Is Christmas a fun time of year for you, or is it stressful and overwhelming? Whether you are an adult or a child, Christmas is suppose to be fun. And the level of fun that you have at Christmas shouldn’t be based on how much money you did or did not spend. It should be based on doing things you enjoy, and being with friends and family that love you.
Unfortunately, when it comes to Christmas, too many people get caught up in the hustle and bustle, as they say. They spend far too much time in the malls spending money that they may or may not even have. Then they head to the grocery store and spend hundreds of dollars on groceries because they want to make sure that their family Christmas dinner is just perfect.
As Christmas gets closer they spend hours cleaning and decorating their house. A fight over who will put the Christmas tree up this year is inevitable. And many nights they will lie awake worrying about whether Aunt Betty and Uncle Jorge will get along this year, or will a big fight ensue again just as they sit down to dinner.
While you may not be able to avoid some of these things at your house, one thing you can avoid is spending too much money on Christmas, beginning with Christmas gifts.
Here are some fun and inexpensive Christmas gifts that you can make at home:
For this and several of the other ideas below you can package these homemade treats in these nice Christmas cookie boxes that are very inexpensive when you buy them in most any dollar store, even online dollar stores.
This Chocolate Fudge recipe is my favorite because it is very low in sugar but still amazingly delicious.
Homemade Chocolate Fudge
1 can (14-ounce) sweetened condensed milk
1 pound semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
Line 8" by 8" metal baking pan with foil, extending foil above edge at 2 sides.
In 2-quart saucepan, combine condensed milk and chocolates. Cook over medium-low heat 5 minutes or until chocolates melt and mixture is smooth, stirring constantly.
Remove saucepan from heat; stir in vanilla and salt. Pour chocolate mixture into prepared pan; spread evenly. Refrigerate until firm, at least 4 hours or overnight.
Remove fudge from pan by lifting edges of foil. Invert onto cutting board; discard foil.
Cut the fudge into 8 strips, and then cut each strip crosswise into 8 pieces.
Make several batches of this Chocolate Fudge recipe and cut each batch up into small even squares. Pack them into the cookie tins nicely in layers. Place small sheets of wax paper under each layer so that the fudge squares do not stick together.
Store in refrigerator up to 1 month.
Christmas Cookie Mix in a Jar
I love making these. Most everyone is going to bake cookies for Christmas anyways so why not make it easier for them while making a nice Christmas gift at the same time. This would be the perfect gift for anyone. You’ve done all the work. All the recipient needs to do is add some butter and eggs and voila, Christmas cookies are ready. You will need to buy some mason canning jars for these.
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup chocolate-covered candy (such as holiday M&M's or Hershey's Holiday Candy Coated Bits)
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup cocoa crisped-rice cereal (or regular flavor)
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
In a 1-quart wide mouthed mason canning jar, add the ingredients in the order listed.
Pack them down firmly after each addition (use the blunt end of a table knife or a wooden spoon to level and tamp down each layer).
Screw on the cover (see Wrapping It Up for a note on securing a ribbon beneath the threads) and prepare a gift tag with the following instructions: "To make your holiday cookies, in a large mixing bowl cream together 1/2 cup of butter, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, and 2 eggs using an electric mixer. Add in some of the contents of the jar and stir until well blended. Keep adding and mixing in each layer of the contents of the jar until your cookie dough is mixed well. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 350° for 10 to 12 minutes. Makes 4 dozen.
Wrapping it Up: This gift, with its various layers of colorful ingredients, is most beautiful unwrapped. The instructional tag is made from a folded rectangle of white card stock, decorated with colored markers. All of the important baking directions are written on the inside. Punch a hole in the corner for a length of narrow ribbon, which can then be tied around the jar's neck or secured beneath the threads of the lid.
A Box of Christmas Cookies
If you are already making Christmas cookies for yourself why not make extra batches and pack them up in these nice, yet inexpensive dollar store cookie tins as Christmas gifts. These would be perfect to give to a teacher, neighbor, hairdresser, babysitter, or whoever you enjoy acknowledging during the holiday season.
Chocolate Fruit and Nut Granola in a Jar
Again you can use air-tight mason jars to make a beautiful healthy Christmas gift. Are you starting to see a pattern here? Food and more food.
The thing about these gifts is that the people that receive them can then easily share them with their co-workers, friends and family. Being able to share them just makes these gifts even more special.
3 cups large-flake rolled oats
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans or almonds or walnuts
1/4 cup dried cranberries or sour cherries or raisins
1/4 cup chopped dried apricots
2 tbsp hulled pumpkin seeds
2 tbsp flax seeds
3 tbsp vegetable oil
3 tbsp liquid honey
1 pinch salt
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips
In large bowl combine oats, pecans, cranberries, apricots, pumpkin seeds and flaxseeds. Sprinkle with oil, honey and salt; toss to coat.
Bake on parchment paper–lined or lightly greased rimmed baking sheet in 350°F oven, stirring occasionally, until golden, 12 to 15 minutes.
Let cool on pan on rack.
Stir in chocolate chips.
Pack in mason jars and tie a nice Christmas ribbon around the neck of the jar. Store for up to 3 weeks.
Make Christmas Votive Candles
People love to burn scented candles, especially during the Christmas holidays. It makes any room feel cozy and warm. These Christmas Votive Candles are very easy to make and your friends will definitely enjoy them.
Make Christmas Wreaths for the Front Door
I love Christmas Wreaths. I think they look so beautiful hanging on the front door of people’s homes during the holiday season.
If you love doing crafts or are interested in giving it a try, consider creating nice Christmas Wreaths that your family and friends can hang on their front door during the holiday season. You can add ribbons, pine cones, cranberries, and even small round shiny Christmas ornaments. This site has step by step directions that you can follow to make Fresh Christmas Wreaths.
Publish Your Own Cookbook
An idea for a fun, inexpensive Christmas gift that I think is really cool is creating and publishing your own cookbook. Using CreateMyCookbook you can quickly and easily create a hard cover book or a spiral cover book. You simply use their online designer to upload your favorite recipes and pictures and organize them anyway you like. You can also personalize the front cover of your book and add a dedication page inside the cover. Depending on what you like you could do a Dessert cookbook, a Delicious Italian cookbook, a Christmas Cookie cookbook, and so on. You get the idea!
Everyone will enjoy receiving your homemade gifts because they are filled with love. Trying out some of the above Christmas gift ideas will not only give you nice, inexpensive gifts to give away, it will also help bring the Christmas spirit alive in your home.