Frugal Holidays 2008 - Page 11 - Mothering Forums

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Old 10-11-2008, 08:48 PM
 
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I'm sorry. I always take all the bags that nobody else wants and re-use them. My mom does too so we end up passing bags back and forth over and over. I don't understand why somebody wouldn't re-use a perfectly good bag.
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Old 10-11-2008, 10:27 PM
 
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Awww for some reason that made me really sad. I'm sorry.
Don't worry, they do it in a loving "She's such a hippie" kind of way. I'm slowing bringing them over to the green side! :
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Old 10-13-2008, 01:00 AM
 
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Oh I am *so* in :

Our list
DS (he's 2)
My Mom
My Dad/his partner
My Mom/her fiancee
J's Mom/her DH
J's Dad
My younger brother
My younger sister
My sister and BIL and their DS
My brother and almost SIL
J's sister
My Mom's parents
My Mom's two brothers
J's Mom's parents

Then we also will be getting a few things for two families that we are really close to, plus another friends DD, and one of my best friends who lives across the country from us.

It's a big list, but it's doable, I am excited to start getting my ideas together

Alison
Mama to Toad (08/06), Frog (01/09)... and new baby Newt born on his due date, Sep. 8, 2010
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Old 10-13-2008, 04:52 AM
 
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Not to be a total party pooper, but is anyone else amazed at the number of people mamas have on their gift lists? I mean, if you really enjoy gift-giving and this is cool with you, great. But for me I've been working on downscaling, and now my DH and I only give presents to my/our kids (his three, our one), our parents and each other.

I'm not saying our way is the RIGHT way...only that I'm exhausted just looking at some of your lists!
We only give gifts to family for the most part, but we both come from large families.
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Old 10-13-2008, 12:42 PM
 
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I just started selling Avon (thanks to a suggestion I found here about making extra money), so I have been buying the "demos" for cheap, but I end up not paying for them really because my profits cover what I've ordered. So far I've gotten a bath set for my sister for $4.99 (would've cost much more if I'd have gotten it at Bath and Body Works) and a 12 piece earring set for the female gift for a family gathering for $6.99.

I have 3 rainchecks from CVS from Eastertime when they were doing Hershey's Pot of Gold boxes of candy free after extrabucks. Each raincheck is good for 2 boxes, so I will have 6 boxes of candy to give for free. I will be using one of them as the male gift for the above mentioned family gathering. I am not 100% sure who else will get them yet.

I also intend on giving gift baskets of stockpile items to some family members. I figure they can use the stuff and I didn't pay for it, so it will make nice, cheap gifts.
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Old 10-13-2008, 06:58 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I want to do much more practical gifts this year...like things that we all need. Food, beauty products, laundry care, but make it look really nice.

I am the gift basket queen, so I think it's a good challenge for me to do them as inexpensively as possible.

I love the idea many pages ago on here to do a cleaning supply basket with homeade cleaners...easily for under $10 you could have a nice gift of let's say two squirt bottles of cleaner...maybe vinegar and water and one for windows with water and rubbing alcohol. You could include a cute bottle of Mrs. Meyers cleaner of some sort and a couple of sponges along with notecards with the recipe/directions. BAM a great gift.

What about a cooking basket with a cute jar of cookie mix, a cook book found at the used book store, homeade vanilla, and a pretty set of homeade potholders, maybe even an apron...could be done again for $10 or less.

Gardening anyone? Used book on gardening, a hoe and small shovel and gloves and an apron...maybe a few packets of seeds. These will be things I will have to think about stocking up on next year!

Hmm...anyone like home fragrances? I make packs of cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, and dried oranges...I put them in little brown paper sandwich sacks and tie with a ribbon with directions to simmer with water...you could add a pretty candle...homeade or bought. You can make homeade potpouri with the above items and add bay leaves and dried apples...just google a recipe!

Beauty products: homeade soap or Mrs. Meyers soap and maybe some lotions or chapsticks...soap would be about $4-5, Chapsticks (Whole Foods or Burt Bees) $2, ...stockpile some free ones from Bath and Body Works or get small more natural at a health store for $4-5

I don't know about you, but I get a card for a pair of free Victoria Secret underwear about once a month...save them for stocking gifts

I will keep thinking...
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Old 10-13-2008, 08:34 PM
 
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I don't know if this has been said already (I didn't read all 12 pages!), but last year we did something that was a hit. Instead of giving to my side of the family, my parents asked us to give a donation to our mutual church. We did glad to have the opportunity to do so, but didn't want to go to my family's house empty handed.

