20 Christmas Gifts That Cost Nothing to Make — But Just Might Be Priceless
Of course one of those years I like to have iPads, TVs, bikes and under the trees, but I can say without reservation that even though we have no money, I never went to bed for Christmas and felt bad at night.
That is, we make a deal with each other year after year so that no money is spent on ourselves (so money can be spent on our children and other family members). However, this agreement did not prevent us from finding ways to give each other something on Christmas morning.
And after 16 years of marriage, I feel that our financial situation on vacation can be a blessing … we are forced to think about each other and most of all. Of course one of those years I like to have iPads, TVs, bikes and under the trees, but I can say without reservation that even though we have no money, I never went to bed for Christmas and felt bad at night.
So this year I’ve been thinking about giving gifts, so I thought we’d share some of the gifts we’ve given to our children, family members, and each other. Because when I think about my favorite gifts, they cost practically nothing.
1. Board game challenge
Do you have a board game lover at home? (My 10 year old?) Print out one of these cards and put it in an envelope. Then after opening the envelope, fill in the five boards (or cards) you are playing with each other and go! You won’t regret it … of course, if you are not ugly of your 10 year old!
2. Make a note of a favorite passage
It may take some time and some softness. One step … Find your loved one’s favorite font. What scripture is this? A sonnet? Seventy-one alone? Or a paragraph from a favorite book? I have it? Well. Now is the time for the second step: learn by heart!
After memorizing, there are three left: Delivery. When I did that, my husband opened a box that had just a piece of paper with it written on it. He mentioned that it was one of his all time favorite gifts. He even hung this piece of paper on the wall in his office
3. Housekeeping card
Is your wife, roommate, or other important person doing housework that they just hate? Dirt? Shake toilet? Pick laundry? If so, this is a great gift. Give them a card, letter, or note so they can take on this task for a period of time.
Warning: be specific about this gift … if you say you are going to make it work, you really have to do it. So let them know exactly what you are going to do and how long you will be ready to do it. For a day? One week? A month? Let them know what to expect from you, and then don’t offer more than you can afford. This creates a happy camp for you and the recipient of the gift.
4. Monthly Club
What is your specialty? Soup? Loaf? Cookies? Casseroles? Whatever it is, you should share it with someone who will appreciate it! A grandfather, an aunt or a neighbor … just print out the card and off you go! Then the recipient of your gift will not only get something tasty once a month, but you will also visit them. (Which is probably as appreciated as your delicious glass body!) So just go for it! Make what you like the official member of your salsa (or cake or chicken dish) in the Club of the Month! The possibilities here are endless.
5. When the sky is gray
Is there anyone on your list this year who is going through a very difficult time? In this case, a “When the Sky is Gray” kit can help. All you need to include in this kit is a bunch of letters or pictures that you put together in different envelopes. What kind of characters and pictures? Okay, things go through a lazy day … maybe a fun “remembering” when a “story” or an “I love you” letter … or “10 reasons you’re great” are in the envelopes Other things are quotes or thoughts that will help you put together some photos of bad times and good times. Put something different in each envelope.
Try putting together a small bundle (10-15 envelopes), then tie them with a bow. “Something as simple as being surprised like my reason for happiness in your life …” wonders how it can help you on a difficult day.
6. A Tell Me notebook
This is a gift to my grandparents and love! All you need is a simple notebook. (I gave these spiral-bound notebooks to my grandparents because I wanted them to just sit back and write what they wanted and not think of handwriting or do something special in a beautiful book.)
Now, of course, don’t give anyone a blank notebook … your questions will have to fill out the book (I made one all three pages so there was enough space to write if needed).
The questions vary depending on who you give the notebook to. The questions I asked my grandparents were, “Tell me about your first home. Tell me about something you’re proud of. “” What do you remember most about your mother? “” Tell me about three memorable friends. ” ”
Think about what you would like to know about the person you are giving the gift to … then prepare for a really scary conversation.
7. Date of the daily lesson
Our children read every day … but that doesn’t mean I read to them every day. While reading to a 3 year old child recently, I noticed that my two elders had gathered to hear the story. When I asked them what was going on, I was surprised to find that they said they missed reading me aloud. So I thought of this card.
Each of my children will have one this year. The triangles count as a beat of the card, which puts the card on top of the 20 beats card. Then if the kids want me to read them a chapter or just want to read a picture book together, I’ll let them know.
