1.To begin with make a present list and start to think about what you can make, what is cost effective and what skills you might need to brush up on.
2. Begin shopping/making with presents in mind.
3. Consider making your own cards, see above. We will have some ideas in later blogs but do think about the cost. Handmade cards are lovely but if you spend more on them than bought cards then they may not be cost or time effective. The trick is to have a simple design and use every scrap of art materials to make it look good yet cost effective.
4. Consider making your own alcoholic drinks. My friend has a splendid damson tree and gathers the damsons and infuses them in gin to make damson gin which is absolutely delicious.
5. Pace yourself , set a budget and try and make or source several presents per month.
6. Consider people's hobbies and put something unique together for that person. My aunt loved herbs but was short on time and a garden. I bought several lovely terracotta pots, hand painted them with simple designs and arranged them prettily in a ribbonned box with herb seeds. These were very inexpensive and she was delighted with the result as she could grow her herbs on the window sill.
7. Similarly a good book, hot chocolate set and mug can make a really thoughtful present.
8. Online auctions can provide really reasonable stuff. If you love silver jewellery you can buy lovely pieces from China at a fraction of the cost you would pay in the UK. If you study the feedback and are sensible then nothing should go wrong and if you pay via paypal then you can claim your money back if there is a problem.
9. Amazon is also an amazing site not just for books but for all manner of items including clothes and jewellery.
10. With a bit of ingenuity and thought you can give great, thoughtful presents which will be a pleasure to give and receive. And remember that you can still give of your time and skills which are invaluable. If you can baby sit, decorate, cook, garden then make a handmade voucher instead of a gift.