I will never forget one of my last Christmases with my grandma.
She had given me a small box carefully wrapped up (which in itself was a gift, because I’m pretty sure her arthritis made it painful to wrap anything).
I pulled off the wrapping paper like it was sacred. Her blue eyes shined and her dimpled smile overtook her deeply wrinkled face as she watched me. Under the paper was a small black jewelry box.
I opened it in wonder.
Inside was a small ring woven with gold and silver and set with a tiny diamond. The band was worn through at the back.
“It was my engagement ring,” she said, smiling and crying.
I knew this was probably one of her most treasured belongings. I knew how poor they were when they first got married—and it was a beautiful, enduring marriage up until my grandpa died. I have treasured that ring ever since.
Most of my favorite gifts I received from my grandmothers have been re-gifted: an antique tea kettle, a plate, silverware, an oil lamp, a step-stool (the irony of me having it when I’m 5’10” is not lost on me). I reflect on the thought my grandmas put behind these gifts (which typically came with a story) as I move forward with the holiday season.
Like them, I find that one of the biggest struggles of the holidays is trying to find a considerate gift while staying on budget. Personally, I prefer personal homemade and local gifts, because the effort and time as part of the gift.
To me, these mean more than the usual chain-bought gifts. Here are my top 15 simple, inexpensive gifts:
2. Candles. For an extra personal touch, sometimes I stamp the candle.
3. Hand-dipped pencils. My kids love these in their stockings.
5. Homemade coasters. I’ve made these several times and they’re always a hit!
7. A potted plant.
8. A journal. For writer friends.
9. Homemade headbands.
10. Gift card to a favorite shop, tailored to their interests.
11. A mug with hot chocolate or teas inside. For an extra personal touch, sometimes I draw on the mug with a sharpie.
12. A DVD and popcorn. I know I’ve seen a lot of the older movies in bins for five dollars.
13. A scarf and/or hat.
14. Painted glasses.
15. Homemade dog biscuits. For pooch pals.
Regardless of what I get my family and friends, I try remember the spirit of love and giving behind it and hope that the season is less about stuff and more about expressions of love.
For more last-minute homemade gift inspiration, check out this article, the elephant journal mindful market, or this gorgeous gift guide.
Author: Lindsay Lock
Image: Author’s Own; eren/flickr
Editor: Toby Israel