Author Topic: Christmas Gifts  (Read 11587 times)

Aloysius_Poutine

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Christmas Gifts
« on: November 10, 2012, 05:50:46 PM »
So, what's your plan this year?

This is our first Christmas as super frugal Mustachians, so my wife's learning to crochet so she can make some nice throw blankets for the family.

I'm struggling to come up with something inexpensive but thoughtful and nice for the men in my family.

What are your ideas?

PJ

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Re: Christmas Gifts
« Reply #1 on: November 10, 2012, 06:07:31 PM »
I was just thinking I should dig up a Christmas gift related thread from a little while ago to post something ... you've saved me the time :-) 
 
I'm feeling pretty good about Christmas gifts.  Had the "have no money" conversation with my family, and we agreed that our Christmas gift exchange (amongst siblings, spouses, and my niece) would have a $10 limit.  We will also buy for my parents, who will buy for us, but no extravagance needed there. 

Well, today was a fundraising bazaar at the church where I work.  Clergy are expected to support these things, but I'm trying to slam down my debt by every penny I can right now.  So started the day a little anxious about what I might feel like I "should" buy, but ended happy.  I paid $4 for a jar of whiskey marmalade for my dad, plus two used books and one DVD (new in package) that I think he'll enjoy for $2 combined.  $6 for Dad's gifts?  Done!  Also bid on a couple items of jewellery in the silent auction which I won for $2 and $7 - one or both of these will be my mom's gift, supplemented by something small like a couple of her favourite chocolate bars.  Hadn't really thought I'd win the $7 jewellery piece, and may pop it up on Craiglist and see if it sells!  Mom and Dad will also receive a new photo of me to replace the current one they have on the mantle.  I'm trying to make the best of a bad thing - having got sucked into ordering prints when we had pictures taken at the church for a photo directory. 

Now if I can only find something that I think my niece will actually enjoy for less than $10, I will be one happy camper!   

chucklesmcgee

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Re: Christmas Gifts
« Reply #2 on: November 10, 2012, 06:31:46 PM »
As a man, I can say that I'm not too concerned with my gifts.  Usually if I want/need something enough I will  have already bought it. So get something a bit out of the ordinary that I wouldn't have known to get. I'm pretty dorky, but that said, I think these are pretty cool: http://www.thinkgeek.com/interests/giftsunder10/

An AK-47 ice cube tray? Bacon strip bandaids? Astronaut ice cream? A grow your own banana tree kit? I'm sure you'll find something.

maryofdoom

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Re: Christmas Gifts
« Reply #3 on: November 10, 2012, 08:41:34 PM »
I am a fan of the philosophy espoused in this article: http://www.slate.com/articles/life/doonan/2011/12/gift_guide_fatigue_how_to_weather_the_holiday_blahs_.html

In short: everyone on your list gets the same thing. This example uses store-bought things, but I'm sure that we Mustachians can come up with a suitably cheap gift that works for everyone on our lists. Mine is usually homemade jam, though this year it might end up being embroidered Christmas ornaments.

kudy

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Re: Christmas Gifts
« Reply #4 on: November 11, 2012, 05:21:25 PM »
My family are quite used to my tradition of not really participating in gift exchanges. Sometimes I do it, but they are all aware of my feelings about celebrating holidays with blind consumerism.

I will try and think of something useful, thoughtful, and fun to give my girlfriend - she's already informed me that I will be receiving a gift - but I hate to give "stuff."

okits

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Re: Christmas Gifts
« Reply #5 on: November 11, 2012, 09:57:44 PM »
So, what's your plan this year?

This is our first Christmas as super frugal Mustachians, so my wife's learning to crochet so she can make some nice throw blankets for the family.

I'm struggling to come up with something inexpensive but thoughtful and nice for the men in my family.

What are your ideas?

After last year's excesses, trying to regain some semblance of sanity on the Christmas front.  Since we're spending it with my partner's family (and I don't think it's my place to try to bring about big changes in how they celebrate the holiday), I am aiming pretty hard for "utility" in the gifts (no one has indicated they want/need anything specific, when asked).