8. The 50 things I learned
Is there anyone on your list who has reached a milestone? 40 years old? Celebrate 30 years together? Then it’s perfect for her to do something like that. When my mother was 50, I made a frame mark for her that I had learned 50 things from her when I was told 50
Later, when my grandparents were 80 years old, they created these books with simple illustrations on cards and told how they influenced my life and what I had learned from them. Giving these gifts was one of my favorite things and is great for anyone who has made a difference in your life.
9. Magical car wash
This gift may need to be given before Christmas … because for this gift you must have access to the recipient’s car. I usually do this when my husband is working. I drove to his school, took his truck, zoomed in on the gas station and immediately passed it, cleaning it quickly and again, and even before he got back to his seat he knew it was gone. When he leaves work, he finds a clean car and a note on the dashboard.
10. Exemption from liability (a.k.a. “I’ll take the children for the night”)
Sometimes it takes a quiet time alone. We all love our children and our home, but sometimes we need some breaks over time to reunite. If this happens to someone on your list, one of the best gifts you can give them is to take their responsibility for a few hours and let them recharge their batteries.
Do this with a card, letter, or note tied on a bow. Then you decide when the gift was given and when the gift will be redeemed … Now choose a day and time! (And then stick with it! The gift is meaningless if you don’t obey it!)
11. Read This If
This gift is perfect for college students who are away from home. For this gift, write a few short letters, put them in separate envelopes and label the envelopes with the time when they should be read. The subject of the letters you write will depend on your relationship with your college student, but here are some ideas for this letter: Read If: You fail an exam, have a great date, had a bad day, and think you hate, feel like you are in love, etc. Seal each letter and tie the bundle with a bow.
12. A personalized playlist
Think back to junior high when we did great, great mixes for each other … you know, on tapes … it was great. And did you know that your boyfriend picked these songs because he knew you very well, or that this guy picked these songs because he secretly wanted you to know how crazy he was about your love? Well … how great would it be to get one of the tap tapes again?
Nowadays we can either burn CDs or download personalized playlists for that friend, sibling, or someone special. It could be a list of sibling songs during the day, a list of how to get a wife for a good friend whose job and work needs to be sorted – or my husband made an ongoing playlist for me that I like. Be creative!
13. Park Tour Permit
Find five local parks and visit each one. (Not all on the same day!) Compare your kids’ slides, large toys, open spaces, etc. and determine which park is the best.
14. Netflix Night Punch Card.
I’m not sure there needs to be an explanation here … and my husband asked for another one earlier this year.
15. Eat a month
It takes time to plan this gift in advance, but it is so precious that I have given it to my parents and in-laws several times.
For a month (or a few weeks) of valuable food, I prefer food that is well frozen and then I prepare my family for dinner for the next several weeks. When I prepare these dinners I just add extra … until I’m already cooking … and when the meal is over I freeze the extra serving and before I know I have several food collections to deal with go to my parents and in-laws.
16. “I love you” letters now and then
Just choose the recipient of your gift, then write two letters about why you like them. Write one so they can read it now, then write one to read that you will write on the due date … one year … five years … just don’t forget to include the “Don’t open until” letter to be opened later in the front part!
17. Favorite recipe package
My mom gave me these recipe cards a few years ago and I love them! He collected the recipes we ate as children. Everything from my grandmother’s cookies to my uncle’s BBQ sauce to her homemade rolls. These are recipes from my childhood and I’m so glad I got them!
18. A personalized screen saver
For a year my husband made me some personalized screensavers and snapped them up on my computer. Then it reminded me of them every time they came up on my computer. Nardi? Yes. Complete! But i love it!
19. Remember this book
For the second Christmas we were married, I had a blank book to fill with brief written reminders of what my husband and I were doing. It wasn’t anything special. It was not included in a scrapbook. No pictures. Just short stories, jokes and lyrics of the song. And it’s a favorite … we laugh every time we read.
20. Time capsule kit
I’ve done time capsules with school classes a lot, but this year we’re doing that with our kids. What they get is an empty box (I know this sounds like a joke …) that explains what a leaf time capsule is
Then, on New Years Day, we fill the box with everything that goes with it, prophecies, favorite packaging, newspaper clippings, photos, notes and whatever the kids want. Once it is filled, we wrap it with tape and write it out from the reopening date.