6 Inexpensive Last-Minute Holiday Gift Ideas

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Last-Minute, Budget-Friendly Holiday Gift Ideas

As Christmas Day draws close and holiday budgets start running down, the panic sets in: who did I forget to buy a gift for? But there’s no need to fret! You can easily pull together a fun gift for little cash in a jiffy. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Give the gift of food! It takes a little time and care, but food is a gift everyone loves receiving. Bake up some cookies, brownies or candies. You can often find festive tins and trays at your local dollar store, or you can simply buy some colored cellophane. Having trouble deciding what to make? Check out this recipe for Stained Glass Cookies. They come out so beautifully that your loved ones will want to put them on their Christmas tree!

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Create a “recipe in a jar.” Buy some nice jars from your local craft store. Find your favorite cookie, brownie, muffin, soup or cocoa recipe. Then measure out all the dry ingredients for the recipe and layer them in the jar. Seal it, and add a tag which includes the details for the recipe. It’s a really attractive gift and they’ll just need to add the remaining ingredients – usually a few eggs, a little milk, or a can of broth – to have a nice home-cooked meal. Check out a few ideas for recipes to share from the Food Network.

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Share your favorite book. Everyone appreciates a good recommendation and paperbacks are often inexpensive at $5 to $10. To add a personal touch, craft a bookmark that displays the gift recipient’s favorite animal, sports team or movie.

Buy a pre-viewed movie. Video rental stores often sell movies that they rented out last year at very low prices. Remember that movie you wanted your mother to see, but she never got around to seeing it in theaters? Now’s her chance! Add a bag of microwave popcorn, and you’ve just gifted a very nice evening in!

Create your own gift basket. It’s much cheaper than buying one pre-made and you can personalize it. Is your Aunt Sally always stressed? Give her a box of Chamomile tea, some bubble bath and a CD compilation of some soothing tunes. If your sister enjoys sewing, take a trip to your local craft store and load her up with different color threads, fabrics and other necessities. Be creative!

Make a CD compilation. You can also load up a new playlist on an iPod or other MP3 device. Gather up your favorite tunes and put together a personalized mix. Combine some classics that you know your loved one will enjoy with some tunes you’d like to recommend. Or pick a special theme. For example, a frequent traveler might enjoy a mix of songs that represent different parts of the country or the world, and someone who listens to tunes while they jog might enjoy a compilation of songs used in exercise montages from 80s movies.

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Next year, you can even prepare some of these gift ideas in advance, so you’re ready for any unexpected gift-giving event!

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