“Don’t come in here. We’re talking about Christmas…”

(Refresh your memory about that phrase by reading this post. Or don’t, because it’ll probably make you curl into a ball and cry a little.)

With Christmas smack dab around the corner (seriously? how is it December already?!), I’ve been busy trying to come up with some different gift ideas than what I usually do. This would be my normal, quite sane process:

…and then I die. It happens every year.

My goals this year are to:

1) Make by hand as many of the gifts as possible

2) Use thrifted and recycled materials

3) Keep the cost to a minimum

4) Not die. (A very wise goal, I do believe.)

I figured most people in my close knit group of friends and family won’t mind that I’m taking this route, being that they get something absolutely unique to them. I could be totally wrong though. They could all be waiting in anticipation for an expensive, store bought present from my SOON TO BE STAY-AT-HOME SELF, knowing that I’M ON A STRICT BUDGET but that would mean THEY’RE NOT IN TOUCH WITH THE TRUE SPIRIT OF THE SEASON and would be quite SCROOGE-LIKE if you ask me. I just don’t expect that of these people. THEY LOVE HANDMADE GIFTS FROM THE HEART and VALUE THE THOUGHT AND EFFORT THAT GOES INTO THEM.

(I call that a subliminal guilt trip. It’s subtle, but it works.)

Anyway, here are a few goodies I’ve made so far.

Dessert/cupcake stands, made from pretty vintage plates and candlesticks. (Do you like my lone, strategically placed ribbon in the background there? I was feeling artistic at that moment. Don’t mind me.)

One of several yarn wreaths I’ve made so far. Wrapping that yarn takes some time, but man do they turn out cute. I may or may not be keeping this one in my entry forever and ever amen. (Did I say I was going to give these as gifts? Oh, right.)

What’s kind of lame is that I can’t share everything I’ve been making because most of the recipients read my blog, but I’ll eventually show you the rest. There are a lot of hair clips and pins and other things of that girlish nature.

So what about you? Having a handmade Christmas this year?

Frugal Gift Giving

I have issues when it comes to gifts.  Serious, elitist issues.  See, I like the recipient to know I spent time and put thought into picking out the absolute perfect thing, try to make sure I don’t come across cheap, and absolutely despise giving gift cards (can we say cop-out?).

The part I have the most difficult time with is the whole gift wrapping thing.  Shoving the item into a flimsy bag with a wad of tissue paper (or even worse… too little tissue paper) is like a dagger into my little snobby heart.  Of course, I’ve been known to do this if I’m in a pinch, but ONLY when absolutely necessary and ONLY with the cutest bag available (none of those plain, $1.99 Target crummy things).  Are you seeing the elitist thing coming out?  I’m ridiculous, I know.

Justin (a frugally-minded fellow) is highly bothered by this and likes to stress the point that we don’t have a ton of extra money to be spending on gifts for everyone we know.  He gets frustrated with me for wanting to give the gift that ‘little extra something’, when all those little extras add up.  This is also the same guy that wanted me to give a $10 gift card to his sister for her 25th birthday.  Yeahhh, we’re just not on the same page here.

I have come up with a little plan in an attempt to please everyone involved in this gift-giving fiasco — do it the Semi-Homemade way (à la Sandra Lee, minus the .15 blood alcohol level).  What I’m doing is purchasing either the gift wrap OR the gift, and while keeping a budget in mind, I make the other item.  It’s interesting to see how your creativity comes out when you’re working with a budget.  And the bonus: The recipient can see the time, thought and effort that was put into their gift.

A Recent Example:

Supplies before...

Basically, all I did was wrap the boring, plain box in some cute scrap booking paper, tied some ribbon around the edges and secured it with one of those super cute labels.  I LOVE those things!

The finished product

Happy Birthday, Mom!

How do you all keep gift-givings within your budget?   Is it rude of me to ask?