When Thoughts Count: Poverty-Friendly Christmas Gift Ideas for 2011

Santa Clausen never Looked so Good!

I was reading Girlys’ Blog the other day, where she wondered how to buy Holiday Gifts on her current budget. She wrote, ” I’m wondering if anyone will accept a macaroni-spray-painted-jar as a Christmas gift. It was a hit when I was 7.”

This got me to thinking…

Christmas gift-giving in some families is a sort of competition. You bought me a nice pair of Reindeer pajamas worth $12.99? I gave you a great, re-gifted pair of glittery snowman socks. Hand-knitted by our dead granny. Back in 1972! Boo-Yah! -

 jing-a-ling-ling!!! 

Other Re-Giftables which you should now scour your house and closets for include:

  1. Candles (unburned)
  2. Scarves (snot-free, please; better check first)
  3. Last Christmases underwear your mother bought you (preferably un-used, and still in the wrapper)
  4. Unused or ‘slightly broken, bulky kitchen appliances, still in the box
  5. Anything you find, still in the box
  6. Last Years Fruit Cake, still in the can
  7. Toys your toddlers have outgrown, spit removed
  8. ALL Sweaters with Snowmen, Santas, Snowflakes, Reindeer or Christmas Trees on them
  9. Picture Frames (but make sure to fill them with photographs of you, having more fun with other people, people you barely know, people who do not require Christmas gifts from you)
  10. Used Gift Cards (used up American Express gift cards are especially impressive!)

I’m quite the crafty sort, and many years past, did I not avoid expensive shopping with ‘crafty’ gifts that I had claimed possessed an inherent value, far greater than your store-bought kitsch? My CRAYON PORTRAIT of your cat, lovingly drawn on the back of a cereal box, certainly said ‘I love you’ (as long as it costs me under $1.00). My estimated gift value?  $250.0 (and even more if I was famous; Picasso woulda charged $250,000.00 for the same scribble) Total cost to me, including wrapping paper and bows?. $1. 48

And that doesn’t even include the wear and tear on my crayons!

I out-gifted you on Christmas, Once Again, poor fools!

As we struggle to balance finances and relationship-preservation this Holiday Season, trying so desperately not to insult loved ones with cheap gifts, may I suggest, via Girly, that we all just make our gifts this year? Hand crafted gifts are a time-honored tradition. And since it worked for you when you were 7, or even 4, years old, it should still work for us today. I mean, if our family and friends really loved us, that is. They would praise us for our thoughtfulness.

It is the thought that counts, right?

Well, then, I thought to give you this stick I found on my lawn this afternoon.

Stick it to 'em with this Merry Christmas Gift!

And once that sad, depressed, recently divorced brother reads the gift tag you’ve thoughtfully attached, he’ll smile, nod appreciatively, and completely ‘get’ your special gift. 

Give the Gift of an Inflated Ego this Holiday!

If they do not appreciate our hand-crafted gifts, then likewise, it only stands to reason, they must not appreciate us. And therefore, we can erase their names from our Christmas Gift List next year. This may prove difficult when your own 7-year-old cries on Christmas morning, because all you gave him was a jar covered in gold-spray-painted macaroni. But if you set a trap, and put a mouse in that jar, your status will be instantly restored. (just remember to poke holes in the lid)

Give your kid a PET for christmas this year - a mouse in a macaroni-covered jar!

So check back here, all month-long, and get free ideas for plenty of cheap, hand-crafted crap to give your family for Christmas this year. Most won’t require any expense whatsoever, and quite often, no wrapping, either. Mostly because it’s hard to gift wrap a gold tree branch, or a used trash can, decorated with your own personal holiday graffiti. But Remember, It’s the thought that counts. And, you thought, “Hey! I think I’ll save a whole buncha money this year! I’ll give poopy gifts to all!”

Lets’ work together to make this the Crappiest Happiest Holidays Yet!

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Categories: 4 LAFFS | Tags: , , , , , , , | 35 Comments

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35 thoughts on “When Thoughts Count: Poverty-Friendly Christmas Gift Ideas for 2011

  1. You are a fucking genius. I knew I followed you for a good reason. Exxxxxellent.

    • And, may I say, You are an inspired, ingenius soul, yourself? (and not just for having the wisdom to follow me).

  2. Ooooh. Love it. And perhaps I could spray paint and add glitter to any turds of the dog across the road found on my lawn before dropping them (in a plastic bag of course) back in their letterbox.

    • Sounds to me like a PERFECT Christmas gift for your neighbors. Plus, imagine how ripe they will smell in that hot holiday weather you have coming your way..

  3. Gemma Sidney

    This is great, just great. This year I’ll need to get creative as my cash has made itself scarce. I really like your stick idea. It’s something light and easy that will fit in my hand luggage – and I can say I got it in Paris. Awesomer.

  4. Dr. Jensen

    Having been the artistic type all my life, I learned early on that old family members (grandparents and occasionally aunts/uncles) certainly appreciate charcoal sketches or paintings. A while back on Oddities I saw a man who made paintings with his own blood–if you’re stripped for cash to buy paint. And in some stores you might be able to get some cheap canvas, around $5 for a 5-pack. Nothing says THOUGHTFUL like cutting your arm open for some painting supplies.

    “I nearly bled to death to make you this painting of your cat. I hope you appreciate it.”

