Thoughtful, Creative and Thrifty Gift Ideas

Goodbye Thanksgiving, Hello holiday shopping.

I decided that instead of spending hundreds of dollars on ugly pajamas, sweaters or perfume that my friends and family don’t even like or want, I’m going to get creative and thrifty this year. Rather than focus on the dollar amount I spend per person, I’m going to tailor my gifts to each personality and my relationship with them.

Here are a few ideas I have that I hope you can enjoy too!

Custom printed textiles:  Design your own t-shirt or a tote bag with a custom print. You can use photographs from your vacation together or print a graphic you designed with this particular person in mind. Furthermore, you can easily find online printshops that offer excellent quality prints on organic and fairtrade materials – cotton t-shirts, linen towels and bags of various sizes. You’ll have so much fun becoming a fashion designer, and your loved ones will appreciate such a unique gift made especially for them!

Custom Stationary/Note Cards: My Mom recently bought my sisters and me some really great, customized note cards from They have little stick people that represent your features, personality and hobbies. Another great website is

For a less expensive route, here is an example of note cards you can create from

Gift Baskets: I’m a huge fan of homemade gift baskets because they are completely customizable! The contents do not need to be expensive either. For example, you could put memorabilia of inside jokes, tickets of places you’ve been, pictures, candy, a bottle of wine or batch of their favorite cookies. You could even include a “gift certificate” to take them to lunch so you can spend time with that person. You can get baskets for a few bucks at a craft store like Michael’s, then buy some confetti to fill up the basket, and top off with shrink wrap and a bow. The packaging will cost $5-10 (max).

Calendar: Each year my sister creates a calendar that is given to everyone in our extended family. She collects great pictures from that year via email and then puts them together on her Mac into a different collage for each month. This year she printed the calendar through

Gift in a Jar: Maybe it’s the Italian in me, but I show love through feeding the people I care about. A “gift in a jar” is a recipe that is already measured out and ready to be mixed together and cooked/baked. It looks cute and is very thoughtful. This is a great co-worker or hostess gift too. Check out this website to get great recipes and ideas. The site also has free (and really cute) tags you can print out and attach to the jar with a ribbon that show the baking instructions.

Video/Slideshow: Although this gift takes more time, effort and creativity, I think this is the greatest one on the list. Making a video or slideshow of different events you and your friends/family have done together would be such a great and personalized way to keep your memories handy.

Cookbook: My family has been talking about putting together our family recipes for years, why not do it around the Holidays and give it as a gift? Ask your family and friends to email you their favorite recipes then compile and print them at your local print shop. Or, you could print the recipes on to colored note cards and put them into a cute box that they can keep in their kitchen.

If you have any other ideas, share them in the comments or email me so I can post on your idea!

Ms. Career Girl

Ms. Career Girl was started in 2008 to help ambitious young professional women figure out who they are, what they want and how to get it.

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