Creative Gift Exchanges

Is that endless Christmas Gift List stressing you out yet? Before you run out and buy one more Christmas gift, let us help you out!

Studio 5 Contributor Mandy Douglass shares creative and most of all budget friendly ideas for family gift exchanges.

Idea #1
The 12 Days of Christmas

Growing up, giving the 12 days of Christmas is tradition of my family, that we all looked forward to. Each year our family chose another family in the neighborhood who could use a little lift, and deliver a gift each day to them secretly.

Now as adults, we all wish to pass along those same family traditions. A few years ago we decided as siblings to gather our children around and prepare our 12 days of Christmas gifts together. The preparation and cost associated with the activity would be in place of giving cousin & sibling gifts to each other this year. Rather than doing a sub for Santa, we felt like this would be something our kids could help “hands on” with.

Here is how we did it.

We chose a night, early in December so that everyone could come. There were 5 families involved, so we divided up the contents required for each day amongst the 5 families. Each family was to bring 5 of each of the items assigned (one for each family). We met together and read a Christmas book that displayed the joy of serving others during the Christmas Season.

Then we split all of the families into different stations to assemble bags of all the items. Some placed the items in the bags, others placed the tags on top, and some tied ribbons. It only took about 15 minutes and we had all of them done.

Each family took home 12 bags to give away to a family of their choice.

For a list of the items used click HERE

For the Tag downloads click HERE

Idea #2
Up-cycle thrift store & Dollar finds

In the many Christmas’ I have celebrated, I have noticed that the extended family gifts are the ones that you scramble to do at the last minute. Often times in scrambling, the meaning of giving, gets lost in the shuffle. Here is an idea of the criteria you can give when drawing names to make your gift giving more thought out.

1. You can find the gift at a thrift store or dollar store

2. The gift can be hand made

3. The use for the gift can be related to emergency preparedness or food storage.

Here are some easy ideas of gifts you could give within the criteria.

Grab some plain white mugs, use a stencil and do a monogram mug for each person in the family you have drawn.

Grab a cheap frame from a thrift store, a can of spray paint, and some chicken wire. Make a simple jewelry holder for pennies!

This handmade gift was made simply by getting an oven mitt and hot pads and using left over fabric from another project, I sewed a little piece on to each one. Then finished it off with a darling button!

This necklace was created by simply! Purchase some wooden beads, and paint half of each bead with a different color. Then when you string the beads on a necklace, they come out like this!

Last is an idea I saw years ago, and all the items can come from the dollar store. It is an emergency kit, put together by using a hot pad. Great for a dad or uncle to place in their suitcase because they might travel a lot! Also could be used for the mom running car pool around, and to have in the glove compartment of her car.

Place some SNACK SIZED plastic baggies so the “zip” side is on the outer edges of the hot pad. (make sure they overlap each other). Sew a straight stitch down the center of the hot pad.

Place items you think the person might need. Some examples could include:

sewing kit
cough drops
super glue
emery board
Pain medication

Attach some cute trim to the outside if you desire, and clasp together by sewing a button on one side and looped ribbon on the other side.

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