Budget-Friendly Gift Ideas this Christmas

I’m participating in the Spend-Less Holidays: Saving While Savoring the Season Blog Carnival, hosted by The Frugal Fil-Am and Dainty Mom. We’ll be sharing our tips on how to spend less this holiday season, so that we can have a more meaningful Christmas. Please scroll down to the end of the post to see the list of carnival entries.

Merry voices in the streets are already singing Christmas carols this early. Christian families have already put up their Christmas trees waiting to exchange gifts during their reunion. Children are now counting the days until Santa graces them presents on Christmas Eve. Much delight is felt almost everywhere – from the twinkling lights and gleeful songs in malls to the extravagant decors set up in shopping districts. Almost everybody is getting busy preparing gifts and this is just as expected this holiday season. Since Christmas is coming once again, everyone is getting prepared for the holy day of gift-giving.

Those who are well-off have started going to prime shopping places like Hong Kong just to purchase exquisite gifts for their loved ones. Workers who have received their bonuses early have already started to stack presents for Christmas. Some who have long lists must have already been lining up in popular shops for discounted items. While others who are yet to receive their salaries or bonuses still await the chance that they get to prepare for the holidays too. 

Thus, the commercialization of Christmas has indeed dictated the way we prepare gifts or presents. If not at least, this is how most of us act during the holiday seasons. However, the essence of Christmas is all about the thought of remembering our loved ones .The most cherished presents are not the expensive ones but those that come from our hearts. 

So if you are on a tight budget, you can still prepare your presents this early. Simply materialize low-cost yet brilliant ideas that would be most appreciated by your friends and relatives. To help you get by, here are some budget-friendly gift ideas for you. 

                                                                                Source: etsy.com via Jill on Pinterest

Christmas Cards

Giving cards is the most popular among those people who are on a tight budget. It doesn't cost much and if they are sent via email, it barely costs even a cent. Plus, they are almost always handy for those who are greeting too many people during holidays. This is best given to acquaintances, colleagues and friends. It is also best given to loved ones who live across seas.

                                                                                  Source: etsy.com via Shelley on Pinterest


Many people love handcrafted items. Simple figurines embellished with laces and ribbons are popular among teens and wives, while wooden or plastic miniatures are most appreciated by youngsters and male fanatics. All you have to do is purchase low-cost base figures that can be decorated and artsy materials that you can embellish on them. You can also have fun by personalizing them with unique features that your recipients would most likely prefer.

                                                                      Source: booksofadam.com via Emily on Pinterest


If you have the talent in arts, you can give your friends or family members drawn portraits as presents. This gift idea is brilliant since you can personalize it to suit your recipient’s personality. For instance, you may do comic-style cartooning for those who love funny sentiments, and abstract renderings for those who love paintings. Also, it does not cost a lot since all you need to purchase are ready-made and budget-friendly picture frames besides drawing paper, inks or paint.

                                                                  Source: nicolemacaluso.wordpress.com via Lexi on Pinterest

Baked Goodies

If you love baking, this is your chance to show your loved ones how sweet you can be this Christmas. Cakes, cookies, candies and other sweet goodies are popular during the holidays. You can bake these items, pack them in simple jars, hand-made boxes or cellophane wrappers and your gift would surely look more delightful than those purchased in bakeshops.

                                                                  Source: blog.bitsofeverything.com via Danielle on Pinterest

Photo Collections or Collage

Giving away photo collages or photo collections is one sure way of letting a person know that you cherish the moments with them. You do not need to spend thousands of bucks to do this since there are cheap photo booklets that you can use to keep all your favorite photos intact. Also, printing pictures does not cost a lot. There are even photo shops that offer discounted prices for batch printing of pictures.

Check out the rest of our Spend-Less Holiday Carnival Participants!

A WAHM's Life (You're Here!)

Filipino Bloggers Worldwide's 1st Grand Eyeball

Finally! After over a year of inception, Filipino Bloggers Worldwide (FBW), in partnership with Ex-Links Events, presents Filipino Bloggers Worldwide: The 1st Grand Eyeball.

Get to meet your favorite Filipino bloggers and mingle with like-minded individuals this December 7, 2012 at SM Megamall’s Megatrade Hall 2 from 6pm to 10pm, and enjoy a night packed with fun learning, interactive games, meaningful conversations and special surprises!

Brand partners on the other hand, can expect not just additional exposure to blogger attendees, but a long-term, fruitful relationship and support from Filipino Bloggers Worldwide.

