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Help! Wonderful Christmas but I'm skint

(40 Posts)
bikerlou Fri 14-Oct-16 23:45:56

Hi everyone
This is going to be the best christmas ever. My christmas hating husband has left me so instead of his usual humbuggery I've accepted an invite to a big family do and it's going to be a,azing the full works.
Problem is I'm totally skint because of the separation and whilst my relatives will not expect much I do need to make a big but inexpensive effort with gifts.
I'm going to make some sloe gin for the hosts with sloes I picked myself and wholesale gin and get some pretty shot glasses, one each so that's one down.
but there are children and other adults too and I'll need to buy either inexpensive gifts or make things.
Any ideas much appreciated.

Blondie1984 Fri 14-Oct-16 23:49:42

In the past I have bought some kilner jars and filled them with a fairly standard bubble bath - then popped a gift tag on with some witty instructions written a bit like a recipe ....these have always gone down well

I noticed that kilner jars are on offer in sainsburys at the moment so definitely worth getting them now if you think you might want to give it a go

wonderingsoul Sat 15-Oct-16 00:02:54

Have a wonderfull christmas.

I love the gin idea.

How many adults are we talking? Do they drink to?
Hiw many children? If so are they related as a biard game for them to share would work well?
Even a board game for each family?
Pound land do books for children book each and a chocolate would do.

Skittle vodka is lovely and coukd be poured into jam jar or even minuiter drink bottle. And shared out. With maybe a nice tumbler from pound land.

Home made jam and chutney is quite easy to make and shouldnt cost too much?

Get some christmas shaped moulds. Melt some chocolate and wrap them up nicely in celeohane/nice box.

Home made christmas cookies/shortbread

Maybe do couple presents? Save some on personally fifts but tailor it to them? Soo aunty jess and her husband like movies.. again pound land jobby movie.. popcorn.. sweets but put together nicely..

Hope you have a lovely time though what ever

Chocolateteabag Sat 15-Oct-16 09:08:00

How close are you to them geographically? Would offers of babysitting for a night(or weekend) work? You could make up a proper voucher?

Or cooking afternoon (or makeup or craft whatever) for a younger child? Again - could wrap it with a wooden spoon or makeup brush.

But then actually make the plan and follow through - which means it's remembered as a real present not just the offer/thought that fell through?

How are you on charity shop presents? I have just got DH two DVD's of films he lives for £3(total) as they include the deleted scenes etc which he won't have seen. Also got the DCs 2 Christmassy DVD's for the run up. I have also given charity shop books as presents, as well as using cups/mason jars as holders for homemade presents as PP suggest above.

Pinterest also has lots of ideas for homemade gifts - hot chocolate and cake kits look good

HandbagCrazy Sat 15-Oct-16 09:14:16

When we had very little money I made hampers as gifts - I mixed homemade (jam, chutney, bread, cake) and shop bought (alcohol miniatures, cheese, crackers, chocolates). The homemade stuff was cheap (I bought basic ingredients) and the shop bought was either on offer or from pound land.
This also had the benefit of covering more than one person - I gave one per household rather than one each fsmile

As it is, when we got a bit more money, I bought 'proper presents' and my parents, PIL and sister all said thanks but asked for a hamper next time so I've just carried on, although I tend to chuck a small present each in them now.

bikerlou Sat 15-Oct-16 09:19:13

Fantastic ideas thanks everyone.

Thumbcat Sat 15-Oct-16 09:23:10

For kids you can put in a jar all they'll need to make some cakes or biscuits and put the recipe on a card tied round the jar with a little wooden spoon.

sashh Sat 15-Oct-16 09:28:34

One idea I heard for toddlers is to blow up a packet of balloons and put them in a big box wrapped up - they think it is fantastic.

If you are making gin how about chutneys and pickles? One I make is cheap, and not a pickle or a chutney but feta cheese with herbs.

Buy the cheapest feta cheese you can, or Lidl pretend, and a packet of mixed dried herbs and a bottle of oil - olive is best but rapeseed works too.

Cut the cheese in to chuncks about the size of a match box. Empty the herbs on to the worktop and press the cheese on to it, it will stick to the cheese turn it over so there are herbs on each side - put in a jam jar and cover with the oil.

