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Old 11-25-2012, 04:41 AM   #1
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Default Gift Ideas without a Purchase

I thought I'd start a thread regarding things people can do for others without spending money for the holiday..........the thought process that gifts to others don't necessarily need to be bought at a store.

What things are you doing are aware of where people are helping others, providing a gift (their time, talents, etc.) where they didn't purchase anything (or the purchase was small).

Tight financial times mean getting creative! Share ideas!


I shared a few in another thread:
1. Gather up family and friends and offer up some time and help at a food shelf/food bank/Feed the Hungry, etc.

2. Greeting cards! Small bags of asst. cards to family, friends, grandma's (they love them!!!), neighbors. We are all (most?) creating lots of cards........great gift to others!

3. Did a small card making session with my grandmother and her friends at her asst. living. Kept the creations simple, and brought some stamps so they could address and send out to family, etc. They STILL talk about it, and ask, "When can we do that again?" Time with elderly is priceless!! They are so appreciative of your gift of time (and a few card supplies) to them!!!!

4. My favorite is participating in our church "giving tree" and buying a few socks and needed items for people who REALLY need something (The items on the giving tree? My family doesn't need any of those items. We have. It makes you appreciate those who value socks, basic tshirts, etc.) The one I treasured the most was picking one that said, "Would like a small bag or basket of soap, shampoo, deo, etc." Ok----I can do that.
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Old 11-25-2012, 06:31 AM   #2
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Early on in our 32 year marriage, DH and my finances were quite tight. We made up "coupon books" for each other. The coupons consisted of things like: "redeem this coupon for": taking the garbage to the curb for DH, occupying our daughters while I took a leisurely walk, a batch of your favorite cookies, shoveling the snow, etc. It was fun, thoughtful and the only cost was the gift of time - which of course is the best gift of all.
I like all the ideas you listed above. Great post!
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Old 11-25-2012, 08:47 AM   #3
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My 7 and 5 year old niece aren't ready (or old enough) to do "sleep overs" at other girls' houses like their older sisters, but I brought up a sleep over at "Auntie Jo's" and they squealed with delight!

I think my gift to them is going to be a sleepover, complete with card making (which they love!!!---they are Cuttlebug experts!!! LOL), etc.
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Old 11-25-2012, 08:56 AM   #4
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These are great ideas! TFS and for starting this thread. Wish I had some ideas to contribute. I'll have to think about it awhile and see if I can come up with anything.
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Old 11-25-2012, 09:13 AM   #5
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I'm on an idea roll today! Ha! My brother and wife have 4 daughters. I'm going to give them a weekend away of their choice, with myself to care for their girls. THEY will squeal with delight on this gift, I am sure!

I don't have any, but was thinking it would be a great "gift" to exchange with neighbors, other friends, etc. "You watch our kids on this night or weekend, and we'll exchange the favor!" A great gift idea!!
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Old 11-25-2012, 09:16 AM   #6
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I'm in a cookie exchange with some gals, but I don't want the actual treats (we are trying to watch calories, etc). I bring my big tray to the (small) post office in our town. They do SO much for me there!!!----always very cooperative about sending out handmade cards, etc. Hand stamping them, etc.

They say "You are the only one who remembers us!!!"

So don't forget your post office crew! I invest very little----about $8 for cookie supplies for my exchange---and go home with a lovely, huge tray of goodies!
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Old 11-25-2012, 09:19 AM   #7
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I have a large extended family, 5 grown kids w/spouses, and 18 grandchildren. I only buy toys for the little ones. Everyone else gets something handmade.

The guys get homemade cookies, packed in decorated coffee tins and homemade fudge and pecan bark, packed in decorated plastic containers I've saved throughout the year.


I've made about 20 sets of coasters for the gals. I got 4" tiles at Lowes for 33 cents each, and used pattern paper I already had. The patterns that don't work for cards make lovely coasters. I already had the Mod Podge, so that's a set of coasters for under $1.50! Here is a link to the tutorial I used:

PS I used fun foam cut to size for the bottom of the coasters. It looks cute in matching colors, and is way cheaper the cork!

