Planning for Christmas this year is going to tricky for many people due to our economy. I have always had a tight budget at Christmas time for some reason anyway. So it is nothing new to me. My husband and I have always had a low keyed Christmas. When we need or want something we usually just buy it then not wait for Christmas. Our Christmas is usually centered around the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ and a dinner to celebrate it. So I make our food the focus not presents.
I am thinking of good, practical Christmas presents that would be good for people to give to family and friends in these times. I see all the people rushing to the stores buying those gift boxed things they assemble for customers. They are the type of gift you hate to see under the tree! A cheap knick-knack with some tea bags and candy in a big box with lots of packaging. I hate those types of gifts!!! They are so wasteful. I have come up with great alternatives though. How about these:
A basket (that could be used for the garden) filled with bars of soap, disposable razors, deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, body lotion, chap stick, and body brush or a couple of colorful wash cloths.
A stainless steel mixing bowl with a bottle of pure vanilla, a few packages of various seasonings (buy them in bulk at a Mennonite or Amish bulk foods store and split up for a number of gifts), a jar of Pumpkin or Apple butter, a bag of nuts, baking powder, sugar and a wooden spoon.
A bigger gift for your grown children who live away from home:
A new garbage can filled with household cleaners, paper products, maybe some canned foods, drugstore items, etc. I could easily fill one of them up with products they need or brands they'd like but can't afford.
For the typical homesteader a great gift could be a box of some home canned foods or something you make like soap or a crocheted or knitted hat, mittens and/or a sweater. Maybe some of each!
A tool box filled with some hand tools that are essential for fixing things, like a hammer, pliers, wrenches in different sizes, a utility knife, an awl, a level, measuring tape and some sandpaper.
For a guitar player on your list how about some guitar strings, picks, a guitar strap, sheet music or music book and maybe a battery powered guitar tuner in a new guitar case.
How about going to a local thrift store and filling a box with children's clothing for a family with more than a couple of children? My thrift store has beautiful clothing and if I was a mother now (I am a mother but my son is grown) I'd welcome a gift like that. If all they want is brand new name brands........then something is wrong with them! Wake up I'd tell them! This is the real world......now!
Believe me some people would rather receive a big package of toilet paper or paper towels wrapped up! One year we gave my mother-in-law a big 50 lb. bag of bird feed. She loved it! Kept trying to figure out what was in that present. Or how about a ream of paper for a printer or ink cartridges for the printer? Things people have to buy no matter what. A case of oil, windshield washer fluid, items you keep in your medicine chest, etc. It is fun when you get to thinking about it. A load of firewood is a good gift for someone with a wood stove. I'd love that myself!
Keep these ideas in mind when you are tempted to buy one of those over priced presents this year.