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  • snowl Dec 9, 2:05 p.m.

    The worst was last year when my sister bought me a computer software program she thought that I would like to learn for my career, but in the wrong format. She then returned the software, but kept the refund, and never gave me the correct format for my MAC....So, NO gift was what I actually received.....and it's not the thought that counts in this case. P.S. I would never think of re-gifting anything....that's a thumbs down!

  • Faye Prosser - Smart Shopper Dec 7, 10:33 p.m.

    doraellie - that was hysterical! Great story.

    brassy - that is too cute. I guess she thought you needed to start sewing with the easy stuff. :-)

    Thanks to all for sharing!

  • Nancy Dec 7, 7:07 p.m.

    Faye said - "Linda, you may not be able to sew but you are so incredibly generous with your baking and your time. "

    That is SO true! She is amazing in her constant energy and giving to those in need year round, not just during the holidays! Linda, I need to 'run into you' at HT one of these days :)

  • doraellie Dec 7, 6:41 p.m.

    One year I wanted to give my college aged daughter membership to an auto club so I strung three little A's on a piece of yarn and wrapped it brightly in a jewlery box. Come Christmas morning I saw her open then stare confusedly at the gift. In the jostling one of the A's had come off - she announced "I think Mom enrolled me in Alchoholics Annonymous but I don't drink". Then lifted the cotton and saw the missing A!

  • brassy Dec 7, 4:33 p.m.

    When I was in high school, my grandmother gave me one of those sewing kits where you thread a shoelace through holes punched in a piece of cardboard.

  • scoutmomof2 Dec 7, 2:35 p.m.

    My boys and I will start this weekend. Chocolates, truffles, maybe fudge, cookies, pastries, breads and possibly pies. I did make a bunch of jam this year but my teens have rapidly depleted the supply. I also need to go after work and pick out some nice yarn, knitting a scarf for my youngest son's girlfriend this year (he wants to make her chocolates) and some tins or trays for the cookies (my ex in laws still love to get them). Next year I think I will start early and sew some quilts for my boys (they love quilts).

  • alwaysab Dec 7, 12:46 p.m.

    I love to bake cookies and make fudge as gifts for some of my co-workers and extended family members.

  • dad6 Dec 7, 10:54 a.m.

    The best gift I ever received was from my college roommate. She worked at a large retail store int he cosmetic counter and she was able to hoard away about 40-50 samples of expensive perfume and other small sizes of lotions, cosmetics, etc. She put them in a cute, bulging gift bag. I think I dipped into that bag for many years and could probably still find a sample or two in an old suitcase : )

  • Faye Prosser - Smart Shopper Dec 6, 11:41 p.m.

    Love everyone's comments! Thank you again for sharing them.

    Linda, you may not be able to sew but you are so incredibly generous with your baking and your time. And Nancy makes up for all of us who can't sew! Thanks Nancy!

    astamper - such a cute idea on the humane society donation. Love the dog treat touch.

  • emtpcrafter Dec 6, 9:58 p.m.

    and yesi have accidentally regifted to the sender. ooops

  • emtpcrafter Dec 6, 9:57 p.m.

    i keep a file box full of all the freebies or super duper clearance items and at Christmas time we package them all up to the students in my son's class, his friends and all the people at church and our community. i also attend a cookie party and make and receive 15 dozen cookies, then i bring them home and repack them into bags i got free with a purchase at b&bw and i can usually make 20 or thirty little thank you bags.

  • Nanee Lion Dec 6, 8:21 p.m.

    jdouglas13
    I agree. Every year my sister-in-law makes homemade fudge for my husband and I. It is so wonderful and we always look forward to it. My husband even hides it so he can have more of it. It would not be Christmas without her fudge. She is a widow on a limited income but she stil finds ways to makes others happy.

  • astamper Dec 6, 7:46 p.m.

    I give a donation to the humane society in a recipients name every year. I put a note and a dog treat/toy (for their pet) in a gift bag.

  • Nancy Dec 6, 7:24 p.m.

    I agree with so many that receiving baked items or homemade food items is one of the greatest joys! You know the person took the time to make them and they're always a special treat that enhances the holiday season! I hope to have time to do that again this year, except time is working against me.