Two Girls Being Crafty: The Ramseys Finally Have Coasters

I've also made 20 sets of personalized notecards and matching envies for all the gals. Here is a pic:
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Old 11-25-2012, 09:31 AM   #8
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I have a friend who sews (I don't). She hit JoAnn's for a great deal on fabric and is making super cute cooking aprons for her 10 grandkids (with fabric that matches something they are into, even the boys). They all love helping in the kitchen and this stimulates some added help!!! Super cheap and the kids are loving them!!
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Old 11-25-2012, 12:58 PM   #9
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I made my family a bunch of Christmas sweets about three years ago, and my mom said she wanted her potion to go to someone in need. So, I packed up everything and distributed it at the mental health ward of the hospital where my best friend was staying, then told my mom about it since I wasn't allowed to have a camera in there. She absolutely loved it.
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Old 11-25-2012, 02:08 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by MegsLeigh View Post
I made my family a bunch of Christmas sweets about three years ago, and my mom said she wanted her potion to go to someone in need. So, I packed up everything and distributed it at the mental health ward of the hospital where my best friend was staying, then told my mom about it since I wasn't allowed to have a camera in there. She absolutely loved it.
How neat!

It was something my (now deceased) grandmother used to say all the time. "Find someone in true need and give it to them." Wise words that carry me today.
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Old 11-25-2012, 03:38 PM   #11
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I made Halloween pillowcases for all the grandkids, and they were such a hit that I decided to make Christmas pillowcases, as well. There's a tutorial on my blog HERE, if you're interested. Each pillowcase takes 1 1/4 yard of fabric.

I'm kind of an organizational nerd and my best friend is sort of challenged in that department. Both of us have too much "stuff" already, so instead of adding to her piles, I do other kinds of things. So far I've made her a binder of card sketches (from multiple sources), a binder of her Stampin'Up! stamp sets (I found the images online and printed them out), templates for her to fill in for an inventory of her ink pads (copy attached - I stamped each color for my own inventory with the butterfly from the Priceless stamp set (SU!), because it had solid areas and outlines, so I could judge both coverage and crispness of each ink), and a coupon for an organizing session in her craft room.

One year I made "dry erase" calendars for each of my children and matching altered VHS cases that had emergency sewing kits in them: safety pins, needles, measuring tape, scissors, buttons, iron-on hem tape, black and white thread. There's a tutorial for the dry-erase calendar HERE, with more pics HERE of calendars and the matching VHS cases.

I saw a great idea on a blog quite a while ago and can't find it now (of course). The blogger made a card (or cards) for kids and made a "painting" kit to go with them. The cards used outline images that she left uncolored, then included a card where she'd printed out a row of circles and filled them in with watercolor crayons. She also included a small paintbrush. The idea was that the child could get the paintbrush wet, pick up color from the crayon-filled circles and paint the cards. I was thinking that I might make a set of coloring cards that fit in one of the SU! DVD-style cases and include a paint card and brush and give them to the grandkids. If my prototype paint card doesn't work, I'll just include colored pencils or markers instead...

I've made sets of wineglass charms with shrink plastic and beads that were very popular with the recipients. You can make jewelry with it, too, or there's a great tutorial HERE on SCS to make jewelry with washers (yes, the hardware kind).
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File Type: xls Inventory Sheets.xls (37.5 KB, 14 views)
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Old 11-27-2012, 12:37 PM   #12
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Instead of giving gifts to my grandmother (what does she need at age 91?) I call her regularly. She enjoys the chats and the long-distance is part of my cell phone plan anyway.

I shop yard sales and thrift stores all year. You can find amazing things for little money. For instance, a good friend of mine likes the Chinese good luck cat. I priced them online and they were expensive (for a nice one). This summer I found TWO at a yard sale. Total cost: $1.

