50 Frugal Gifts You Can Give This Christmas

Christmas time is one of the most joyous times of the year at our house, but if you’re not careful it can also be one of the most expensive times of year. If you’re trying to cut down on spending, like we are at our house, it can become a challenge to find creative gifts to give.

Today I thought I would try to put together a list of ideas for some good frugal gifts that you can give this Christmas. (The frugality of the gifts vary from gift to gift, but I’ve linked some possibilities on Amazon.  You can probably find some cheaper ways to put these things together yourself if you try.)

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Check out the newly expanded list: 100 Frugal Christmas Gifts

50 Frugal Gifts

  1. Baked goods: I don’t know any guy who wouldn’t love to get a box full of cookies, banana bread and pastries!   (Hint: not good for someone on a diet)
  2. If you’ve got an old laptop, make a frugal digital picture frame out of it!:   At 14-15″ it’ll be bigger than most you buy at the stores, and cheaper since you’ll be using old parts!
  3. Personalized Calendars:  Most photo processing places will have these personalized calendars you can buy, or pick up pre-made ones in Target’s dollar bins.  Get photos of you and the person you’re giving the gift to in each season, and place them in the appropriate month/season of the year!
  4. Themed gift baskets: Give a themed gift basket.  For example, a movie night theme basket with microwave popcorn, a movie or two, and some cheapo popcorn buckets from Target dollar bin.
  5. Custom t-shirts: Create your own custom t-shirt for a family member on Cafepress. It’s cheaper than you might think!
  6. Scrapbooks: Make a scrapbook for a close friend showng moments you’ve shared together. My wife did this for a friend’s wedding.  Very meaningful.
  7. Donation to a local charity:  Give to a local charity in someone’s name.  Make sure it’s a charity that they would actually give to.
  8. Handmade Christmas ornaments: make personalized Christmas ornaments for your friends and family!
  9. Board Games: buy a board game, a gift that gets the family together and keeps on giving all year long! Even better, if you can find some board games at garage sales or on ebay, create a themed game night gift basket (see above)!
  10. Family history DVD:  Put together a family history DVD with photos, writtten family histories, video and anything else you can think of.
  11. Framed family picture:  Take a picture at a family event, frame it, and give it as a gift!
  12. Coupon Books: Make a personalized coupon book with such favorite coupons as “back rub”, “dinner” or “clean the house”.
  13. Make a blanket: make a nice fleece blanket.   Instructions here.
  14. Make some custom painted wine glasses: Make some custom painted wine glasses, and then give them along with a bottle of wine.  Instructions here.
  15. Give a magazine subscription:  My brother loves reading National Geographic and the Economist.  We gave him subscriptions as a gift.
  16. Romantic evening gift set: Candles and fake flower petals! Cheap and fun!
  17. Keeping warm gift set: Give a gift set of hat, scarf and gloves.  Add long underwear as well if you wish!
  18. Leatherbound journal:  buy a nice leatherbound journal at your local Borders or Barnes and Noble.  They make for a nice gift.  Add a nice pen if you want to pay a little more.
  19. Craft Kit:  Put together a crafting kit with things like markers, glitter, scissors, clay, crayons, glue, paper, etc.
  20. Photo Collage: If you’re handy with Photoshop or another image editing software, create a photo collage/montage, print it out and frame it!  Or if you don’t have Photoshop, print separate pictures and create a collage.
  21. Movie Tickets: Buy a pair of movie passes or a movie gift card for someone to go see a movie. Not as cheap as it used to be :).
  22. Buy a single stock:  Buy a family member a single stock to get them started, and give them a copy of a finance book like Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover (although you may want to stress that you’re giving it because it has helped you.  People can get touchy about money related gifts)
  23. Flannel Sheets and PJs:  Buy a keeping comfy gift pack with flannel sheets and pajamas!
  24. Coffee Lovers Gift Pack:  Buy some gourmet coffee and a personalized coffee cup for the coffee lover on your list.
  25. Set of soaps, towels and soap dish: Put together a nice matching set of hand towel and soap dish, and then give some handmade soaps.
  26. Big breakfast gift pack: Put together a gift pack with pancake mix, batter dispenser, syrup and pancake mix-ins.
  27. Puzzle day:  Give a gift pack of a puzzle and snacks to eat while you do the puzzle!
  28. BBQ Kit: Get some BBQ sauce from local source, and add it to a nice BBQ Utensil kit.
  29. Basket of spices and seasonings: Put together a basket of seasonings and spices from a local spice or grocery store.  Make sure to get a good mix for cooking, BBQs, etc.
  30. Netflix subscription: Pay for someone to have netflix for a couple of months.  If they have a connected device, they can even stream movies!
  31. Deck of cards and book of card games: Buy a cheap pack of cards, and a book listing the rules of different card games. Good for hours of fun!
  32. Cheap keychain digital picture viewer: Buy someone a cheap digital picture viewer keychain (around $20?) and fill it with pictures.
  33. Bath time gift pack:  Buy a nice wash clothe, some bath oils/beads and even some lotions at your local bath store.
  34. Mix tape:  Make  a mix CD from Itunes with some of the person’s favorite music on it.
  35. Botanicals:  buy a nice low maintenance plant to brighten up their day, along with a small watering can.
  36. Make a recipe box: If you’re good with wood, make a nice recipe box, and fill it with blank recipe cards.
  37. An appreciation book:  Get a nice journal, and write in it to the person about how much you appreciate them, things you love about them,  shared moments and experiences and general encouragement.  Even add a few photos.
  38. Book gift pack:  Find some books on your own shelf that you’ve already read, and put together a gift pack of books
  39. Chocolate attack!: Put together a gift pack with all kinds of chocolate. Hot chocolate, chocolate bars, truffles, etc.
  40. Car wash kit:  Put together a kit for washing the car.  Can include things like sponge, tire brush, bug remover, car soap, etc.
  41. Regifted items:  Did you get a 2nd crock pot last Christmas that you haven’t used?  Give it away this Christmas (to someone other than who you received it from)
  42. “That’s a spicy meatball” gift pack: Give them a nice italian dinner with a pasta bowl, pasta, strainer, fancy olive oil, pasta utensils and even some sauce.
  43. Give your service:  Good at cooking? Offer to come over and cook a gourment meal.  Are you a designer?  Offer your design services for free.  Good with computers? Offer free tech support. You get the idea.
  44. Wine and cheese gift pack:  Buy a variety of specialty cheeses, crackers and a bottle of wine.  Put it together and you have one gourment evening!
  45. Picnic pack:  Put together a picnic pack with a blanket, a basket, some cheap utensils and plates.
  46. Sewing Kit & lessons: put together all the sewing essentials (thread, needles, pins, etc) and then give the person lessons on how to sew.
  47. Gardening gift pack: Buy the person gardening gloves, gardening tools and some seeds. Put them all in a small bucket or waterging can.
  48. Handmade jewelry:  Make a handmade necklace or bracelet at a local bead or craft store.  Give it as a meaningful gift.
  49. Music lover’s delight: give an itunes gift card, along with a book about their favorite artist or band
  50. Beer afficionado gift pack:  Give a beer mug, snacks and gift card from a local brew pub.
  51. A Birdhouse: Give your loved one of these bluebird houses so they can relax on the porch and watch the colorful avians.

