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A dozen gifts that won’t break the bank

The holidays are right around the corner. It’s easy to have your budget drained during this busy season, but we’ve collected 12 homemade gifts to save your wallet this holiday season.

1. Handmade mug – This gift is easy and cheap to make. All you have to do is purchase a blank mug from local craft store, and decorate it with acrylic paint or Sharpie markers. It will not only be pretty to look at but functional as well, (once it has been properly cured).

2. Clock – Have a photo you’d like to stand the tests of time? Make it the back of a clock. Attach the photo to a piece of wood with a hole in the center and seal over the photo. Add numbers and a premade clock-hand mechanism. It will truly be one of a kind.

3. Sugar scrub – Combine 1 cup of granulated sugar, 1 cup of brown sugar, ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract, ½ teaspoon of cinnamon, ½ teaspoon of ginger, and ½ teaspoon of nutmeg in a bowl. Then mix in ½ cup of coconut oil and ¼ cup of almond oil. Put your scrub in a small, wide-mouth Mason jar covered with stickers for a sweet-smelling product that’s also good for your skin.

4. Spa in a jar – You can easily combine some extra items with your sugar scrub for a more elaborate gift. In a large, wide-mouthed Mason jar include facial cream, lip balm, a mud mask, lotion, a razor, candles, a nail file, and a few chocolate truffles (all of which can be found at a dollar store). Seal the jar, tie it with a bow, and give a day of relaxation to a friend.

5. Instagram coasters – Share photos directly to their table top! Purchase cork circles from your local craft store. Print out your favorite photos from Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, etc., and cut them to fit the shape of the cork. Glue the photos to the cork and cover in a clear waterproof sealant. The recipient now has an amazing conversation starter.

6. Everything but the ice cream – In a small box include cones, bowls, spoons, sprinkles, caramel and hot fudge. Wrap this sweet treat in brightly colored paper and share.

7. Terrarium kit – Give someone their own living ecosystem! In a large jar place a 1-inch layer of small rocks. Then put a 1-inch layer of dirt on top of that. Place a small succulent plant into the dirt layer, add a small amount of water and seal. This fun and educational gift is easy to maintain and fits into nearly every room in your house.

8. Hot chocolate – Place several packs of hot cocoa into a festive mug (maybe the one you made in idea #1). Add a small pack of marshmallows and a chocolate-covered spoon. This treat will warm the hearts of all who receive it.

9. Coin rolls – This gift is a snap to make and a creative way to give a cash gift! Get a roll of coins, (any denomination you want to spend will do), and wrap it in striped wrapping paper. Tie the ends off with ribbons.

10. Recipe book – A great gift for family members. Fill a binder full of old family recipes. Put each in a plastic sleeve to increase durability and decorate the front cover with stickers.

11. 52 Reasons Why You’re Loved – This interesting gift will be cherished by anyone who has the pleasure of receiving it. Collect 53 plain index cards. Punch two holes in one side of each card. Pull a string through the holes of all the cards to create a “book.” On each card write a reason you love the other person. Once done, label the front of your booklet “52 Reasons Why You’re Loved” and give to someone who’s always there to lend a hand.

12. Memory jar – Decorate a Mason jar with ribbon and stickers and label it “Good Memories.” Then fill the jar with slips of paper labeled with memories you’ve shared.

These gifts provide an inexpensive, easy way to show those you love how much you care this holiday season.

Emma Retzlaff is a senior at Alden High School.