar store and buy a Christmas mitt potholder...add a sprig of greenery and a bow, and a card that says "Here's a hand to help you have a Merry Christmas"

    Bookmark   December 15, 2005 at 6:16PM
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Speedylove, be sure and let us know what you decided to do!

    Bookmark   December 16, 2005 at 7:32PM
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I haven't been able to find the items for the ashtray lights at any dollar stores but I just found two new dollar stores near by and I will be checking them very shortly. I tried the fudge and I loved it. I am a huge chocoholic. I made small plates filled with fudge and cookies and added the cute little kisses in a whisk for a couple neighbors in my apartment building. They loved them and thought they were very creative. It helped me meet my new next door neighbor and I found out she is also very crafty, scrapbooking is her favorite so we have made plans to scrapbook together soon after Christmas. The basket idea was great. I bought a cheap but still good movie for my Mom and added popcorn, pop, and candy for a movie basket. I'm sure she will really enjoy it. I recently hit up the nearby Salvation Army and found the cutest little ceramic decorated bags. I got one for 50 cents and added some hand cream for my Grandma. The fill an oven mitt was a great idea for my sister, she just moved and needed some kitchen gadgets, she loves to cook and especially bake, she loved the fudge as well. I definitely want to try the Oreo Truffle Kabobs very soon as well. My fiance absolutely loves Oreos. I will let you know.

By the way, I wish I knew how to Crochet but I don't. I was taught a few years ago by my Mom on how to knit though but I only know how to knit potholders and scarves.

I also had to share 2 really cute ideas with you that I found.

I found one website that was talking about Snowman Poop. You put a few small marshmallows into a baggie and add this poem:
Santa checked his list not once, but twice
He found you've been naughty not nice.
Since coal is so expensive, here's the scoop
He's filled your stocking with SNOWMAN POOP!!

The other item I saw on ebay and figured how to make it, it was very easy to figure out though.
All you do is make a small package with a packet of hot cocoa, a candy cane, a few marshmallows, and a Hershey's Kiss with this poem:
Was told you've been real good this year, always glad to hear it
With freezing weather drawing near, you'll need to warm the spirit.
So here's a little ho ho cocoa, complete with stirring stick
Just add hot water, sip it slow... it's sure to do the trick!

Hope you enjoy! Thanks for all your ideas! Keep them coming I have just a couple more people to finish Christmas shopping for. Thanks again, I really appreciate it!

Love Always,

    Bookmark   December 18, 2005 at 2:38AM
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The Dollar General Stores are the only place I found the ashtrays and they're next to the light bulbs in the housewares dept.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2005 at 9:58AM
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I found covered candy dishes for a dollar and used them vice the two ashtrays at a dollar and half each. Either way - you are doing a good job getting things done on a tight good for you.....GrammyP will you post the hat pattern for the rest of us?

    Bookmark   December 18, 2005 at 4:36PM
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Speedylove, glad the fudge worked out for you. I'm going to include the Hot Cho. idea to the stockings. Thanks, Donna

    Bookmark   December 18, 2005 at 4:39PM
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Packs of batteries with the message "gift not included". Everyone uses batteries.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2005 at 9:15PM
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Great Ideas!! Thanks!

    Bookmark   November 14, 2006 at 10:31AM
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Hi I wanted to add to your post I saw on martha stewart where she made christmas trees from sugar cookie, check out the link I dont care for hers but like the idea, Iam going to make these useing different size circle cutters, toped with green iceing and those little sprinkles they could be made readly cute, also got small holiday bakery bags to put them in at the $ tree, sorry so long but I have to add please remenber Christmas comes from the heart,as do crafting, its not horrible to give homemade gifts, I think your a wonderful young lady to care so much!

    Bookmark   November 14, 2006 at 11:01AM
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WOW! Lotsa cool ideas here.....great! Thanks everyone...
I had a lot of ideas, but a lot of them are listed here.... something I did a couple of years ago for my elderly neighbors and shut ins and senior citizens at the "Village"(old folks retirement apartments)
I printed out loads and loads of bible verses or good thoughts, small, then cut them all out, folded them, and filled jars with them.....then decorated the top of the jar with wallpaper from a wallpaper sample many things can be made with wallpaper samples, then added a tag that read "blessings jar" and glued an angel on each jar......people really loved them.....
I also print out a lot of cocoa covers to cover hot chocolate packets, stick a packet of cocoa inside, add a mini candy cane or a hersheys kiss......I also printed out some of the hooters calendars(owls) but great for the guys(gag gift) I put them in a plain brown envelope and print out hooters calendar on the front, so they think they are going to get a cool calendar with sexy ladies.....NOT! I also print out covers for gift cards and money.....found lots online and they can also be used to hold homemade coupons that you can write out yourself, with the promise of chores to be done or even special ones for your significant other.......If you are interested, I can email you the ones I found online and send them to you...they can be resized in any program you have, to fit whatever coupons or promises you want to make. I have sooooo many other things, but my mind just went blank......luckily you already got loads of ideas......

