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Cheap, Creative Christmas Gift Ideas for Kids

Updated on October 30, 2012

Has your family grown in the last year? Are your financial hands tied? Whatever your circumstance, inexpensive gifts can be fun, personal, and sometimes way cooler than something big and expensive.

Whether naughty or nice, kids enjoy unwrapping presents... an abundance of presents, right? Why spends hundreds this holiday season especially being that the toys will probably be "out of style" soon, anyway? Here is a list of cheap, creative Christmas gift ideas for kids of all ages:

An example of a free (printable) coloring page.
An example of a free (printable) coloring page. | Source
Dress up fun!
Dress up fun! | Source

Christmas Gift Ideas for Kids

  • Activity books, puzzles, and games. There are so many sites that offer free coloring book pages, activities, and games that you can easily print. Then, create a book!
  • Coupons - maybe for a "Night with Daddy", "1/2 hour of TV", or "An extra cookie after dinner"
  • A "craft kit" - made by YOU! Put together materials to make a drum, headbands, purse, puppet, or other fun craft, and package it nicely. Include directions (yours) if needed.
  • Dress up clothes. Get creative, and make something! Use sheets or curtains or old clothes. Or, go to the local thrift store and see what you can come up with. Go through your closet. Do you have old clothes that you no longer where? How about hats, jewelry, makeup, or shoes? Kids love dressing like mommy and daddy. Add those to the mix! Find a cardboard box, and decorate it to look like a clothing chest to store the dress up clothes.
  • Story cards. Create (either on your own or on the computer) cards with various pictures and words on them... and make lots of them. Put them in a fun box or container, and maybe create a storyboard to place them on. When everyone is ready for story time, let the child(ren) create his/her own story using the cards!
  • Tickets to a favorite show, movie, band, or sports team, or to a museum
  • Something to build - a model airplane, bird house, doll house, etc.
  • Drinking Straws that can be manipulated and sculpted, like DIY Drinking Straws - They are dishwasher safe and fun. I have yet to meet a kid that does not enjoy playing with food and drinks, especially straws. They are cheap, too!
  • Poppers. Save empty toilet paper rolls. Stuff them with candies and small toys, stickers, and other items, and wrap them as if to resemble a tootsie roll or other hard candy. (Make sure to twist the ends and then secure them tightly, like with string or ribbon.) When you present the poppers, let the kids "pop" them open. Have the kids hold the poppers with one hand at each end, and pull hard. Everything should pop out!
  • Books. Check out sites like, that donate part of the proceeds, and always have sales. You'll get more for your money, and help others!
  • Homemade play dough.
  • Baseball card collection. Find inexpensive baseball (or other sport) cards and put them in a box. Whether they are brand new or of the most famous players matters little. Boys love having their own collection!
  • Homemade soaps. Add cute figurines inside or flowers or leaves that you found together over the summer/during the fall. Make soaps in fun colors and scents.
  • Sign your child(ren) up for fun classes, a pen pal, or sports team!
  • Make your child(ren) his/her very own door sign that he/she can customize for the bedroom, playroom, or bathroom.
  • Make a calendar that the child(ren) can hang on the bedroom wall. Not only will this help educationally, but can allow the child(ren) to keep track of fun events and important dates that are of most significance for him/her.
  • Give something that can be baked. I am sure that you have seen the jars with cookie mixes in them? Do something similar for the kids. Put in the dry ingredients for your son or daughter's favorite cookie, cake, or muffins, and provide directions. Then, bake together!
  • Something new. Paint the bedroom in their favorite color or design, redecorate the playroom, or reorganize toys. Give attention to your child's personal space, and show that it is important to you that it be everything that he/she wants it to be! A bonus would be doing it together!

Kids love being active and staying entertained. Think of creative ways to allow them to do so while maintaining a budget, and all will be happy!

Merry Christmas!


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    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Great ideas. Where can I buy the gifts which are presented here?

      Wish happy holidays to all.

    • VeronicaFarkas profile imageAUTHOR

      Veronica Roberts 

      6 years ago from Ohio, USA

      That sounds like a pretty great shelf, and a very active & adventurous grandson! :) Thank you for sharing that w/ me!

      Thank you, too, for your votes! Happy Holidays!

    • Green Art profile image

      Green Art 

      6 years ago

      I have a three tiered shelf in my home where my four year old grandson puts all of his nature treasures. He calls it his "collection." It contains feathers, pine cones, sticks, seeds, and shells. I put a framed picture of him on one of the shelves too and he really liked that.

