Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Homemade Gifts for Friends and Family

I love being a stay-at-home mom and would not trade it for the world, but it does mean operating on a tight budget. So, we have had to get more creative with our gift-giving. (Believe me, I am so far from Martha Stewart, so don't judge.) I found many great ideas in magazines that I was able to adapt to work for us.
In the December issue of Martha Stewart Living, I saw a cute packaging idea. I was able to get several free Ghirardelli chocolate bars using coupons that doubled at my local Harris Teeter. My preschooler and I wrapped the bars in a sheet of white paper and then she used markers to decorate them to look like snowmen. These snowmen chocolate bars were slipped in to her teachers' gift baskets, given to her dance teachers, the mailman, and her neighborhood babysitter. She was excited to have made the gift herself and it cost absolutely nothing thanks to coupons.
For our neighbors we gave them a gift that allows them to be both naughty and nice. A box of Christmas cookies when they want to be naughty and a jar of homemade apple cranberry walnut oatmeal when they want to be nice (or healthy). I again used coupons to get large containers of instant oats for $0.50 each. I used free credits from Groupon to purchase dried fruit and nuts for my oatmeal from Nutty Guys for the oatmeal and then used other basic pantry ingredients such as sugar and cinnamon. I recycled empty jars I had collected over the year for the oatmeal. And the cute boxes the cookies are in were free also with $5 off coupons for Hallmark that I had received in several magazine subscriptions (which were free as well).
And now I am off to finish up a gift for my niece, which I will post when I am done.

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