    Last year I made a variety of cookies and other goodies and made up packages to deliver to my favorite cashiers and store employees of the grocery stores and drug stores where they know me too well :) I want to do that again this year. That was fun and they seemed genuinely surprised by the effort. The joy of giving :)

  • jdouglas13 Dec 6, 7:19 p.m.

    Thanks for your post Faye. Obviously, a lot of work and thought went into it.

    JMHO, I think perhaps we need to look at how we define frugal. Perhaps one person's definition is totally different than someone else's. For me, frugal means not laying out a boatload of cash. It does not mean cheap. A gift can be extremely valuable, cherished, and crafted and given with tremendous love and thought while still being frugal. Again, JMHO. Jumping off the soapbox now.

    Re frugal baking... a good example would be my niece's favorite cookies. She is crazy for these cookies. She doesn't bake. She can't make them herself. o one else has the exact recipe that I make for her. But this holiday, I know she will be thrilled with her (frugal) gift: a batch of her very favorite cookies, made with love, nicely wrapped, and prepared especially for her.

  • Nanee Lion Dec 6, 6:23 p.m.

    My comment was too long. I was saying Wish I could sew like Nancy.

  • Nanee Lion Dec 6, 6:23 p.m.

    I love giving and receiving home-made baked items. I also treasure the gifts my family has made for me over the years. My sisters and I had our Christmas breakfast at my house today and afterwards along with our gifts, of course, we have sweet deserts. I have made several goodies in the last few days because two of my sisters are not able to cook and they love taking some home. I have been purchasing my baking items on sale and of course with a coupon for the last month or so. I also have items that I bought at the end of the season last year for baking (yes, it is still within the expiration date). I used a tablecloth my sister cross-stitched and wore an apron she made for me years ago. She noticed and was so happy that I was using them.

    We also delivered gifts to two nursing homes today. Most of the items were purchased during the year with coupons and sales and the people were so happy to receive them. Got to love those coupons! I just love helping the elderly.

    Wish I cou

  • Amomoftwo Dec 6, 6:16 p.m.

    A gift that I am giving this year that is very frugal (but not really the reason I did it) is a picture of my MIL, her father and my oldest daughter, at age 6, taken about two weeks before her dad passed away...they are sitting outside in the sun with big smiles on their faces....I had a letter that Gdad had written and I have used that to use as the mat for the frame and then I put the picture in front of it and put it in a frame....We were talking at Thanksgiving that even at 81, she still misses her parents....so I think this will really mean a lot to her. I saw something similar on Pinterest but it used a handwritten recipe,and a picture of the cook....it was really nice.

  • Nancy Dec 6, 5:27 p.m.

    Personal gifts are generally items I've made or baked, I get the joy of making AND the joy of giving that way :)

    For charity, it's always made items, not money donated. In fact, tomorrow I will be dropping off oodles of polar fleece hats and reversible headbands at First Citizens in Fuquay for WRAL's coats for the children campaign and hopefully next week drop off another quilt for Project Linus. Nothing makes me happier than sewing, and giving to good causes just makes it all the better!

  • t0tAlChA0s Dec 6, 3:14 p.m.

    That's the only way I bake...frugal! My neighbors like it because they don't get the same thing every year. I find new recipes every year for things that are on sale or I already have.

  • justcommonsense Dec 6, 2:43 p.m.

    When I think about it I do bake frugally. I buy things that I use as they are on sale through the year. Flour, sugar, butter,nuts in bulk. The same for vegetable oil. The sweet breads such as banana, zucchini and other fruit breads are actually reasonable as well. Zucchini from the garden is shredded and frozen. Bananas that are getting too ripe for eating are frozen.Strawberries, peaches and blueberries that I bought and are left over from jam making...all go in the freezer to use for goody making. When making the breads I make several triple batches of each kind and bake them in one day.

    Cookies, several kinds and bake all day. Fudge...I make 4-5 kinds in one day 12lbs of each..that takes about most of a day...and is the last thing I make.

    And Faye is right, the time factor is nil as I'm having to drive hither and yon, dealing with shoppers etc and sharing the goody making with family is great.

  • Faye Prosser - Smart Shopper Dec 6, 2:19 p.m.

    Clearly there are varying degrees of frugal baking. :-) I can definitely see how homemade treats can get very expensive. You can spend tons of time and money on baking, canning, pickling, etc.

