Frugal Christmas: Calling all Crafters

Now that we here in the US have celebrated Thanksgiving we are officially in the season of mad shopping.  If you do not live in the US, I need to share with you that our retailers took Black Friday to an extreme this year.  Wednesday (day before Thanksgiving) many retailers held pre-Black Friday sales followed by sales on Thanksgiving!  The reasoning was this would prevent the huge crowds on just one day.  I see this as being even more greedy than in earlier years, another way to grab an extra dollar, but that’s just my opinion.

It's beginning to look a lot like....winter

It’s beginning to look a lot like….winter

If you are like me you are trying to avoid shopping and working hard to eliminate products manufactured in less than humane ways in distant countries.With 23 more days until Christmas there is still time to make a few gifts.  So today I am going to share gifts from as many different mediums as I can.

The first idea I have for you I mentioned to Sue in a comment.  Sue asked to see this and being an artist with a young grandchild at that pre-reading stage could easily make this.  These story stones come in a set of 12 for a cost of $42 here, but you could also create your own.  This is a fantastic way to encourage children to organize their thoughts and is a first step towards building solid reading skills


Tablets are all the rage today, many are using their tablets in place of a cookbook when cooking or baking.  If you know someone who does just that why not make them a kitchen tablet holder?  The tutorial  here  uses 3 things:  a cutting board, a piece of wood, and a scrabble tile holder.  Pottery Barn sells a similar tablet holder for $34.50.  Thrift shopping or shopping your own house you could make this for less than $5.

tablet holder

For those of you who have changed out your old incandescent light bulbs, you could make a tiny terrarium in them, I love this idea so much I am looking for old bulbs to make my own.  Complete tutorial will walk you through this with no problem.

tiny terrarium

A little child would love to receive an upcycled Altoid container if it looked like this. You can purchase the pdf tutorial here for $8.

tiny altoid mouse

Nicole created the ultimate in frugal gifts that have meaning.  This would be perfect for your significant other or a special friend.


What about a wind chime?  I love wind chimes and while I only own one I still seek them out and have to listen to each to hear their melody when I find them.  There are plenty of things you can make wind chimes out of from twigs to old keys but if you have a child who has outgrown their xylophone why not repurpose it.  Here is a tutorial which gives you all the details you can’t see.

wind chime

This rain chain I found on pinterest, I try to give credit and link to the tutorials where I can. This comes from Elderberry Street but after a long search I was unable to find the post.  I did find a lot of lovely crafting ideas though which slowed my search.  :-)  While this would be a gift that would need to be saved for spring in my part of the states, that isn’t the case everywhere.

rain chain


This is such a cool idea for little ones.  Instead of a board game that involves sitting in one place to play why not have the game board be your house. This game from Toddler approved will show you how to do just that.  You create the cards, then tape them around the house.  With a large die you work your way through the game, when you “land” on a card you have to perform the activity designated.  You will want to read this post to see what creative ideas they came up with.

escape the volcano shape game

Need another use for sweaters?  Why not make slippers?  These look so warm and comfortable and are less expensive than brand new, no one will care that it was made from that sweater you hated. :-)

Sweater Slipper-after

If you crochet or knit chances are you have a friend or relative on your gift list that also knits or crochets.  This yarn basket would be a welcome gift to keep yarn and all the various needles/hooks organized in one place.  While there isn’t an actual tutorial here, this involves simply sewing a muslin liner and adding pockets then lining an inexpensive wicker basket with it.  I know you can do this without a tutorial. :-)

yarn basket

Buying this next item, a kindle sleeve isn’t exactly what I would call frugal,  it is useful and lovely.   I thought it would spark your creative juices to make your own.

kindle sleeve

Room sprays are an easy thing to make and cost very little.  There are only 3 ingredients, witch hazel, distilled water and essential oil of your choice.  You can even use old bottles you have cleaned out saving yourself even more.  StephanieLynn shows you how to make these here.

room sprays

I will end this weeks installment of frugal gifts for this Christmas but will have more for you next Monday.

Did you find a gift idea for someone on your list?  What would you add that I haven’t shared?

25 thoughts on “Frugal Christmas: Calling all Crafters

  1. Thanks to you, today we made a nice tablet stand for the kitchen out of a cute violin shaped cutting board from Goodwill and some little bits of scrap wood.


  2. Pingback: Handmade Holiday Gift Ideas by Mari | SpinningJulie

  3. Lovely ideas Lois, I agree those slippers look very cosy. I love the light bulb terrarium, what is annoying though, is I’ve just changed a light bulb and thrown it away. We can’t recycle light bulbs here in Melbourne in our weekly rubbish collection, can you?


    • No, we can’t recycle the light bulbs, unless we take them apart first. It’s really easy to open them up then just use a screwdriver to break out the filaments then toss the glass portion in with recyclables.


  4. Pingback: Handmade holiday gift ideas | gather and grow

    • Christy, I don’t have a tablet either but the idea of a holder for one to keep it clean and easy to read while cooking seemed like the perfect gift for someone who has a tablet. I happen to have 3 cutting boards here, one is pretty beat up, the other 2 are nearly brand-new and were being tossed out so I’m thinking of making one for my daughter-in-law who loves to be in the kitchen, but if I didn’t have an extra, I could find everything I needed at the thrift shop here for most likely less than $2 and paint I already have. :-)


    • Carol, I’m glad you enjoyed them.When it comes down to figuring out which ones to include I find there are endless examples of good frugal gifts. I think I will run out of Mondays before I run out of found ideas. :-)


    • Heidi, I made a huge mistake on my trip last week. I wore a pair of slip on sneakers as my shoes, you know the ones with the backs cut out for ease in putting on? With my first bus late I had to sit outside in the below freezing temps for just over an hour and once on the bus my heels hurt so badly I thought for sure I had frostbite. The pain finally subsided but I need something solid and saw those slippers. With a pair of chunky socks I bet those would be a lot warmer. I keep holding off on replacing my old boots trying to find a pair that are warm, not made of synthetic fibers and in my price range, I am so cheap.

      I hope your mom makes the basket for you. I can just see you sitting next to the wood stove with your basket of yarn and all your needles perfectly organized to while away the cold winter.

      When is your birthday?


    • Live and Learn, that basket caught my eyes as I hate to have things all over the place. To have the needles right there to choose from along with the yarn is such a good idea, too bad you don’t have any one on your gift list who knits or crochets.


    • Willowarchway, I didn’t see any of it on TV, I”m sure there was plenty of madness even with the sales spread out for a week. It seems every day there is another sale trying to get us into the stores.

      There are still 3 more Mondays to fill I hope you still enjoy them by the time Christmas rolls around. :-)


  5. I’ve been enjoying all your Christmas posts. These ideas are marvelous! My two boys came up with a great crafty idea ~ knitted scarves for their Aunt’s cats. I knitted two short mini scarves in red and green, attached a button (which they picked out from my button jar), and added a bell. The button easily slips in between the stitches and forms a stay in place scarf. I liked how the boys thought about what we already had around the house ~ none of this necessitated a trip to the store.


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