I have also found in-the-box action figures at thrift store for my young nephew for $1 or less. My sister has told me that it's fine to buy a used action figure = no packaging for her to open (I make sure to wash them first).
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Old 11-27-2012, 02:49 PM   #13
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I'm shopping my stash for several gifts. Not all. So I don't know if it qualifies but I'm making lighted glass blocks for at least 4 gifts... I'm still working on more ideas.
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Old 11-27-2012, 04:59 PM   #14
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Last year I made my son an apron using a dish towel and bias tape. So easy and cheap. I made the other one an elf hat and slippers from fleece I got from the remnant pile at Joanns. Super cheap and cute and still worn, though he needs new slippers.

Other gifts that were super easy and pretty cheap - an ABC book for my son made with pictures of him. A "people who love me" album for his bedside. Card and tag sets. A knitted scarf. I don't knit much, but this basic is easy enough. A calendar with pictures and special days marked including fun days like elephant day or eat ice cream for breakfast day.

T-shirts painted with handprints from the kids. Always a big hit.

Little felt stockings filled with candy or whatever.

This year my oldest is making his brother felt food like the food in the hungry caterpillar book. While I'm sure this will include a fair bit of work on my part, it was his idea and he's trying to do a lot of it.

Hair clips for little girls. The clips are super cheap at places like Hobby Lobby and some ribbon or felt make them special.

A lot of these ideas may not have been as cheap if I didn't have a stock pile of supplies, but as it is the stuff is already here.
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Old 11-27-2012, 05:12 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scrappinpurplefrog View Post
Last year I made my son an apron using a dish towel and bias tape. So easy and cheap. I made the other one an elf hat and slippers from fleece I got from the remnant pile at Joanns. Super cheap and cute and still worn, though he needs new slippers.

Other gifts that were super easy and pretty cheap - an ABC book for my son made with pictures of him. A "people who love me" album for his bedside. Card and tag sets. A knitted scarf. I don't knit much, but this basic is easy enough. A calendar with pictures and special days marked including fun days like elephant day or eat ice cream for breakfast day.

T-shirts painted with handprints from the kids. Always a big hit.

Little felt stockings filled with candy or whatever.

This year my oldest is making his brother felt food like the food in the hungry caterpillar book. While I'm sure this will include a fair bit of work on my part, it was his idea and he's trying to do a lot of it.

Hair clips for little girls. The clips are super cheap at places like Hobby Lobby and some ribbon or felt make them special.

A lot of these ideas may not have been as cheap if I didn't have a stock pile of supplies, but as it is the stuff is already here.
Your ideas are great!

I have a 12 year old granddaughter who is really into Fantasy art. I found a wonderful artist-type coloring book that I can download for free, and make into a book with my Cinch.

There are tons of wonderful coloring pages on the web, so you can make a book for any kind of special interest the child has.
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Old 11-27-2012, 07:29 PM   #16
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A friend's dad (he is in his 90s) loves to send birthday cards to all his children, grandchildren, etc. so she makes a bunch of birthday cards, addresses and stamps them, and writes the date on the flap. She organizes them by month/date. He loves this gift and checks every Sunday for which ones he needs to put in the mail that week.
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Old 11-28-2012, 02:06 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bound4london View Post
A friend's dad (he is in his 90s) loves to send birthday cards to all his children, grandchildren, etc. so she makes a bunch of birthday cards, addresses and stamps them, and writes the date on the flap. She organizes them by month/date. He loves this gift and checks every Sunday for which ones he needs to put in the mail that week.
What a great idea!
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Old 11-28-2012, 03:11 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by bound4london View Post
A friend's dad (he is in his 90s) loves to send birthday cards to all his children, grandchildren, etc. so she makes a bunch of birthday cards, addresses and stamps them, and writes the date on the flap. She organizes them by month/date. He loves this gift and checks every Sunday for which ones he needs to put in the mail that week.
Great idea for college kids too.
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Old 11-28-2012, 07:38 AM   #19
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I like to put together soup mixes for families and neighbors. I know some really look forward to having them for a hot meal at their fingertips. I put together the reindeer food for the little kids in the family and they are already looking forward to it.
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Old 11-28-2012, 08:20 AM   #20
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I like to put together soup mixes for families and neighbors. I know some really look forward to having them for a hot meal at their fingertips. I put together the reindeer food for the little kids in the family and they are already looking forward to it.
Any recipes you would like to share?
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Old 11-28-2012, 11:19 AM   #21
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Love this thread!

