The best presents are those that really mean something, or make us laugh. And who needs to spend a fortune for that?

Family at Christmas time

The best presents are those that really mean something, or make us laugh. And who needs to spend a fortune for that?

lollie Competitive pricing game

If you have a full household at Christmas, ask everyone to buy each other a present for no more than £1 (this can of course be in addition to a main gift).

Hold a grand opening ceremony later on Christmas day when things might be flagging a little. Given the budget, these could turn out to be the most entertaining, eagerly anticipated and original presents of the day. It might be interesting to see who takes the most pride in coming in under budget.

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Grandparents love pictures of the grandchildren. If you have a digital camera, help the kids make a photo calendar for them on the computer as part of their present.

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Each wrapper that comes off has a little slip of paper inside asking for a ‘forfeit’ – sing a song, tell a joke, do a party piece and so on.

Depending on the personalities involved, people may be either desperate to have the parcel when the music stops, or desperate not to! The very last wrapper should contain a prize of course – usually something delicious that everyone can enjoy. And the music should of course be something Christmassy.

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In a spirit of eco-friendliness, why not use magazine pages as wrapping paper? You’ll be amazed at how fantastic the presents look around the tree! This can become a bit of an art form – choose pages that are particularly relevant to the person whose gift it is, such as X-factor stories for a teenager, or home and garden pages for mum and dad. Guessing whose is whose is all part of the fun. And for a bit of Christmas sparkle, you can add glitter or shiny string to the parcel.

For eco-friendly ink, try mixing blueberries, vinegar and salt together. Kids can help you squeeze the berries. Use this to sign cards, gift tags, or draw on wrapping paper. The only tricky part is finding a quill pen, otherwise it could be used to stain gift tags. Tea is another great stain to give paper tags and old-timey look.

Christmas cracker

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You can make your very own Christmas crackers

  1. First get a toilet roll tube!
  2. Fill it with a sweet treat, a small toy, or chocolate, and write a joke on a slip of paper.
  3. Add some sequins or glitter as there is no bang when it gets pulled!
  4. Wrap the tube in tissue, wrapping or crepe paper, with enough paper at the end to pull.
  5. Then pinch and tape the ends, and tie some ribbon round each end.

Make a difference for children

Many children won’t get presents at all at Christmas. There are three million children living in poverty in the UK.

Many neglected young people will be at risk on the streets.

Help us to help them – here are just some suggestions.

Donate to our Christmas appeal to help keep runaways like Rosie safe – read her story.

Follow the Children’s Commission on Poverty , as 15 young people lead an investigation into what poverty really means through young eyes. Spread the word and hear what children have to say too.

Support our campaigns – sign up to make sure that all children living in poverty get a free school meal, or encourage your local authority to make runaways safe. Please join us!

Visit one of our online or local shops, or donate goods. It really makes a difference to the young people we support.