For the kids in the family (very young): money for college and some small toy/treat.  I think this is the best of all the gifts we'll give, as the money, invested, will grow over time and go towards something good for their future.  They'll outgrow toys and clothes so the value of those expenditures will decrease (or disappear entirely).  Plus, more fun for parents and grandparents to pick out and give the toys!

For the adults in the family (in town): we'll seek out an experience we can share together (tickets to a show, attending a class, or some other activity.)  Spending time together to create memories is a more meaningful gift than us guessing what stuff they may like/use.

For the adults in the family (out of town): this is the hardest one.  We're going to do our best to pick out items we are sure they'll enjoy and use, based on their interests.  Current ideas are athletic apparel and fancier ingredients for cooking.

For my partner: passes to yoga classes (requested).  A bit stumped after this, might go with an article of clothing and something we can enjoy as a couple (maybe some kind of tour of our city?)

Friends: I've suggested foregoing gifts and going to the theater together, which everyone seemed to like.  Again, spending time together and the memories/experiences thing.

Dog: a big, 'ol bulk-sized box of Greenies.  :)

What to give is only half the equation, though.  In terms of what to get (trying to reduce wastefulness), when asked I've indicated first that I don't really want anything, but if I need to name something, which household items could use replacing, and that I'll compile a list of things I need/would buy myself anyway (there's really not a lot, though Jacob's ERE book is on the list.  :)

What I really want for Christmas is more spare time, and to be with the people I care about.  The gift-giving is currently mandatory though, so I'm doing my best to make it purposeful.

(BTW, your wife can crochet winter scarves or hats for the men in your family.  Faster than throw blankets, too!)

tooqk4u22

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Re: Christmas Gifts
« Reply #6 on: November 12, 2012, 08:05:48 AM »
This is where it will go off the rails for my three kids, gifts for all others will be kept in check though.  We set a budget, stick with it, and mix of the gifts with wish list, little wants (small fun stuff and books and educational things), and needs (clothes).

Sparky

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Re: Christmas Gifts
« Reply #7 on: November 12, 2012, 12:17:03 PM »
Zero gifts whatsoever for anyone. I've gotten to the point where I am so sick of the Xmas that I just don't hang around the western world anymore around Xmas time to avoid it. Parents are gaga about buying piles of useless junk for everybody which I hate, I haven't liked it since a kid. I've asked for years just to get me nothing, nobody listens to my requests, so I jump on a plane and head far south as I can afford.....


travelbug

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Re: Christmas Gifts
« Reply #8 on: November 12, 2012, 03:11:10 PM »
Zero gifts whatsoever for anyone. I've gotten to the point where I am so sick of the Xmas that I just don't hang around the western world anymore around Xmas time to avoid it. Parents are gaga about buying piles of useless junk for everybody which I hate, I haven't liked it since a kid. I've asked for years just to get me nothing, nobody listens to my requests, so I jump on a plane and head far south as I can afford.....

Cool, this will be us next year and from then on. This is our last Christmas in our house in Australia. We are selling up and travelling next year so I have been hammering home to all friends and family to not give our children copioius amounts of stuff as we will donate or sell it within 6 months.

I think it's being understood.

This year I have also stated that we are only buying for people who will be with us on the day.

Besides two other close friends and two young nephews that will be it.

I have 12 people on my list including DH, myself and our two children.

Also, I have finished shopping. All done.

We were in the USA a month ago so I bought afew things there as it is all so much cheaper than here.

Ideas I have given to family for our children are:
art/craft stuff that we will use up.
money to have experiences while we travel.
Children's books for a kindle (we will have kindle app on ipad to read illustrated stories)
summer pjs. (needed).

DH and I are giving each other underwear, he wants golf balls and I want music for my ipod.

It will be the most simple Christmas for us ever. My family generally goes way over the top, but it's honestly liberating simplifying everything.

Even the food will be very easy, low fuss. We will have BBQ chicken skewers and fish, salads, baked potatoes, yummy bread. (it's Summer here.)

Then our family will make our peppermint bark and gingerbread men. But that's it. Christmas breakfast will be fresh Summer fruits, yoghurt, homemade granola and toast.

I want a no fuss, no headaches time this year.

