Friday, November 28

Inexpensive, last minute gifts....

Do you have a last minute person you need to buy for? A party you want to show up with a hostess gift for? Well here are some cute ideas I have gathered from friends, family, myself and searching the web and have written down in my little holiday ideas book throughout the years. I hope these are able to help someone out as the countdown to Christmas keeps ticking. These would be great for teachers, co-workers, secretaries, family members, friends. Some are handmade, some are storebought, all are quick and easy. I have estimated a rough dollar amount it cost me to do the same thing. I have used every one of these ideas and they were all a hit. Everything varies from a few dollars up to $15. Though there are always ideas for sprucing up the idea a little more spending a bit extra if you felt froggy.

Recipes $varies
This can be as cheap as just a few dollars a person if you are making a lot of sets. Make a yummy pie, cookies, bread or other treat. Put it in a decorative tin or wrap and then tie a pretty ribbon around it with the recipe attatched to the ribbon.

Let Me Count the Ways $Free
This is awesome for a grandkid to give a grandparent, or even to give your sweetie. Get a pretty box or jar. Then write out on strips of solid but pretty paper 365 happy memories or reasons why you love them. Then print a little card explaining they are to take out 1 strip of paper a day so they always start their day remembering they are loved. This can be a free project if you have supplies on hand.

Candles $5
Go to the dollar store and find a pretty glass flat dish/plate. 3-5 inches. Then buy a few votives or 1 med sized candle. You place them on the plate, tie up with pretty mesh or sheer fabric and a pretty ribbon around the top. Another idea is to buy them 1 of every kind of small votive you find that you think smells good. You can easily gather 10 for around $5. Then package them up in a row in a box and let them try out to find their favorite scent.

Cookies $5
The more sets of these you produce, the cheaper it is. You mix together all of the dry ingredients for sugar cookies. Then create a recipe for them to add the wet ingredients themselves. Put the powder in jar or pretty baggie and attach the recipe and a cookie cutter.

Kiddie Bath Time $5
I got 2 rubber duckies and a magic washcloth (they sell these at almost all dollar stores...the kind that come wrapped up soooo tiny and when you put them in water they expand to a full washcloth....they even almost always have cartoon characters on them). You could also just do a coordinating fun poofy thing. Then a fun bubble bath. Lots of times you can find a very cheap bath toy too to add.

Grill Master $5
You can add an inexpensive grill cleaning brush and grill tools set if you'd like to spruce the bag up some, but I went and found in the grocery aisle, a variety of sauces and rubs for grilling. Packaged them up all nicely and voila. A goodie bag for the grill master in your life. It's a great way for people to try things new without having to invest in it themselves.

Candy!!! $5
Puchase a few candy bars from the checkout aisle. Try to make them all similar sized. Wrap them in patterned paper all together and tie with a ribbon. I like to make a coordinating card too. Everyone likes candy!!!!!

Manicure set $10
Puchase a mini manicure set together with clippers, file, buffer etc or you can buy them cheap separately too. Add a little tub of polish remover (the kind with the sponge already in it) and get them a few bottles of pretty nail polish to go with it. I only spent about $5, but I managed to have 3 separate 50% off Rimmel nail polish coupons. So I put $10 to be safe...though it'll probably be closer to $8.

Art set $10
Awesome for kids. Get a little gift bag (or reusable tote...they sell cool bags all the time at the dollar store) and fill it with a box of crayons, a package of colored pencils, markers, paint set, color book, colored paper, a notepad, eraser, whatever cheap little art tools you can find. Be thoughtful of washable products if you are gearing towards a child younger than 5.

Movie Night $10
Go to the local blockbuster (almost everyone has one semi-near) and get a $4 gift card for a rental. Or you can go to Walmart and they have tons of movies to choose from for $5. Get a gift bag (if you have them around baskets or tubs are a better presentation, but bags work in a pinch always!) and fill with a little tissue paper at the bottom. Then arrange nicely a small box of popcorn, a two liter of soda or a few 20 oz, one movie box of candy per person(they sell them for 84cents at Walmart in the movie theatre style boxes), and the gift card/movie.

