Inexpensive Gift Ideas
© Beverley Paine, Nov 1999
I can't remember a time when giving a small gift to a good friend hasn't filled me with incredible joy. There are many times a year when the giving of gifts has become a traditional and almost thoughtless procedure, done from duty more than a sense of thankfulness for the enduring friendship and company the person receiving the gift continually offers. Giving gifts was never a highlight in my upbringing, but receiving them was! As an adult I am slowly coming to undo this one sided and often selfish attitude, realising that the gift is rooted in the act of giving - more often the item or activity selected as a gift is a token, a symbol of friendship and love.
Some time ago I came across a list of wonderfully inexpensive gifts to make or find. Over the years I have found this list useful, especially for my younger friends. As I come across more ideas I add them to my list and keep it in my home educating folder, so that on the days when I am tired and unimaginative but still want to say thank you in a special way I can find just the right way of saying it! I hope you find the list useful, especially at this festive time of year!
- packet of seeds and small terracotta pot
- coloured pencils in a decorated recycled tin
- biscuit cutters, small rolling pin and playdough recipe
- basket or jar of small, similar sized pebbles from beach for counting
- small tin with sewing needs in
- balls of left over wool and crochet hook or knitting needles
- make a pack of cards (for matching, happy families type games)
- make dominoes either from plywood or stiff card - animal, clock, number
- pretty scrunchies from silky materials
- decorated container of all types of balloons with lid, or jar
- packet of sparklers
- personalised calico library or shopping bag
- origami instructions and coloured construction paper to suit
- small basket of interesting shells from beach (collect your own rather than buy harvested ones - that practice is causing extinctions on reefs around the world!)
- small teddies ($1 from Cheap as Chips) with homemade clothes
- fridge magnets made from pom poms, pipe cleaners, etc, or a boxed kit to make them
- finger puppets or a boxed kit to make them
- small squares of felt, cotton and odd bits of lace, etc, instructions to make finger puppets
- bunch of flowers, or small posy
- voucher for promised work to be done by person giving voucher!
- snakes and ladders game, other simply made board games
- home made paper and envelopes
- decorated art folder
- necklace or other jewellery made from seeds
- bead stringing kit - collect wooden beads and add thin plastic tubing, string or thread and embroidery needle
- a packet of material squares or useful oddments of material left over from sewing box for making dolls clothes and dressups from
- home made playdough, in various colours, in small recycled clear plastic containers
- a personalised stationary set using a desktop publishing program on the computer
- a personalised calendar using a desktop publishing program on the computer
- a photograph frame made from any materials, with or without photo
- home made soaps, gift wrapped in cellophane in a small box or basket
- a jar of home made or favourite sweets or biscuits tied with a ribbon
- home made preserves in a decorated jar or container with a personalised label
- a knitted scarf, or beanie or gloves in a neutral or favourite colour
- a small decorated box of small, inexpensive toys or items that is sure to bring your friend a lot of joy
- a dream catcher - decorated with leaves and feathers, small beads, etc
- a small rag doll
- a kit for making old fashioned clothes peg people, with every thing needed to complete them
- small worry dolls, or a worry doll hair clip
- a small 'treasures bag' made from exotic and luxurious material, with a drawstring.
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