Sunday, December 05, 2004

low cost and/or clutter free gift ideas

Dear flower friends,

After my 'spiel' on stuff-mart I thought that it might be a good idea to give you some ideas for low cost/clutter free gift ideas.
A couple of websites that speak to these issues are: (think it's obvious what they're about) (lots of clutter-free gift ideas)

Here are a few that I've gleaned or come up with on my own. Feel free to comment and post some of your ideas (if you don't have a blogger account - post under 'anonymously' you can include your name in your comment).

1. For the kids - Dates!! - truly the gift that keeps on giving. We just started this last year for our three oldest kids and they told other people it was the best present they got. We planned dates that were age/gender/weather appropriate that they would get each month with either mom or dad i.e. bike rides, picnics, swimming at the pool, going out for breakfast, etc. The anticipation for each month has been great and it's been a lot of fun taking them out. We'll be adding #4 boy to the dates this year and the kids are eagerly anticipating a new pile of them.

2. Family coupons - make sure whoever you're giving them to actually uses them. We've loved receiving coupons for babysitting, tickets to the theater or some other event, housecleaning - use your imagination and make sure it's applicable to the person who's getting it.

3. For all those teachers - get (or make) a gift for the classroom rather than individuals. This was the teacher isn't getting yet another bottle of something or other or another ornament. I've seen pretty storage boxes given, coupons for the local learning store, encouragement cards that the teachers can give out to students, maybe a welcome sign for their door - take a look around and see what is truly needed.

4. Write a letter of appreciation for your child's teacher and give it to the principal of your school.

5. If you have a particular gift or talent why not make that your gift. My husband and I have a music school, are musicians, etc. one of our gifts this year will be the recording that we just completed. Another gift will be recording time for one of my husband's sisters - yes it will cost us time but you're also building relationships. Maybe you sew, clean, are good with cars or home repairs - think about what you do well and give it away.

6. Here's a fun idea for pre-schoolers that I got from our pre-school teacher. It's for a 'fleece-board'. Get two pieces of strong cardboard (the sides of a banana box work well). Duct tape the two together on the long sides so that they are hinged and fold up like a book. Poke two holes about half way up on each side and thread some yarn or string through leaving the loose ends up. Purchase about a meter of plain colored regular fleece. Lay the cardboard'book' on the fleece with the loose string ends up. Fold the edges of the fleece over the cardboard and duct tape it down securely. Flip it over and draw your loose string ends together tying them where it will make a good tent. Get some felt and cut out shapes, numbers, letters, etc. A good way to do that is to draw out your stuff on the dull side of freezer paper, iron it onto the felt and it will be very easy to cut out, when you're done just peel off the freezer paper - you can re-use it a couple of times before it won't stick anymore. Tada!! you have a two sided 'fleece-board' and pieces that your pre-schooler will love.

7. Rather than buy a bunch of presents, take your family on a 'night on the town' go to a hotel, eat out, or do whatever you love to do together as a family. Our kids opted for this this year, they are getting only one present under the tree and we're going water-sliding at a local hotel.

8. I heard this one on the radio. You would want to do this a little in advance. A lady took out a single portion serving and set it aside in a freezer/microwave container and froze it as she prepared meals for her own family. Then she gave all those meals (about a month's worth) to her elderly grandmother making sure they all had wonderful gourmet names on them. Grandma got lots of healthy, home-cooking for a whole month.

9. Do baking for people who don't. (Like me for instance :)!!)

Hope that gets you inspired to do some thinking before the day arrives.

Merry Christmas Lani

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