Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Gift baskets for Under $5!

I was thinking today after getting some e-mails asking me for ideas that it would be a good idea to post some creative inexpensive Christmas Ideas. My computer is acting like a FOOL right now, I don't know why it (The Computer) feels the need to be PMSing today but none the less it is.......so this might take me all day to get this up here, but I will!!

Where there is a will, there is a way!

Ok, so this year I have SIX teachers to buy for, plus a music teacher and art teacher. I feel the need more than ever to include the extra curricular teachers in the jolliness of Christmas now that I too am a teacher, I know how are they work!

And may I just say.....in the kindest way possible, only because I too have done this......don't skip the "extra" teachers. They work hard too!!

Being that our budget for Christmas is......ahem.......next to nothing, I knew I was going to have to get creative. I normally spend around $10 per teacher, but this year, that had to be cut in half. So....I could have opted for a $5 gift card to somewhere or put a little thought into it.

I choose to think. Aren't you glad? =)

What I did was very simple. ANYONE can do all these, there is nothing hard about them. Ok?


So.....may I present to you, Fabulous gift baskets for under $5:

Please note: Objects appear lager than in picture. (I've ALWAYS wanted to say that!!)

(And as a side note.....if by any chance any of my girl's teachers read this, PLEASE don't think I'm a cheap mom! I mean I AM a cheap mom, but not when it comes to giving! You get my point right??!!).

Step 1: Head to the dollar store!! This place is your friend. While there, I picked up 6 Christmas Baskets, which they had plenty of! Then, I headed over to the aisle where they sell cards and such and picked up the gift basket wraps. They sell them 2 for $1. SCORE! While there I also picked up some plastic spoons and ribbon. May I just say.....the dollar store has some awesome ribbon and oh ya........FOR A DOLLAR!!

Step 2: Head to your local craft store.

Here you will need to pick up Mason Jars.

Here is a picture of an 8 ounce jar but you need something like a 14 oz.

You may be wondering what you could do with these jars?!

Cookies in a jar!

Follow this link and they will hook you up with all kinds of inexpensive ideas to fill your jars up! This is a good project to do if you have more than one person to do it for!


On a side note.....there are TONS of things you can make in jars to give!

Ok, back to craft store......also pick up some Christmas Fabric about a yard which is ssooooooooo on sale right now, and also some chocolates that you can melt, over in the candy section.

And while your over in the candy section stop by the cake section and pick up some Wilton Cake Decorating bags (I'll explain those in a minute)

*Remember to bring a coupon to the craft store. You can almost ALWAYS find a 40% off to pretty much any craft store, look on their website as well as in the paper.

Step 3: Head to the grocery store.

You'll need to pick up all the ingredients you need for the cookies in a jar recipe that you choose. You'll also need to pick up a big can of hot chocolate mix, marshmallows and chocolate chips. Buy according to what you need! But remember, if you have extras to be a blessing to someone else!

Step 4: Head home and begin your assembly line!

Now......my dinning room looked like a STORM had passed through while I was doing this, but it was easy to clean up.

I did the cookies in a jar first. I put all of my ingredients in bowls and followed the directions, it went fairly quickly! You'll also need to trace a circle on your fabric to use as the decorative finish for the lids. I used a bowl to to trace and it worked well for the size needed. Make sure you include the rest of the recipe on a card tied to the jar!

Next I did the hot chocolate (since I already had the chocolate chips out). This was EASY and fun! And fast! See picture.

This is where you break out those Wilton Cake Decorating bags. Add the big layer of hot chocolate, chocolate chips and marshmallows.....tie with ribbon and fluff the top out! SOOO cute!! No exact measurements to this, just leave enough room for each layer!

Then I headed into the kitchen to start melting my chocolate to make chocolate covered pretzels and stirring spoons. Pretzels were easy! Just melt the chocolate in the microwave and dip away! You can use so many things to dip in chocolate.....I don't recommend any types of fruits as these baskets aren't refrigerated but you could with yours! The spoons were easy too, just make sure you let them dry on wax paper for at least 20 minutes before you cover them with the saran wrap.

I put the pretzels in the tin and covered them with wax paper. But you could put anything in there!

Step 5: Put everything into the basket.

