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5 Free Holiday Gift Ideas

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The holidays can be expensive, between the gifts, parties and travel expenses. My favorite gifts are those that don’t cost a lot of money, yet are personal and meaningful and maybe even a little playful. So, the ideas below will save money, and they also encourage thoughtful gifting for loved ones. Whether for adults or kids, add a personal twist on an idea or two below and have fun making gifts this year. You can definitely enjoy a Happy Holiday that doesn’t have to demolish your bank account!

1. Coupon Book: There is a reason department stores and food chains use coupons – people like them. By making your own unique coupons, this gift will be a hit for any age. Think of what the recipient would appreciate and design a page for each coupon. Ideas for kids can include a game night, extra book at bedtime, dance party, choosing the dinner menu, making a special food item, or a soccer play date with mom/dad. For the adults on your list – a massage at home, having date night in-house (wine, movie, or game), making a favorite dinner/dessert to share together, coupon for cleaning the house (kids can help). Have fun designing each coupon and keep the coupon list short as you need to hold true to redeeming your coupon book.

2. Picture Frame: Designing a one of a kind picture frame for a memorable photo is a wonderful gift for that someone special on your list. Collect and cut out old photographs or words and photos from magazines.



Then use Mod-Podge to glue around an old picture frame with a wide border. Look for words or images that mean something to the person receiving the gift. Another option is to glue Popsicle sticks or twigs together to make a frame and put a photo, hand drawn picture or poem in the frame. You can make your own version of Mod-Podge by using recipes here but I think the Mod-Podge brand found in craft stores makes a better finished product.

3. Date/Playdate: Memories are terrific, but you need to set aside time to create a memory. Make a card or coupon good for one special date or playdate. Head to the local park, have a picnic, go on a hike or bike ride, or do a fun run/walk charity event. You could also volunteer together at Habitat for Humanity, or look locally for free days at the zoo, museums, botanical gardens, etc..

4. Ornaments: Here is a great activity for both kids and adults! Ornaments make unique gifts and they are fun to save and remember when they received them as a gift. One idea is to use paint, markers and glitter on popsicle sticks, cutting and then gluing them into arrangements of stars, snowflakes, Christmas trees or whatever else you or your child can think of! Another idea is to thread string through homemade snowflakes. Or my favorite is to make salt dough shapes, paint them and add ribbon to hang from a tree.

bodyscrub5. Homemade hand/body scrub: Take a look in stores and there is a multitude of scrub products. With a few ingredients you probably already have in your home, you can create a spa scrub package for loved ones. Here are two of my favorite recipes.

Vanilla Coconut Brown Sugar Scrub
Coconut oil is subtly fragrant and slightly miraculous. This one is a super moisturizer, and can practically double as dessert.
1. 1/2 cup coconut oil
2. 1/2 cup brown sugar
3. 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Mix ingredients together. Rub on skin while in the shower, massage, and rinse. Courtesy of

Citrus Salt or Sugar Scrub
This will wake you up, great for the morning shower or after sports.
¥ 1/2 cup sea salt
¥ 1/2 cup oil of your choice (jojoba, almond, olive, whatever)
¥ 1 teaspoon citrus zest (lemon, lime, orange, grapefruit or a mix)
Mix ingredients together. Rub on skin while in the shower (avoiding eyes) and rinse off
Courtesy of

Elissa Sungar is the Co-Creator of If Not You, Who? a free website that offers easy and fun in-home educational activities that help prepare children for kindergarten and life. Her passion for early childhood education grew out of her experience as a pre-school teacher at Stanford University’s Bing Nursery School. Elissa loves hiking, running, tennis, yoga, cute workout clothes, good cheese, great baked goods and exploring Denver! Twitter: @ElissaINYW.


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