Here it is. Our cheap and chic 2008 holiday gift roundup. We’ve tried our hand at a few DIY ideas and also integrated some affordable and memorable store bought options. So without further ado, let the gifting begin!
Here’s a gift we put together for our game loving cousins: Bananagrams (it’s like scrabble without the board) + Monkey Bread mix (from Target)= a playful gift that’ll keep ’em entertained (and full) for a while. Monkeys love bananas so we liked this cheeky pairing, but Bananagrams could also be gifted with some homemade banana bread or even a cute boxed banana nut bread mix. Yum.
And Bananagrams isn’t the only game you can cleverly pair up with something similar in theme. We love the idea of some stacked black and white cereal bowls full of Dominoes.
And because we always adore something personalized, these $6 monogram mugs from Anthropologie are perennially on our list when we need a quick little gift for a neighbor or friend. Stuffed with everything from concert tickets to hot cocoa mix or even gumballs, they’re always a crowd pleaser.
For a super stylish gift that won’t break the bank, this $3 pashmina (!) from Walmart is always a great option. And if you’re feeling creative you can even use it to wrap another present for a stunning present presentation (which is always appreciated). Plus it means less clean-up when the wrapping paper cleaning crew comes through. Hooray for less waste!
The next gift is an easy DIY idea that popped into our mind the other day. While browsing some fancy schmancy aroma diffuser kits (you know, the ones with oil, a vase and some sticks) we wondered if we could make our own on the cheap. So we did. One pack of $1 skewers from the grocery store plus a vase we happened to have laying around (picked up at Target for $3 a while ago) plus some yummy smelling liquid…
… magically became a chic little aroma diffuser. And you can find a big bottle of fragrance oil at any dollar store so this whole gift can easily come in under $5. Score! Due to our recent indoor air-pollution obsession, we decided to shy away from artificial fragrances (which can be irritating to some people) and use a smidge of our naturally scented Mrs. Meyers Clean Day All Purpose Cleaner in Lemon Verbena instead. It might sound weird to put soap in a vase and call it a room fragrance, but the naturally scented essential oils in the cleaning solution lightly scent the air for a refreshing grassy-lemon smell that’s pretty close to intoxicating without having to worry about any toxins.
In fact we liked it so much that we made two of them, one for the windowsill in the kitchen, and one for the open shelves in our living room. And every time we walk by it smells tantalizingly clean and fresh.
Another chic and always appreciated gift for under $15 is a potted orchid. From Lowe’s to Trader Joe’s you can snatch up a gorgeous and exotic little house plant that only needs a sunny spot and a smidge of water once a week. Easy and oh-so-elegant.
And of course we can’t forget our DIY magnet ornaments (the magnets can be easily secured with Liquid Nails for a strong bond) which will remind your giftee of your cute n’ crafty self each time they pull them out and slap them on the fridge come December:
Oh and here’s a super easy and fun gift we picked up at Target for $9.99. It’s an adorable sundae kit housed in a paint can (which makes sense coming from two chronic room painters like us). Best of all, it already looks so festive that a big bow around the can (or even the handle) is all ya need for this gift to be ready to go.
We hope you’ve enjoyed our lil’ holiday gift roundup. We’re elated to be reminded that the best gifts are thoughtful and personal- two things that can easily be accomplished without emptying your wallet. How about you guys, do you have any favorite cheap and creative gift ideas that you rely on from year to year? Spill the beans!
Update: You can check out all of our favorite holiday decor finds here – many of which are under $15!
The reed diffuser kit is an excellent idea! I cannot stomach paying $25 for these, so I will definitely be trying this version instead. Thanks! :-)
Our family LOVES Bananagrams! I come from a long line of Scrabble players and that game was a hit this summer.
Some great ideas Youngsters! I didn’t know that orchids could be purchased that cheap! I love giving Soy wax candles as little hostess gifts.
I bought my B mug from Anthro two years ago, and I still get compliments! I’m so glad they still have it in stock, and they haven’t raised the price! awesome.
Cara Beth Buie says
Love the ornament magnets. I’ve got my weekend craft project! Thanks, ya’ll!
bananagrams is the best! we make up themes and drink lots of wine…I recommend that game to anyone who likes scrabble (not my hubby- he is generally watching a movie or sports at this point.
omg bananagrams is so great for family functions! my family was in serious competition mode on thanksgiving. we sweated. GREAT gift idea.
Great gift ideas! I like the idea of your mix & match monograms…but do you by chance have a gallery of what each letter looks like?
