By Erin Huffstetler | 09/19/2020 | 5 Comments
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Every year I challenge myself to keep my Christmas spending to $100 or less. That’s $100 to buy gifts for every person on our family’s Christmas list. Normally, I meet this goal by shopping second-hand, taking advantage of freebies and making some of my gifts. But this year, yard sales and thrift stores aren’t an option, so I’ve decided to take a different approach.
This year I’ll be making most of my gifts, using supplies I already have on hand.
Over time, I’ve built an extensive craft stash, consisting mostly of things that have either been given to me, or that I’ve picked up cheap from yard sales and thrift stores. So, this will be a good opportunity to put some of those supplies to use, while making thoughtful gifts, and sticking to my budget.
Here’s how I’ve decided to calculate the cost of this year’s Christmas gifts:
- If I use a supply that won’t need to replaced, I won’t count the cost. Making something out of fabric scraps would be an example of this.
- If I use a supply that I’ll eventually have to replenish, I’ll count the cost. Using some of my elastic to make scrunchies would be an example of this. I use elastic all the time, so any elastic I use will have to be replaced at some point.
- If I have to buy a specific supply to complete a gift, that will obviously count as an expense. I’m going to try to make things that I have the supplies for, but there will likely be a few exceptions along the way.
My current focus is on getting everything made, so I haven’t started tabulating the cost of everything yet, but you’ll see I’ve made notes throughout the post about which materials I’ll be counting in my total.
I should also mention that I’ll be sharing instructions for the homemade gifts that I make. So, if one of these gift ideas seems like the perfect fit for someone on your gift list, you can make it, too. Just look for the link to the tutorial in this post, or check out my homemade gifts index, to view every homemade gift idea that I’ve ever shared.
Okay, now that you know my plan for this year’s Christmas Under $100 Challenge, let me show you what I’ve made so far.
My girls have really enjoyed having an advent calendar the last two years, so I’ll be doing one again this year. Here’s the free printable for my advent calendar, if you’d like to use it.
I have a bunch of Christmas fabric that I inherited from my husband’s aunt, so I used some of it to make the girls’ Christmas scunchies. I’m thinking about making them each one more, so they’ll get one each week, leading up to Christmas. I did that last year with Christmas socks, and it was fun.
I don’t have any cost in the fabric, but I will be calculating the cost of the elastic.
Update: I decided to go ahead and make two more scrunchies. So, now they’ll each get one each week in December.
This summer, a former craft store owner gave me some of the remaining inventory from her store. Lucky me! These Christmas sun catchers were in one of the boxes, along with a bunch of sun catcher paint. So, I decided to tuck them in the girls’ advent calendar. It’ll be a fun project while they’re both home.
I love making things out of old jeans, so I made them each a coin purse out of the front pocket of a pair of jeans. The zippers were given to me, so I don’t have any cost in these.
When I made these fabric envelopes, my youngest daughter went nuts over them, so I decided to stick them in her advent calendar.
I showed my oldest daughter some of the reusable food covers I’ve been making on a recent Zoom call, and she asked if I’d make here one of the can covers. So, I’m sticking this one in one of her advent calendar pockets.
And I’ve still been requesting freebies, but I haven’t gotten as many this year, partly because my girls often request them before I get a chance to. I did manage to snag a few free stickers, hair products and a tea sample for their advent calendar, though.
I now officially have all 24 pockets of their advent calendar filled!
Let me show you what I’ve made for my oldest daughter.
Scrunchies are definitely in at the moment, so I made several to stick in her stocking. These were all made out of fabric that was given to me. I made the blue one in the upper right corner out of a shirt that belonged to her great aunt. And there’s a fifth black velvet scrunchie that I overlooked when I was photographing these.
I made this little pyramid earbud case out of a bit of vintage fabric in my stash. It has a keychain, so she can hang it on her backpack. I’m hoping the shape of the case, paired with the layer of batting that I quilted to the outer fabric, will help to keep her earbuds from getting crushed. This will mostly likely be a stocking stuffer.
I don’t have any cost in making this. The fabric, zipper and keychain were given to me, and the batting was a scrap from another project.
I made both of my girls a maxi pad pouch to give them a discreet way to carry pads in their bag. These will be going in their stockings. I don’t have any cost in these, since I used fabric and snaps that had been given to me.
The pot scrubbers that I made for my husband’s stocking last year have held up really well. Now that my oldest is off at college, I decided to make some for her stocking.
I have a few other stocking stuffers planned for her, and will share them as I get them made.
Now, let me show you the gifts I’ve made for her so far.
I planned to make both of my girls reusable sandwich bags last Christmas, but I ran out of time. So, I prioritized this project this year, and made them each two. I had to buy cotton laminate and liner for the bags, but I used thread that was given to me.
I also made them each a matching lunchbox silverware placemat roll. This is the one I made for my oldest daughter.
Now that she lives in a dorm, she has to lug her laundry down four floors to wash it. So, I made her a big and sturdy laundry bag. Funnily enough, she ended up asking if I had a spare one about a month after I made this one.
I keep a big bin of worn out jeans on hand for projects, so I dug out a pair of jeans, and made her a set of jean pocket potholders. Aren’t they fun? The backing fabric was a scrap from my scrap bin, but I will need to calculate the cost of the batting that I used.
I had a surplus of white fabric that had been given to me over the years, so this summer, I decided to sew up a bunch of white kitchen towels and cloth napkins and experiment with Shibori tie-dye techniques. This is one of the towels that I made. It matches the cloth napkins that I gave her for her birthday.
I was just trying to use up some fabric and dye that I had on hand, so I don’t have any cost in this gift.
