Homemade gift ideas for the budget-minded

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Of all of the expenses that come along with the holiday season, buying presents for loved ones can be one of the biggest. The good news is that you can greatly reduce this cost by making your gifts yourself, which offers an added element of sentimentality that you just can’t buy in a store.

1. Just knit it

If you’ve never knit anything before, maybe now is the time to start. With prices for skeins of yarn running as little as a few dollars each, you could whip up something nifty for the cost of an eggnog latté from Starbucks. Scarves and hats are simple to put together, even for the novice knitter, but your options need not be so limited. With scores of patterns available all over the Internet, you can make things like pillows, bags and purses, leg warmers, rosebud headbands, or perhaps a coffee sleeve to hold that eggnog latté.

2. Make a mix CD

Have great taste in music that ought to be shared? Creating a mix CD for your friends is a great way to commemorate your relationship. Pick songs that are important to both of you or that are iconic of the year, and they’ll have something to remind them of you and the good times you’ve had for years to come.

3. Framed photos or albums

Since everything is digital these days, printed photos aren’t as common as they were back in the days when film cameras ruled. Find meaningful photos that your loved ones will appreciate, and frame them, or assemble them in an album. Photos are especially great to give to those who live far away and whom you don’t get to see very often.

4. Gift in a jar

When it comes to going homemade at this time of year, gifts-in-a-jar are an inexpensive and easy solution. You can make cooking and baking mixes for things like special cookies, or pancakes, peppermint or mocha cocoa, or spice mixes and BBQ rubs. Of course, you could make non-food-related jar-gifts, like sewing kits, mini-spa kits, or body scrubs (just mix sugar, olive oil, and a few drops of the scented essential oil of your choice).

5. Infused alcohol

You know all that delicious schnapps at the liquor store that you would love to have but lies way outside of your price range? You can make it at home for the price of regular vodka and whatever with which you wish to flavour it. Simply pour the vodka into a large jar or container, and add whatever you like, such as vanilla beans, cranberries, apples, coffee, or whatever else you can think of. Put the container into a cool, dark place, such as the back of your closet or under the bed, and leave it there for four to six weeks. When it’s ready, pour the vodka into bottles and decorate them however you like.

Making your own tokens of thoughtfulness  takes more time than buying them in a store, but they can be more meaningful and fun to put together that way. You can even use inexpensive parcel paper decorated with paint or ink stamps to wrap the gifts, and take your craftiness to the next level

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