    Bookmark   November 15, 2006 at 8:21AM
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OOPS! I forgot to say the gift card envies or cocoa covers could also be used for xmas tea or whatever will fit in them.
I also forgot to say that the blessings jars are to be opened daily to get a new blessing...I used old jars I had around...saved some baby food jars from the grands baby food, and olive ars are a nice size
Oh, and cookies, fudge & candies (popcorn balls, caramel corn)are almost always appreciated at holiday many people just don't have time to make a nice tray for a get together, and end up buying them somewhere..I make a LOT of pumkin rolls(everyones favorite) as well as crockpot well as a lot of other candies.....the ideas are unlimited
I also go out in the woods and pick pine and make wreaths or pine garland for gifts...sell a lot of these too! There is also a thing called a grave blanket.......I make mine using pine and cover a piece of chicken cover my parents & granddaughters graves, and I decorate it with mini pine cones and acorns(free for the picking) and a bow of some kind that will last out in the long cold winters we have here.....this is a good way to make some extra money at holiday time too! Pine is free and people love fresh smelling wreaths.I sell them on Ebay too! I make mine different shapes using old coat hangers like a candy cane, cross, and wreath....but you can bend them things in any shape you want!

    Bookmark   November 15, 2006 at 8:35AM
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Just thought of something else I do for kids....this is great for travleing...I make them up in the summer for our reunions too with different pix of course
I am including a link of pix already doen.....all you have to do is size them however big you want(I made mine 4"square) print them out on cardstock paper......then put 2 together back to back(2 different pictures)when I made them last year, I made some with halloween on one side, and thanksgiving on the other side, or with christmas on one side and winter (snowmen, etc)on the other side. I glued them lightly back to back with a glue stick (cheap from dollar stores) just enough to hold together till I could laminate them.....bought laminate at Walmart cheap.....cut them out, stuck them in a bag with different colored flat marble stones from walmart, and the kids loved them....some adults too!
I also took a bunch of recipes, halloween for halloween, and xmas for xmas, and using vintage graphics I found online, made everyone a nice cookbook(did this for reunion too using family recipes) I used the vintage graphics for the front & back cover of the book. When I made the halloween cookbook(small booklet), Have some for sale on Ebay right now, I printed out the recipes, then printed out the covers, cut them all out, punched a hole in the corner, tied it together with jute twine.....then I cut out a pumkin shape(2 sided) out of felt, sewed them together, crocheted a jute handle, embellished with silk leaves, and an acorn or pine cone, stuck the recipe book inside..made a nice gift and they can hang it inside the cupboard door for easy finding or even hang on the wall for the season. The xmas ones i am working on now for gifts...I am printing out the recipes, more vintage graphics from online, then will make mittens (make a big snoflake on the outside using glitter glue) or other shape from felt and will stick the recipe booklet inside with a candy cane or something.....if you have any questions, email me..I'll be glad to help...

Here is a link that might be useful: tic tac toe boards

    Bookmark   November 15, 2006 at 8:54AM
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Wow! Deb, you sure gave us some great ideas! I want to come back and reread through them again after I get off work today. Thanks.

Everyone has listed so many great ideas! This was a great thread.


    Bookmark   November 15, 2006 at 11:34AM
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I have lots more, but just had a hysterectomy and can't sit here that long.....I'LL BE BACK!!!!!!!

    Bookmark   November 15, 2006 at 1:51PM
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A friend and I made some of these and took them to work, they went over very well:

Core an apple (we used Granny Smith), fill the hole with melted dipping chocolate, wait for the chocolate to harden. Then cover the apple with caramel, then cover with dipping chocolate, sprinkle with nuts before the chocolate hardens, roasted almonds are good. You also need to make sure the bottom is completely covered with chocolate because the caramel tends to sweat. You can also drip white chocolate over the chocolate for contrast.
Once the chocolate has hardened wrap the apple with clear cellophane and tie with some pretty ribbon.
Add a little gift card. The apple can be sliced, and makes for a delicious treat.
It's best to make these really close to gift giving time as obviously the apple doesn't last forever.

PS Don't freeze the apple, as it turns out horrible!

PPS If anyone has any suggestions on how to stop the caramel from sweating, I would greatly appreciate it.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2006 at 12:33AM
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OOOOOOH! That sounds interesting too.........

    Bookmark   November 21, 2006 at 1:25AM
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Gonna bump this up cuz there are so many good ideas we can all come back to when needed...thanks everyone

    Bookmark   November 28, 2006 at 8:04PM
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I know its not Christmas time yet because its August but you can not start thinking about it early enough. lol One year my extended family said no gifts. I thought they were scrooges so I went to a dollar store and bought $1. mugs that year walmart had a 10 package of hot chocolate, mini marshmallows and also popcorn, for $1. each. I placed those items in holiday bags and gave those as gifts. Only cost about $3-$4 a bag and I made the gift recipients very happy. Enough snacks for several events. Mugs last forever. My niece told me she loved hers and they enjoyed them very much. Also you could bake slice and bake cookies on a nice plate. I usually look for plates after Christmas and store them away.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2013 at 4:38PM
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Good topic. Never to soon to start :)

    Bookmark   August 20, 2013 at 9:56PM
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Jenny, This is the dollar store craft site.

There's also a Pinterest Site

Hope this helps


    Bookmark   August 27, 2013 at 3:18PM
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