So I'm offering a list of low cost ideas for gifts this year.
Books are always a wonderful choice, and can be obtained rather inexpensively at your local used book store. Pack a few in a small backpack and include a small book light for added fun.
The Dolly Parton Imagination Library is free to join and will send one book per month to any child between birth and five years old.
Remember mixtapes? Kids love music as much as everyone else, so why not make them a CD of their favorite songs? You can decorate the cover to reflect the recipient, and if you happen to have a CD labeler you can jazz up the CD itself. If you'd like, this gift could come with a personal CD player. (Look at places like Big Lots and don't forget batteries.)
Board games are great for children of all ages and the original versions are usually on sale this time of year. If you go this route be sure to include homemade gift certificates good for your time.
Dolls are lots of fun and easy to make if you can sew. Disassemble an old shirt or two that you'll never wear again for the materials and use the buttons for eyes. The mouth can be drawn on with a permanent marker and yarn can be hot glued on for hair. There are lots of free patterns available online to get you started.
Along, these same lines, a teddy bear can be made from an old sweater. Be creative and you'll make something that will probably be passed down for generations.
A spa basket can be a good gift for the woman who likes to pamper herself. Scented candles are sold at Dollar Stores, including The Dollar Tree. Add a gel mask, body poof, bath salts, and body lotion. (All of these items can be found at dollar stores.) For a further treat print up a booklet of beauty recipes to make using common ingredients found around the house.
A small galvanized pail filled with seed packets and garden tools is great for the avid gardener.
A gym bag with a workout DVD (Check the $5.00 bin at WalMart), a new towel, and a water bottle would be great for the person who likes to stay fit. You could even include a couple of low-weight dumbells, or a mat if yoga is more their style.
Know someone who loves to cook? Ask everyone you know for their favorite recipe and compile a cookbook. Add things like wooden spoons and an apron and to make it a more rounded gift.
Again, books are a great gift for an avid reader. Purchase a gift card at your local used book store (more bang for the buck) and slip it inside a book you know they haven't read yet but have wanted to.
An evening spent together can be hard to do in today's busy world, so why not give just that? Fill a basket with some microwave popcorn, theater-style snacks, and a gift certificate for a local DVD rental store.
Board games provide hours of entertainment for the whole family. Scrabble is fun and educational, and you can include a standard dictionary to make it more so.
How about a cookie jar with all of the pre-measured dry ingredients for the family's favorite cookie? Just remember to drop a recipe card in their, too.
Give them a basket filled with scented massage oil, a soft feather, scented candles, and a couple of sleep masks. Include a CD of soft music (look for CDs at the Dollar Tree). If they have children, include a gift certificate good for you taking care of them for an evening or overnight.
Are they the outdoors type? Give them a gift certificate for a local bicycle rental or a stable. Include a bottle of wine or sparkling grape juice and two glasses. This is especially cute if given in a picnic or handled basket. You could even throw in a small blanket if you like.
That is all I can think of right now. Please, feel free to add to this list in the comments and to link to this entry other places. Happy Holidays!