I bought large candy bars and taped computer made personalized coupons for each of the four of them. My mother got a homemade dinner at her house or mine. My father got a night away with Mom while my husband and I watched my younger siblings. My little brothers each got a coupon for a lunch with my husband and I alone. We ended up taking them to great movies at an independant dinner theater. My husband also got a coupon for the "Pie of the Month Club" where I make him a pie of his choice each month. Whew. That one has been a lot of work!

For my BIL and SIL, we packed a "date basket" with fancy rootbeer, favorite candy, popcorn, and a fun two player game (they love games). For my brother and his fiance, we bought tickets to a local theater which was showing a classic play. For MIL and FIL, we chose personal magazines based on their personality and tastes.

ALL gifts were a hit and I realized, that almost all gifts were clutter free (especially if the magazines were donated after they read them).

We also gave all neighbors and incidental friends soup-in-a-jar gifts which were kindly received.

I felt good about our giving, but we received WAY too much stuff from everyone else. I am really trying to talk the family (especially the inlaws) down. Baby #1 is coming in February, so we do have needs, but specific practical ones. If we have the money, my husband and I will be giving each other a video camera to capture the important events of our baby's new life. We would love a rocking chair, etc. But I'm working so hard to declutter our little home for Baby that if I bring home a carload of junk like last time, I will just cry.

How do you handle people whose generosity is burdensome?

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Old 10-14-2008, 10:52 AM
 
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i have no idea what to do with people who provide too many gifts. i am not very good at lying and when i feel overwhelmed/annoyed it shows on my face straight away. lol. i guess someone would get the indication that i wasn't too pleased that way.

is anyone else already starting to plan for christmas 2009? i feel like a doofus for planning this early since no one has mentioned this but me.
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Old 10-14-2008, 01:28 PM
 
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is anyone else already starting to plan for christmas 2009? i feel like a doofus for planning this early since no one has mentioned this but me.
You aren't the only one. I've been talking with dh about making some major changes to the way we do gift giving in general - birthdays, major life events, holidays... The amount of $$ that gets spent is insane.

My family: me jog.gif, dh geek.gif, ds reading.gif (11), dd1 hearts.gif (9), and dd2 energy.gif(3).

Tout va s'arranger à la fin. Si elle ne fonctionne pas; ce n'est pas la fin.

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Old 10-14-2008, 03:01 PM
 
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How do you handle people whose generosity is burdensome?
I'm still figuring this out. Both of our parents and IL's waaay over give. We used to under buy and let the gparents give what they want, but quite frankly, I don't want to be remembered by my kids as the Mom who gave her kids hardly anything and then compared to all the stuff the gparents give. MIL is way to materialistic to be able to talk to about this, but my Mom totally understands the clutter and actually does a really good job of finding neat sturdy toys. Also their income isn't what it used to be for various reasons and all that combined with the "go green" era we're in has really opened her eyes and made her realize just how impractical some stuff is. Regardless, we still come home with an overstuffed carload of stuff. Some we return instantly, others we save for a rainy day and we also clear out all their previous toys and clothes they don't want or need and donate them.
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Old 10-15-2008, 03:09 PM
 
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Re: handling burdensome overgenerosity--
We just say thank you. I don't see any other option. And yes, it can totally be embarrassing, like the year we gave my BIL a homemade pumpkin pie and he gave us a tv. But we can't afford to match their generosity, and IME asking people to be less generous ends up being more embarrassing.

I would love to do gift baskets/bags this year, but I always find they end up costing me more money than they should. Could someone share how they actually do this cheaply? Some specific questions...
...where do you get baskets/bags from?
...how do you buy food, etc. that's cheap but doesn't look cheap?

I'm thinking of doing a movie themed basket for the IL's, with a DVD (a cheap one), popcorn, chocolate dipped pretzels, coffee, and maybe two mugs. And for my parents, maybe a dessert basket w/cookies in a jar, apple crisp in a jar, hot fudge, sprinkles, and two bowls. Do you think I can do these cheaply?

Mommy to DD 5-07
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Old 10-15-2008, 04:44 PM
 
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Ok, another homemade Hot Cocoa Mix recipe. I plan on using this one in either cello bags or canning mason jars. Probably the bags if I'm mailing them.