Cheap knitting needles (charity shop) with a ball of yarn and a pattern for a scarf?

The various wine clubs (Virgin / Naked) usually have offers on a first case, could you afford a case to give as a joint present to all the adults?

Board games can make fun joint gifts, or you could get something like a murder mystery for you all to play one day (assuming you are going to be there for a couple of days).

If they do not have a dishwasher where you are going wrap a bottle of dish-washing liquid up with a note saying you will do all the dishes on Xmas day. Then do them.

Charity shops are good for books and DVDs. Is anyone off to uni next year? A set of charity crockery (all mismatched) would be good - most students have ikea stuff and it gets mixed up.

The pound shop currently has spider led lights but you can take the spiders off and you have plain battery powered LED lights that might make a fun gift - can be put in a jam jar as a lamp.

SugarMiceInTheRain Sat 15-Oct-16 09:30:20

I did the layered jars of ingredients for kids with a recipe so they could make cookies, brownies, gingerbread men (in the case of the latter I tied a cutter to the jar. Went down very well with families.

Again I did hampers (and still do) with biscotti, a small Christmas cake, homemade mincemeat, homemade jam or chutney and maybe some shortbread. Everyone except my dad and stepmum hmm really liked them. Stepmum took me aside and said it goes to waste so could they just have a framed photo of the kids. I'm confident my baking skills are good so it's just them!! grin

Piehunter Sat 15-Oct-16 09:33:11

Cellophane is your friend, a couple of years ago I did 2X Poundland chocolate items (they were well presented in christmassy cardboard packaging) and a mug and teddy (£4 total) for nephews and niece and wrapped them in cellophane (YouTube!) with a bow and tag at the top. Saw similar being sold on local craft market for £10+ it looks like you've made far more effort for some reason! Buy off ebay ideally, expensive from florists. Poundland also do blurays and Dvds.

ThanksForAllTheFish Sat 15-Oct-16 09:42:56

I say arrange a secret Santa for the adults. Set a budget of say £30/ £40 and each adult buys one gift for another adult. We started this with PIL and with DH family a few years ago and it works well. Everyone gets one decent gift and it keeps the budget down.

For children I would say use the next Argos 3 for 2 when it comes along and check out the clearance sections. I got DN (4) the gator goal game for less than £5 the other week (I think it may have been in Tesco or Argos) and I know he will love it. Check out the ongoing thread for bargains (I think it's in part 10 now- usually has the word unicorn or Robert in the title) some savvy bargain hunters on there and all the latest deals are linked.

I'm sure your family will appreciate things are tight financially due to your break up and be happy to help with suggestions of less expensive gift ideas for the children. I know if someone asked ideas for DD and I know they we're skint I would suggest an inexpensive thing I know she would love.

Also if you are catering it might be good to suggest people bring things along. So perhaps someone could bring the dessert or Christmas pudding. Someone else could get the crackers, another could bring a cheese selection, someone else could get the cranberry sauce etc. If people are getting fed I find they are happy to bring something along. I always offer if we are going over to PIL but they usually say not to bring anything. I still tend to bake nice gingerbread / festive cookies and bring them for later on in the evening.

ThanksForAllTheFish Sat 15-Oct-16 09:46:26

Sorry just re read the original post and you are not hosting. Scrap the last part about getting people to bring food then.

Mylittlelights Sat 15-Oct-16 09:46:26

Cake in a mug

Poundland mugs

Dry Ingredients in a food bag, inside the mug, Instructions attached.

Wayfarersonbaby Sat 15-Oct-16 11:04:20

How old are the children? The Works do a great 10 for £10 on children's books offer and they often have Christmassy books this time of year. A book or two plus a choc santa and job's a good un for little kids. Or make up a "chocolate hamper" - an ordinary box covered in cheap Christmas paper, filled with an assortment of inexpensive choc from WHSmith, Aldi, Tesco etc. for a fiver or less, and cover with some cellophane and sparkly ribbon - small children love it! Alternatively a cheap mug with a hot choc sachet plus a bag of marshmallows is great; I've also had success with a couple of biscuit cutters plus a pre-mixed cookie dough pack (you can get for a pound or so in Tesco) plus some writing icing and sprinkles all wrapped up in cellophane - again less than a fiver. Sweetie cones also go down well - a huge bunch of market pic and mix in some cellophane or a cellophane cone massively impresses small children and can cost very little. (You can get rolls of cellophane in Tiger and on ebay etc.)