    When I make homemade baked cookies, breads and pies, they really are frugal and don't take up all my time. I am not one to spend all day in the kitchen. Between work, kids and husband, there just isn't that time available. But, the frugal and more basic treats (like sweet breads and cookies) taste great and the ingredients are all items I have bought on sale and usually with coupons. The time I spend making the gifts is definitely at a cost, but I would still be spending time shopping for those same people (and spending gas to do that shopping) if I was not baking for them so the time factor (for me) is about equal. Plus, this is time I can spend baking in the kitchen with my girls and that is priceless!

    Anyone else bake frugally?

    Thanks to everyone for your ideas and comments!

  • justcommonsense Dec 6, 1:58 p.m.

    "I don't really consider home-made baked goods to be a "frugal" gift. A lot of valuable time, effort and thought goes into such a gift. Just because it doesn't have a sticker with a price on it doesn't make it frugal..." - monami

    Absolutely agree there. During the summer months when I am canning...making Bread/Butter pickles, zucchini relish, jams etc I make sure that I set aside x number jars of each for my Christmas giving. Then after Thanksgiving I make lots of fudge in at least 3 varieties and make cookies and nut breads. I then put together a basket with everything, tie all up in pretty ribbons and add a nice ornament that I found that suits that person. Nothing goes to waste, I enjoy doing it and most people like foodgifts.

  • xxxxxxxxxxxxx Dec 6, 1:55 p.m.

    "I don't really consider home-made baked goods to be a "frugal" gift. A lot of valuable time, effort and thought goes into such a gift."

    And might I add, money. I give a lot of homemade goodies for Christmas and I spend a lot of money on the ingredients, in addition to the days I spend baking.

  • Oxymoron02 Dec 6, 1:39 p.m.

    My Mom's bathroom is a pale blue, so a couple years back we went to the Asian market (A&C supermarket, I think, on S. Saunders) and got a large bowl, a small cup, a soap tray and a pack of very cheap, but beautifully scented, soaps. We stuffed the bowl with potpourri (got marked down a couple days before Giftmas at the craft store), topped it with the other stuff and wrapped it in plastic. It was a lovely gift that we paid far less for than we would have had we purchased it as a set, and she loves it and uses it all the time. We've since taken to hand making our own gift sets, it's so much cheaper and you can customize them to the recipent.

  • carelesswhisper Dec 6, 1:32 p.m.

    These all seem like good ideas for my daughter's teachers.

  • Gr8Fun Dec 6, 1:29 p.m.

    This year I've made home-made meat rub to give to all the guys in the family. I have partnered the cute glass bottle of meat rub with a similar gift (10 Commandments of grilling plaque I purchased from a school fundraiser, and a nice spatula). Last year my son and I made strawberry jam from some strawberries we picked and gave that as gifts. Everyone loved it. I also like to take a picture of us making the gift to accompany it. It's both a cute picture of their grandchild and shows the thought and effort put into the gift.

  • carolinagal78 Dec 6, 1:27 p.m.

    I love getting homemade stuff. It means more cause the person giving it actually took the time and love into it. One year one of my coworkers knitted us all scarves. This year I'm making all the guys at my husbands work several tins filled w/homemade goodies. I'd much rather get something like that than something I can't use or don't like. We've all gotten that gift we weren't really sure what to do with. I have also been guilty of regifting.

  • monami Dec 6, 1:14 p.m.

    I don't really consider home-made baked goods to be a "frugal" gift. A lot of valuable time, effort and thought goes into such a gift. Just because it doesn't have a sticker with a price on it doesn't make it frugal - just saying.

  • pulstar40 Dec 6, 1:12 p.m.

    Be sure that the magazine subscriptions ARE for a magazine that would really interest the recepient. We received some kind of bird watching magazine for several years from a relative. No one in the family has any interest in it at all, and the magazine went straight from mailbox to recycling. Found out later on that the magazine is often included in those subscription deal packages...so it was cheap AND useless to us.

  • Faye Prosser - Smart Shopper Dec 6, 1:07 p.m.

    Thanks, carelesswhisper! I made 2 so we got to enjoy one as well. It was really good - my husband keeps asking me to make it again. I think that's why he bought 40 lbs of sweet potatoes from a local sweet potato farmer we know - so I could bake pies and more pies. :-)

  • carelesswhisper Dec 6, 12:44 p.m.

    That pie looks good! That's all that I wanted to say. LOL!

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