Ingredients
4 cups nonfat dry milk powder
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup non-dairy coffee creamer
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 (4 ounce) package instant chocolate fudge pudding
Directions
1Place all ingredients in large bowl.
2Stir together with a wire whisk.
3Place mix in a sifter and sift to make a really fine powder.
4This really make sure everything is really combined.
5Store in a sealed container.
6Add 1/2 cup of mix to an 8oz.
mug and fill with hot water.
8Add more or less mix depending on your taste.
9Enjoy!

Living Simply and Enjoying Life
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Old 10-16-2008, 12:02 AM
 
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I would love to do gift baskets/bags this year, but I always find they end up costing me more money than they should. Could someone share how they actually do this cheaply? Some specific questions...
...where do you get baskets/bags from?
...how do you buy food, etc. that's cheap but doesn't look cheap?

I'm thinking of doing a movie themed basket for the IL's, with a DVD (a cheap one), popcorn, chocolate dipped pretzels, coffee, and maybe two mugs. And for my parents, maybe a dessert basket w/cookies in a jar, apple crisp in a jar, hot fudge, sprinkles, and two bowls. Do you think I can do these cheaply?
I have the same problem with gift baskets! What I've learned in the past is to shop at discount and dollar stores, and buy things in bulk (which doesn't work so well when only making one or two baskets of a kind ).

Oh, and try to check out thrift stores for baskets! It's easier to find them around easter time, but some well stocked stores will have a decent selection of baskets year round. There's usually at least a couple nice looking, sturdy baskets mixed in with all the half broken, and ratty plastic ones.

A few suggestions for the specific baskets you're planning:

For the movie basket, shop discount grocery stores for the food. If you have a Grocery Outlet/"canned food" store near you, they have TONS of brand names and/or expensive looking foods for really cheap! You just have to make sure to check the expiration dates...
For mugs, shop thrift stores and dollar stores. You can find some really cute and cheap mugs sometimes!
Instead of coffee (which can be really expensive!) I'd do a homemade drink mix like the Chai recipe someone posted earlier in this thread, or the Hot Chocolate one right in the post above (you could probably make it into a Mocha mix by adding instant coffee crystals to the recipe above... I'm just not sure how much.)
Also, for a movie basket I'd consider adding a cheap throw blanket. Homemade if you IL's aren't the type to look down on homemade stuff. It's really easy to find some nice fleece and make an awesome throw blanket! It can even be done without sewing! Just watch fabric store sales to find a good deal on the fleece.

For the dessert basket, I'd shop Ross (if you have one near by... or a similar discount store. I love how Ross has such a huge housewares selection!) for the bowls, and probably the sprinkles and other dessert related things too!
If you are planning on making the "___ in a jars" yourself it should be pretty cheap if you normally keep a well stocked baking pantry... if not, shop bulk! That way you can buy only what you need for ingredients that come in large quantities or are expensive (flour, sugar, baking powder/soda, spices, etc.).
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Old 10-16-2008, 03:53 AM
 
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Hi! We are doing food gift baskets this year... I am going to start now, and get items on sale as I see them. (This is for our parents and siblings) I'm going to try to find some used gift baskets at the thrift store, and get some items at the $1 store (like a kitchen towel as the layer in between the food and the basket (where paper would be).

I still don't know what we are doing for each other, or DS.

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My boys: S (4) & O (2) & Expecting #3 in Dec. 2011

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Old 10-16-2008, 04:23 PM
 
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Thank you, soygurl! :

Mommy to DD 5-07
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Old 10-16-2008, 04:45 PM
 
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About gift baskets (note: I'm no expert, but this works for me):

I agree about using thrift stores for baskets or make the basket part of the theme (maybe a popcorn bowl?).

Find one nice thing (a movie, GC for a movie rental, game, theater tickets) and orient everything else around it.

Try to be personal by buying their "favorite" whatever (movie candy, popcorn, etc.).

Try to be semi-gormet by including a treat (I included bottled root beer).

Wrap everything in tissue paper and shiny ribbons and make the basket look as festive as possible.

The recipient of the date basket last year was impressed as much with the thought and time that went into the collecting of the items as the gift itself.

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Old 10-17-2008, 05:07 AM
 
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My holiday-mood came to a grinding halt.. i dont know why but i seem to have lost steam...

can i get a holiday boot from MDC friends?
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Old 10-17-2008, 12:53 PM
 
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I could use a boot too!

We just finished a long spell of warm weather. Maybe the cold will help.