    Being poor, I can definitely appreciate cheap gift ideas. Old video games I don’t play anymore/haven’t touched in a long time work well for some distant friends. Make jewelry out of all those popped or spare buttons in your sewing kit; rip apart an ugly old sweater and make embroidered holiday towels or pillowcases (or, more realistically, dishrags). Make play-doh out of corn starch and water for the little brats and store it in a nice stinky Tupperware that sat in the fridge with leftover chicken for two months.

    The list goes on and on!

    • Dr. Jensen…do you have a call-in radio show? Yet? (a-la Frasier Crane style?)

      Those sweater ideas are sweet. Buttons offer a universe of creative opportunities. I am just hoping a few of these playful ideas will show up on your blog this Holiday season.

      • Dr. Jensen

        Despite my deep love/hate relationship with the holidays, I just might; all the Christmas events on my avatar sites get me into a ridiculously festive mood, and I need to make some gifts anyways–even some long-awaited birthday gifts. D:

  5. I.am.TOTALLY giving sticks for Christmas this year!!! We lost tons of trees this year from the October 30th storm.

    And Tinkles the mouse is soooo adorable.

    • Sounds like your whole christmas shopping list just fell right into your lap, via the front lawn! (and Twinkles the mouse is more comfortable when you bring the outdoors, indoors)

  6. Pingback: It’s Okay | THE DAILY HELLO

  7. NMHW

    Fan-bloody-tastic ideas!!! Love the gold sprayed dog poo from neighbors dog… love the sweater-turned-potholders! Such creative people!!

  8. There isn’t a whole lot of crap that can’t be improved by covering it with gold foil. That’s just the way it is. Gold foil just makes even a stick look like a treasure. You’ve just saved me hundreds of dollars, girl!

  9. Great work! I love it!

    • Maybe you could gold-foil-wrap a basket of sticks, and give them out to your hotel guests this merry Holiday season? Especially nice: dip them in chocolate first :D

  10. These are all excellent ideas. Unfortunately, I know a few folks who would likely try using the stick on me if that’s what I gave them. So, if you’re going to try that one, do as I would and give yourself a bigger stick first. Or maybe a more formidable weapon.

    • You make a good point, Steve; know your audience!

      My advice column on properly gift-tagging sticks will apear next week!

  11. Have you seen the Amy Sedaris book “Crafts for Poor People”? It’s hilarious and so reminds me of your post. If you run out of gold glitter then gluing googly eyes to random crap makes an instant gift, too.

    • Googly Eyes…I’ve got a bag of googly eyes, somewhere around here. How about a stick with Googly Eyes? You give it a name…Like, Chewy the Stick – and that’s your gift for your 4 year old nephew, the one who leaves a wet puddle on your sofa, everytime!

  12. That is a very festive stick. I’ll take 20, how much I owe ya?

    • Well, now….let’s seeee….

      20 Festive Holiday Sticks, x $1.40 each, plus shipping…that’s another $8.79 there… (click click click….) oh, and Handling (adding $4.00 per stick…click click click…)

      That whole order should run you Just about $283.80 (not including sales tax)

      Not bad, considering my total investment was 10 minutes walking around the neighborhood.

  13. Hon,bun, I heard it was a holiday market at your blog and hurried over. I thought you’d be making liqueurs out of old berries or fur coats out of road kill, but you’ve surpassed all expectations. Your examples are stupendous works of art, possibly enhanced by occasionally sniffing the gold spray paint as you create.
    I tend to give food and I know you have a garden of gi-normous carrots that could carved, painted, or trussed up with added appendages. Move over Mr. Potato Head.
    I’ve run out of glitter making all your projects, do know any vampires I could scrape the shine off of?
    (Belly busting-funny post)

    • Dear Barb,

      Though I do not know any Vampires, personally, I have a list of some Suspects I could let you have…at Market Rates, of course.

      You are right about the carrots. I must glue some Googly Eyes on them, give them cute names. What a hit! And Green! What kid wouldn’t appreciate my Organic Mr. Carrot Top for Christmas this year? Sure, he rots in your hands late in the first week of play, but then, he instantly converts into Mister ZOMBIE CARROT!

      And thanks for the tip – if the the sniffing-of-gold-spray-paint produces the high you promise, I may bottle the fumes, and give those out to my adult relatives this year, instead of wine. Who wants to carry home a bulky bottle of wine, anyway?

  14. Anything in a box, well i have those, but the trick is not to regift back the same person, best to keep a list, this actually happened to me, i received my own gift back tow years later, hilarious really! c

  15. NOOOoooo!
    I got ahead of myself and drew all over the unused or ‘slightly broken, bulky kitchen appliances’ boxes! Just great.

    • It’s art, Baby. It’s all art! You’ve actually increased the value of your used appliances, and can now add at least $250.00 to the original cost of the gadget. Thereby winning the Christmas Gift Competition in your family! (personally, I’d charge per scribbled side, so if you hit 5 out of 6 sides, that’s an extra $1,250.00 you’ve added)

  16. I think we share the same brain. Now is that a good thing…or a bad thing? Things that make you go ‘hmmm……’

  17. The more I think about it, the more I realize this should have been Freshly pressed! They really shouldn’t take the weekend off!

  18. Sorry for the spelling errors. My fingers rock, don’t they?

    • S’okay. I fixed your errors. I do not like that wordpress doesn’t allow comments to be fixed or deleted by us. A big oversight!

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