It’s that time again when circulars fill your mailbox and holiday decorations twinkle in every store. Of course, the holiday extravaganza begins just before Halloween (earlier every year, it seems), but most of us begin to feel the pressure around Thanksgiving….which is now.

Similar to last year, my plan is to make gifts for colleagues, send a family gift or two to close relatives, and donate items to the needy. Last year I created Mason jar hot cocoa gifts and participated in a cookie-swap that generated a few cookie-inspired gifts.

This year, using some Pinterest ideas I found online, I’ve decided to minimize the cost of packaging,  swapping mason jars for cellophane cones, and increase the cost of materials for higher-end cocoa. Here’s a sample of what I’m planning to create this year, especially since I’m making these in quantity (I’m looking at making around 40 of them!) – No. 1 –

cocoa cones
Cocoa Cones -Found on Pinterest
Santa Cones
Santa Cones – Found on Pinterest

According to a few websites, Trader Joes has some yummy hot cocoa that I think I’ll use for this project. If you’re interested in making something similar, I’ll post my step-by-step instructions in a week or so once my cones are finished. Just a head’s up – I had to order the cellophane cones online from Walmart and pick them up in the store.

No. 2 – Brown Paper Packages….filled with your favorite things! This one’s pretty simple – stuff a brown paper bag with someone’s favorite things and tie it with twine. You could keep this gift under $20 or splurge and spend more.

Brown paper gift bag- pinterest
Brown paper gift bag- pinterest

No. 3 – Mason jar gift (I can’t resist the mason jars!) This one focuses on pampering someone with lotion, body spray, lip gloss, and anything else you can think of.

Pamper jar
Pamper jar

No. 4 – Travel jewelry case if you can sew. I like this idea, however, it does require a sewing machine and the know-how to cut out a pattern.

jewelry case
jewelry case

No.  5Snowman Soup. This one’s another easy, breezy gift idea for colleagues, neighbors, teachers, etc. It’s basically hot chocolate in a package with snowman decor.

Snowman soup - a.k.a. hot cocoa
Snowman soup – a.k.a. hot cocoa

There are loads of great ideas on Pinterest for gifts under $20, $15, $10, or even $5. It’s just a matter of taking the time to sort through them, gather the materials, and make them look presentable.

Do you make gifts in quantity for neighbors, friends, or co-workers? What ideas have you used?


  1. Jon @ Money Smart Guides Reply

    This is so true. We usually get weekly flyers in the mail on Thursdays for the local grocery stores. But now that the holidays are approaching, I think every retailer in town has a flyer that comes in our mail. I have to make it a point to get the mail on Thursdays otherwise there isn’t enough room for the additional main on Friday!

  2. Money+Beagle Reply

    Good stuff, the only thing to keep in mind is that these require time to put together and personalize. The ‘personal touch’ and savings are worth this, but since time is generally in pretty short supply around the holidays, it’s best to make sure to account for the time needed up front.

    • @Money Beagle -Good point. You need a little time to prepare these gifts. Thankfully, the holidays are still a month away!

  3. Dee @ Color Me Frugal Reply

    Oh my gosh, those cocoa cones are too cute! I usually give homemade cocoa at the holidays too, but the mason jars make shipping expensive. Thanks for the tip on the cones- I’m going to see if I can find that on Pinterest!

  4. While I personally don’t make such holiday gifts, I did get a Thanksgiving “turkey” from the teacher of one of my kids. The legs and head were made of pipe cleaners, and the body was a small mesh bag filled with candies. It was novel, and couldn’t have cost more than $1 homemade.

  5. Paul+@+The+Frugal+Toad Reply

    I always enjoy getting gifts that were made rather than store bought, it shows that you care enough to spend the time! I’m reminded of when we used to make ornaments with oranges covered with cloves, what a wonderful holiday smell!

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