Holiday Savings Tips: DIY Gifts



This is a second part to last week's post on gift-giving.

Making gifts for your loved ones is a great way to spend less. You can pick a project you know you’ll enjoy doing and that you know your recipient will love since it was custom made just for them. Just be wary when visiting crafting stores for your supplies—it’s very easy to go overboard and buy more than what you need for your current project. Like we love to say, be prepared with a list!

Below are our favorite 6 of the many, many DIY gift ideas we had. If you have a great DIY idea we’re missing, add it to the comments!

1. Host a baking party with friends

If you love baking, chances are you have a few friends who do too. Build in some quality together time by hosting a present-baking party. Everyone can bring a few ingredients to share. Get some crafting supplies for packaging as well. Wrap baked goods in cellophane bags tied with pretty ribbon, and put them in a decorative tin or basket along with hand-written recipes cards for each item.

An alternate idea for those of you who prefer to cook savory food: craft menus for your three best meals and print them on nice paper to present to your friend. Include a response card where they can choose the menu of their choice and a mutually convenient date for you to cook just for them.

2. Offer your time, brain, and/or muscles as coupons

You can make your own coupons for pretty much anything. Here are some ideas to get you thinking:
* A month of lawn mowing
* A day of snow shoveling
* Baby- or pet-sitting services
* Carpool rides
* 2 round-trip airport rides
* Tutoring for younger cousins or siblings (topics can range from calculus to make their parents happy to beating level 9 in a video game to make them happy)

3. Create a family recipe book

Create a scrapbook-like recipe book, which would make a great gift for grandparents or anyone in your family who loves cooking. Weeks before you need to give the present, contact all of your relatives to get their favorite recipe along with a story, quote, and/or photo. You can customize the book further by asking for recipes of a specific type or a recipe that reminds the sender of the gift recipient. If you go with the latter, definitely ask them to share a quote saying why! It will make for a fun gift you definitely can’t buy in any store.

4. Make a family calendar with birthdays and photos

Create a custom calendar for a member of your family with big family photos for each month and birthdays and events pre-filled in. You can do this for groups of friends as well. If making more than one, it might be easier and more economical to use an online service that prints photo books.

6. Record your own “books on tape”

Do you have young ones in your family who love when you tell them stories? Record yourself retelling a few of your favorite creations and burn it to a CD. If you have multiple kids in your family, this is an easy one to replicate for all of them!

7. Give the gift of time together

This gift could also be given as coupons—for a one-time deal, or a month-long or even yearlong agreement. Promise to spend more quality time together with your significant other or best friend. Whether that means waking up early to go running together, leaving work on time more often for dinner dates, or carving out an hour or two every Saturday for board games, use this “extra” time to reconnect and enjoy the gift it’s much too easy to waste.

Happy gifting!

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