My oldest daughter eats a lot of soup, so now that she’s away at college, I thought she’d enjoy her own set of soup bowl cozies. I made these from fabric scraps, but I need to calculate the cost of the batting.
Since she gets migraines, I decided to make her one of my lavender eye pillows in the new succulent fabric that I’m offering in the shop this year.
I also decided to make her one of my heating pads. I sell these in my shop, so I’ll have to calculate the cost of all the materials. Funnily enough, she asked me for one the day after I made it.
And to cover the other end of the spectrum, I also made her an ice pack with a removable cover. I used one of my vintage towels to make the cover, and snagged two plastic sandwich bags from the junk drawer. So, this was another no-cost gift.
I still had a few more scraps of bee fabric left over after I made the soup bowl cozies, so I also made her a set of cord wraps to help her tame all the cords that come with dorm life. In total, there are three big ones and three little ones. The batting came out of my scrap bin. The interfacing was given to me, and the snaps were rescued from a neighbor’s curb pile several years ago.
I made this zipper pouch out of an upholstery sample that someone gave me. The black dots are raised and fuzzy. The zipper came out of the large stash of zippers that have been given to me over the years. So, this is another no-cost gift.
After making the jean pocket coin purses, I couldn’t resist making a larger version. So, these are pencil pouch size. I made one for each of my daughters.
This Wet Brush Shower Brush is the one-and-only store-bought purchase that I plan to make for my oldest daughter. I bought each of my girls a Wet Brush several years ago, and they love them. So, when I saw they make a version to use in the shower, complete with a hook at the end for hanging, I decided to buy them each one for Christmas. I watched the prices on Amazon, and bought this one when the price dropped to $5.56. Then, I paid for it with part of the $25 Amazon gift card that came with our AirMedCare subscription.
I still have a bunch of other things that I plan to make for my oldest daughter. I’ll share those as I cross projects off my to-do list.
In the meantime, let me show you what I’ve made for my youngest daughter so far.
These handmade scrunchies will be going in her stocking. I bought the chenille crocheted one at a craft show last year for a dollar, and made the rest using fabric that was given to me. The floral one in the bottom right corner was made out of a vintage sheet. So, my cost in these is $1 + the cost of the elastic.
This is the earbud case that I made for my youngest daughter. It’s made from the same vintage sheet that I made that scrunchie out of. She spotted it in my stash recently, and went nuts over it.
Here’s the maxi pad pouch that I made for my youngest daughter’s stocking. As you can see, it’ll hold several pads.
These are the reusable sandwich bags that I made her. I picked out a different pattern for each girl.
And here’s the matching lunchbox silverware placemat roll to go with it.
I made her a set of cord wraps out of some of my smallest fabric and batting scraps – three small ones and three big ones. The Velcro was leftover from making the reusable sandwich bags, and the interfacing that I used was given to me.
I also made her a lavender eye pillow in the one of the new fabrics I’ll be offering in my shop this holiday season.
Like her sister, she also recently hit me up for a hamper or laundry bag for her room. So, I made her a laundry bag, too.
As luck would have it, I had the same upholstery scrap in blue, so I was able to make her a zipper pouch in the same pattern as her sister’s. This was another no-cost project.
She’ll also be getting one of these jean pocket zipper pouches.
And I believe I scored this free sample set on Facebook. I was really impressed with how nice it was when it came. It has a little shampoo, conditioner and hair spray. My daughter is going to love it.
That’s as far as I’ve gotten with her gifts. I’m excited to show you the other things that I plan to make for her.
Guys are tough to buy (or make) for, so to date, I’ve only made my husband another batch of scrubbers for his stocking (exciting I know). But I’ve slowly been coming up with meaningful gifts that I can make him. So stay tuned, it’s going to get more interesting.
In the meantime, we’ll move on to extended family and friends.
I made my mom a set of jean pocket potholders …
and a Shirbori tie-dye towel. Both were made using materials I had on hand (and wanted to use up), so I don’t have any cost in either.
I also made my Mother-in-Law a set of potholders and a towel…
and I did the same for a close friend of ours.
I made her husband a car trash can (that’s designed to fit over the shifter) and a set of cord wraps.
We always bring her dog a gift, too, so I made a couple dog tug toys out of old t-shirts. This is the first year I’ve gone the homemade route, and I think the toys are actually a lot more durable than anything we’ve ever bought.
We buy gifts for nieces and nephews, until they’re 18. On my side of the family, we have a total of five nieces and nephews to buy for (one niece is an only child, and the other four are siblings).
I decided to make a Scunchie of the Month Club for my niece. I sewed 12 scunchies – one for each month, and I’ll be wrapping each one individually, with instruction to open one each month. Should be fun. All of the fabrics that I used were given to me, so I just have the cost of elastic in this gift.
Since my other niece and nephews are all in the same family, I like to give them one big gift. I figure it cuts down on clutter, and hopefully helps to keep their Christmas from feeling so overwhelming. I haven’t decided what I’ll be making them yet.
We always give our awesome mailman a gift. He works hard picking up all the outgoing My Frugal Home shop orders, and dropping off the supplies that go into making them. This year, I bought this handmade keychain from another maker on Amazon, and paid for it with part of that gift card that came with our AirMedCare subscription.
On my husband’s side of the family, we have two nephews to buy for. I haven’t made their gifts yet, but I have an awesome idea that I can’t wait to share with you.
And I’m still fleshing out ideas for my dad, a good guy friend of ours. If guy gifts always stump you, stay tuned because I’m working on a big list of homemade gifts for guys.
I’ll be updating this post throughout the season, so check back often, to see how everything comes together.
In the meantime, be sure to check out my Christmas under $100 challenges from previous years:
And don’t miss the year I did Christmas for free.