Sunday, September 4, 2011

Gift Giving on Less Income

Gift giving was always very important to my family when I was growing up. Mother taught my sister and I to crochet and knit simple projects while we were in elementary school. We used those skills to make gifts for Christmas.  My sister and I learned to crochet borders around dishcloths and made them into lovely potholders and we knitted house slippers and a myriad of other craft projects. I couldn't wait until I turned 12 because Mother promised she would teach me to sew.

Those skills came in very handy the first 15 years of married life.  I made the majority of gifts for family members and a lot of gifts for my children since we didn't have much money left after our bills were paid.

I stopped making gifts when I started my own home business. It was just too much stress. But, this year's circumstances find me in a place where I'm picking up those long ago learned skills to help stretch my gift budget again. 

 I've been crocheting dishcloths while I sit with Miss Alice in the evenings.  I also keep a crochet project in my purse (and a book) to work on if I'm stuck in a long line. Last week I nearly finished a dishcloth while waiting in the doctor's office. I also crochet or knit in the evenings after my work is finished for the day.

I went through my material bins and found some unfinished projects to sew. I finished a retro apron yesterday. I have enough material to make one more.

Every time I can save money by doing the work myself then I consider it the same as if I earned money at a part time job. Except the wonderful thing is that I didn't have to leave my home to do it. :-) Stretching my gift budget by sewing or crocheting saves money which helps our income go just a little bit farther.

It feels good to have a head jump on Christmas. Do you have any Christmas projects started?


  1. I've finally made myself quit buying and giving gifts because I thought I had to. Things just to give for the sake of giving. For one, I got tired of getting them. I didn't need any more stuff to hide away someplace, take up space, and clutter the drawers and closets. So I broke the chain. Now if I want to give something, I just give it -- whenever I want to. If I'm broke, I tell everybody that's the way it is. Sorry. When I find something to make that I enjoy and find useful, I make some for the rest of the family, too. They seem to appreciate that. They seem to appreciate being liberated from the tyranny of having to get something because the occasion demands it, too.

    So good to hear from you! Take care! ~Liz

  2. We've changed some of our gift-giving traditions in our family, too, since we're growing in number. We only give the little ones gifts at Christmas and draw names for the adults for birthdays. But being the mother that I am I still have this intense desire to give our adult children gifts, even though it's not "my name" (to give my gift to.) Small, virtually free gifts, are what I'm always looking for. Thanks for the encouragement to cut costs and give gifts from the heart. Something that I've begun doing for the grandchildren's 1st birthdays, when they're too young to even realize whether you're giving them a gift or not, is to give a pretty piece of glassware from my "china cabinet." I place a small piece of masking tape underneath the piece with a personal message to the child from "Grandaddy & Nana" and the history of the dish. I know it means nothing to them at the time but when they're older they'll appreciate having received something of value on their very first birthday.

  3. Those chochet dish cloths are the best. I have some from my sister-in-law--just right for the hand and does the job for dishes and counter tops.

    It is often hard to think of something to give someone. This year I am giving binders full of my Scripture highlights for the year. Hope they will be appreciated, and realize the gifts are from my heart.

    You are so wise to finish projects and use up material you have.

  4. I have no Christmas projects yet but I stopped gift giving a few years ago after family members grew up and I realized that most people have everything they need. I only give home made gifts if I know the receiver will really enjoy it and actually use it. Otherwise, I'm just adding to their. I do enjoy no longer being on the "commercialism" treadmill and being able to focus more on the spirit of Christmas. It is also nice when you can make things and know others enjoy them.

  5. I've made a good start on my christmas presents already. I wasn't very organised last year so this year I am determined to get everything done early! I am making homemade vanilla extract, lavender cats, gloves, homemade soaps, washcloths, homemade chocolates and homemade wrapping paper. I've been blogging about most of it. By making homemade prezzies I save money, but most of all I love giving something I've made, and that has taken time to create, rather than just going into a shop and buying it, or getting something off the internet. Your presents look great! How did you make your apron?


  6. Im currently working on a quilt for each of my kids for Christmas. I'll also be making other gifts for family members who will appreciate them! :) I love your dish cloths, those would be an awesome gift! :)

  7. I think this year I will be giving some gifts made of gourds or wood. I have a box of clean dry small gourds waiting to be decorated and I'm selling my wood items--I know my grand daughter's will get some wood toys, my in laws some gourds and I will probably give toiletries purchased with coupons to my grown kids and also some gift cards for new clothing or clothing items--as that is what they really need on their budgets. :) I have had made kind of handmade gifts almost every year for a long long time. All our relatives have things I made, which is nice, sort of a little legacy. :)

  8. Great post. We like to give homemade bread and homemade jelly as gifts. My husband makes wine, so we have given it as a gift too. We keep gift giving simple, I usually give my parents and sisters/brother-in-laws, a bottle of wine and a couple of steaks. Or I will make up a food/fruit basket. A plate of homemade cookies makes a nice gift too.

  9. I used to make all my gifts when we first got married. If no other idea for someone, there was always homemade granola! I am currently crocheting a lap blanket for a new bride, using up a lot of yarn scraps with a green/beige color theme. I just happen to have enough in those colors she will be using. And a young bride will like the "greenness" of the gift!

  10. I've sure cut back on our gift giving, and I know that our children and grandchildren have more than they need anyway.... home made gifts, made with love are the best kind.

    I love your pretty apron and crochet cloths....good job!!!

  11. I haven't started Christmas gift-making, but it is on my mind. I still have some other needed clothing items for my oldest that need to be made first (specifically, 3 dresses, and probably a 4th, as well as 2 skirts). After that I can concentrate on Christmas gift making, but I keep thinking about it!

    I just saw a tutorial the other day for a man's wallet made from repurposed leather from an old purse. I don't usually have old purses, but mine actually broke less than a year after buying it, and though I had other plans before, I know my husband needs a new wallet. I'd have to see what kind he really wanted, because he had some specifics in mind, but I might just try that! (It's the right color, too!)

    I make the children's gifts for Christmas and birthdays. I have several things planned, but not yet started. Most are needed items, such as clothing. I have some pajamas planned with flannel that was given to us from some women who are no longer able to sew (last year I made pajamas for one child from a flannel sheet that someone gave us when they moved). I have a few fun items planned, too.


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