On a forum I frequent, I asked for inexpensive Christmas ideas. I started with my own ideas, and I got a lot more really great ideas in reply. I thought this community might enjoy a list of what we came up with. PLEASE reply with your own ideas, too. It's never too early! And a lot of these ideas will take time, anyway. Some of these things were written by me... Some of them were written by others on the forum. I tried to remove anything really personal and just leave in the tips, so some things are disjointed. Mason Jar Goodies Filled with dry ingredients for soup, cookies, bread, and other dishes. They look pretty--but the ingredients can be expensive depending on what you make. Things like bread in the jar look pretty boring. Covered with lace and a ribbon on top, the jars can look pretty. The soup jars with spiral pasta look especially cute. Lavendar and Rose scented sachets I made these for all the teachers on my hall one year. You take two cotton squares, put two or three drops of scented oil on them, and put them in sachets you can find in walmart. (I found that putting scent on one cotton square in the middle of two dry ones worked pretty well.) They come in two or three colors, and are often billed as a wedding favor item. Tied with a ribbon, these can be really pretty. They go well in drawers, and the scents are supposed to keep bugs away. They also make your pretties smell nice. Christmas Ornaments My friend made these, I never have. She would buy clear glass christmas ornaments and some paint. Then, she'd drizzle some paint inside and move the ornament around. Maybe using sparkle sometime, too. They turn out pretty. She gave me two, but as I haven't decorated my own Christmas tree since then, I haven't used them. Cookie Baskets This would take a lot of time, but hey, cookies are yummy. Not exactly a cheap solution, though. Could be with the right cookie recipes, I suppose. Gel Candles This is something I could buy that my mother-in-law makes. She makes them in all sorts of glass containers, from wide vases to wine glasses. She also puts objects inside the gel, if requested. I have probably about 6 or 8 in the house already. Since she's moved, she's not making them very often anymore, but she told me she could make some for my coworkers. They're about $5 each, and come in many colors and scents. You could probably learn to make your own, too. Homemade Bath Salts Making homemade bath salts for the ladies is a wonderful idea. Talk about inexpensive - you can make pounds of it for under 10 bucks. Your most expensive thing is going to be packaging. Of course they look great in those little glass jars but they can get high, so get creative and you might can get away with putting them in plastic and decorating around that with ribbon or scraps of fabric. Or use the same sachets you get at walmart and just put some pretty ribbon on them. I did this one year for all those teachers gifts that you need but don't want to spend money on and with four kids and gymnastics coaches and dance teachers thrown in I'm usually having to come up with a lot of gifts. Anyway, here's what to do. Get a really big bowl and gather your ingredients. What you need is Sea salt, epsom salts, and baking powder. Powder, not soda. Do not buy the sea salt sold in craft stores, get everything at a supermarket or WalMart type place where it's cheaper. The one thing you will need from the craft store is scent. You can find it with the soap making supplies (come to think of it, it's probably found in Walmart's craft section too) You can either buy one, or get two and combine them, your choice. If you're just using one, go with lavender, it's the most popular. The recipe I used was 3 parts epsom, 1.5 parts sea salt and.5 parts baking powder. Put it in a bowl, then drop in several drops of scent. It's very concentrated, so just use a little at first. Now, the scent will clump up, so start breaking it up and pushing it through all the salt. It will take a while to get it distributed somewhat evenly through all the salt, but at the end when you wash your hands they will smell lovely and be very soft. Making Silk Scarves Salted silk scarf instructions You don't need the stretcher and all that extra stuff, you basically just need the scarves and the paint, and table salt. They're recommending a dye much more expensive than the silk paints I use, I like Setasilk - it resonds great to the salt and it does well for sun printing too. It's 3.78 per bottle for the small one, which is all you'd need. Let's say you get two colors so you can do designs like the one shown they used three colors but you can do something nice with two. Setasilk paints Scarves - the cheapest is the habotai silk and it's what I normally use for these projects and people love them. The 8x54 size is a