SIL and BIL are going to Asia and we have said that every year form now on we will meet them somewhere as we will be travelling anyway.



Ozstache

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Re: Christmas Gifts
« Reply #9 on: November 12, 2012, 06:52:39 PM »
Zero gifts whatsoever for anyone. I've gotten to the point where I am so sick of the Xmas that I just don't hang around the western world anymore around Xmas time to avoid it. Parents are gaga about buying piles of useless junk for everybody which I hate, I haven't liked it since a kid. I've asked for years just to get me nothing, nobody listens to my requests, so I jump on a plane and head far south as I can afford.....

LOL. I've felt this way for years but haven't had the guts to upset the apple cart by staging a Christmas walkout like you do. I really hate seeing my young nephews ripping the wrapping off multiple presents, only really caring that their pile is bigger and better than their siblings.

I too ask for no presents, but that's not in the spirit of Christmas is it? Christmas is about giving  not receiving right? Sure, but to give someone usually has to buy some crappy thing that the person probably doesn't want, so why bother?

Bah humbug!  :-)
« Last Edit: November 12, 2012, 06:54:52 PM by Ozstache »

smalllife

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Re: Christmas Gifts
« Reply #10 on: November 12, 2012, 07:00:37 PM »
I'm going the "everyone gets the same thing route".  Homemade baked goodies - nicely presented.  May or may not include a "recipe" depending on how I feel.  When all said and done the supplies cost less than $50.  And I have gifts for 20, easily upped if I need to.

I hate Christmas, gifts, and get overwhelmed by the consumerism.  Always have. 

Mrs MM

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Re: Christmas Gifts
« Reply #11 on: November 12, 2012, 08:17:04 PM »
We don't give gifts to anyone (except maybe sending used toys to kids), but we do call, write, send pictures, create cards and even books.  We often spend a long time putting together a book or card and then make copies for everyone in our families and for close friends.

For our little guy, he is getting the Klutz paper airplane book and a journal for him to write in while we're in Hawaii.  I'll probably give him a candy cane or two, since he likes those.  Every year we give him less and less and he doesn't seem to care.  It's pretty interesting. 

MMM and I don't exchange gifts really, although I did give him a homemade coupon book last year.  Another year I gave him cloth napkins (he loved that gift!).  One year we even wrapped up library books to give to each other with leftover wrapping paper - that was fun.  Our library allows us to keep books for 6 weeks, so it almost seems like you get to keep them forever.

We will be in Hawaii for Christmas this year, so that's a pretty big gift right there!  Maybe we'll go camping on the beach that day!

mm1970

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Re: Christmas Gifts
« Reply #12 on: November 12, 2012, 09:54:56 PM »
We love that paper airplane book.

okits

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Re: Christmas Gifts
« Reply #13 on: November 12, 2012, 10:08:45 PM »
MMM and I don't exchange gifts really, although I did give him a homemade coupon book last year.  Another year I gave him cloth napkins (he loved that gift!). 

In a previous life (when I didn't work so much) I did a lot more handmade gifts.  The time and effort involved made it much more meaningful, I think.  I expect that in a future life (when I don't work so much) I'll get back to that a bit more.

In this present life, I'm going to aim to crochet an R2D2 beanie (free patterns galore on the internet) in time for next Christmas, for my partner (who I expect will go apeshit for it.  If not, I'm keeping it, because I want one!  :)

One Day At A Time

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Re: Christmas Gifts
« Reply #14 on: November 13, 2012, 11:06:55 AM »
I'm having to stop myself from loading up my son with presents - it's completely my own issue of wanting a 'picture perfect Christmas'. I should mention he is 2 - OY. I don't want him growing up expecting piles of gifts so we are starting young and I'm curbing myself. I do buy him gifts throughout the year though just 'because'.

I have limited myself to getting him 3 gifts for under the tree, one gift for Hanukkah and a few small stocking stuffers. I think three is a great number and I hope to continue that as he grows older.

My husband is getting a gc to a homebrew place so he can get the something or other he has been wanting. We limited purchasing for each other to $150 so that will be the amount of the card.