Apart from the economy I personally feel that when people give me some "thing" as a gift they're just adding clutter in my house - unless and until it's something handmade.
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Old 11-29-2012, 05:20 PM   #22
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I use various soup recipes I find online. One of my favorites is from Allrecipes (not my recipe)

Friendship Soup Mix in a Jar Recipe - Allrecipes.com

Tastes great and looks so nice for presentation.

Enjoy!!
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Old 11-30-2012, 02:24 AM   #23
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I use various soup recipes I find online. One of my favorites is from Allrecipes (not my recipe)

Friendship Soup Mix in a Jar Recipe - Allrecipes.com

Tastes great and looks so nice for presentation.

Enjoy!!
I have so many "soup lovers" in my family and I'm going to steal this idea!!

Love it, love it!!! (and I agree, the presentation in the jar is lovely!!! No need to gift wrap!!!)
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Old 11-30-2012, 02:25 AM   #24
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I like to put together soup mixes for families and neighbors. I know some really look forward to having them for a hot meal at their fingertips. I put together the reindeer food for the little kids in the family and they are already looking forward to it.

What is "reindeer food" and how do your organize that for the kids?
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Old 11-30-2012, 02:26 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by bound4london View Post
A friend's dad (he is in his 90s) loves to send birthday cards to all his children, grandchildren, etc. so she makes a bunch of birthday cards, addresses and stamps them, and writes the date on the flap. She organizes them by month/date. He loves this gift and checks every Sunday for which ones he needs to put in the mail that week.

This is brilliant!!! Great for any older folks on your gift list! Love it!!
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Old 11-30-2012, 02:29 AM   #26
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Instead of giving gifts to my grandmother (what does she need at age 91?) I call her regularly. She enjoys the chats and the long-distance is part of my cell phone plan anyway.

I shop yard sales and thrift stores all year. You can find amazing things for little money. For instance, a good friend of mine likes the Chinese good luck cat. I priced them online and they were expensive (for a nice one). This summer I found TWO at a yard sale. Total cost: $1.

I have also found in-the-box action figures at thrift store for my young nephew for $1 or less. My sister has told me that it's fine to buy a used action figure = no packaging for her to open (I make sure to wash them first).

Re: Garage sales. I grab baskets of any kind (usually 25 or 50 cents at garage sales). Great to use as a "gift basket" any time of year, Christmas or birthday, for assorted greeting cards that are handmade, Christmas caramels that I make, etc. The person can keep and re-use the basket or pass along for their next gift. Great way to re-use and stay "green!"
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Old 11-30-2012, 06:10 AM   #27
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What is "reindeer food" and how do your organize that for the kids?

Magic Reindeer Food: Printable Stocking Stuffer | Organized Christmas
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Old 11-30-2012, 10:21 AM   #28
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Re: Garage sales. I grab baskets of any kind (usually 25 or 50 cents at garage sales). Great to use as a "gift basket" any time of year, Christmas or birthday, for assorted greeting cards that are handmade, Christmas caramels that I make, etc. The person can keep and re-use the basket or pass along for their next gift. Great way to re-use and stay "green!"
I found this caramel recipe recently. It uses no corn syrup: Spiced Apple Cider Vinegar Caramels - WonkyWonderful
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