Helping you create a home by hand.

Christmas on a Budget Series – Two No-Sew Christmas Ideas

I love to sew, but I know there are those who either can’t or simply don’t want to, so for this month’s Christmas on a Budget post I thought I’d share two inexpensive no-sew ideas for things you can start collecting now to have ready come December.

First up…

Christmas Tins

Our family is making the switch from using paper gift wrapping that gets used once and then is thrown away to wrapping that can be reused year after year.  These Christmas themed tins come in a variety of shapes and sizes and can be picked up for pennies at your local thrift store.

In fact, the ones pictured above ranged in price from 29 cents to 39 cents.  For less than $1.50, I now have 5 tins ready to pop gifts into in the weeks before Christmas.  All it takes is a bit of tape to hold the lids on and keep the overly inquisitive from peeking at their gifts and they’ll be ready to place under the tree.

When I brought them home and showed them to Dave, I said, “Wouldn’t some little one just love to see a tag with their name on it on this bear tin.”  Dave replied, “Not just a little one, I’d love seeing a tag with my name on that tin too.”   Ahhh… that man is a keeper.

Next up… is an idea that I’ve been seeing on quite a few of the home schooling blogs and which I think would make a great gift to give to a family with young children; either as a family gift or given as a set to the individual children.

They are called Busy Bags and are plastic zip bags with a simple project or game to keep young children busy.   Many of them can be put together with things you might already have around the house or after a quick trip to the dollar or craft store.

Colouring Pages

These Colouring Busy Bags took me all of 15 minutes to put together, no trip to the store necessary. I simply printed several colouring book pages off the net, trimmed the paper to fit and popped them into the bags with boxes of crayons I picked up at last year’s Back to School sales.    A  search on colouring book pages brought up dozens of links.   For the bag on the right I printed off some Christmas pages from the Crayola site.  The bag on the left I printed images that I thought would appeal to either a boy or a girl. This link alone has over 5000 pages.

Following are a few links to some more homemade Busy Bag ideas:

Clothesline Busy Bag

I-Spy Bottle

Homemade Children’s Lacing Cards

This morning, I stopped off at the Dollar Tree and came home with all this for $9+ tax.

Dollar Tree Haul

Colouring Activity Pads

For older children, I found these Colouring and Activity Pads.  Tomorrow I’m going to hit the Back to School sales and pick up a couple of packs of pencil crayons to add to these.

Childrens Puzzles

Dollar Tree had a great selection of puzzles.  The one on the left would be suitable for 1st or 2nd graders.   I’m going to print out the nursery rhyme Hey, Diddle, Diddle to add to that busy bag.

The one on the left would keep 3rd and 4th graders busy while at the same time teaching them the States and their capitals.

Themed busy bag

Or you could make up a themed busy bag as I did with this Winnie the Pooh one.  This would be great to send along with a child that is spending the night with grandparents or on a sleepover.

Learning Cards

Learning Cards could be put in individual quart sized zip bags or in a bag all together as I’ve done here.

Craft Kit

And how about a craft kit or two.   This one called for a bottle of white glue but I thought a glue stick would make for less mess.  Craft kits would be a great way to use the 40% off coupons that Michaels and Hobby Lobby offer on a regular basis.

Wouldn’t a few of these Busy Bags packaged up in pretty basket make a great Christmas gift to give to a family with a newborn to help keep an older child (or children) occupied while Mom is nursing or Dad is bathing the baby, etc.

Or if you wanted to get a little more creative, you could put them in a box that you’ve decorated and label it “The Rainy Day Box.”

I plan on putting together a box or two with a variety of different busy bags not just as Christmas gifts but to have on hand for times when we have young children visiting.

I hope you’ll join me again in August for my next Christmas on a Budget series post when I’ll not only be sharing a tutorial or two for using that Christmas fabric you bought at the Christmas in July sales (remember last month’s post) but I’ll also be hosting a giveaway, as well.  And this time the giveaway will be open to all my readers wherever in the world they may live.

I would be so pleased if you chose to share by clicking on one of the buttons below!


  • Alex
    March 31, 2016 12:53 pm

    Great idea to make Christmas even more lovely time! And great post.
    If you need more coloring pages then have a look here:

    My and my daughter love it:)

  • Nancy
    July 27, 2011 4:02 pm

    These are fantastic ideas! I used to love getting “arty” presents when I was a kid. My niece and nephews each have colouring sheet binders here at our house, and their own tin of crayons. Pretty low tech fun, and its a good lesson to wait for your turn for the brown crayon! Cheers!

  • Robin (rsIslandCrafts)
    July 26, 2011 9:02 am

    I love to buy tin containers. You can put almost anything in them for gifts. We have cousins, nieces and nephews that always guess what their gift is based on how it is wrapped. A tin would throw them off and keep them guessing for awhile.

    Busy bags, what a great idea! I used to keep things like that in the car. Even a short trip to the store can make kids grumpy. A busy bag keeps them occupied especially if it is something that they don’t normally have in the house.

  • Sandra :)
    July 25, 2011 7:23 pm

    I love the Christmas tin idea – I see them all the time in the thrift stores but hadn’t thought about using them for gifting purposes – I’ll pick some up next time I’m out!

    The busy bags idea is brilliant – my neighbours have a 2 year old lad and momma is expecting TWINS next month, so a BB would be perfect for big brother Matteo – thanks for the idea! I have sidewalk chalk and crayons already – I can pick up some more goodies this weekend in Michigan!

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