Holiday Challenge! 20 for $20

Jars, bottles, tins - whatever you like!
Jars, bottles, tins - whatever you like!
Options for even the pickiest recipient.
Options for even the pickiest recipient.
DIY wrapping ready to personalize - free!
DIY wrapping ready to personalize - free!

20 gifts.

20 dollars.

That comes out to a dollar per gift.

You can't get anything for a dollar these days — even if you went to the local 99-cent joint, there's still tax and markup and next thing you know, you're out three bucks when you only meant to spend one, and those extra two were supposed to buy you a cup of tea this week. Or breakfast. Or deodorant.

Start defending your budget, winter warrior!

Spending a week's worth of lunches on a present is a great gesture, but what if there was a better way to show your affection (or bro-fection)?

The answer: bulk tea.

There are plenty that amount to $0.10 a cup or less. Rwanda Rukeri wins at only $0.08, and up to $0.10 gives you a slew of green, rooibos, and mate to choose from — plus the entire flavored selection.

At $0.10/cup, a 16-ounce bag is $19.00, and $16.00 at $0.08/cup.

Set aside some pocket change for shipping, and wait for your pounder to come in the mail.

While twiddling your thumbs, take stock of what you have on hand by going on a scavenger hunt. Get your friends and family in on it — ScAvengers assemble!

Here's what to look for:

  • Fabric. Anything will do. If you have a T-shirt you don't like anymore (or Grandma bought you and you don't have the heart to dump it) then cut it into rectangular wads to make it usable.
  • Paper. Again, anything. Tissue paper from shoeboxes. Newspaper. Lunch baggies. Old debriefs on logging extra work hours, which everyone threw out because it didn't mean extra pay.
  • Empty tins, jars, or bottles. Small guys, no bigger than a salt shaker. Sanitize these with a neutral antibacterial. You've got baking soda or vinegar around, right?
  • Plastic bags. As long as they don't look grungy. Cut these into delicate, ribbon-y strips.
  • Writing utensils. Things that make marks on paper. Come on, we all have these, I'd hope that technology hasn't taken over that far yet.

Once your preparation is set, check out some DIY tutorials to get more ideas.

Then just put on some music, make yourself a cup (of your own stash), and go.

If you've made sure that the jars are all relatively petit, then a full pound of tea can easily round out 20 of them. Remember that you don't have to fill every container all the way — give the leaves some room to breathe, chill, relax.

What really matters is the presentation.

Wrap each and every gift with all your heart. Visualize the person who will be receiving it, and tailor the packaging to their personality and taste.

A handwritten note on the side, doodles, poetry. Elf and Hobbit stick figures of you holding hands. (Middle Earth besties!)

It's the easiest way to show someone that they mean something significant in your life. And it's free of charge.

They might even appreciate it more than the gift itself.