good one for normal wear and it comes out nice. They are $1.10 a piece if you buy 12 of them. Out of stock right now, but they say they'll have more mid-September and in my experience they're usually right when they say stuff like that. Habotai scarves So for 12 scarves and two colors of paint, With estimated shipping, the total would be $31.63 or $2.64 per scarf. You got guys on your list you can do ties: hand stamped silk ties I also mentioned you can sunprint with the paints I like - here's an example of what sun printing can look like it, it's gorgeous: Sun printed fabric I combined techniques in a scarf once - I painted the scarf with blue and aqua paint, then took a cardboard cutout of dolphin shaps and put them on it while the paint was wet, and let it dry in the sun. I salted it as well in parts, so that when the scarf came out it looked like water, with the bottom edges of the scarf having leaping dolphin shapes. Finally, I just love the lavender wands. I may do these myself if I could figure out how to get fresh lavender. lavender wands Some Ideas for Children This site has some cute ideas...most of them are better made WITH the kids...though, there is a link to a cute dollhouse you make with things around the house... Family Fun--A Disney Site And here's another site with some more ideas. I think I like these more than the other site. It mentions making a keepsake box, and that reminds me of the year that my mom made a Treasure Box for my nephew. He had been asking for one, since he was obsessed with some recent cartoon--Elderado or something, I think. Anyway, she bought a small chest, with no decorations. then she bought some jewels at the craft store and glued them all over the outside. We looked around for a long time for plastic gold coins--nearly every place only had chocolate gold coins. We finally found them, and also bought really gawdy plastic-bead necklaces in bright colors. She also bought a box of poker chips. All in all, it turned out really nice, and he LOVED it. (She made him hunt for it, of course.) Homemade Gifts for Children The same site turned up again in my google search... Homemade Gifts for Children Take 2 Crocheted Book Thong Link Here Toilet Paper Wall Hangers Cut some material a little wider than a toilet paper roll, and long enough to wrap around 2 rolls, plus an extra foot or so. Fold in half, and sew two lines across so that two rolls can fit in the loops/space/whatever that's left. At the top, sew a thin strip turned over and gather the material into a small loop to use for hanging. Sew lace along the edges, and add whatever little touches you want. Here's a picture of one Homemade Simple, but it's not exactly the same. (You have to scroll down.) The ones my aunt made were tight, not loose like those, and had a separate space for each roll. That's what I meant when I said sew across...you're sewing in between where each roll goes and at the top. Anyway... my mom has several and makes use of them. They're a convenient place to store extra paper, and look good for guests. Art Supply Box I gave my five-year-old second cousin a gift she loved last year. She's into art and stuff, so: I went to Big Lots and got paintbrushes, glitter paints, stamps, a washable inkpad, multi-colored gel pens, and some stickers. Total cost: less than $4. I covered a cardboard box with some contact paper (if you don't have any pretty contact paper left over, you can get it by the yard at a fabric store; cheaper than getting a whole roll.) I stuck some stick-on velcro on the side with the closure. After the adhesive had set, I opened the box, filled it with the art supplies, closed it back up, and wrapped it. Total cost less than $6 and she LOVED it. Baskets I do baskets. I ask around and find out what the people like to do and buy a cheap basket at Hobby Lobby. One big bow later you've got yourself a gift. Night-In/Night-Out Basket A basket for parents: It had microwave popcorn, sodas for the parents, juice drinks for the kids, and a $5 rental at blockbuster for the "night in" part, and a gift certificate for a decent restaurant (not too expensive; Chili's or something) and one for a movie theater, plus a voucher for an evening of babysitting for the "night out". They absolutely loved it. Crocheted Throws Super Fast and Easy Crochet Throw Autumn Afternoon Afghan Crocheted Tote Bags Hobo Bag Tote Bag All Occasion Tote Bag Crocheted Barrettes and other Hair Things Link There are a lot of cute things on both of the crocheting pages I linked to, in fact. Especially the Teddy Bears. More Bath Salts Recipezaar has all kinds of ideas on bath salts, bubble baths, lip gloss, and other things. The Fizzy bath bombs on that page are my favorite. Preserves Nothing much to say here... :) Okay... that's pretty much it. What are YOUR ideas???