As the holidays approach, the lack of money sometimes seems overwhelming. Not only are many of you struggling to keep a roof over your head, but you want to have good family experiences and memories. You want to give good gifts to your family. You want to serve nice holiday meals and even some treats.

Take the time to sing holiday songs together as a family. During the month of December, we sing Christmas songs every night. Each child gets to pick a song before we have family prayer. The happiness of being together as a family will bring joy.

Plan special treats from what you already have in your cupboards. Plan your cookie and baking recipes around what ingredients you may already have on hand.

If you’re wanting some ideas for Christmas decorations, homemade gifts using items you have on hand, and ideas for celebrating Christmas on a zero-dollar budget, check out my Christmas Inspiration board and my Christmas Crafts for the Children board on Pinterest. Also be sure to check out what I made for Christmas gifts last year and what I have made for birthdays in the past.

Above all, remember that children want our time and attention. That is worth more than anything else. Consider making some date with mom coupons or cooking lesson coupons as a gift to a child. That time together can be more valuable than any other gift.

Don’t forget to tell them that you love them. Here’s how I did it last year.

Each weekday in November (except for Thanksgiving and Black Friday) I will be making one gift a day for my children and writing about it. I am focusing on quick gifts during the weekdays, that can be done during afternoon naptime or at night after the children are in bed. If your children don’t take naps, give them some quiet time to read and play in their rooms each afternoon while you make their gifts. It’s okay to let them know that you are making gifts for them during that time and that you need them to play quietly while you do so.

Be sure to check back each day, starting tomorrow, to see what I’ve made!

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  1. I can not wait to read your gift-a-day posts. This year I have vowed to make all my presents for my grandchildren. I’m sick to death of buying a gift that the children want on Monday and forget about by Friday. And these are not spoiled children–they just are so inundated by material “wants” on the television, talking with their friends, cousins, etc. This year, I want them to see the beauty in something handcrafted specifically for them. Wish me luck, Brandy! Yet again, you are my fearless leader.

  2. Our children like to play games so we set aside times to have Family Pajama Games Nights complete with homemade treats. These nights are so much fun! You are right about children wanting and needing time and attention. Making happy memories costs so little and is remembered forever.

  3. Brandy,Have you considered doing a weekly link up for those making gifts? It would be nice to see what other frugal, or not so frugal gifts others are making:-)

  4. I have not perused the archives, so if my question has been answered already I am sorry. I have a 16 month old and a 5 year old. I would love to start making family/sibling gifts. Something they can enjoy together or we can enjoy as a family. Any recommendations?

  5. That will be like a gift for us each day! I love it. I’m looking forward to reading these posts this year for gift ideas next year. I plan out gifts in advance and I make them year round. This helps me not feel so crazed (plus, I am typically a working mom. I’m not at the moment, but I could be in the future and taking care of our child by ourselves, working full time and doing crafts only for a certain period of the year does not work so well!).

  6. Games usually tend to go over well, I think. Maybe a matching game made out of fabric? I made felt tic tac toe games for kids this year. I used buttons for the markers. I had everything on hand except the buttons (well, I had buttons on hand but they weren’t in the colors I wanted. I could’ve just used the buttons I had on hand but didn’t).

  7. Okay, I gotta say it – Not Fair! (Throwing temper tantrum, kicking my feet and pounding my hands into the ground.) I was expecting to see The List – the grand, glorious List – and you teased me! Meanie! (You can send me to time out, btw. I’d kind of enjoy it . . . .)

  8. What about gifts that build traditions? When I was a kid my older sisters made my mom a set of napkinrings. We used them every Thanksgiving, for me they became an important part of the celebration. You wouldn’t have to make napkinrings, but maybe you can think of something you need or they need and go from there, like a special popcorn bowl for movie night, or Christmas stockings, or a cuddly blanket for storytime.

  9. I don’t have children, but had the idea that if you knew a group of moms (or even placed an ad on Craigslist) that would like to swap nice toys that their children have outgrown or just didn’t play with anymore, if it might be a fun way to get “new” toys for their children and to get rid of clutter. Most of the fun of a present, it seems to children, is in the novelty.

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