For family, I buy things throughout the year as I find or think of them. I try to keep gifts under $50 if possible and really aim for $30. In my side of the family we just bought gifts for the kids (books) and my parents. My husband's family requires gifts for everyone but it's a small family so it's not too bad. Kids get books (LOVE giving kids books) and a little toy. Unfortunately my inlaws and bil all have birthdays right around Christmas as do my husband and father. ARGH - just when I think I have thought of something clever I have to think of a whole new thing to give them a month later or a month before. Super frustrating.


Self-employed-swami

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Re: Christmas Gifts
« Reply #15 on: November 13, 2012, 12:15:05 PM »
We have a vacation fund that we put money into every week (so we don't feel guilty spending it on trips) but we won't be travelling this year (with work and me having surgery, we just won't have time) so I've used it as our Christmas fund this year. 

We've got 11 nieces and nephews who are all getting warm pajamas, and some activity books.  My husband wanted a giant pot for his beer brewing, and so I got him that, along with new socks, undershirts and other essentials, that we'd be buying anyway.  I've asked for some new pajamas, new work socks, and maybe a new sweater.  I like usable gifts :)

PJ

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Re: Christmas Gifts
« Reply #16 on: November 13, 2012, 12:24:41 PM »
And then there are the stocking stuffers ... 
 
My mom still makes up stockings for all of us, and they are usually full to overflowing.  We might get some toiletries, a few types of candy, a favourite soft drink or one of those small bottles of wine, a magazine, a trinket or two, a pair of socks, etc etc etc.  There isn't any one thing that's tremendously expensive, but it all adds up to a hefty price tag.
 
When we got old enough to consider ourselves adults, we started to make stockings for our parents.  Wanting to avoid the hefty price tag, and ensure everyone contributed equally, I leapt at a formula I heard somewhere - "Something to eat, something to read, something to play with and something you need."  There are four of us, so we each take one category per year and buy for both mom and dad.  Usually one or two of us end up adding an extra item to each, but that's totally optional.  If I'm ever blessed with children, I'd probably establish a similar practice for their stockings. 

Nudelkopf

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Re: Christmas Gifts
« Reply #17 on: November 13, 2012, 07:02:57 PM »
I'll be travelling overseas, so there will be limited gifts for family this year. My brother & I just bought our parents some cowhide cushion covers (came to $50 each). We don't do birthdays or Mother's/Father's day or anything, so I don't mind spending that much on my parents. And my brothers & I don't share gifts.

Other than that, I'll be staying with an old friend in Prague for Christmas, so I'll get something small for him. My Mum bought his mum something, so I'll probably just add a tea-towel or something lame. Haha. Pretty easy this year :)

KristinD

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Re: Christmas Gifts
« Reply #18 on: November 14, 2012, 08:46:41 AM »
As a man, I can say that I'm not too concerned with my gifts.  Usually if I want/need something enough I will  have already bought it. So get something a bit out of the ordinary that I wouldn't have known to get. I'm pretty dorky, but that said, I think these are pretty cool: http://www.thinkgeek.com/interests/giftsunder10/

An AK-47 ice cube tray? Bacon strip bandaids? Astronaut ice cream? A grow your own banana tree kit? I'm sure you'll find something.

I love this website :)

Use it up, wear it out...

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Re: Christmas Gifts
« Reply #19 on: November 14, 2012, 08:56:02 AM »
The best gift my wife ever gave me:

-When we were about to become parents, my wife got a blank deck of playing cards (playing card backs, blank fronts) and got our friends and family to write on them why they thought I would be a great dad

I'm also very fond of a bookmark she made me, by laminating some Old Man of the Mountain postage stamps.

Mrs MM

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Re: Christmas Gifts
« Reply #20 on: November 14, 2012, 11:38:09 AM »
You know what I noticed with kids?  If you give them a gift and make it a huge production, then they sometimes feel disappointed, ungrateful, or expect more later.  I've noticed that if you just place new things randomly around the house, you can still give your kids things occasionally, but it's presented in a different way.

For example, I once bought my kid a new book and I just put it on his bed.  That night, he found it and just started reading it.  No fuss, no production.  When he asked me about it, I just mentioned that I had been to the used book store and thought he might like it.

