The holidays hit and suddenly thoughts turn to finances. Will you have enough this year to get everyone something nice? The panic starts to set in as you wearily trudge through the malls searching for anything in your price range.
It doesn't have to be this way. You can purchase or make inexpensive Christmas gifts that your recipients will love. You'll feel better knowing you didn't blow your budget and January isn't going to come along with shocking credit card bills.
Start by making a list of everyone you want to give Christmas gifts to. You may decide to get your children what they want from the toy store but then make everyone else's gift.
Once you have your list ready, start thinking of ideas for gifts that will match everyone's personality. If you're stumped, you can always go back when an idea hits you. This list will also keep track of everyone you have to buy for, so you can make sure you don't spend too much on one person and not have enough to buy gifts for everyone else on your list.
Photographs make wonderful holiday gifts for everyone on the list. Digital cameras have made it easy for everyone to take a decent photo. And you don't have to spend money on film or developing. You can do everything right from your home computer.
Plan to take photos that could work for Aunt Rose as well as a friend from work. Your children and pets can always make for great subjects. But you can also take architectural photos of your neighborhood or flowers or anything that catches your eye. Be creative and step outside of your comfort zone.
Upload your photos and see which ones would look great in picture frame favors. Select the same one for everyone or several different ones. Then, print them on the best quality setting onto photo paper.
Photo paper has come way down in price, so you can make a nice bundle of presents for very little cash outlay. Only after you have printed your photos should you begin shopping for frames. You can take the photos with you to the store to see which frames they look best in.
If you give baby picture frames, they shouldn't be too large, as a recipient might not have room to display it. Smaller desk sized photos are nice choices as everyone has a mantle or coffee table or desk they can display one more photo on.
Choose a frame that you think would go with the recipient's decor, not necessarily what you would choose for your own home. If your friend has an ultra-modern home, don't show up with an ornate Victorian frame. She won't want to display it because it will clash with her decor. Instead, choose a plain black frame that will go with everything.
For friends, you can give a photo of a place you went together or one of the two of you together. Relatives love to see how the kids have grown every year.
Try to arrange to get everyone in the photo by having a neighbor take a family shot for you. You can send it off in a nice frame to relatives you won't be seeing over the holidays. The flat dimension of a frame makes it ideal to mail cheaply.
Get your mind in gear for other presents you can make with photos. Have t-shirts made for the kids with the dog on the front or have ceramic mugs with funny pictures of you and your friends made for the book club.