Wednesday, July 11, 2012

A Thrifty Gifting Extravaganza

These past few weeks have been full of gift-giving occasions (Father's Day plus a plethora of birthdays) at a time when our budget has been more stretched than it has in a long time. Thank goodness for my gift cupboard and my culinary prowess! I managed to assemble some pretty decent gifts with a minimum outlay of cash and they all seemed to be quite well received.

#1: Father's Day
My dad is not much into cooking himself and really appreciates homemade goodies. I made a batch of these Chocolate Ginger Biscotti:

I have no idea where the recipe came from - I ripped it out of some magazine or other years ago. Half the batch got wrapped up for my hubby and half went to my dad, along with some of our canned goodies (strawberry jam and sweet mixed pickles).

 Here's what my dad's gift looked like all ready to go:
 The basket was a yard sale find (I might have paid a dollar for it, I can't remember!), all the rest of the wrapping materials were from my stash of recycled/reused wrapping supplies, and I used my basic pantry supplies to make the biscotti.

#2: Birthday gift for a three-year-old boy
This was a present for one of my closest friend's kids. I had a lot of fun putting this one together, as I have vivid memories of my boys at this age. I know they both went through a dinosaur-loving phase around the ages of 2-4 or so, and in fact I'd been keeping an eye out for dinosaur-related items over the past couple of years as I knew eventually I would be putting together a dinosaur-themed gift for a small boy :)

 What's inside:

 A couple of hardcover dinosaur books, a dinosaur dot-to-dot book, a multi-sided dinosaur cube puzzle set, and a few random dinosaur stationery type items (dinosaur shaped pad of paper, erasers, stencils). All of these items were gradually collected at various yard sales, and I estimate I spent less than $3.00 total on all of the above items (which, if I had bought retail, I'm guessing would have cost somewhere in the area of $30 or more). Once again, all the wrapping supplies came from my stash. 

#3: 40th Birthday gift for a close friend
I don't have a photo of this one, because I was a bit (okay, a lot) disorganized about getting it put together and ended up doing most of it just before we were racing out the door to get to her birthday party! This is the same friend whose little boy received gift #2 above, and we've known each other since we were ten and eleven year old kids (she's a year younger than me).

I made a batch of raisin-oatmeal scones and paired that with a jar of my homemade strawberry jam for the first part of her gift. The second part of her gift was a gift certificate for a day of "mind-body pampering", something she really doesn't take enough time for in her busy schedule. It's to include a hot yoga class at my studio, a home-cooked meal, plus some other surprises (we probably won't schedule this until the fall, as both of us are pretty busy all summer!). My yoga studio offers a deal to new students where you get 10 days of unlimited yoga for $10, so this gift isn't going to cost me much out-of-pocket either, and hopefully it will be a very restorative day for my friend who has a tendency to forget that taking some time for yourself once in a while is a good idea.

#4: Birthday gift for my 4-year-old niece

This was for my youngest niece, one of my brother's three girls. We have always done pretty modest gifts for each other's kids, as they all seem to have plenty of "stuff" already.


This was the only gift of the four where I had to run out and buy something new to fill it out a bit. The story book and the paint with water book were both yard sale finds, and the "funny faces" book in the middle I ended up buying new. It was surprisingly reasonably priced at $3.99, so I still managed to put this one together for about $5 or so. (If I hadn't already given her an assortment of homemade fruit-scented playdoughs last year, I would have made those to add to this gift instead of buying the new book - they are always a big hit!)

While I do enjoy the challenge of putting together a good gift on a small budget, I'm going to be happy to take a bit of a break from gift assembly for a while, and hopefully I'll be able to restock my gift cupboard a bit during the rest of the yard sale season! 

Are you a "thrifty gifter"? What are some of your favourite frugal gift-giving strategies?

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  1. That's awesome!! I always try to keep my gifts frugal as well, but I'm not as successful as you are yet! :)

  2. what is that on top of the mason jars? gift wrap? scrapbook paper?

    1. I often use gift wrap or wallpaper scraps to cover the mason jar lids, but in this case I think it was an old greeting card :)


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