I taped the stirring spoons onto the tin so it would look pretty but also so they wouldn't seem "lost" in the basket. I also put ribbon on EVERYTHING. It makes anything look fabulous!

Some might skip the step of adding the basket wrap to the basket.......Take it form someone who has been there done that.....the wrap is the KEY into making it look great and like it's had a lot of time put into it! And for .50 you can't beat that! Again, ribbon, ribbon, ribbon!!

I then had Taylor take index cards and write, "Merry Christmas from the Koziarz family". This was a great way to have her involved. Hope just would've cared less.....and the Kennyboo spent the time eating any and every chocolate chips that fell on the floor. =)

I then hole punched the card and tied it onto the basket!

I bought ALL of these things for these baskets for a little over $30! Divide that by 6 and you get: $5. BUT......we had extras left over so it's well under $5!

So....since we had extra jars, extra Wilton Cake decorating bags, and extra ingredients this is what I used to make the "extra" gifts. These will also be what Kris gives to a few people at work and our neighbor.

You know, I'm a busy mom just like many of you, but it's no excuse for not taking time to show those around us how much we love and appreciate them during this time of year. NO, it's not the "reason for the season" but giving is a huge part of it.

We can all grumble and complain about how bad the economy stinks and how tight money is, or we can get creative and put some major heart into our giving!

Use your coupons! Use your lists! This will save time and money! Shop around at different grocery stores for the deals!

But more than anything.....use your heart. I promise a little gift like hot chocolate, just the thought that you spent time on someone else.....that makes people smile!!

I love you all and I hope and pray you are able to get crafty and creative this season!! And be sure to share your ideas in the comments!


Sarah Martin said...

this is way better than Martha Stewart! You inspire me...

Faith said...

Very, very cute! I know I would have been happy to receive this as a teacher =)

ValleyGirl said...

Just one question: Why isn't this linked up to my "Reinventing Christmas" bloggy carnival post?! This is exactly the kind of thing I'd like to see there!!

I did a couple "cookies in a jar" gifts this year, too. They're actually quite pretty ~ and who doesn't love cookies with Christmas M&M's??!!

Nana Trish is Living the Dream said...

Nicki, you did a great job of getting inexpensive teacher's gifts and you did an excellent lesson on how to make it. Very cute! I know they will love them. Plus this is such a neat experience for the kids. Giving is such a great part of Christmas and you have given us a special idea. luv ya girl

Kay Martin said...

Virtuous woman ....Proverbs 31 woman!!! Beautiful baskets of love that are priceless, beyond compare. I most impressed and your photographic sharing for all of us just adds to your value.

In business talks I have been encouraging business people that this economy will show the champs from the slaggards. You're creativity kicking in because of your money needs proves my point.

I am truly impressed. Hear that sound? That is applause....take a bow. Well done!!!

Please give your hubby and those beautiful girls a hug for me. Make this be a beautiful Christ filled holiday of love for you all.

twondra said...

Wow! I'm impressed! Love the baskets! So cute.

Sharon Brumfield said...

Great Job!
I enjoy making the teachers gifts I give.
This year I hunted around and looked in the clearance sections of different sites. On the dayspring site I found coffee cups that have a chalkboard type coating so that you can write on them five dollars. And since I spent over 40 total...no shipping!
Then I made chocolate/peppermint sugar and a little bag of coffee.
I would probably say I spent 7 or 8 dollars a gift...but I only had three to do.
I love doing this stuff at Christmas.On the last day of school I am going to send a loaf of eggnog bread to school for the teacher. I found it on a website and thought it sounded great...well, I guess it sounds great to those who like eggnog.
Oh, we went to see the gingerbread competition in Asheville last night. It was great!

The Patterson 5 said...

These are great gift ideas! Thanks!

Rebecca Jo said...

WOW!!!! What an incredible & really cute idea!!!!

Jennifer said...

These are fantastic...and thanks for the step by step instructions. I'm famous for getting "everything" together and wanting to finish a project (get rid of the mess...) and then find out I'm missing something - or two! Anyone would love to receive these - simply because they are filled with so much thought!

Ginger said...

Great ideas for a great price! As a teacher I love things like this..knowing it's made with such thought, attention and love!

Anonymous said...

This is wonderful! I am going to go by the dollar store on my way home to make some of these for family! Thanks--Heather