The holiday season is just around the corner. This means family gatherings, good food, and gifts, lots of gifts. Unfortunately, your budget can be tight, but you don’t have to spend a lot to give a lot. Here are some ideas:
Chocolate-Dipped…Anything. Treats dipped in chocolate are an indulgence many people love but few people would make for themselves. And it’s easy to do— though time-consuming — to prepare! Strawberries are classic, but don’t keep very long, so you may want to go with pretzels or Oreos. Buy regular chocolate and melt it down in a double boiler with heavy cream (or find a recipe for melted-chocolate on cookingchannel.com). While the chocolate is still gooey, dip each pretzel and Oreo into it halfway. Decorate with holiday-colored sprinkles, if you choose. Let them cool on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet. Once they’re completely cooled, pack in small boxes or wrap in cellophane paper with festive ribbons.
Cookie Kits. Have a favorite cookie recipe? Get all the dry ingredients, measure them out and layer them into glass Ball jars. Print the directions on a notecard, punch a hole in it, and tie it to the jar with a pretty ribbon. This gift is economical, because you will be able to fill up several jars from the ingredients you bought. The layered effect of the ingredients gives it a cool look.
Digital Slideshows. If you have a digital camera, you have tons of photos on your hard drive. Compile a short slideshow, with meaningful (or funny!) quotes for a friend, significant other or family member. You can watch it together and laugh at your memories. It’s virtually free, all you have to pay for is the DVD.
Scrapbook. Even though we’ve all pretty much gone digital, sometimes nothing beats a good old photo album. If you have photos and mementos from a recent trip, a long-term friendship or relationship, print them out at home, or bring a memory card to a kiosk, and compile them into a scrapbook or photo album. It’s a relatively inexpensive way to show someone how much they mean to you.
Ornaments. Since ornaments can get to be a bit pricey, what you can do is make your own, and it doesn’t have to be too difficult. Purchase inexpensive ball ornaments in bulk, get some vibrant paint colors, then let your creativity shine! Personalize each piece with an initial, decorate them with designs, or make them holiday specific. When they’re dry, wrap them in cellophane paper and ribbon.