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Jones/Socha: Inexpensive Christmas ideas that won't break your bank

Viewpoints Editor & Contributor

Published: Thursday, December 6, 2012

Updated: Thursday, December 6, 2012 00:12

Provided by Cassie Socha

Provided by Cassie Socha

Provided by Misti Jones

Provided by Misti Jones

Are you looking for some inexpensive ideas for the holiday season? Well look no further.

As far as gifts go, it’s the little things that count. So for your girl-friends, why not try to make something personal? Nothing says ‘Happy Holidays’ like a hand-made gift from the heart. Make a scrapbook of photos/memories of you two together, frame a nice photograph or painting, pack a gift basket full of her favorite things such as nail polishes, cosmetics, chocolates, magazines, body washes or a cheap gift card.

All of these things can be found at Dollar Tree. Not only is everything literally a dollar but it’s actually decent quality.

Gift baskets are a great way to show that you pay attention without spending an arm and leg. Make a cookie baking kit with all the ingredients; pan included. First, get a basket or pail at a store such as Target or Wal-Mart. Then fill the basket with the essentials such as the cookie mix, cookie cutter, icing and sprinkles or maybe even a dessert cookbook.  These items range from about $0.50-$3.00 each, so you can go as big or as small as you want with this tasty collection. This gift is sure to be a hit at office parties, or for the bakers in your life.

Instead of making something hand-made try checking online stores daily in December. You’d be surprised at the deals they have such as free shipping, buy one get one free or 20-50 percent off. Amazon has a lot of great deals and shoppers can qualify for free shipping.

Situation A: it’s Christmas Eve and you forgot to get your boyfriend a gift. What do you do? Go to Wal-Mart and sift through the $5 movie bin. There’s bound to be a treasure—or 12—in there somewhere. Stock up on a couple of $1 boxes of candy and don’t forget to buy some packets of underwear and socks. Come on, you can’t go wrong with that because that’s essential.

If you’re lucky and your local Best Buy is still stirring, you can find some great deals on CDs, headphones and video games.

Now let’s talk festivities. Try something other than the typical college party and host a white elephant gift exchange. Each person invited brings a $5 to $10 gift that they really wouldn’t want or something that would be nearly impossible to re-gift. Then have a fun way to distribute the gift such as drawing from a hat, a contest of some sort or the traditional “unwrap a new present or take another’s.” White elephant parties are bound to be hilarious and be an all-around fun time for all invited. 

There are many holiday traditions you can easily do for little to no cost. Sit down with those you love and enjoy the holiday specials on TV such as “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” or “Christmas Vacation.” Relax with a cup of hot cocoa that has a candy cane dipped in it or bake some cookies together.

Have a Christmas gift wrapping party. Invite guests over to enjoy some inexpensive cocktails, if you’re 21, of course (wink-wink). Buy the cheapest bottle of vodka you can find and mix it with some 50 calorie lemonade. Watch movies, talk and eat cheap homemade hors d’oeuvres.

Also, if you don’t have wrapping paper, use newspapers. There’s basically no cost and the packages can still turn out great.

These are just a few ideas to help brighten this time of year, but how you spend it is up to you.

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