Did you know that $50 can buy gifts for your entire office (Given that there's around 25 people or so), extended family, or friends? Or all of the above.
The catch? You have to spend a little bit of time to make them. And possibly get a pinterest account to expand on my little ideas.
Almond Bark is around $2.50 a block. $10 gets you 4 lbs of chocolate to work with. You can make bowls by using balloons ($1.50) to serve your gifts in, you can use it as coating, decoration, making candies....You get the idea. It's great.
Bowls from Almond bark- Blow up the balloons plus extras. line your counters or table with wax paper. Use 2 bowls (Or just one), and take half a block of milk chocolate almond bark, and half block or white almond bark & put them in separate bowls. Heat them at the same time in the microwave until they are completely melted & ready to work with. Then you have to make sure it's not too hot so that the balloons don't pop. Use the other half of the almond bark as needed. I would suggest using a new bowl for more white chocolate so it doesn't turn grey-ish while stirring if you drizzle milk chocolate in the first bowl. Pour it into the first bowl & keep going.
You can drizzle some of the milk chocolate into the white chocolate (do NOT mix) & then dip a balloon straight in, then back out and move it to your wax paper. Once the chocolate is hard again, cut a hole near where you tied the balloon and then let the air out slowly. pull it free from the chocolate bowl. Now to fill those bowls.
Chocolate chip cookies. The big ass bag of chocolate chips costs a little under $5 for name brand. Butter, flour, sugar, brown sugar eggs and vanilla usually adds up to around $15-20 depending on what brands you buy. Measure the dough out and make each cookie with one tablespoon of dough and you should get 6-7 dozen cookies per batch. This $25 worth of supplies should get you 12-14 dozen cookies if you aren't stingy with the chocolate chips.
Candy cane star candies. Buy a bag or two of those individually wrapped MINI candy canes. $3-6. and you already have that almond bark you bought earlier. You are going to use 10 candy canes for each candy. open and arrange the mini candy canes into a star shape. Make 5 hearts, then overlap the head of the hearts to form a star. Line a cookie pan with parchment paper when you do this. fit as many as you can on one cookie sheet while still leaving an inch between all. Bake at 300*F for about 5 minutes, or until they start to melt. Watch them closely. Take them out & let them harden.
Once hardened, remove from parchment paper & dip in melted almond park. you can sprinkle them with crushed candy cane to add a little more fun to it. And to warn people they're eating peppermint.
Chocolate covered pretzels. $5 more bucks. You don't need instructions, it's super easy.
Chocolate covered oreos. $2.50 per pack of oreos. Again, super easy.
People puppy chow from the chex website. About $15 for a big ol batch. See Chex website for the recipe.
Peppermint popcorn. popped popcorn, melted white chocolate, and crushed candy canes all mixed together. $10 goes a LONG way here.
Cake balls/pops. Take your favorite cake recipe or box mix, make it according to directions. Once it has cooled enough to handle, crumble it up into a big bowl. Then dump a container of icing, or gradually add homemade icing until you reach a moist crumbled cake texture. the cake will be all stuck together. Roll into balls, freeze for a bit, then dip in melted almond bark. Drizzle with alternate colored chocolate or sprinkles or whatever your little heart desires. Have fun with it. You can add the sticks before dipping in chocolate, but They're such a PITA that I just make cake balls.
Obviously ALL of these add up to more than $50. So pick and choose. Use less than $50 or more. But a little goes a LONG way. And you still have 8 weeks till Christmas, so buy one or two things every time you go grocery shopping and you won't even notice the cost.
Now the kicker. We got into the discussion with my family of "Do you even remember any of the gifts you received as a child?" I floored my mom when I said "Nope. But I do remember making goody bowls for everyone and you actually talking to me. Best time of year ever." The priceless things about making these gifts are the memories you will have of doing so.