I've also recently found good cheap kids' things in Superdrug (their Flutter range has bath bombs, photo frames and other tween girl stuff super-cheap - currently reduced to a pound or a couple of pounds per item). Tiger is fab for small kids too and for stationery and bits for tweens.

bimbobaggins Sat 15-Oct-16 13:08:27


Don't have any tips but just wanted to say you will have a wonderful day anyway wether you are skint or not. I was in a similar situation, my ex was a misery guts who sucked any joy out of Christmas and it was a great feeling having my first Christmas with just my ds and I.

Stylingwax Sat 15-Oct-16 13:19:16

I am excited about Christmas for you grin and love the above ideas and have found chocolate lollies (you can find mounds for pence on Amazon) are just fab.

VoldemortsNipple Sat 15-Oct-16 13:46:38

Homemade sugar scrub is so cheap to make and again looks great in a kilner jar.

I've been making candy cane sugar scrub from a recipe I found on Pinterest. All you need is granulated sugar, olive or coconut oil or a mixture of the two and some peppermint essential oil (about £2 on eBay) I've added some red food colouring to half of it and layered it like a candy cane.

You can adapt the recipe by adding different essential oils.

Another family gift could be a movie night hamper filled with popcorn, sweets, chocolate, and a couple of cheap family DVD classics. Throw in some plastic or disposable popcorn boxes and wrap with cellophane.

MTWTFSS Sat 15-Oct-16 16:22:03

My sister is skint. She is making me homemade cookies grin Better than any bought gift!

frazzled74 Sat 15-Oct-16 16:32:44

I would save yourself all the time and energy in making children's gifts, pound land book and an Aldi chocolate Santa is a lovely present . Your family will appreciate that you aren't flush this year . The book people sometimes do sets of books that can be split up as well.

KC225 Sat 15-Oct-16 16:33:08

Not sure if you have family or friends nearby but a when the kids were at nursery one single mum (her mother lived walking distance) sent out an email saying from the 1st December she was available to do weekday 'christmas dos' babysitting £20 till midnight. £5 per half an hour after midnight. Parents were snapping her up, she said it paid for her Christmas things.

PotteringAlong Sat 15-Oct-16 16:36:32

The book people have got a flash sale on - it's been extended and finishes tonight. Get one of their 10 books for £10 things and split them?

chanie44 Sat 15-Oct-16 17:19:07

Suggest to your family that you will only buy presents for the children. If I had a relative who was skint, I'd prefer they didn't spend a penny on me.

For the adults, how about you arrange the entertainment like doing a quiz or something.

If you wanted to get a token present, how about some Xmas socks. They sell this in tesco, 3 for £5. I bought some last year as presents and everyone enjoyed wearing them.

Whatsername17 Sat 15-Oct-16 18:52:45

Wilkos have some old fashioned milk bottle style jars filled with ingredients to make fancy chocolate brownies/muffins etc for £4. Alternatively, my dh is a primary school teacher and one of his favourite gifts last year was a nice chutney and a posh cheese wrapped in cellophane. Food gifts are always good! For the kids, check out the supermarket offers or boots 3 4 2.

inneedofchocolate Sat 15-Oct-16 20:36:49

What about a movie hamper per family?Family dvd, popcorn and some munchies wrapped in cellophane.

Soupandasandwich Sat 15-Oct-16 21:50:09

Homemade marmalade and a loaf of homemade bread with breakfast teabags in a breakfast hamper? Seville oranges are about £2.50kg on Waitrose website, buy jam sugar (£2.00kg Tesco) and either save old jars to reuse or buy on Amazon. Pack of breadmix to make bread rolls/loaf the night before. We did this a few years ago and it was very well received as well as being quite cheap. One per family group.
For children, what about a pinata? I buy packs of 100 pinata gifts on Amazon for around £11. Papier Mache round a balloon. When dry, paint/decorate (not sure if you have dcs, if so they could help). Cut in half, fill with toys (two or three per recipient) and stick with masking tape. Decorate over the join. Attach ribbon/string so they can be hung up.

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