Amy at Stone Fence Farm
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Old 10-17-2008, 08:47 PM
 
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I'm another one doing giftbaskets for sure! Iwill be using all my free cheap beauty products/soaps etc from couponing. I have been shopping for xmas now for a while. I am hitting clearance sales and buying a little each month rather than all at once. I am still debating what to get ds, but i am leaning toward a tricycle. Besides that, he will be getting some clothing, shoes, etc. Dh said no to buying him anything, but i did pick up a couple shirts for him from ds. We draw names for xmas w/extended family, and w/all the sales i've hit i've gotten some great stuff and will probably spend about 40$ on each person (2), which is the minimum we are suppose to spend. I am using my walgreens giftcard, cvs ecbs, rebate giftcards from sears/barnes and nobles and rebate checks as much as possible to buy xmas gifts.

I will be doing giftbaskets for my aunt, sister, grandma and stockings for my 2 dn's and ds and dh.

supermod.gif semi crunchy single student super mama to DS 7wave.gif and DD 3shy.gif. Falling in stillheart.gif with single super dad superhero.gif to DD5kissy.gif and DD2energy.gif 
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Old 10-18-2008, 12:06 AM
 
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I could probably use a boost too... I'm still WAY ahead of where I usually am this time of year (I usually don't even start shopping or planning until after thanksgiving), but one of my main gift ideas was a total bust. I was planning on getting Fire and Light pieces for 4 or 5 people (and 2 swaps) at the annual factory seconds sale they have, but the prices were way, WAY higher than I had expected. I was in so much shock I only got one little gift for a family member, and 2 pieces for one of the swaps. I was even planning on getting a bunch of extra pieces for future out-of-the-blue gifts, but obviously that didn't happen.

So, my updated progress list:

Mom: no idea. Homemade hankies?
Dad: custom etsy belt buckle and new belt... maybe?
Brother J: NO idea (Getting "un-paper towels" set from a swap... maybe?)
SIL: NO idea... (she likes crafting, hiking, and Marlyn Manson)
Nephew #1 (6 yo): Personalized supper hero cape? Special pillow case? I like doing natural type toys, but they usually aren't much of a hit.
Nephew #2 (2.5 yo): Natural WAHM-made crayons (stocking stuffer)... stumped beyond that.
Brother D: homemade lemon curd (made by me hopefully!), nice soap, and Fire and Light soap dish.
Almost SIL: Wine condiments (from a swap), and "SET" card game? Beer cap magnet set? Cherry flavoring?
Half niece #1 (13 by x-mas): NO idea. (personalized pillow case?)
Half nephew (14 by x-mas): NO idea. (pillow case? eh...)
Half niece #2 (12 by x-mas): NO idea. (pillow case? )
Best friend and her DH: NO Idea
almost niece (2.5 by x-mas): Auntie made play apron? crayons?... no good ideas really.
almost nephew (6 mo by x-mas): Small baby toy, and article of clothing maybe?

I'm also getting a bunch of cloth gift bags in a swap, which I really excited about, and Brother J and SIL will LOVE.

I still need to figure out gifts for most of my list, and of the ones I've already figured out, I need to start making most of them (and I don't even have a sewing machine... EEEK!).
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Old 10-18-2008, 01:39 AM
 
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I am going to bake "the 12 cookies of Chistmas" I am going to bake kinds of cookies and put them in a box so that each member of the receiving family gets 12 cookies.
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Old 10-18-2008, 02:51 AM
 
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I thought I'd chime and update with some ideas for the people on my list:

DS (he's 2): PJs, Books on tape

For all of our parents/their partners: Charity donation plus an ornament hand painted from DS

Both of my younger siblings are getting a deck of cards with a picture of them and DS on them and then something else... it'll be food for my brother, not sure for my sister

My sister and BIL will get a framed print of DS for their wall and something else...

Dnephew... not sure, he'll be 20 months at Christmas, my sister is very not crunchy so I have to be careful what direction I go

My brother and almost SIL will get a framed print of DS to put on their wall... I'm not going to be seeing them so this will be sent to them

J's sister and her DP... not sure yet

My Mom's parents will get a calendar and a scrapbook that I make

My Mom's two brothers will also get a calendar and a scrapbook that I make

J's Mom's parents... not sure yet

Then we also will be getting a few things for two families that we are really close to, plus another friends DD, and one of my best friends who lives across the country from us.

