featuring guest authors; crafting tips and projects; recipes from food editor and sleuthing sidekick Cloris McWerther; and decorating, travel, fashion, health, beauty, and finance tips from the rest of the American Woman editors.

Thursday, December 8, 2011


According to one statistic I heard on the news, the average person will spend approximately $700 this season on holiday gifts. Whoa! I guess we here at American Woman are not your average people because my random, unscientific polling of my fellow editors didn’t produce a figure anywhere near $700. If your bank account is still feeling the pinch of the recession, here are some holiday gift-giving ideas that won't start you off in debt for 2012 from our staff. -- AP

From yours truly, craft editor Anastasia Pollack: Get crafty! Check out all the craft projects posted each Monday at Killer Crafts & Crafty Killers. We specialize in crafts that take no special talents or expensive, hard-to-find tools and supplies. In addition, that handmade gift will probably take a lot less time than the time you’ll spend driving to the mall, trolling for a parking space, going from store to store, coping with the checkout lines, and bucking traffic.

From food editor Cloris McWerther: Edible items are always appreciated. Consider making something yummy and give it along with a binder filled with your favorite recipes.

From beauty editor Nicole Emmerling: Small nylon sachet bags are inexpensive and available in many colors at craft stores. Fill several with lavender potpourri and tie with ribbon for a thoughtful and sweet-smelling gift.

From health editor Janice Kerr: Fill small jelly jars with loose teas such as chamomile and mint. Add a tea strainer, and you have the perfect gift for a tea drinker.

From money guru Sheila Conway: Give of yourself. Provide a gift of time or experience. Promise to drive an elderly friend or relative on her errands or offer to do them yourself. Rake the leaves, clean the gutters, or clean her home. Offer to do her taxes if you have the expertise. These are gifts that will be cherished long after that box of chocolates is eaten.

From fashion editor Erica Milano: If you have a large family, consider one family gift rather than individual gifts for every member.

From travel editor Serena Brower: Invite a group of friends or family members on an outing. Whether it’s a trip to the zoo, a local sporting event, or a picnic at the lake, you’re certain to find something that fits your budget.

From decorating editor Jeanie Sims: Not every gift has to be brand new. Troll flea markets and garage sales, and you might find that perfect memory from a loved one’s past, whether it’s a vintage record album or a classic Barbie lunchbox.

And you won’t spend anywhere near $700 giving any of these gifts. So enjoy the holidays without going broke. What are some of the ways you keep holiday costs down? Or don't you? Post a comment to enter the drawing for a book from our Book Club Friday guest author. -- AP


Dru said...

handmade gifts will keep the cost down. I have several quilts (center pieces, placemats, small lap quilts) that I'm giving as gifts.


I love handmade quilts, Dru!