Originally Posted by shayinme
Well I don't knit or sew but I do bake homemade cookies and treats. Generally I find festive containers at the dollar store and give put the treats in those.. who doesn't like homemade goodies to eat. LOL
I agree with Shay - go with homemade treats. Think about what you're already good about baking and just do those. Even really basic stuff - banana bread or chocolate chip cookies - are good and welcome, because a lot of folks don't bake like they may have in the past. I've found even little kids like getting their own plate of cookies (use holiday paper plates) or mini loaf of banana bread. If you go into the foil bakeware section of the grocery store, you will find packs of mini-loaf pans. Some will even have plastic lids for after baking. Just put a bow and a tag on top - voila!
Unless you have tons of time on your hands, we don't have a lot of time before Christmas, so I would just bake. Pick one or two things, and make like a factory one day and bake a ton.
Also, another idea for an older adult who might be unable to have sweets for health reasons - give them a certificate for a homemade meal later from you! I've done this for some years and it's always very well received (I even do it for baby shower gifts). Get creative and fun with the certificate. I draw on plain index cards, but if you kids are old enough, they could draw it/make it on the computer for you. Bet they would love doing that.
There are variations on this: homemade bread or sweet of the month club for X number of months. Or a meal of the month club.
Other certificate ideas: a night of babysitting, X number of hours of organizing help (if a person has indicated they would like such a thing). For an elderly family member, you might stock their freezer with meals to be heated and eaten later, yardwork help in the summer, housework help whenever they needed it, etc. You get the idea.
I love these kinds of gifts because they usually only require your time. If they are meals, it's spread out and doesn't hit your budget at Christmas.
For baking, if you REALLY need to keep costs down, NO NUTS! They are expensive and lots of people are allergic anyway. I refuse to bake with them because I don't like them (aside from PB). I think one of the cheapest things to bake is banana bread.