About Filipino Bloggers Worldwide

Filipino Bloggers Worldwide (FBW) started as a Facebook group on November 1, 2011. As the name implies, the group’s purpose is to unite all Filipino bloggers around the world. The group was easily recognized in the blogosphere in just less than a month. Since then, Filipino Bloggers Worldwide became the number one Facebook Filipino bloggers group. Furthermore, FBW was recently awarded as one of the Top Emerging Influential Blogs for 2012. The creators of FBW expressed that every blogger may have different reasons when it comes to blogging, but each and everyone in the community strives to make FBW an active and supportive group for Filipino bloggers worldwide.

So come, join us in this momentous event, and be a proud Filipino blogger worldwide! 

VESTI's T'Nalak Collection: Fashion Must-Have's!

When I was still working for a government institution back in 2003 - 2006, part of my job was to organize and facilitate panel discussions, seminars and investment forums in different parts of the country. For me, it was a real privilege to visit beautiful cities and places especially in Visayas and Mindanao areas. Each trip was 5 days long, with the option to extend up to 7 days provided that you can report to the office the next working day. In short, every trip turned out as a mix of work and pleasure.
                                             With my colleagues and the T'Boli dancers wearing T'Nalak clothing                                            and brass accessories. Taken in Punta Isla Resort, Lake Sebu.
One of my most memorable trips was our visit to South Cotabato in July 2006. It was perfectly timed to coincide with the T'Nalak Festival which showcases the cultural heritage of the T'Bolis. We enjoyed watching the street dance parade, the creative floats parade and the event's showcase of T'Nalak, the indigenous fabric made from abaca cloth and tie-dyed with intricate designs. I fell in love at first sight with T'Nalak and ended up buying a lot of bags and other accessories from the bazaar. 

I gave most of the bags I bought as "pasalubong" to my colleagues, but the prettiest bag went to my Mom, of course. She loves the T'Nalak bag and it's among her favorite things actually. But since it's old (I mean the bag, not my Mom. LOL.), I am planning to get her a new one this Christmas. 

I searched online for T'Nalak bags today and found VESTI.PH. Their T'Nalak Collection is really Pinterest-worthy! I love how the owner/designer Martha Rodriguez incorporates modern design to the indigenous fabric, hence the "ethnicity with modernity" tagline. The products themselves speak of elegance and charm, truly must-haves!

VESTI bags are sold via TheMall.PH. Please visit VESTI Boutique for more product photos and shopping instructions.

My Life Without Social Media

Social media have such a huge impact in our lives, especially in the way we connect to each other. Communication has gone more effective and the exchange of information happens ever so quickly. True enough, gone were the days when you need to wait for at least a week just to get somebody's response or reaction to a message you sent. Technology has now paved the way to make it possible for people to interact with each other exactly as it happens.

But my question is, can you imagine life without social media? Without Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Linkedin, Instagram, Pinterest and many other social networking sites we use every day? Is there anything else you might find yourself doing instead? Hobbies like gardening, arts and crafts maybe? Listed below are some activities I would likely be doing if there is no social media.

How I'll Spend My Time in the Absence of Social Media
                                                                           Source: 26-letters.com via Lexi on Pinterest

Paper Crafting

There are many beautiful things you can create with paper. Probably the most popular forms of paper crafting are scrap booking, stamping, card making and origami. There are also other less famous types like quilling, paper piecing and paper pricking. There is so much you can do with paper, the possibility is actually limitless!

                                                                    Source: lovelyandgracious.com via Mathea on Pinterest


It's an old art form that is quickly becoming famous again in this day and age. I attended an introductory class to Calligraphy when I was in High School, but I don't have any practice recently. I would love to re-discover my skills in writing flourished, beautiful and elegant scripts if I have the time, though.

                                                                  Source: media-cache4.pinterest.com via Alycia on Pinterest

Jewelry-Making / Beading

I would love to learn how to create pretty and unique accessories by hand. Something exquisite that shows my personality and style. Might be a good business venture, too.

                                                                          Source: marthastewart.com via Dette on Pinterest

Soap-Making / Candle-Making

Maybe it's really due time to test if I have entrepreneurial skills. For quite some time, I've been wanting to experiment on soaps or candles but couldn't find the time.

                                                                            Source: flickr.com via Rita on Pinterest


My Mom sews, as well as all her sisters. When I was young I never had the interest in this craft but now it has become one of my frustrations. This is something I really really want to do very soon. Watch out. :)

How about you? If Social Media died tomorrow, what hobbies would you like to get into? Do share in the comments section. Thanks!
Mama’s Losin’ It

Yes Mommy! Workshop

Yes Mommy: 

How to Talk so your Child will Listen and Understand


Date: Saturday, December 15, 2012
Time: 9:00 am to 4:45 pm
Venue: COWO - Ground Floor, Suntree Tower, #27 Sapphire Road, Ortigas Center, Pasig City
- Regular rate of Php 1,400 / participant
- Early bird rate of Php 1,200 / participant (PAID before Dec. 1, 2012 or via Okayokay.com until Dec. 10) - Group discount of Php 1,000 for 3 or more participants
*Lunch and afternoon snack are included 
*Payment may be via Okayokay.com or deposit to a UnionBank or BPI Account or via Paypal (Please add Php 50 for Paypal charges). 

