Gifts when “time ≠ money”

  1. Make a personalized journal (moleskin style). Use old maps from shared travels as the liner pages, or a collage print of pictures together, or glued together ticket stubs, cutouts of their favourite articles (about them?), etc.
  2. Homemade Christmas ornaments. My sisters are making house and building their ornament collections. Like our trees when we were kids, they want them covered in homemade quirky, dated crafted things, at least until their own kids can start making them. 
  3. Other crafty things: a knitted/crocheted/sewn phone/tablet/camera case (do this enough and you’ll start getting orders1); picture frames; purses; paper wallet; fleece toques, scarves, etc; etc. The internet is full of instructions. The key is to get creative starting from thoughts about them!.
  4. A photo calendar. If you take great photos (and they don’t, or don’t try to), this can be an awesome way to commemorate the previous year (emphasis on the outings with them of course!). 
  5. Coupons for you time. [Hint: print on the cheapest brown gray paper to simulate newspaper and border with a dashed cutout line.] Time you give them back by babysitting (N diaper changes), run errands, cut the grass, landscape their flower beds, or simply unassigned time of yours on offer. Alternatively, if you have a special talent you can share (for me, my outdoor skills in the mountains, for instance), promise outings where you handle logistics/planning/leading. 
  6. Baked goods, conserves (pickled turnips are a growing favourite of mine, but also jams and chutneys): ok, I don’t make these for others, but I love receiving them! Now, if only I could figure out how to make homemade chocolate covered marshmallow snowmen…

All of these ideas take time but, if you’re like me, I tend to cram a lot in in those few days leading up to dinner + unwrap time Christmas Eve. I still haven’t finished all of my gifts and maybe you haven’t finished yours? Hopefully, since I have shared this blog with most of my family, they won’t get too much preview of what’s in store for them.

What other low cost high effort gifts can you suggest? Please share any ideas in the comments.

1. For example, this Christmas I’m sewing a tablet holder (version 2.0) for hanging from the car headrests for easy viewing by my niece in her childseat.


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