If you’re on a tight budget and still looking for ideas for Christmas gifts, then you’re in luck! Here are some gift ideas if you have more time than money.

Framed Photo. Last Christmas, I gave my uncle and aunt and grandma a framed photo of the extended family. The photo was professionally shot by our photographer at our wedding. Everyone looked their best and the backdrop was beautiful. And the gift was a big hit. A framed photo may sound cliche-ish, but it’s special because it’s a one-of-a-kind gift, that you won’t find in any store or mall.

How to Do It. Bigger photos make a bigger impact. You can find budget frames at Ross, Marshalls, Aaron Brothers, or any other discount retailer. Develop your photo at Costco or Walgreens.

Personalized Blanket. My sis-in-law gifted me with a beautiful fleece blanket personalized in my name. I don’t know about you, but if you have an uncommon name like mine, it’s nice to see your name on something! Fleece blankets are lightweight but super warm. I still use mine. I was so inspired that I made this for two of my close friends and my in-laws. And they loved it. My in-laws thought that I got it professionally done at a store.

How to Do It. You can find low cost fleece blankets at Walgreens, Target, Walmart, Ross, and almost anywhere. Then get a contrasting colored piece of felt from a craft store. Cut out the letters and hand stitch onto the blanket. I do have to warn you that this takes a lot of time. I timed myself and it took me 5 hours to cut out 6 letters and stitch one blanket. Maybe I’m a slow stitcher but I was watching TV at the same time.

Create Your Own Gift Set or Gift Basket. Last year, my budget was really tight. I put together my own Japanese gift set for some of my relatives. It was a serving tray with 2 Japanese bowls, 2 pairs of chopsticks, and a sushi eraser. Very cute.

How to Do It. If you live near a Japanese dollar store like Daiso or Ichibankan (in San Francisco), take full advantage of it. The Japanese dollar store has so many low cost, attractive items – anything from dinnerware to storage containers. Put together things that go together, like a dinnerware set, food items (like a bag of coffee with a mug) or storage accessories. If you don’t live near a Japanese dollar store, try Chinatown, Target, Walmart, Ross, or Marshalls.

Baked Goods. Who doesn’t like homemade goodies? Just be sure that your giftee doesn’t have any food allergies to any of the ingredients. Freshly baked chocolate chip cookies, rice crispy treats, or bread make great gifts. It shows that you took the time to make something special.

How to Do It. Search online for recipes. See my food blog, YummySF, for a low sugar chocolate chip recipe. Pack your baked goods in a decorative container such as a glass jar or coffee tin. I’m a big fan of tins since they keep baked goods fresh for a long time.

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