      He loves playing school too, showing me his toys and telling me all about them.

      So many great ideas in this hub! Voted Up and Useful!!

    • VeronicaFarkas profile imageAUTHOR

      Veronica Roberts 

      6 years ago from Ohio, USA

      I know exactly what you're talking about. There are many variations of it made now, but none (that I know of) with carbon. What a nice memory!

      Yes, we are in the same boat this year. It'll be nice just to be together with family. :)

      Thank you for your votes and for sharing this. Happy Holidays!

    • VeronicaFarkas profile imageAUTHOR

      Veronica Roberts 

      6 years ago from Ohio, USA

      Hehe "V" is one of my nicknames. So, you are more than welcomed to call me that! :)

      I agree. Toys are sometimes so easily forgotten! Thank you for your comment. It's always nice to hear from you!

    • Sherry Hewins profile image

      Sherry Hewins 

      6 years ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

      Home made gifts are the best kind. Thanks for the wonderful ideas.

    • DzyMsLizzy profile image

      Liz Elias 

      6 years ago from Oakley, CA

      What fun! I used to do stuff like that when the kids were little. Maybe they'd get several inexpensive coloring books..each wrapped individually, or fun stuff to do art with. I remember one year, the favorite item was a pack of carbon paper! (Do they even MAKE that anymore???) Magic, it was--you drew, and you got an identical copy!

      At the moment, our finances are strained to the breaking point, and the whole family is on notice: "If I can't make it; you aren't getting it." Luckily, my kids are adults, and the grands are old enough to understand...(except the 4-year-old--I'll manage something for her).

      Voted up, interesting, useful and shared.

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 

      6 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      This is great, Ve! (may I call you Ve?) I don't know why people spend so much money on kids. They open the presents, which is the most fun for them, soon forgetting about the toy! Great hub! Sharing!

    • VeronicaFarkas profile imageAUTHOR

      Veronica Roberts 

      6 years ago from Ohio, USA

      Yes! My step sons love dressing up in super hero attire... or dad's clothes. :)

      Taking it a step further and making the whole idea of the clothes to be for acting & making plays (in the home) is awesome. I like it!

      Thank you for your comment!

    • alocsin profile image

      Aurelio Locsin 

      6 years ago from Orange County, CA

      Being a theater buff my self, my favorite idea here is the use of costumes. I'm always coming across smaller sizes at thrift shops, which would be perfect for my nephews and nieces. Voting this Up and Useful.

    • VeronicaFarkas profile imageAUTHOR

      Veronica Roberts 

      6 years ago from Ohio, USA

      Haha Keywords, Billy, keywords. ;) Thanks for your comment. Who can't resist saving $$$?

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Great suggestions Veronica! I love frugal ideas, and I never call them cheap! :) I call them creative idea! :)

    • VeronicaFarkas profile imageAUTHOR

      Veronica Roberts 

      6 years ago from Ohio, USA

      Millionaire - Thanks! That's especially nice to hear coming from a money saving wonder such as yourself! :)

      Nell - Thank you so much! Children can definitely be humbling in that they're so easily pleased and entertained (sometimes). :)

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      6 years ago from England

      Great ideas veronica, especially for smaller children, they just appreciate anything that sparkles! lol!

    • Millionaire Tips profile image

      Shasta Matova 

      6 years ago from USA

      What a great list of creative gift ideas for kids. The fact that they are cheap is an extra bonus. I think I would like to receive any of those, but the poppers sound like fun to open too! Voted up.

    • VeronicaFarkas profile imageAUTHOR

      Veronica Roberts 

      6 years ago from Ohio, USA

      Awesome! :) I can't believe how quickly it's coming this year! I hope that you're doing well. Thanks for your comment!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Great tips! I'll be sure to apply these when I'm preparing for my niece's and nephew's christmas! Thanks for sharing.

    • VeronicaFarkas profile imageAUTHOR

      Veronica Roberts 

      6 years ago from Ohio, USA

      Why thank you, ma'am! :) Thank you for sharing this, too!

      Being sleep deprived (baby) made this especially difficult to write. It's hard to be creative when daydreaming about night dreaming. hehe

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 

      6 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Way to go Veronica!! Terrific gift ideas!!

    • VeronicaFarkas profile imageAUTHOR

      Veronica Roberts 

      6 years ago from Ohio, USA

      Thank you, Eddy! I always appreciate your feedback!! I hope that you're doing well. :)

    • Eiddwen profile image


      6 years ago from Wales

      Great tips here and thanks for sharing,



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