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The Best Inexpensive Christmas Gifts for Family and Friends

Updated on February 13, 2019
Deborah-Diane profile image

Deborah is a published writer, mother, and grandmother who writes on diverse topics, including financial info, homemaking, gifts, and more.

The Best Holiday Gifts Do Not Need To Be Expensive


Does Giving Gifts Stress You?

Buying gifts for everyone on your Christmas list can get expensive. In fact, the month of December strikes terror into the hearts of many people who have fixed or limited incomes. They want to be generous, and give Christmas presents to everyone on their list, but they simply cannot afford to.

Fortunately, you can do something nice for everyone on your list and not spend a lot of money. Often elderly friends and relatives would much rather have the gift of your time and attention than any nick-knack you might be thinking of giving them. Just taking them a loaf of banana bread and spending a half hour chatting with them might be the nicest thing you could do.

In other cases, you might want to give your loved ones a gift, but you just cannot afford to spend a lot of money. How can you come up with frugal Christmas gifts which will still bring a smile to the faces of the people you care about?

Homemade Christmas Gifts

Sometimes the simplest Christmas gifts can be the best. Do you love to bake or make things? Why not bake cookies, loaves of friendship bread, or make candy for your friends? Or, if cooking is not your style, buy some small holiday dishes or bowls at the dollar store or a garage sale and fill them with store-bought Christmas cookies or candies. Simply assembling the cookies and candies in a pretty way on the plate, wrapping your gift in plastic wrap, and topping it with a bow can create a warm, neighborly, homemade look.

If you like to knit or crochet, you can always make simple hats or scarves for your family and friends. Many art supply and craft stores will have ideas for inexpensive holiday projects which are fun to create, and everyone loves feeling that a gift was made especially for them. If a child is on your list, they often have fabric with teddy bears or other stuffed animals imprinted on it. You just need to cut out the bear, sew it together and stuff it to create a sweet, but inexpensive, gift.

Homemade beaded jewelry is very popular at the moment, too, and many craft stores have the supplies for you to make inexpensive Christmas gifts for everyone on your list.

Give Personalized Christmas Tree Ornaments

Some of the best Christmas gifts are the ones which will cause people to think of you fondly year after year. Buy a cheap box of plain Christmas ornaments at Target or Wal-Mart, and decorate them yourself with paint pens. The decorations do not need to be elaborate. You can even just write the name of a friend on the ornament, along with the year you are giving them the gift. They will cherish these tokens of your thoughtfulness for years to come!

Cheap Christmas Gifts from Garage Sales

You don’t have to purchase all your Christmas gifts new at the mall. Go shopping at estate sales, garage sales and thrift shops in your neighborhood. Shop throughout the year, and build up a nice supply of handy items to give away during the holidays. You can often find everything from china, crystal vases, toys, jewelry and clothing at a fraction of their original prices. Stock up and you will always be prepared.

Don't forget to purchase all the used items you can that have a holiday motif. Coffee mugs and holiday plates are perfect gifts when you fill them with homemade or store bought treats.

The Secret to Regifting

Regifting candles, lotions and similar gifts you have received during the year is perfectly acceptable. If you receive a gift and decide that you will probably regift it to someone else, you need to do two things.

First, unwrap it and remove any personal notes, but do not open the packaging. You should give the item away looking like new. If the giver is there when you unwrap it, be sure to thank them and let them know how much you appreciate their gift. If they aren't present when you unwrap it, be sure to send them a thank you note. Just because it isn't right for you, doesn't mean you don't appreciate their thoughtfulness.

Second, the minute you receive it you should put a sticky note on it so you will remember who gave it to you. Then, when you give it away, you will not accidentally give it back to the same person, or a close associate of theirs! Have a shelf or box where you store gifts that you have purchased in advance or that you plan to regift.

Receiving gifts is fun. However, if you receive things you know you will not use, you can have just as much fun passing these items on to others whom you know will enjoy them.

Charitable Gifts in Honor of Loved Ones

Another thoughtful Christmas gift is to make a donation of time or money in honor of someone else. Many charities will send a confirmation card acknowledging your gift. It doesn’t matter if it is only $5. If you make the donation to an organization that is especially important to your friend, they will be touched by your kindness.

When our daughters have been going through tough financial times, we have actually suggested that they donate time to a charity as a Christmas present to us. They only need to write in a card what they did and send it to us. It makes it possible for them to give us a gift, without spending a dime.

Draw Names for Holiday Gifts

Do you have a large family or belong to a large group of friends who exchange simple Christmas gifts? Suggest that they draw names. If they all agree, you will only have to buy one gift rather than 10 or 12. Not only will it save you money, but it will also make your life less hectic and stressful. It is almost certain that everyone will appreciate your thoughtful suggestion, because it is a great deal of work to buy gifts for everyone on a long list, even when money is not an issue.

Enjoy the holidays, and stay in your budget at the same time. With a little careful shopping and planning, you do not have to dread giving Christmas gifts to the people you love. In fact, you can look forward to it, and really take pleasure in the spirit of giving!

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2011 Deborah-Diane


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