Now that I’ve given you some ideas for some frugal Christmas gifts, why don’t you give us your own ideas! Leave a comment with your idea for a good frugal Christmas gift below!

More Ideas

50 ideas not enough?  Here’s some more ideas for a frugal Christmas!

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Last Edited: 29th November 2012

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Comments

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  1. says

    Great ideas! My two favorites were the puzzle and snack pack idea and the deck of cards with a book on playing cards! Great ideas for grandparents to give to families or to the grandkids. And lots of fun to play with them after the gift :) I’ll be saving this list! Thanks :)

    Kayes last blog post..…To Grandmother’s House We Go

  2. says

    i love the picnic pack idea!

    i went the board game route this year with my family though. i love sharing my favorite games with them. :)

  3. says

    StoryCorps, the largest nonprofit national oral history project, has some great meaningful gift ideas. Give the gift of Listening is an Act of Love, a paperback compilation of some of the interviews we’ve recorded or conduct your own interview with a family member or loved one, honoring them by asking questions you’ve always wanted to ask. Find tips at http://www.storycorps.net.

    Kathleens last blog post..StoryCorps 93: Talking Back

  4. says

    I up for number 50! I’ll have to put that on my wish list. ;-)

    I plan on buying the digital key chain for my mom this year – filled with the grandkid’s pictures. And a few mixed CDs for family members – better get on it! Time is running out! Great list!
    Money Funk´s last post ..$25 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway

  5. Lou Lou says

    I always give home made things, I love to make jam, (sometimes in a basket with scones, tea etc.) Also, my husband is a certified message therapist , he helps me get my co-workers stress out by giving a Christmas gift to each office employee – a mini message for 15 minutes per preson, this is very cheap 15.00 each. This goes over really well not to mention the stress that is released from the hussle and bussel of the season!

  6. says

    I really like the collage idea. Take a special occasion that the person attended or gave during the year that meant a lot to them. Take the pictures from your PC and have them printed and put them into a nice large frame with decorative dried flowers, or ribbens and maybe include the invitation from the event.

  7. says

    This is a great list! Thanks for updating it for the 2009 season, as well. I’ll look forward to seeing maybe seeing updates for next year also (hint, hint!)

    My favorite is absolutely choice #1 – I’m all about giving baked goods for the holidays. It’s inexpensive, people love them, and they are consumable. Of course, as you suggest, one should be aware of diet concerns.

    Thanks! And have a happy New Year!
    julie @ Gifts Under $25´s last post ..KeywordLuv, CommentLuv and Top Commentator Here!

  8. says

    One of my favorite frugal Christmas gifts was a CD my daughter made for me of her life…she compiled beautiful pictures of her throughout the years and loaded it to a CD. I’ve loved watching the slideshow ever since – and yes, I cried when I looked at it!

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