It is that time of year to get the shopping done for the holiday season. No matter what religion your customs are derived from, gifts seem to be a common thread and part of most celebrations. I like to give thoughtful, useful gifts that might be out of the ordinary.
This year my budget is very tight and I will be making the majority of the gifts I give. My first choice will be food items I have canned. There are all sorts of jams, jellies, pickles and relish out in my storage area that would take me years to eat. It is fun to decorate the jars with fabric. I cut a round piece of fabric about two inches larger than the diameter of the jar. Then remove the ring or if you have already done that get out a ring. Put some batting or stuffing on top of the lid then place the fabric on the stuffing. Next screw the ring on top of the fabric. Adjust the stuffing so you have a nice bump on the top of the jar. Add some raffia, string, ribbon around the ring and tie so it hangs or tie in a bow and you are all set. I also embellish the jars with charms, beads, dried stalks with berries or pine cones. Sometimes I add a recipe that would go well with whatever is in the jar.
In the summer I usually stock up on baskets at yard sales. I never pay more than .25 for them. Some might be enhanced with spay paint but most are good to go with a quick spray with soap and water. I use tissue paper or the material that comes out of my paper shredder for stuffing and add the jar or jars. A nice bow and you have a beautiful thoughtful gift.
This is a great time of year to go for a drive and pick branches with red berries. These are great to bunch together into a small bouquet to add to a gift or package. I also like the snow drops which are white that I see on the side of the road alot. Acorns, pinecones, chestnuts, seed pods, dried , cinnamon sticks, lavender, rosemerry and milkweed are all available and free (there is my favorite word). All of these things will grow back next year so you will not be destroying them or adversely affecting the countryside. I string them together, wire them or glue them to gifts for a natural woodland touch. I really think these packages look better than fancy gift papper and store bought bows.
I use brown paper bags, newspaper, butcher paper and make my own wrapping paper. These plain papers look great with the natural items. Sometimes I use my rubber stamps and decorate the boxes after they are wrapped to embellish them even more. Another year I took brown lunch bags and ironed on holiday decorations cut from holiday fabric with double sided fusable webbing. Small presents were put into the bags with some tissue paper. The top of the bag was folded over and I punched two holes and threaded ribbon through the holes. A simple bow and I was done. Some of these bags are still being used by my family and friends. That year I had saved all sorts of bags some of which had handles. They were all decorated and really looked wonderful.
If every family reused just two feet of holiday ribbon, the 38,000 miles of ribbon saved could tie a bow around the entire planet. If every American family wrapped just 3 presents in re-used materials, it would save enough paper to cover 45,000 football fields. The 2.65 billion Christmas cards sold each year in the U.S. could fill a football field 10 stories high. If we each sent one card less, we’d save 50,000 cubic yards of paper. Recycling Source
This year I stumbled on some free gift tags that creative artists and graphic artists posted and were offering free.
http://bigbrowndogprimitives.blogspot.com/ This one was my favorite!
I am making homemade bath powder for gifting this year.
When I was young I remember going to the drug store and looking at all the selections of bath powder. I thought my Mother loved Jean Nate bath powder. I would save my money to buy the familiar yellow and black box with round powder container. Each year the new bath powder would sit prominently on the dry sink in the bathroom for all to see. The fragrance permeated the room. Little did I know she really didn't like the fragrance at all. It took many years before she shared her secret with me. I also remember my Grandmother using a big fluffy pink powder puff after her bath. Since she was my hero I wanted to do things just like her. Ever since I think of her when I use powder after my bath. I am always looking for great powder puffs. They are hard to find these days!
The recipe I have choosen to use is:
1/2 cup baking soda
1/2 cup cornstarch
10 drops of essential oil - optional
Mix dry ingredients together then put the essential oil on a cotton ball and add to the mixture. Put the mixture in a sealed jar for a couple of days then remove the cotton ball then sift the mixture till it is smooth and no lumps are present.
Dry the mixture before packaging. Larger quanties can be made in one batch.
I have decoupaged some small tins that either cookies can in or ones I picked up at the Dollar Store. I used some rice paper that had natural leaves pressed into the paper. Then I glued on some vintage buttons. I found small powder puffs at the dollar store. I also found some pretty glass containers at the Dollar Store that seemed great for holding powder. I wrote up the recipe and included it in the containers so if my friends want to continue to use this powder than will be able to make more. In total I figure the gifts cost $2-3. Now that is frugal!
Here is a fabulous resource for all sorts of homemade items Bath and Body Recipes and Rachels Supply . I personally do not want to use talc because it has been connected to asbestos but you will find some other more natural options like rice powder, oatmeal powder, tapioca powder, arrow root etc.