My parents give our son too much stuff, but they do a great job of presenting it (and they usually pick good toys).  When we visit them in the summer, the house has toys and things that they have bought him, but they don't give it to him as a present.  It is just there.  He discovers it throughout his visit and he doesn't really think of it as a present for him or even belonging to him.  We often leave some of the things there, but sometimes we bring some home at the end of our trip.

I think Christmas is the only time we wrap and present a gift as a gift.  Usually it is just one or two things from us and then some things from the grandparents.

If you have kids, try it.  It's amazing how they get used to less and less and eventually they can't even think of anything they want for Christmas (just like I can't think of anything I want).  They are perfectly happy to use their imaginations to play instead.  Plus, it's not a frenzy of ripping through one gift after the other.  They open something and then it captures their attention for a long time.


Secret Stache

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Re: Christmas Gifts
« Reply #21 on: November 14, 2012, 01:22:56 PM »
We don't give gifts to anyone (except maybe sending used toys to kids), but we do call, write, send pictures, create cards and even books.  We often spend a long time putting together a book or card and then make copies for everyone in our families and for close friends.

For our little guy, he is getting the Klutz paper airplane book and a journal for him to write in while we're in Hawaii.  I'll probably give him a candy cane or two, since he likes those.  Every year we give him less and less and he doesn't seem to care.  It's pretty interesting. 

MMM and I don't exchange gifts really, although I did give him a homemade coupon book last year.  Another year I gave him cloth napkins (he loved that gift!).  One year we even wrapped up library books to give to each other with leftover wrapping paper - that was fun.  Our library allows us to keep books for 6 weeks, so it almost seems like you get to keep them forever.

We will be in Hawaii for Christmas this year, so that's a pretty big gift right there!  Maybe we'll go camping on the beach that day!

Which island are you guys going to?  We're leaving for Kauai next week, that is our Christmas gift to each other.

Mrs MM

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Re: Christmas Gifts
« Reply #22 on: November 14, 2012, 01:53:33 PM »
Which island are you guys going to?  We're leaving for Kauai next week, that is our Christmas gift to each other.

Nice!  We went to Kauai a few years ago and kayaked the Na Pali coast.  It was an incredible experience.

We'll be in Kailua, Oahu hanging out with a fellow Mustachian (MMM is helping fix up his place in exchange for free accommodations)!

mindaugas

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Re: Christmas Gifts
« Reply #23 on: November 15, 2012, 11:21:50 AM »
Which island are you guys going to?  We're leaving for Kauai next week, that is our Christmas gift to each other.

Nice!  We went to Kauai a few years ago and kayaked the Na Pali coast.  It was an incredible experience.

We'll be in Kailua, Oahu hanging out with a fellow Mustachian (MMM is helping fix up his place in exchange for free accommodations)!
We were just at Waikiki (in-laws have time share but we did pay for plane tickets). Kauai was awesome as well, our most "active" vacation. Lots to do outdoors.

For xmas my wife and I sent out a per-emptive email notifying family members we're buying presents for kiddos and that we do not want anything and we are not going to be buying anything for anyone else. We're in debt crisis and simply cannot afford it. We've been following this up when we see family and reminding them that we're serious along with progress we have made so they know we're serious. I don't recommend it, this is a pretty drastic approach but we decided to be more extreme. We're also not very crafty ...

Flynlow

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Re: Christmas Gifts
« Reply #24 on: November 15, 2012, 11:48:54 AM »
I have two siblings, and all three of us are in our 20s, still pre-marriage and kids.  So usually we all go to our parents house for Christmas.  Over the past several years we have been asking for less and less (the whole family, parents included).  This is the first year everyone is out of college, has a good job, and is "on their own".

About a month ago we discussed Christmas plans, and I floated the idea of zero gifts, as we all have so much, and if there was anything we really wanted or needed, we'd have bought it for ourselves.  Instead, every person (my parents included) has to come up with an activity for the whole family to do together for at least 1 hour Christmas day, whatever that person wants. 

So far we have:

-Banagrams (very inexpensive game, lots of fun IMO)
-Mario Party on Wii
-Star Wars Monopoly (very long family history on this one)
-Pool Tournament in the basement (we have a 8' competition table we picked up for a smoking deal on CL)

And we may well end up going over 5 and finishing off the list on the 26th. 

