Re-Gifting in the Gift-Giving Season

I really do have some of the greatest friends.

This past week, I let my guard down and showed that I can’t be Wonderwoman all the time. I admitted my struggles to maintain a tidy house while working, keeping up with two young kiddos, and caring for my 5-month pregnant body. And you know what? Those friends took time out of their beyond busy lives and helped me clean and declutter my ENTIRE house this past Saturday! What a lesson in humbling myself and allowing others to take care of me!

I also learned another valuable and money-saving lesson this weekend. With the season of gift-buying and giving upon us, I am constantly looking for ways to save money while giving friends and family meaningful yet economical gifts. I tend to be frugal in many ways, especially when it comes to shopping. I work hard at simplifying my life, yet I allow clutter to build up all around me. Seeing the amount of “stuff” I have throughout my house gave me an idea. I (and you, too!) can re-use the clutter in my home and give those items a new purpose, without having to buy, buy, buy and create more waste, waste, waste.


So, here are some holiday gift-giving ideas, from my penny-pinching mind to you:

1) Frames. We gathered at least five unused picture frames, all of which I swore I’d use again and put up on my walls…someday. Instead, I plan on finding photos from 2009, filling those frames, and giving them away as gifts to friends and family.

2) Jar mixes. When I have time, I LOVE making foods from scratch instead of buying pre-made foods. It makes me feel better knowing my family is eating less preservatives. I enjoy canning applesauce, but I just didn’t get around to it this year, so I have many quart-size jars sitting around. For their love and generosity this past weekend, I gave each of my four friends a jar with homemade hot chocolate mix in it. I have also done cookie mixes and will attempt soup mixes this season as well. Yum! Tie a cute or seasonal ribbon around the top, attach directions, and you have a gift in a jar!

3) Lend a hand. The simple gesture of providing for others tends to be more appreciated than a gift card to Target. Create passes or I-Owe-You’s, such as “One Day of House Cleaning”, “One Night of Babysitting”, or “One Week of Meals”, and give them out as gifts this season. You will not only create less waste and clutter, but you will also be trimming your spending while brightening someone’s day.

4) Baskets. I have collected several woven baskets from gifts given to me throughout the years…once again, with the intention of using them again “someday”. Why not use those baskets as gift holders? Put a few jar mixes, I-Owe-You’s, and maybe a soy candle together in a basket, and you have an instant gift! Oh, and it doesn’t have to be baskets! Look around your house and be creative in your gift holders. I re-purposed unused cloth by wrapping a baby gift in it, and the new parents thought it was awesome!

5) Sewing projects. I am definitely not the crafty type, nor do my sewing machine and I get along very well. In fact, I just enlisted a friend to help “mend” the relationship I have with my machine so that I can get some sewing done. If you know your way around a sewing machine, or possibly have a knack for cross-stitch or knitting, then make a hat, scarf, sweater, blanket, or dish cloth for a few people. Hand-made is very “in” these days, and your gift will definitely be cherished.


There are so many more ideas out there on how you can de-clutter your home and provide wonderful gifts for others! Do you have any do-it-yourself gift ideas? If so, feel free to share them! And Happy Re-Purposing!


Bess Ulrich lives in beautiful Lancaster County, Pennsylvania with her Hubby, preschooler Danae, and cloth-diapered toddler Caedon (pictured above). A lover of variety and to-do lists, she blogs at See Bess Run.

7 Responses to Re-Gifting in the Gift-Giving Season
  1. Shannon
    November 23, 2009 | 4:05 pm

    These are such great ideas! I especially like the frame one….

    An another wonderful gift that could be put in a jar is a bath salt mix… I have a few recipes and after I dig em out maybe I’ll post a few to my blog with a link back here….

    Thanks for sharing!

  2. Lowbudget
    November 24, 2009 | 12:32 am

    Great ideas. I have a lot of things around here that can go to a new home. I have been moving those things out for a long time. I think I may have started in the summer. LOL! There is more that needs to go. It is a work in progress. I tell ya….

  3. […] are lots of ways to re-use or re-gift items we already have in our […]

  4. Can Can (Mom Most Traveled)
    December 8, 2009 | 7:51 am

    I agree w/ the frames idea, especially w/ older relatives who don’t really want more junk cluttering their homes, either!

  5. Noelle Corbin
    December 8, 2009 | 3:10 pm

    These are great ideas!! I have some jars lying around that I may use to package homemade baking mixes, or homemade body lotion. Another thing I’m giving is potted indoor plants. I have a few peace lilies I bought and potted in some old clay pots I had lying around. The kids had fun helping with this, and then we made some little cards with plant care instructions and stuck them onto wooden shisk-a-bob skewers which we stuck into the potting soil. They came out really nice.

  6. Noelle Corbin
    December 8, 2009 | 3:13 pm

    Here’s a link to directions for the potted plant signpost project I mentioned above:

  7. Jen
    December 10, 2009 | 8:43 pm

    I love giving baked goods as a gift!