Sunday, December 14, 2008

Spend Less On Holiday Gifts

Car-man and I have been drastically affected by this economic downturn.  Our investments are a fraction of what they once were and we're having to cut back on holiday gifts this year.  The question is:  What can we do to spend less but still show our love and appreciation?  Clearly this year we're going to have to be more creative than ever.

Etsy has reminded me of one of my favorite toys (and yes, I still love toys!). You, too, can use old knit sweaters to create cuddly creatures.  Check out the recycled wool sweater owl or the sock dog or the socktopus.  An older kid might warm up to a punky monkey.

Study eco-friendly marketplaces gifts  for ideas on recycling used products into cooler new ones.  For instance, some artists have used old typewriter keys for cufflinks and the like.

Pick up those knitting or crochet needles and whip up some scarves, mittens, or throws.  

Recently, I read an article about well-known interior designers, art museum curators, and other "A-list" people scouring discount stores (Tuesday Morning and Big Lots) for unique clearance items.  If they can do it, so can we.

Create baskets: 
1. Send a garden.  Package some seeds with one or two garden tools.
2. For the college student, make a sewing kit.
3. For the newlyweds, print some of the old family recipes and put them into a cookie jar or crock pot or a colorful index box.
4. Assemble arts and craft items for any age (and don't forget the stickers).

Check out LookyBook, named as a best 2008 website by Time Magazine, for picture books.  Sure, you could purchase their recommendations at full retail prices but you could also find old standbys in "good as new" condition at garage sales, thrift stores or websites.  Look for "Harold and the Purple Crayon," "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No-Good, Very Bad Day," "The Hungry Caterpillar," "Good Night Moon," "Corduroy," "The Giving Tree," "Pat the Bunny," "Guess How Much I Love You," and the Dr. Seuss classics. 

One year Car-man surprised me with a bizarre doll that I had been eyeing for some time resembling the characters in the popular children's book, "Where The Wild Things Are."  Think about creating another such creature to accompany the book.  

Music is always a "best bet."  "Jazz For Kids" could be a winner for children of all ages.  I can still enjoy the words and melodies to "Free to Be You and Me" from when food-man was a kid. 

Iliketotallyloveit  is a place to shop for teens and other "difficult" (discriminating?) recipients. I can't vouch for the prices but I do think this site can satisfy the tame as well as the outrageous members of your family. 

Don't forget the consignment stores where you can get quality items at bargain prices. 

And finally, for those recipients who have everything, don't have the space for anything or don't want anything, pick a charity they'd approve and make any size donation.  

This year enjoy the holidays as much as ever!

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