Budgets are tighter than tight this holiday season. The best piece of advice I have heard is this : Do not feel stressed or guilty or even sad if you are not able to buy the gifts you'd like to for Christmas presents this year. You are not alone, most people are in the same boat with you!
So what do you do if money is low or practically non-existent for Christmas this year? Get creative and have some fun making home made gifts from the heart.
How about making some home made bubble bath for presents? Use glass jars from mayonnaise, pickles, jelly, relish and such for the containers (of course after the jars have been washed and dried well!)
A new cook book (doesn't have to be expensive-- shop sales at bookstores, thrift stores and libraries) with new kitchen mittens can make a cute gift for chefs in the family.
And don't forget the tried and true idea of hand made gift certificates. Print some out or simply write some out and give as gifts. Things like free babysitting, a day at the zoo, driving services for grocery store trips, dinner prepared and delivered, are some ideas. Think of the person you are giving the certificates to, and what would be useful for them.
How about a couple of new paperbacks with a box of chocolate candy for the book lover on your list?
Check places like Craigs List several times a day for free items like toys, children's furniture, etc. for kids on your list. Also check the toys and children items listed for sale as you may find some very good cheap deals.
Hit the garage sales early the next weekend and see what treasures you might find. Books in good condition, baskets that can be washed and dried for making gift baskets, toys that are in good condition with all the pieces, even knick knacks are all items you might find if you are one of the earlier visitors to a garage sale.
For any teenage girls on your list, a new calendar and diary can make a nice Christmas gift.
Use this recipe for aging paper with tea, and then use the "aged paper" for writing recipes on or favorite verses, sayings and poems, then frame it. The only expense will be the tea bags (about 3) and the paper you use. You could print out some poem or favorite sayings from websites first, then do the paper "aging" technique.