I have so many ideas today. You know those days when inspiration comes flowing out?? Maybe it's sleep deprivation.
Anyway here are a few cute ideas for the teachers, friends, sisters, sister-in-laws, neighbors and others in your life, that won't break the bank.
Soup- Soup in a soup bowl. "Thanks for being a super teacher." You can buy canned soup and bread bowls and wrap it up in a cellophane bag or basket. You could also buy big bowls/mugs (check the dollar stores or Tai Pan Trading) and place bagged soup inside. If you wanted to go a step further for someone trying to add to their food storage, buy a case of canned soup. Check http://www.campbells.com/ for coupons. You could also attach a favorite family soup recipe to the tag.
Jewelry- I don't care how old you are, girls love jewelry. Michael's crafts has their beads on 50% off this week. It's super easy to whip up a necklace, bracelet or earrings that look boutique-style, but don't cost a ton. There are a ton of charms out there to embellish your design. Wal-Mart also has a surprising amount of cute beads and findlings.
Scarves- These are super popular this year. Knitted scarves (make it or buy it at http://www.payless.com/. Use code 56271 for an extra 20% off, and right now is BOGO sale. Buy one, get one 1/2 off. Plus free shipping to a store near you.) You can also make them out of thin fabric from the craft store--sheer, gauzy fabric with a print works well.
My favorite idea is an upcycled scarf from t-shirt material. There are several styles, but my favorite is the frilly one. You cut 8-10 circles out of your t-shirt using an 8 or 9 inch paper plate. Cut the circles in a 2 inch spiral. Then glue the ends of the strips together in two's. You could also sew them. Run your fingers down the sides of the strip and they will turn under. Then taking a scrap of material tie the sections all together where you glued/sewed them. I also like to use a clip or fancy pin in the front. I made one for the twins this weekend and they are a HUGE hit.
Scented lotions/lip gloss- "Merry Kissmass." Avon has a huge sale and free shipping over $10. Lotions start at .79 cents and lip gloss at .69 cents.
Gum/ candy- clean out an old pickle jar, or other glass jar, paint the top and fill it with your favorite candy. "Thanks for being so 'sweet'" or "Have a 'sweet' year" may be an appropriate tag. You could even go so far as to make homemade peanut clusters or peppermint bark--not hard, I promise. There's always coupons for gum and candy coupons, or you could score some clearance candy at Amazon, Target or Walmart in the next few days.
Music- burn a CD of your favorite holiday music, or fun stuff your kids like, or what you like. With cheap Amazon or Itunes MP3 downloads and Freegal, this is a thoughtful gift with lots of possibilities.
Emergency Kit- When my college friends get married I make them a "survival kit" for the wedding day. I include things like safety pins, clear nail polish, double sided tape, gum, lip gloss, Kleenex, etc. This way if they run into an emergency hopefully there's something in there to help them out. The same thing can be done for gifts for anyone. Check out the travel section of your local beauty aisle for ideas. I put all my items in a pencil case or make up bag, something small, and try to personalize it with their name or at least get it in a favorite color.