SC Johnson Family Economics Blog
Monday, November 29, 2010

Handmade Holiday Gift Exchanges | Family Economics

By Cathe

handmade holidayWhether through work, clubs, schools or with family, gift exchanges are certain to occur over the holidays. With dollar limits set, the success of a good exchange is in the quality and charm of gifts. And a successful gift exchange means a traditional and ongoing gift exchange that everyone will want to continue year after year. In the spirit of saving money, this type of gift exchange won’t add to the high cost of holiday spending.

This year, consider heading up a handmade holiday gift exchange with a special group. Open up the parameters of the exchange a bit to include most anything made by the giver including food gifts, crafted gifts, supplies gathered and packaged for making handmade items (a great way to use some of your craft supplies!), or handmade gifts that can be purchased.

Set a low dollar limit ($5 or $10 is a good amount), to force participants to be even more creative and savvy. If you want to really push the envelope, allow no money to be spent so that everything must be made from found or owned items.

You can even set limits on wrapping paper - only household items such as newspaper, foil, paper towels, etc. can be used. More unique wrapping ideas can be found in this blog post.

Give all the participants a list of the gift exchange rules.

You might be surprised how creative your friends can be when they are given a good set of rules and boundaries.  Be sure to allow plenty of time for everyone to create and make their gifts prior to the exchange event.

Visit the do-it-yourself page of my blog for lots of easy and inexpensive handmade project ideas.

4 Comments so far

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On Thursday, December 2, 2010, Nancy from Wis. wrote

Another idea would be to have a rummage sale exchange. They are quite prevalent in our area. My best friend, who has now passed away used to find wonderful gifts for me at rummage sales during the year and I would receive some of them as Christmas gifts. I love them and now that she's gone, they are even more special. She knew exactly what I would like.

On Wednesday, December 1, 2010, Courtney Dirks wrote

I really love this idea...especially when money is tight it's nice to think of ways to still give, but just on a more affordable (& creative) basis. And you just can't beat a handmade gift from the heart!

On Wednesday, December 1, 2010, wrote

I love this idea! Every year I make a gift for members of my immediate family. They really enjoy this "special" items made just for them. And I have fun personalizing and giving these gifts too. Hope I get some homemade gifts this year. A sincere gift from the heart from someone you love, there is nothing better. Thanks Cathe. Peace.

On Monday, November 29, 2010, Claire wrote

Our ladies group at church does a handmade exchange each year called - make, bake, or grow. We have had beautiful pillows, canned fruit & jellies, pound cakes, cookies, breads, potted blubs, crafts, etc.


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