Thank you so much for posting truly affordable holiday gift ideas. Sometimes I read through magazines and can’t believe what they think is “inexpensive”!
Hey KCapp- We actually do have a gallery of all the letters and symbols- and you can see it by following the “click to view monogram collection” link under the Mix & Match Monogram caption. Or, since we’re all about shortcuts, you can just click the link below:
Just be sure to get your orders in asap so we still have time to ship things out before Christmas is upon us! Thanks so much for your interest!
I am ON that scent diffuser too. How clever you guys are! Thank you.
I LOVE BANANAGRAMS! Everyone who plays with us gets hooked! I hadn’t thought of giving it as a gift this season… thanks for the idea!
This is a fabulouso post! So many great and reasonable ideas! Definitely the best gift suggestion list I’ve ever seen. And I think you just made my shopping list a little simpler! :) Thanks for the great/creative ideas! Merry Christmas!
CAROL S. says
Excellent ideas!! Will probably do the go bananas theme, really cute. So you like the scent of Mrs. Meyers Lemon Verbena? I tried it and had to return it. I was in love with my old Thymes expensive lemon fresh scent cleaning spray, but gave Mrs. Meyers a try…didn’t fly. Great idea though! I have one of those in a chestnut vanilla scent that I dropped $30 for!
Anna See says
I’ve given 4 Bananagrams games this year. Loads of fun!
Thank you so much for all the great ideas! I made 30 ornament magnets for my piano students, and they turned out SO CUTE that I even made some for my husband and myself. Your blog is the best!
My sister-in-law recently gave me the pashmina in purple – I love it! It was so nice that I couldn’t believe she found it at Wal-Mart!
I love the magnet idea! I think I will make those this weekend for our fridge, and maybe for my co-workers too!
I love the Lemon Verbena scent!
And thanks for the Bananagrams recommendation, that sounds like a perfect gift!
But what on earth is monkey bread mix? I make it from “scratch” with canned biscuits … is the mix just the cinnamon and sugar?
So excited that you guys are into our lil’ gift roundup. Banangrams is quite the crowd pleaser, eh? We love it around here and we already have half the family hooked. We figure after Christmas we’ll have the other half obsessed as well.
And Ellen, good question about the monkey bread mix, it actually has everything except for water inside, so it’s super easy to mail (we were sending it to Chicago) and throw together in an instant. I guess since it’s Caramel Spice flavored it has a bunch of spices and stuff along with the basics to create monkey bread. Dunno, but it looked adorable in that box and we’re sure it’ll taste delish. Mmm, carbs.
Sale alert! I visited Anthropologie at the Short Hills Mall (NJ) last night and the monogrammed mugs are on sale for $3.95! So, check out your local store! Also, love the banagrams! I’m going to purchase it for my cousin and will make her guess her gift by giving her real bananas and a box of graham crackers first :)
I thought i’d share an inexpensive and personal gift idea that i came up with for friends of ours this year instead of the usual gift card. Using flickr i found photos of the letters spelling their initials (in this case B & K)…best way to find these is in the groups ‘one letter’ and ‘punctuation’ i got the photos printed in black and white for a couple of dollars then i framed them in a triple photo frame, all up it cost me about $15 to put together and they absolutely LOVED it!
Also if you make the mistake i did and print the photos one size too small for the holes in the frame you can use some pretty coloured paper as a backing (i used a metalic green that i had left over from some invitations) stick the photos to this using some double sided tape…of course making sure they line up with the holes and voila! you’d never know it wasn’t deliberate
Love, love, love your site and all your ideas! Are the ‘mix and match’ monograms still available? I’m having trouble finding them in your ‘shop’.
Unfortunately they’re not. Everything in our shop is limited edition and those monograms had a good run but we’ve since brought some new stuff in (and will be adding even more stuff soon). Stay tuned…
“I AM ADDICTED TO PINTEREST!” There, I’ve confessed, whew, feels good! Saw your adorable idea for the DIY magnet ornaments. I copied it, but the magnets aren’t quite strong enough to do much more than hold the ornament to the fridge. Do you, by chance, remember where you purchased the magnets and if they created a “strong hold”? I have tried Joanne’s and Michael’s but they are pretty much the same strength.
I think they were from Office Max or Office Depot. Hope it helps!
Hi there! I thought that this was so great that I featured it in my “100 Jolly Christmas Crafts & Decorations”! Have a great day! http://www.aspectacledowl.com/100-christmas-crafts-decorations/