Hey there, readers! Today, we have a guest post from Crystal Paine, whom most of you know better as Money Saving Mom. She’s got a new ebook out about simplifying Christmas, and she asked if she could share a guest post here. As you know, I usually say no to guest post requests, but I’m delighted to open my blog up for Crystal.
It’s always smart to plan ahead, especially when it’s a major gift-giving occasion like Christmas. However, there will always be moments we can’t control that lead us to deviate from the plan. Whether you make these ahead of time or need something in a snap, these easy gifts will be just the answer you’re looking for.
1. All Natural Brown Sugar facial and body scrub
I know there are plenty of body scrub recipes out there but I guarantee this one is the simplest. It only uses two ingredients and can be made in only a few minutes.
1 tbsp coconut oil
1-2 cups brown sugar
Combine ingredients in a bowl.
Mix with hand mixer.
Empty contents into small mason jar.
Tie a small scrap of ribbon around the jar, into a bow.
You can adjust the measurements and create a bulk amount all at once to save even more time. Be sure to tell gift recipients, a little goes a long way. You can experiment with other types of ‘oil’ for different scent combinations.
2. Custom set of table napkins
If you know how to sew, you can easily whip out a set of table napkins. Gather scraps of fabric and cut into 18-21 inch squares. You can double layer them if you like.
If you have a serger, these can be finished within minutes by simply serging each side. If not, you can sew each side using the zigzag stitch setting on your sewing machine.
Click here for a more in-depth cloth napkin tutorial.
3. Pillow Case
Who wouldn’t like a unique pillowcase all their own? There are easy tutorials online showing how to sew a pillowcase but even without a tutorial you can look at a pillowcase and see the simple shape. This is a beginner project so don’t be afraid to try it, even if you aren’t that experienced.
You can make it a plain rectangle or spruce it up a little by adding a coordinating fabric for the edge.
If you are adding a fabric edge: pin long fabric edge to larger rectangle with right sides facing. Sew across pinned edge. Unfold edge.
Assemble your fabric rectangle with right sides facing. (with edge unfolded if you created one)
Sew up sides leaving short side open.
Turn right side out.
4. Customized Journal
You can find blank books/journals at any dollar store. You can also usually find decorative paper or use some from your own stash.
glue stick/double sided tape/adhesive
Cut decorative paper slightly larger than book cover.
Cut 2 pieces of decorative paper slightly smaller than cover.
Glue larger piece to cover using adhesive of choice.
Fold over edges and glue.
Glue smaller pieces inside front and back covers.
5. Digital Keychain
This idea isn’t homemade but you can customize it using your own digital photos. A gift like this can usually be found in a pharmacy type store for under $10. After you’ve purchased the keychain, following instructions you can upload your own digital pictures to fit the recipient in just a few minutes. This makes a great gift for a grandparent or a parent when you include family pictures.
6. Mug o’ Goodies
I know you can always find good, solid mugs at the thrift or dollar type store. Fill it with the gift recipient’s favorite candy, goodies, packages of hot cocoa, cider or tea. Wrap with a bright red bow.
7. Chocolate Dipped Marshmallows
Chocolate dipped marshmallows are a fancy and delicious treat, and they’re simple to make!
cup milk chocolate chips
Melt chocolate in microwave
Dip large marshmallows in melted chocolate
Roll in favorite sprinkles or nuts
Let cool on wax paper lined cookie sheet
Wrap individually or place in a nice container or small pastry box.
8. Chocolate Dipped Stir Spoons
These spoons make delicious accompaniments to coffee or a cup of hot cocoa.
milk chocolate chips
Melt chocolate in microwave. Dip spoons numerous times until chocolate it built up thick on the bowl of the spoon. Dip in sprinkles. Wrap individually in small treat bags, tied with a bow.
(I’m going to barge in here and say that if you prefer not to use disposable spoons, you can pick up some super cheap metal spoons at your local thrift store instead. -Kristen)
9. No Sew Fleece Throw Blanket
These fleece blankets are cozy, cute, and so simple to make!
1 yard fleece
1 yard is just the right size to snuggle up on the couch. If you want to make it extra cozy, you can easily make this blanket two layers.
Cut small slits along all four sides of the yardage, to look like wide fringe. Tie each strip of fringe into a knot.
If you are making this double layered: lay each piece of fabric on top of each other and cut slits. Knot each strip of fringe together so that both layers are attached.
10. Tea Cup Candle
How many times have I recommended the thrift store? It’s too good of a place to pass up, to find great deals. Find a nice tea cup and saucer and place a tea light in it. Include a few extra tea lights in your gift box.
Some of these ideas make take more time than others, but having a running list of frugal gift ideas will keep you from spending a ton of money on last minute gifts. If you always keep some big marshmallows, chocolate, plastic spoons, and sprinkles in your cupboard, then all you need is a few minutes! If you sew a lot and always have leftover fabric, then you’ll always have a stash for your napkins!
Choose the ideas that work best for your home and let go of the guilt and stress that so often accompanies the holidays. For more ideas on how to simplify your Christmas this year, check out my new book, Celebrating and Savoring a Simple Christmas.
It’s only 99 cents through November 15!
Crystal Paine is a wife, homeschooling mom of three, and author of the brand-new ebook, 21 Days To A More Disciplined Life. For more encouragement to get your life and finances in order, visit her blog, MoneySavingMom.com.
Just a few quick notes from me about Crystal’s book:
It’s available only in Kindle format, but you can read books in a Kindle format online, so no worries if you’re Kindle-less!
I got a sample copy of Celebrating and Savoring a Simple Christmas and after reading it through, I’ve concluded that you can benefit from it despite the fact that I blabbered on about Christmas for the whole month of October! Crystal’s book focuses a bit more on the practical side of simplifying Christmas whereas my posts were more about changing your mindset about Christmas.
So, I actually think that her book and my posts work quite nicely together. And since Crystal’s book is only $0.99 (thru tomorrow, that is!), you’re bound to get your money’s worth.
Joshua’s 365 post: Pixels and Lines (I don’t think this is a guess post, but it might as well be because I have no idea what I’m looking at in today’s photo.)