About the Yes Mommy Workshop

At "Yes Mommy", we'll talk about practical tips and tools to build a foundation of good communication with our young children. Topics include:
  • Self Talk for Mommies: Why positive communication begins with you
  • How to understand your child’s personality
  • How to adjust your communication style based on your child’s personality
  • The Three Elements of Positive Communication: Crucial factors to encourage your children to listen and understand
  • How to say "no" by saying "yes"
"Yes Mommy" is called a workshop. But I'd rather call it a sharing session where we can connect with other moms, we can feel safe to share what we know and don't know, and we can have comfort knowing that we are not alone in this parenting journey. I cannot give you expert advice nor can I guarantee that you'll have perfect kids or you'll be a perfect mom after this workshop. But I do intend that you’ll pick up information, encouragement and even inspiration that will help make this lifetime commitment of mothering just a little bit easier for you. You'll gain:
  • Tools to start your day with calmness and intention
  • Patience in dealing with your children
  • Resources to communicate persuasively
  • A network of like minded moms who can give encouragement and support
When you find this helpful for you, do join us and sign up through this form. I look forward to meeting you and learning from you.

Much love,

Chief Inspiration Officer | Mom in Training

About Jayme
Jayme Gatbonton is the mom behind Optimommy, a blog about positive parenting and intentional motherhood. She is blessed to be called "Mommy" by two girls, 5 - year old Jamaine and 4 - year old Kalia. After working in TV production for 9 years, she gave up her dream to be a newscaster so she can devote more time to her lifetime career: being mom. She underwent training in Neuro Linguistic Programming and became a freelance workshop facilitator. She is now a Mass Communications teacher, blogger and part time work at home mom. Jayme is passionate about raising children with love, patience and positivity. Her "heart work" lies in encouraging and empowering moms to fulfill their life's passions while raising a loving family.

Maternity Photography

The popularity of maternity photography have exploded over the past few years. More pregnant women sees the importance of documenting their journey to motherhood with beautiful maternity photos they can share with their child when he or she is grown.

My cousin scheduled me for a maternity shoot yesterday (Sunday) but it got canceled because the photographer is suddenly not available. But it's okay, because I'm actually having second thoughts. Haha. My hands, fingers, legs, and feet started to swell last week and I might feel uncomfortable during the shoot. The swelling is called edema and it's normal during the later stage of pregnancy, though I didn't encounter this before when i was pregnant with my first child. 

I'm just laughing it all off and trying not to get my confidence affected but geez, I feel funny looking at my face in the mirror in the morning especially at my nose! This gets me a bit uncertain  if I really want the shoot to be re-scheduled next week, though I can always opt for the body shots type of maternity photos. I also feel like I'm ready to pop anytime and I might not get the chance to be photographed.

I'm almost on my 36th week now. When I was still on my 25th-30th week, the idea of having a maternity shoot really gets me excited. I even browse Pinterest and Flickr way too often to search for unique ideas and flattering poses. But now, I'm not so sure. Haha. Anyway, below are some of my favorite maternity photos:

The Self-Portrait
                                                                                 Source: flickr.com via Lexi on Pinterest

The Stages of Pregnancy Portrait
                                                                           Source: blogs.babble.com via Lexi on Pinterest

The Studio Shoot
                                                                            Source: fashionista.com via Lexi on Pinterest

The Indoor Shoot
                                                                          Source: arlenebriones.com via Lexi on Pinterest

The Outdoor Shoot
                                                                             Source: google.com via Lexi on Pinterest

The Don't Forget to Include Daddy Shoot
                                                                       Source: lucypage189.tumblr.com via Lexi on Pinterest

Hey! Big Brother Should be in it, too!
                                                                             Source: ontobaby.com via Lexi on Pinterest

The Romantic Mom & Dad Shoot
                                                            Source: simplybloomphotography.com via Lexi on Pinterest

Another Cute Outdoor Shoot with Dad
                                                                      Source: kellymoorephotography.com via Lexi on Pinterest

  Incorporate your profession to the photo shoot. Like this pretty ballerina!
                                                                                 Source: google.com via Lexi on Pinterest

Or this beautiful Mommy Diver!

                                                                                   Source: google.com via Lexi on Pinterest

I really have to think it over if I want to proceed. This may be the last time I am pregnant and I really want to cherish this moment. I just need to uplift my spirits.

Anything you want to share to boost my self-confidence? I know, I really need encouragement at this point. Haha. Or any suggestions of a unique maternity shoot concepts? Put them in the comments. Thanks and have a happy Monday!
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