It seems every day there is a new “amazing” deal or freebie, but what are you going to do with all that stuff? Well, I don’t know about you, but I’m using it to reduce my holiday budget this year!
An amazing gift doesn’t have to cost a fortune—sometimes, the most beautiful, personal gifts can be completely FREE. Each year, I think about homemade gifts, but most of the time it just doesn’t happen. This year, I’m using some online deals & a little creativity to make digitally-made gifts.
That’s kinda the same, right? I mean, I’ll be making them at home. On my computer, but still. They will have the personal touch I’m usually seeking. They’ll also be super frugal, and often completely free, thanks to several special promotions.
Each year, my sister makes our mother a calendar for Christmas with family pictures—our family is now so large that some of us have to share a page with their spouse. Ahem. She prefills it with all our birthdays so Mom doesn’t even have to remember to write them down.
I keep trying to tell her to use VistaPrint’s free calendar offer, but she insists on paying actual money. I’ll be using their free offer to make Family Fun Calendars for each of the girls this year. It’s going to be one of those truly priceless gifts, as we get to each scheduled day on their calendar.
Custom Wall Art
Every time I see a Groupon, EverSave or Canvas People freebie for gallery-wrapped canvas, I think it would make a great gift for the grandparents. Then, I just never order one—partly because it’s impossible to find one, perfect picture of all the grandkids and partly because the
affordable free size is just too small to be impressive on a wall.
Then, I saw Moneywise Mom’s post about using the deals for a frugal wall gallery, and I want one for myself! With a gallery, I can select the perfect picture of each kid—one that represents their personality, even if they aren’t grinning at the camera. An 8×8 canvas isn ‘t very big, but a gallery of 4 would make for a nice piece of art on the wall.
I’m now seeing endless possiblities, and there just aren’t enough freebies. (Although today’s Canvas on Demand Groupon and this week’s Canvas Lifestyle EverSave might make a dent!) How about a large family canvas, lined with smaller canvas prints of individuals or grandkids? I can’t wait to play around with more photos to finish our gift list!
Photo Tote Bags
The photo tote bags are nearly always free at VistaPrint, and you can come up with so many different ideas to personalize them. It makes a great road trip bag for a frequent traveler. You could create a library bag for the bookworm.
And, I am loving this idea for a Read To Me Grandma gift. Two identical books (I highly recommend the Let’s Read Together series for this!), a special bag and a telephone are all you need for long distance bedtime stories. So creative—with a lifetime of memories to share!
Speaking of memories, I am over letting the scrapbook offers taunt me! Sure, I’m years behind on our family yearbooks. Yes, I have 3 partially completed baby albums. And, okay, my stash of pictures is collecting dust in a closet. But, this year? I’m making several scrapbooks. I bought the Picaboo Groupon awhile back, convinced I would use it to scrapbook something a-ma-zing. Alas, it has sat for months, and I am forced to remember that I don’t actually scrapbook anymore.
Enter, personalized recipe books. This is sheer genius—as Mrs. Not Made of Money often is. I can’t think of any gift more personal, more useful and more lovely than a family recipe book. So, I’m compiling a few heirloom recipes—those passed down for generations, coveted as birthday meals and family favorites—in a scrapbook filled with family photos. I absolutely can’t wait to give this gift!
Alphabet or Story Book
If your family life doesn’t revolve around food quite the way ours does, I have another fun idea for those scrapbook deals. If you’re the creative type, you can write a story and include family pictures instead of illustrations. That’s not quite me, so I did something a little different. For my nephew’s 1st birthday, I made a book titled Levi’s Book of ABCs.
A is for Aunt—that’s me! B is for Books. C is for Cousins. D is for Dog. Each page featured photos of people (and pets) he knows and loves. He turns 4 next year and still reads his book regularly. Right now, I’m working on collecting photos for his little sister’s book—she turns 1 in just a couple months!
I am using each one of these ideas for our own holiday gifts this year. I’m so excited about the gifts themselves—nevermind the savings! I just can’t wait to see our family open the things we’ve created just for them. I hope it will create lasting memories.
Get The Deals
VistaPrint: free calendar and 50% off additional calendars
Canvas Lifestyle: $35 for an $80 certificate from EverSave
Canvas On Demand: $39 for one 16×20 gallery-wrapped canvas on Groupon
Canvas People: FREE 8×10 gallery-wrapped canvase (or save $55 on any other size)
Clark Color Lab: Save 50% on photo books with coupon code CBKS50
Kodak Gallery: Save 40% on medium photo books
Mixbook: 50% off everything with coupon code CYBERSALE
PhotoWorks: Get a photo clutch for just $5 with coupon code CLUTCH5
Picaboo: Save 30% with coupon code HOLIDAY30
VistaPrint: free holiday photo book plus 50% off premium books
VistaPrint: free small tote bag
*Our blogging attorney, Sara of Saving for Someday, would like to remind you to be aware of copyrights when using recipes. I know ingredient lists are not copyrightable (is that a word?), so I plan to get a little creative with the instructions. It will make the gifts even more personal, and cover my butt at the same time.