Plus I can't forget the December birthdays in my life...
My Mom - will get a photobook of DS
My grandfather - will get a photobook of DS
My brother - we'll cook him dinner

So of all the presents I have so far my cost will be very low...
-I already have the pjs for DS (was saving them for him to grow, they are WAHM made)
-already own cassette tapes, just need to borrow a tape recorder
-already have the ornaments, cost me .25 each, and was given paint for them
-the cards, prints, calendars and photobooks are free with discounts I have, I just need to pay shipping
-the food I will need to buy ingredients, but can keep costs down by shopping around
-I already have all of my scrapbook supplies for those, I will just need to purchase two small scrapbooks

It's looking really good, I'm excited to get it going

Alison
Mama to Toad (08/06), Frog (01/09)... and new baby Newt born on his due date, Sep. 8, 2010
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Old 10-18-2008, 11:38 AM
 
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I am going to bake "the 12 cookies of Chistmas" I am going to bake kinds of cookies and put them in a box so that each member of the receiving family gets 12 cookies.
oooh, do you mind sharing what the "12 cookies of christmas" are? this sounds interesting!

: : vicki ~ wife & mom of 2 amazing kids
live well ~ laugh often ~ love much
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Old 10-18-2008, 03:17 PM
 
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Just an idea....with your homemade crayons, how about a homemade coloring book created in Photoshop with personalized pictures of the kids, their parents, things they like, etc? Let me know if you'd like more info!
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Old 10-18-2008, 03:38 PM
 
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Question-

As I've mentioned before, I am doing gift baskets for Xmas with gourmet-type food. There are 8 adults/couples.. there are also 3 kids that I am trying to figure out what to put in a gift basket for... and has to be mostly food items.

Here is what I had in mind for the two 4-5 year olds..

a jar of cookie mix, sprinkles, cookie-cutters..
chocolate-peanut butter, fruit jelly, and cookie cutters.

And what kind of food gift basket would you put together for a 18 month old vegetarian toddler?

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My boys: S (4) & O (2) & Expecting #3 in Dec. 2011

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Old 10-18-2008, 04:10 PM
 
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Question-

As I've mentioned before, I am doing gift baskets for Xmas with gourmet-type food. There are 8 adults/couples.. there are also 3 kids that I am trying to figure out what to put in a gift basket for... and has to be mostly food items.

Here is what I had in mind for the two 4-5 year olds..

a jar of cookie mix, sprinkles, cookie-cutters..
chocolate-peanut butter, fruit jelly, and cookie cutters.

And what kind of food gift basket would you put together for a 18 month old vegetarian toddler?
nak

my ds is 19 mo, so here's what we would love:
fruit jelly
nice healthy crackers
mixed softer nuts (cashews are perfect and a good shape for people concerned with choking)
child friendly cutlery
fruit of any sort
apple butter, apple sauce etc

hth!

I am not crunchy enough for this forum. Everyday I get a little crunchier though! :
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Old 10-19-2008, 12:04 AM
 
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I did a movie basket for my FIL and got the actual movie size name brand candy at the dollar store....this works well for my nephews too!
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Old 10-19-2008, 03:07 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Cohen'sMom View Post
Just an idea....with your homemade crayons, how about a homemade coloring book created in Photoshop with personalized pictures of the kids, their parents, things they like, etc? Let me know if you'd like more info!
I would love more info on this! My nephew (6yo) loves to draw (and is REALLY good, if I do say so myslef! )... That could be a really good gift!


Quote:
Originally Posted by LizzyQ View Post
And what kind of food gift basket would you put together for a 18 month old vegetarian toddler?
A package or two of freeze dried fruit! It's kinda pricey so I'd suggest shopping around, getting small packs, or looking for a "Just Tomatoes" co-op (JT is one of the major brands, but there are a bunch of others, and my local co-co sells small packets for about $1).
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Old 10-19-2008, 10:53 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I just wanted to share my gifts I picked up yesterday for $5...

I had coupons that I get in the mail from Victoria's Secret and Bath and BodyWorks.

So I am using what I got for Stocking Stuffers...

1 free pair of pink Victoria's Secret bikini underwear (SIL)

2 hand soaps from Bath and body works, originally, $3, but had 20 percent coupon so ended up being $5... (1 for MIL and 1 for SIL)

1 free bath and body works lotion (SIL)

So pretty good deals!
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Old 10-19-2008, 11:09 AM
 
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I would love the 12 cookie recipes also - along with any other cooked item recipes that would work well in a gift box.
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