Helping you create a home by hand.

Christmas on a Budget – 2 More No-Sew Ideas

In 2011, from March to the end of the year, on the 25th of each month, I posted ideas to create Christmas on a Budget.  As I’ve mentioned before, this past year has been one of major on-going transition for Dave and I and Christmas has really been the last thing on my mind.

But now with only a month to go until Christmas 2012, I thought I’d share a couple of inexpensive Christmas on a Budget ideas.

Idea #1

This is my recipe box.

I’ve had it for all the years that Dave and I have been married.  It’s precious to me and was one of the things that I just couldn’t bring myself to leave in storage in Georgia.  It contains all the recipes I’ve collected over the years; recipes that are family favourites and that are used again and again.

But it also contains something else precious.

As you can see, the recipe cards pictured above are stained and looking worse for wear.   They too have been taken out and used again and again.  But what really make them precious is that they are in my mother’s hand writing.  Whenever I use them, I think of her.

Because those are so special to me, when each of our children left home, I hand wrote all our family recipes on index cards and included them in a recipe box for them and gave it to them for Christmas.

It is my hope that, just as I think of my mother when I use the recipes she wrote, our children will think of me and the meals and times we shared when they use their recipe boxes.

So this year, why not create something precious for one of the young people in your life.  Pass on those family recipes, not in a computer file, but on hand written recipe cards enclosed in a recipe box like the one pictured below.

I found it at a thrift store here in Pembroke, On for 50 cents.  A set of index cards can be bought for a dollar.  A few hours of your time writing out favourite family recipes and you have a gift that will be treasured for years to come.

Idea #2

At the same thrift store where I found the recipe box, they had a box of old vinyl records.   And mixed in with all the other records were several Christmas albums.

This one caught my eye because it had such a vintagey feel to it and it brought to mind some of the albums we played at Christmas when we were kids.

I can think of a few things that could be done with old Christmas records.

For instance, wouldn’t it look great framed and displayed on a mantel or hung in an entrance way.

You could incorporate it into a display of other vintage Christmas items.

Or if you had a few different Christmas albums… you could display them as I do these children’s Christmas books.

That album also cost 50 cents but I’m sure there are those of us that might still have old Christmas albums tucked away in a box somewhere either in our own house or at our parents’ houses.

Bring them out and display them this Christmas to add a bit of vintage flair to your decorations.

And if you also happen to have an old record player… bring that out too and listen to the records inside those cardboard covers.

The sound may be crackily and not as clear as if you played a CD or MP3 but I guarantee it will evoke memories that can then be shared with the generation(s) that have come after us.


Please note:  The Christmas on a Budget Series can be accessed by clicking on the link in my left side bar or by clicking here.


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  • Gretchen
    November 25, 2012 5:47 pm

    My sister did this same sort of gift for me – using my mom’s and gtrandmother’s and aunt’s handwritten recipes. But she took them all to Staples or Kinkos (whichever), and color copied them – and put them in a book for me. This way, I have my mom and grandmothers and aunt’s handwriting – along with the little drips of cooking/tastings! I cherish it for the recipes and the memories of the person who originally passed it along.

  • barbara woods
    November 25, 2012 2:29 pm

    i live in ga. and it’s cold here today. first really cold day we have had so i guess we are blessed. i have some of my mother-in-law’s receipes but i have a box like that that i have had 40 years

  • Mary
    November 25, 2012 2:16 pm

    How funny to see this post this weekend. I was searching in my cookbooks for a recipe a couple days ago, and a recipe card in my Mom’s writing for her Christmas pudding fell out. I don’t remember seeing this recipe since I was a child making the pudding with my Mom & Dad and have no idea how it ended up out of my recipe box full of treasures, in another room, in a new cookbook! (Apparently I’m supposed to make Christmas pudding this year!) Thanks for sharing.

  • Vickie Horsfall
    November 25, 2012 12:37 pm

    I love your recipe box and card idea. What a thoughtful way to pass on special memories of favorite foods that your family has enjoyed over the years. I am sure your children appreciate the time you took to handwrite each recipe, that makes them extra special.
    Thank you for sharing these wonderful ideas.

  • Sandra :)
    November 25, 2012 11:18 am

    I should start compiling now – move-out day is (hopefully!) coming soon for our boys, and I’ve long thought that I should make them a cookbook of their favourites 🙂 It’s too much writing for my hands but I could do it on the computer and add my own comments 😀

  • Carol
    November 25, 2012 10:35 am

    I have a little metal recipe box that I received at my wedding shower in 1971. I still have it with lots of treasured handwritten recipe cards. I love your idea to pass on that tradition! :O)

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