Thrifty gifting

I am a self proclaimed tight wad. Let me say though, that I can spend money with the best of them, there is always something to be shopped for. But I’m not the type to spend $100 on a single top or pair of jeans…I’m the type to get several for that price. I budget shop, plan ahead, and love a good sale. So when it comes time to give gifts I’m the same way! I do my best to plan ahead and can usually give a pretty decent gift without breaking the bank. Now when I’m left to last minute decisions due to poor planning on my own part, I end up spending the big bucks, but I do my best not to let that happen often.

For example, I’m long done with Christmas shopping. It’s been wrapped and under the tree for several weeks. On top of being done with Christmas I have two gifts for Emilie from her baby brother for his arrival and two gifts stockpiled for her birthday in June. When there’s a great deal or sale I can’t beat, I buy it and put it in the guest closet to save for when its needed. I do the same for all the kid gifts I have to buy. We have a little playgroup circle of friends that includes 9 kiddos (these little siblings are running up our numbers and with Landon coming it will be 10). Most of these kiddos have birthdays within just 3-4 months of each other. So I HAVE to plan ahead. The same thing for Christmas with nieces and nephews. I’m a stockpile queen. Typically we don’t buy Christmas gifts for our playgroup friends, but they are getting together for a little Christmas party on Monday and I felt like doing something small for our little friends. I’d seen this pin on pinterest recently and was just looking for an excuse to try it!

I tried to cheat and use foil wrapped cookie cutters I had laying around the house but it was a total fail…so don’t do that! I ended up having to get the silicon mold but am sooo glad to have it and a friend got it for me so even better!! 🙂 I learned a few tricks during my failed attempt though that might help future crayon molders. First, don’t torture yourself unwrapping a million crayons by hand. I found that lightly slicing through the paper with an Exacto knife and then just pulling the paper off was MUCH easier. Then I just broke the crayons in pieces and filled the mold. Like this…

Then pop them in the oven to cook. The blog tutorial I followed suggested 275 for 10 minutes. This worked when I used the crayon brand crayons during my failed attempt but I used cheap crayons from the dollar store (2 48count boxes for $1 each)for the this round and it took a 300 degree oven for closer to 15 minutes. Once they are completely melted pull them out of the oven to cool completely. When the are melted and hot they will look like this…

Once they are COMPLETELY cool (don’t rush this or you’ll ruin all your hard work!!) loosen up the edges of the trees by tugging on the silicon mold around them and then gently pull them out. The finished product should look something like these…

I grouped two to a package and threw them into a cute little cellophane bag…

I plan to grab some coloring books to put with them from the dollar store as well. My Dollar Tree has awesome Disney themed coloring books for $1 each so total these gifts will cost me under $10 for all 7 kiddos. And I have four trees left to add to my daughters already too full stocking on Christmas 🙂

I also have a tendency to make treats for my adult friends that we don’t exchange gifts with. We have several friends and neighbors that we wouldn’t necessarily want to start a tradition of exchanging gifts with but that we want to treat with a little something at the holidays. So we always whip up a few easy treats and bag them up in those little cellophane bags. (btw…I’m becoming a dollar store junky because I recently found packages of 25 Christmas cellophane bags for $1 each…can’t beat that!) One of our easy staples is to do dipped pretzels. I just melt down a package of melting chocolate, throw a handful of pretzels into the chocolate (I prefer the white on pretzels just for aesthetics), then pull them out individually with a pair of tongs, shaking off excess chocolate in the process and then lay them out on wax paper to cool. I usually do about four pretzels before adding some red and green sprinkles…the chocolate still has to be wet for the sprinkles to stick. Then I bag them up, or put them in tubs, whatever my heart desires at the time. This year I made enough for several bags, two big tubs, and then two large mason jars to keep for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day celebrations.

Please excuse the horrible picture. I took this to tease a friend and didn’t think about actually taking a good one to share.

I also made a new concoction this year that’s been a big hit. Several years ago I made a rocky road bark and put it in the cellophane bags and then put those in cute mugs. As yummy as the rocky road bark was we don’t allow nuts in the house anymore for Emilie’s safety so I had to mix it up a bit to try to make something similar. I substituted the nuts with pretzels and it actually turned out pretty good. I melted some chocolate melting chocolate in a saucepan over low heat. Then I added about 1 1/2 cups-2 cups broken pretzel pieces to the chocolate. I also added two handfuls of white chocolate chips and marshmallows and stirred it together allowing some of them to melt. As you can tell, I don’t like to measure things very much, so handfuls are my thing, its real technical ya know?! Then as I poured my mixture out onto wax paper to cool I threw in another handful of marshmallows and chocolate chips. I then drizzled any remaining chocolate from the bottom of the pan over those so they didn’t look unincorporated. This is what it looks like cooling…

See the remote hiding up there, it was hidden from my toddler. Magically if you can’t find the remote the cartoons can’t come on! Evil Mommy!! Also this picture was taken before I drizzled the excess chocolate over it…just FYI…I’m picky like that!

Once it’s had time to completely cool I just break it up into manageable pieces. Look at this deliciousness!!

Then just bag it up and gift it! This one batch made four gift bags and a nice few servings for this pregnant Mommy 🙂 I gifted one to a friend today who raved over it and she’s addicted to sugar and has no problem voicing her opinion…so I think its passed the test!

Tomorrow is our first Christmas celebration and I can.not.wait!!! I love watching Emilie’s eyes light up as she gets to open a present!! And who am I trying to kid, I’m looking forward to opening a few myself. I’m a big kid at heart and love celebrations…and presents! LOL I’m looking forward to taking some of our treats to share with the fam. I made most of them earlier in the week and put them in the fridge. Covered pretzels are said to keep for several weeks to several months. I like to be extra careful and keep them refrigerated if I make them this early, but its sooo helpful not to have to do it days before Christmas/events when you’re already swamped.

Merry Christmas ya’ll!!!


About gracedbyemilie

My world revolves around my little family, I am a wife…a mother…a christian…a designer…an Independent Scentsy Consultant...I'm just me. I'm crafty, a little OCD, a lot emotional, and occasionally funny. My life isn’t always very exciting, but its mine, and I’m excited to share it with all of you.
This entry was posted in christmas, crayon mold project, dipped pretzels, gifts, melted chocolate treats, presents, Thrifty gifting. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Thrifty gifting

  1. Wow! You busy little bee!! My name is Kate and I am a sugar addict and that reindeer poop was amazing. I know you aren't calling it that, but I am!! 🙂 Can't wait to hear what you got at your first Christmas celebration!

  2. Pingback: Christmas Crafting | gracedbyemilie

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