As much as we want to slow down and enjoy autumn in OKC, getting started on holiday gifts now can save time, money, and stress later. Being the mom usually means being the holiday gift coordinator and the pressure to find the perfect gift for people of all ages can be intense. Here are five Christmas gifts you can start working on now, take little or no money to produce and yet will be much-appreciated by the lucky recipient!
The classic profile portrait is quick, easy, and uses only a few sheets of paper. Take a headshot photo of your subject from the side, in a bright area with a plain background. Print it as a 5×7 photo on regular copy paper in black and white. Use a fine-tip black pen to trace around the perimeter of the subject, then cut away the background with scissors. Place on dark construction paper, trace with a pencil, and cut out the construction paper image. Use white glue to glue onto your choice of scrapbook paper, let dry completely, then cut to fit the frame of your choice. It is amazing how accurately a silhouette can capture the image of a child, from the full cheeks to the shape of their head to the tilt of the chin, and it will become a treasured memento of your child at that age.
Gather beloved photos on a memory device or online storage, including scans of older historical photos. Themed collections like holidays, siblings, vacations, all the grandkids, etc., can make this a great gift for almost all ages. Besides preserving the images in a way that fire, flood, and tornado cannot touch, digital photos can be enlarged on a screen for those with poor eyesight. Saving the pictures to an online album or cloud storage with a link makes viewing the pictures as easy as clicking. On the other hand, for someone who is uncomfortable with computers or devices, get prints made and assemble a traditional photo album with labels of names, dates, and places. This is a gift that truly brings joys over and over again.
Book or Book Collection
Thrift stores are a treasure-trove of good books, priced in the $2-3 range, and you never know what you will find. I frequently see luxuriously bound classics, entire series in hardback editions, and multiple novels by the same author. If you know your recipient’s literary tastes, start your book-quest early and check the book section of the thrift stores often. Whether fiction, travel, religion, vampires, or Jane Austen, you may find a special book or collection that makes a standout gift for the reader in your family. Packaged with a mug filled with teabags or a cozy throw, the gift of books promises hours of reading pleasure.
Coupons for a service or time together
A tradition in our family is making coupons for spending time together doing an activity or for a big favor – like a ten-minute back rub! They can be for whatever you decide, but we have included activities like a movie night at home, trip to the hobby store, babysitting so they can have an afternoon off by themselves, one special meal of their choice, a spa day at home, and so forth. The choices don’t have to cost money, but they should be offers that will really be appreciated by your recipient – and show them how much they mean to you! Our family has made these by hand from construction paper or index cards, but you can also search online for free printable love coupons that you can customize.
Framed Family Tree Picture
A framed family tree picture doesn’t have to cost very much, but its meaning and significance can be priceless. It may take some time to research and organize your family tree information, but there are simple and free or low-cost options for display. Family tree scrapbook pages are available in hobby stores and online, for less than $2 each, and can be framed for hanging. An online search for creative ways to display a family tree will bring up options in many decorative styles, from very simple to very crafty. Looking at the family tree together can open up a whole new world to your child, and prompt stories of family history and heritage that will never be forgotten.
What creative Christmas gifts have you given that involved little money, yet were still meaningful to and appreciated by the recipient? Did you ever receive a gift that was handmade, homemade, or found/thrifted, and what did you love about it?