Game Night $10
I spent $10 because I went and paid for a Book of Hoyle (also called According to Hoyle) that was a little paperback citing all the rules to over 200 card games. You could also go online and find directions and official rules to just a handful of fun games and print them out on pretty paper (come on most of you are LIVE for that kind of project!!!!!) and give it along with a deck of cards. Try making a mini album even.

Just Add Ice Cream $10
This time of year you can find a little set of ice cream bowls for less than 3-4 dollars. Though I have found them year round in the housewares dept of Walmart for $1-$1.50 each. The little glass pedastal bowls. I went to the grocery aisle and bought the waffle bowls instead. Those are yummy. Then buy toppings. Little jars of fudge, caramel, strawberry sauce, sprinkles, nuts, don't forget cherries!!! Then if you want to give them a $5 gift card to pick up 1-2 things of ice cream you can. I didn't include that in the price because it's not necessary, just a little extra idea.

Coffee Lover $10
A cute mug, a flavored creamer, several mini bags of flavored coffee and sugar packets or small resealable package.

Scrapbooking kit $15
You can make your own mini kit. Buy or make a mini album. One that's 6x6 or smaller and has 12 or fewer pages are perfect for getting started. Think brag book sized. 5 papers all coordinating patterns, 5 papers all coordinating solids, a multicolored pack of brads (just find one that matches best), a roll of doublesided Scotch tape, and a pen. Then you can make or purchase enough embellies to stick to the pages you need to fill. Well, they will need to fill. A smaller book will be good to have one sheet of embellies for a few pages, and they can always add more if they see fit. I would go with a theme here. Like a vacation album, a holiday album, all about grandkids album, etc. Then you could just get 4-5 packages of grandkid themed (or whatever theme) embellishments. You can also add a sheet or two of letter stickers. Or even a decorative punch. If you shop sales at the scrapbooking super stores and use your 40% offs wisely...this can be very cheap. If you want to save more money, but spend more time, you can create the album for them so they just need to add photos.

Pasta Dinner $15
Arrange in your gift bag or basket, a box of pasta, a jar of spaghetti sauce, a loaf of bread, a package of parmesan cheese, a bottle of wine or other drink. I have found around the holidays it's easy to get little cute things to add like a cute shaker for parmesan, or a cute set of spaghetti plate/bowls. There are always extras you can find like that to add to any gift set if you want to spend a little more. But I find that if you are trying to get the biggest effect for the least amount a simple spaghetti dinner is something anyone can enjoy.

At the Carwash $15
Pick up a bottle of ArmorAll, windex wipes, a chamois, car soap and a sponge. Walmart even has detailing brushes for like $1.50 I just saw. Add a car safe cleaner and put it all in a bucket for washing your car.

Emergency Kit $15
A cute little gift idea that is so useful. Get a pretty little bag and fill it with a small sewing kit (you can find these anywhere less than a dollar), a little mirror (they make adorable ones in little girls makeup kits, clear nail polish for runs in hose, nail clippers, nail file, small brush, travel sized fruity spray, travel sized tooth brush/paste, a mini screwdriver (they sell them that just flip from phillips to flat head at the hardware store soooo cheap. Travel sized lotion, a few small ponytail holders, 2-3 safety pins, small lint brush, a Tide pen, a few band aids (I have been lucky enough to find mini first aid kits with a few bandaids and a few small wipes of antibacterial ointment for just a dollar), chapstick, breath spray or mints, tylenol, tissue. Put all of these items in a small pretty bag the person can keep in their car. I even added a tiny coin purse with $2 in quarters tucked in, just in case you need to use a pay phone or something.

I hope some of these ideas are fun for you to create and give you ideas. I'd love if you shared some of yours. If you run out of time just remember: There is always the standby bottle of wine with a pretty corkscrew if you get desperate at the last minute. Liquor stores are always open. LOL!


  1. Good gosh you've been busy! Lots of great ideas here. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Love this!

    Pizza kit $15

    Purchase a baking stone or pan($10 or less), purchase (or make) one pound of pizza dough, add small package of pepporini and grated cheese, tie all up with cellophane (on top of stone), add a piece of pretty ribbon, and voila! Something they can make! Fun, quick and super easy! (Don't forget to put directions in a card attached at the bow...)

  3. What terrific ideas! I love these!!

  4. Great ideas! We can all use these ideas this time of year! Thanks so much for sharing :)


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