Erica is a writer, editor, wife, and mom. She has always found employment with an English degree and she excels at nurturing children and animals but struggles to keep houseplants alive. Erica currently writes at

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Inexpensive Gifts for Everyone

The biggest mistake I make EVERY Christmas is how I shop for “all the little people.”  You know — you shop diligently and plan out gifts for your kids and immediate loved ones, and then at the end you have a list of great-aunts, second cousins, neighbors 4 doors down, 8 tiny reindeer and a partridge in a pear tree to buy for.  And this is where it’s easy to drop another hundred $ when all of those “small” gifts add up.

What to do?  Try one of these ideas!

1. Buy a set of 4 wineglasses (HomeGoods is my hero) and a 4-pack of single-serve wine.  Give one wine glass and one small bottle of wine, wrapped with a nice ribbon, to each person.  Even better?  Order personalized bottles wishing a Merry Christmas from your family.  You can put your picture on it!

2. Buy inexpensive coffee mugs and fill each with a baggy of gourmet coffee beans.

3. Small gift cards…$5-$10: Starbucks, Dairy Queen, [fast food joint of choice], [cupcake bakery of choice], [local car wash]

4. Make pretty handmade recipe books!

5.  Find factory outlets in your area and buy directly from their store.  I bought giant candles that would normally cost $24.99 for only $6.99 at our local candle factory outlet!

6. Things in a jar:  Ready-to-make Desserts (with how-to tags!) or Soup make great gifts.  Mason jars are cheap + ingredients + lid decorating fabric from the sewing store’s scrap bin.

7. Admission for a day at a museum.  Give a museum guide with an admission ticket.  Add a little with a disposable camera and a bottle of water.

8. This one is not for the faint of heart:  Give X hours of Babysitting.  WHOA.

9. Homemade Potpourri…At first I thought this was lame and almost didn’t put it on the list.  And then I thought about how nice it is to have a good-smelling home.  It makes me happy when I walk in the door.  I hereby proclaim that potpourri is COOL!

10. Give hope!  In the form of a lottery ticket.  So what if the chances of winning are 18 million to 1?  You’re either making someone else rich and wishing you’d kept the ticket or you’re giving a $1 piece of paper.  It’s the Hope that counts 😀

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Comments (6)

  1. Pingback: Cookie Cutter Recipe – Neighbor Gifts « « TodaysMama TodaysMama

  2. Callie Feyen 12/13/2010 at 4:05 pm

    These are fantastic ideas! I love the personal wine one.

  3. Nisha @ Healthy Mom's Kitchen 12/13/2010 at 2:33 pm

    I love the candle idea! My family put together “Orange you glad…” burlap sacks with ideas for reusing the sack.

  4. Christy 12/13/2010 at 5:45 am

    Great article, Erica!

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  6. Lindsay 12/09/2010 at 5:36 am

    Love that first idea! That’s a great one for co-workers too!