Thrifty gifting for little ones
Gift giving is a wonderful part of any special celebration, but during the holidays when you have multiple people to buy for, it can quickly become a financial strain. Some families opt to pull names from a hat so that each person only has to purchase one gift, and others decide to limit gift giving to children under a certain age to ease the burden just a bit.
Ideas like these are great ways to cut expenses during the holidays, but if you can’t bear the idea of not wrapping something up for each kid on your list, there are ways to keep spending to a minimum while still giving a wonderful, one-of-a-kind gift from the heart.
Sometimes even nieces and nephews well into their teens enjoy special time with their aunts, uncles and cousins. Plan a sleepover weekend of family fun at your place, complete with all their favorite foods, movies and games.
If a child you love has always wanted to go camping, or spend a day exploring the city, or learn a craft or hobby that you excel at, make it happen! A customized gift certificate will work in this instance. Sites like 123 Greetings have gift certificate templates you can personalize and print out for free.
Kids love drawing, painting and creating, and a package of markers or an inexpensive water color set and a thick pad of drawing paper can provide hours of entertainment. Check your local dollar store for art supplies; you can get lots of great items there for much less than you’d pay at an art or hobby and craft supply store.
A baking date.
Invite the kids on your list over to make cookies or cupcakes that they can take home at the end of the day. Wrap up an inexpensive apron or a wooden spoon with a customized gift certificate for each child.
A baking kit.
Kids enjoy messing about in the kitchen, so give them everything they need to make a favorite treat at home. It could be a box cake mix with a container of icing and some sprinkles, or you could create your own “treat in a jar” using recipes from sites like All Recipes. The grown ups on your list might enjoy this kind of gift too! Check out these more adult recipes from Food Network.
A snuggly pillow.
Kids love having their very own pillow to cuddle with, and what child wouldn’t cherish one you handmade yourself? A simple, no-sew fleece pillow using just ¾ of a yard of fleece material and a 12’ x 12” pillow form is just the ticket! Check out Blossoms and Posies for step-by-step instructions.
A group gift.
If there’s more than one child in a family, buy one gift for all of them that they can share. Board games and puzzles are great sharable gifts kids can enjoy together. Invite them over to your house for a game night and make it an experience gift too!
If you have lots of broken bits of crayons lying about, collect them up, melt them down, and turn them into fat little cakes that are great for small hands. Wrap these up with a brand new pad of drawing paper and you’re all set! Visit The Balance for step-by-step instructions. If you don’t happen to have broken crayons handy, ask friends with small children if you can take their broken crayons off their hands.
Remember, no one in your family wants you to go broke buying them presents, so if you can’t afford anything more than something small – or if you can’t afford anything at all – don’t fret about it. Chances are your family members will be more than happy to have you simply spend time with their kids over a cozy holiday meal. It’s absolutely okay for “you” to be the only gift you give.
For advice and practical wallet-pleasing tips for this time of year, read our article on budget help during the holidays.
415852A CAN/US (12/17)