BOSTON (CBS) – Money may be tight for many families this holiday season. With the economy still in a slump, there may not be much in the budget for Christmas gifts.

So here’s where we look to Martha for some help. Martha Stewart believes in homemade gifts. Get one of her books on Christmas from the library and give a gift of time this Christmas.

How about baked goods? Anything homemade is such a treat. Fudge, peanut brittle, cookies. Go to Target or Wal-Mart and buy some fancy containers or better still get some Rubbermaid containers and they become part of the gift. A bit of advice; no fruitcakes. Even if it is Aunt Harriet’s bourbon recipe! Most people don’t eat fruitcakes they use them as doorstops!

Do you knit? Knitting is all the rage again! I used to knit while riding in the car, not driving, riding. One year everyone on my Christmas list got sweaters with matching scarves. If you don’t have the time to finish a sweater by Christmas, wrap the yarn and pattern up and give that with a note telling them when it will be done.

What about woodworking? Birdhouses are in vogue right now. They are used as decorative items as well as a place for birds to nest. And you don’t have to be an accomplished cabinetmaker to turn out a respectable product.

Cut some greens from your yard or your neighbor’s yard (with their permission), buy some red carnations, search around for some interesting containers and make flower arrangements for your friends and family.

Pictures are cheap. Find some reasonable priced frames and you have gifts for all on your list. Frame the kid’s school pictures for grandma or a special photo of you and your sister. You can create a calendar with pictures of your family for under $20.

How about time itself? Literally, give away your time and you don’t have to give it on Christmas. This is what I like best about the gift of time. Give a gift certificate, a promise, an IOU for what you will do in the future. Create a coupon book. Some examples; snow shoveling, lawn mowing, help with a party, back rubs, gardening, dinner by candle light, brownies, fudge.

Babysitting for a weekend for your sister and her husband. Promise your elderly aunt a weekly trip to the grocery store, church or the library. Give your nephew a fishing trip in the spring. Your niece, skating lessons at Frog Pond. You get the idea here!


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