Creative Christmas Gifts on a Budget

Yay! I have to share the excitement with you. I really love being in the kitchen, especially when making a mess is involved, but not usually when the dirty dishes are staring back at me. Mark and I spent a wee bit of time making salsa for our neighbours. It was a creative Christmas gift on a budget, and I thought I ought to share!

I have a delightful hodgepodge recipe for Salsa and it is as follows:

  • 1 Can of Chopped Tomatoes (chili flavour)
  • 1 can of regular chopped tomatoes (in case you want to compare size — they’re 440 grams/15 oz. in my present locale)
  • a nice handful of fresh coriander or cilantro
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • lots of freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 finely diced green chili pepper
  • and away we go!

But why am I so extra-delighted about salsa? I’ll be honest. It’s the containers. We picked up some fru fru plastic ones that they sold us really cheap off the counter in the deli section at the grocery store. I wasn’t so excited because they were frumpy. I now digress to say my husband loves Coca Cola. And he especially loves it here because it still comes in glass bottles. And he thinks it tastes the very best that way. We had six glass Coke bottles under our sink waiting patiently to be recycled. And we arrive back at salsa. Now in gorgeous, thoroughly cleaned coke bottles. Garnished graciously with ribbon and a wee Christmas card apiece.

Here’s the play by play. If you like it extra spicy, drop the plain can of tomatoes. We tripled the recipe and added one extra can of the chili flavoured tomatoes, and an extra couple of garlic cloves for good measure. Maybe a few extra spices too, who knows. Anyway, start with the happy ingredients listed above.

Happy Ingredients

Mark had to convince me that this tiny food processor was a good idea. And now I use it like it’s my job. I suppose it is. Anyway he is great. So we mince the garlic in this bad larry first by itself, and then the onion follows. Then you can just add all the other tasty stuff.

Mix it up

You might want to put a few slits through the coriander first, or else it might get wrapped around the spinny thing, and not chopped! (Not pictured, but be sure you know we made that mistake!)

Chop Chop

Now is a good time to turn on the Wonder Pets, because the baby is probably tired of not getting enough attention, and you still have lots to do.

Wonder Pets to the Rescue

You’re almost there! We dumped our three and a half batches of salsa together in one big pot, gave it a good couple of stirs, and then began the process of funneling it into our coke bottles.

Big pot…

Pot o Salsa

Funnel… (and use a straw if you get cloggies)


Sorry ladies, that handsome demonstrator is claimed! And this is the final product…

Finished Product

I am pleased to report that the neighbours are really enjoying their spicy salsa Christmas gifts. I was delighted to deliver such a cute product at such a great price! I hope this has your brain-a-storming with creative ideas for being a blessing at Christmas without cursing your wallet! If you do have some Christmas-on-a-budget ideas, please comment away – I would love to hear them!


  1. Caroline, I just adore your blog! You’re a girl after my own heart!

    Thanks for your honesty and with-it-ness (is that even a word???)

    Merry Christmas!

    • Pleasure, my friend! I am glad you are enjoying! And if there is such a thing as with-it-ness, I feel special that you think I have it! :) Love ya!

  2. Caroline you are a hoot girlfriend! Especially like the pic of smiley face and Asher in front of TV. Great pics to go alone with story.

  3. Wow, you’re so creative! My husband and I always exchange gifts, or, we always give each other gifts on our budget. Last year, he made his first cake as Christmas gift for me (less creative but delicious). This gift is more than LVs or other luxury. This year, I prepare to give him an Olympus digital camera. It’s 10mp, but only for $20. When I found this from a deal site named, I was shocked for its unbelievable price! I also plan to write him a love letter. Both of the two gifts aren’t expensive at all, but I do think they’re unique and perfect gifts.



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