EDIT: And I meant to add, everyone seemed 100% onboard, which was awesome! 
« Last Edit: November 15, 2012, 11:50:27 AM by Flynlow »

mindaugas

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Re: Christmas Gifts
« Reply #25 on: November 15, 2012, 11:59:51 AM »
About a month ago we discussed Christmas plans, and I floated the idea of zero gifts, as we all have so much, and if there was anything we really wanted or needed, we'd have bought it for ourselves.
Exactly, it ends up being an open up your gift card day or parents giving checks. We're thinking about buying some old pictures for the frames and thrift stores and sending out family pics instead to adults. I like your activity ideas!

catmustache

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Re: Christmas Gifts
« Reply #26 on: December 11, 2012, 09:24:51 AM »
Coming late to this thread, but I did a search on Christmas gift ideas on here to figure out what to do with my DH's decidedly non-mustachian family. They draw names for gifts, but the name just means you get that person 4-5 gifts and still have to get everyone else something. I'd really like to do the whole leaving the state for Christmas and telling them not to bother including us, but DH isn't having it.

Bleh. So, my plan is to make cake and chocolate truffles for the lot of them (27 people!). I've spent about $50 in packaging so far (from papermart.com) and about $30 on raw materials (chocolate, whipping cream, cake mix). So, it's averaged out to about $3 a person. Which is still more than I'd like, but better than the normal spending. I could probably have cut down on this by not buying fancy packaging and just doing the basic boxes and only 1 type of truffle as opposed to 7 or 8. Oh well.

Hopefully, that helps someone who is also searching for ideas and is unable to knit or really doesn't want to spend quality time with in-laws.

mlipps

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Re: Christmas Gifts
« Reply #27 on: December 11, 2012, 10:26:28 AM »
Coming late to this thread, but I did a search on Christmas gift ideas on here to figure out what to do with my DH's decidedly non-mustachian family. They draw names for gifts, but the name just means you get that person 4-5 gifts and still have to get everyone else something. I'd really like to do the whole leaving the state for Christmas and telling them not to bother including us, but DH isn't having it.

Bleh. So, my plan is to make cake and chocolate truffles for the lot of them (27 people!). I've spent about $50 in packaging so far (from papermart.com) and about $30 on raw materials (chocolate, whipping cream, cake mix). So, it's averaged out to about $3 a person. Which is still more than I'd like, but better than the normal spending. I could probably have cut down on this by not buying fancy packaging and just doing the basic boxes and only 1 type of truffle as opposed to 7 or 8. Oh well.

Hopefully, that helps someone who is also searching for ideas and is unable to knit or really doesn't want to spend quality time with in-laws.

I did this once for my friends when I was in college. I made two kinds of cake balls, a batch of chocolate chip cookies, and Ohio speciality known as a Buckeye. :) I also bought some nice pasta from a place in my hometown which was about $3/pound, expensive for sure, but not bad for Christmas presents. I used some cheap stuff from the dollar store to wrap it all up and it was a huge hit, especially since it was finals week.

mustache brony

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Re: Christmas Gifts
« Reply #28 on: December 13, 2012, 01:41:10 PM »
Books for close family with an exception of a computer game for my little brother (its what he wants and I got it on steam sale).

Homemade strawberry jam and vanilla extract for the extended family and college friends.

This year my gf is unemployed so she suggested not exchanging gifts (instead were going to do new activities).

tmac

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Re: Christmas Gifts
« Reply #29 on: December 13, 2012, 03:07:57 PM »
I guess we're lucky that our family culture doesn't encourage gifts outside of immediately family, and only from the top down. So, my parents buy us and the kids presents, but we're not required to give them anything. We're not encouraging our children to buy each other presents to help perpetuate that idea.

We budget $100 for each person for their birthdays and for Christmas. I start my shopping at Goodwill, and end up at Amazon. For the little kids, it goes a long way. It usually ends up including a few toys, a book, and things I would have gotten them anyway. Clothes, art supplies, etc.

I do feel that I need to get something for our three employees, so I typically go with Starbucks cards. I used to try to bake something, but always ran out of time.