8 Frugal Holiday Gifts for Friends and Family

Edibles in jars
''Make flavored coffee mixes, soup mixes, layered cookie mixes, or other similar ideas and put in pretty jars (found at craft stores). Attach, using some ribbon, a card with mixing instructions. Dry soup mixes are especially affordable and I always try to chose something that's popular in my region, so friends who live elsewhere get a 'taste' of my town.''

A cup of tea to ''share''
''I made these for friends and family and they went over big!

What you'll need:
1 tea cup and saucer (you can buy cheap ones on Ebay)
1 flavored teabag (I used Bigelow Cinnamon Stick)
1 mini teaspoon
1 individual size cookie or shortbread snack (I used Walker's shortbread)
Clear holiday cellophane

I taped the teacup bottom to the saucer to secure it. I put the shortbread, teabag and spoon inside the cup and wrapped them with cellophane. I tied holiday ribbons and attached this note:"

"On Christmas Day at half past three
Pour yourself a cup of tea.
I'll think of you, you think of me,
Sitting 'round the Christmas tree.''

Hand-dipped chocolates
''You can make these fancy chocolates yourself.

Step 1: Locate what you want to dip or what your special someone enjoys. For example, strawberries, pretzels, potato chips, Oreo cookies, graham crackers and so on. (If using strawberries or other fruit, rinse and thoroughly dry before dipping.)

Step 2: Locate a nice plain chocolate candy bar. I like Lindt chocolate bars—they are a little bit creamier than Hershey bars.

"Step 3: Line a cookie sheet with wax paper, and melt the chocolate in a double boiler. If you do not have a double boiler, place a glass bowl over one of your small pots. Once the chocolate is thoroughly melted, remove the double boiler from the heat and start dipping, covering about 2/3 of your selected item in chocolate.

Step 4: Place the dipped item on the wax paper and let harden; sometimes a couple of minutes in the refrigerator helps. I prefer air-drying to prevent discoloration of the chocolate.

To add some additional pizzazz, melt a tiny bit of dark or white chocolate and drizzle it over your creations for a contrast!''

Bath salts
''The scent is sweet, but subtle. Simply mix together in a jar:

3 cups of Epsom salts
2 tablespoons of baking soda
4 drops of rose oil
6 drops of sandalwood
1 drop of ylang ylang
2 drops of red food coloring.

Put the cork on or close the lid then shake vigorously. This makes a great gift when stored in an apothecary jar with a cork.''

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