Best Inexpensive Christmas Gift Ideas
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Best Inexpensive Christmas Gift Ideas by Yvonne Orton

In these economic times, consider trying to keep Christmas gift-giving simpler. Trying some of these ideas will even be fun! Once you start, your own creativity and imagination will be unleashed and gift-giving might be less stressful and not too expensive!

Select gift bags, baskets, fabric bins, pails, totes, any kind of containers that are fun and fill them with themed items.

Pasta Night: include a jar of favorite pasta sauce, box of whole wheat pasta, a bottle of Italian dressing, croutons, parmesan cheese, kitchen towel, spiced olive oil, loaf of Italian bread, Biscotti, apron, etc. You get the idea... you can include as many as you like!

Movie Night: popcorn, popcorn seasonings, a DVD, candy, popcorn bowls or popcorn boxes, funny napkins.

Fancy/specialty magazines that interest the person on your list, tied with raffia or pretty ribbon.

Variety of individual packets of special coffee blends, or teas along with a unique coffee mug or tea cup. Add a package of gourmet cookies or box of chocolates.

A bottle of wine, a box of crackers, and a small cutting board for cheese, which you can add at the last minute.

A mixing bowl filled with packaged cookie mixes, a wooden spoon, and a potholder or 2.

"Cookie mixes in a jar" - recipes available from the book, Gifts for the Cookie Jar by Lia Roessner Wilson - you layer dry ingredients in a quart size wide mouth jar, add the lid, and tie a tag with instructions for adding ingredients and baking! Easy and a joy to receive!

A child's handprints, framed

For the writer on your list, a journal, note cards, Post-It notes and fancy pen

If you have access to photos of interest to the person on your list, get a collage picture frame for those photos, make a mini photo album, get a photo calendar or do a scrapbook, with the pictures.

For cat and dog lovers, get together treats, toys, a new leash or collar, a pet picture frame; explore other available pet items and to top your gift off, add an issue of the magazine, Cat Fancy or Dog.

For the gardener, a package or 2 of seeds, gardening gloves, gardening tools, garden shoes, flower pot, small bag of potting soil, and a gardening magazine - this is a great idea for kids who like to play in the dirt!

An all time favorite gift for kids is a box or tote bag filled with different kinds of paper, drawing and construction, note pads, glue, stickers, a mini stapler and staples, scotch tape, scissors - plain and decorative, stencils, a craft book with "how-to" instructions, colored pencils, markers, gel pens, crayons...Kids love to create and do activities.

Craft box (or other plain wooden items) with paints, brushes and stickers or decals with which to decorate.

Holiday serving platter or bowl filled with homemade cookies or snack mix.

Breakfast basket: pancake mix, syrup (maybe more than 1 kind), pancake turner and/or rings, potholder, mixing bowl with spout or pancake dispenser, measuring cup.

Fancy napkins, placemats, and napkin rings (Lots of times they are on sale!)

Bread pan with bread mixes and can of baking shortening spray.

Muffin pan with muffin mixes, and or cake mixes and cupcake liners.

Crockpot cookbook and Crockpot liners to make cleanup a snap!

Ingredients for easy homemade chicken soup: carton of chicken stock, canned chicken, small can of carrots, package of noodles; add a copy of one of the Chicken Soup for the Soul books.

A book from the genre you know the person enjoys, along with a special bookmark, a package of hot chocolate mix and a mug.

Pretty glass jar filled with Hershey Kisses, or M&Ms, or whatever candy you want to give.

Fuzzy, comfy socks, foot scrub, foot lotion.

A kid's cookbook (great suggestion: The Cheerios Cookbook: Tasty Treats and Clever Crafts for Kids) and add some of the non-perishable ingredients kids can use to make some of the recipes.

A box of greeting cards and book of stamps.

Fancy soap, shower gel and nylon net bath scrubby or loofah or sudsy sponge.

Homemade skin exfoliators recipes:

Almond Exfoliating Body Scrub: In a small bowl, stir ¼ cup course sea salt and ¼ cup baby oil together until the oil is thoroughly incorporated into the salt. Add ½ teaspoon almond extract, OR vanilla extract OR lightly scented perfume oil and stir until it's integrated. You can double or triple the recipe to make a larger amount. Put in a small glass airtight jar with these directions attached: Use in the shower, after you are thoroughly wet. Apply with your hands, a washcloth or body puff scrubber. Massage in. Rinse off. (Recipe from the Reader's Digest Homemade - How to Make Hundreds of Everyday Products Fast, Fresh and More Naturally)

Simple Sugar Scrub for Dry Skin: In a medium bowl combine 1 cup brown sugar, white sugar or half of each. Mix ½ cup of olive, grapeseed, or almond oil into the sugar(s) with a wooden spoon until you get a pastelike blend. Add 2 drops vanilla or almond extract and stir until well incorporated. Transfer to a clean, airtight glass container/jar. Store in the refrigerator for 6 months to a year. Directions for use: In the shower, massage this mixture gently over damp skin. It will exfoliate and moisturize at the same time. Do not use on broken, irritated or scarred skin. Avoid the eyes. This is an especially oily mixture, so it is best for dry skin. (Recipe from the Reader's Digest book, Homemade - How to Make Hundreds of Everyday Products Fast, Fresh and More Naturally)

Add a body puff scrubber or a pretty washcloth to your gift.

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