This Christmas, save money and enjoy the season by hand-making gifts for your children’s teachers, friends, and your co-workers. We have all received the “awesome” gift of a plaid tie or vanilla candle which is appreciated, but lacks a personal touch. Why not use this opportunity to make a little mess in the kitchen as well as some holiday memories with your kids? You could even do this as an activity for your 4-H Club’s Holiday Party. In years past, our family has made many gifts for those who we would like to receive a little something. In our family alone, we have six teachers and between my husband and I there are 27 co-workers to purchase for, we can’t afford to go out and buy everyone a $10-$15 gift. Which would mean spending nearly $500 for those small gifts!
The question is, what can you make? Fresh-baked goods are a wonderful option, but can’t be baked too far in advance without freezing. There are many other options, such as candy, jams, and even pickled garlic! Cookies, brownies, or soup in-a-jar gifts are also fun options (especially for single parents or working moms). One year, our family made hot chocolate mix for everyone. Jelly jars filled with powdered milk, cocoa, and marshmallows were a great, well-received gift and only cost $1.75 each! This was much more economical ($58 compared to $495). We decorated our jars with a little bit of material and tied a nice bow. You could even combine your ingredients in a zipper bag and place in a mug for the gift or use a funnel to pour it into a plain glass or plastic tree ornament. Your imagination is the limit, and your relationships with your children will benefit just as much as your pocketbook!
4-H teaches youth to shop responsibly with our Consumer Decision curriculum and Consumer Choices events. Youth can also use 4-H’s My Financial Future Curriculum, youth will learn budgeting, how to balance a bank account, how to deal with emergency expenses and how to make educated shopping choices. If you have a passion or crafting or money management, consider becoming a 4-H volunteer! WE offer a wide range of volunteer opportunities to fit your interests, skills, and schedule. For more information about 4-H, or to sign up for My Financial Future, please contact your local UF IFAS County Extension Office or visit http://florida4h.org.