Christmas time is only a month and a half away! At our house it’s one of the most joyous times of the year as we celebrate the birth of our savior, and revel in all the blessings we have seen in our lives during the year. This year we’re celebrating the birth of our first born son – and he’s celebrating his first Christmas!
The most important parts of Christmas aren’t physical or material things, but in our culture it’s often expected to give gifts during the Christmas season. Because of that, if you’re not careful it can quickly become 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.
Check out the newly expanded list: 100 Frugal Christmas Gifts
Here in this post I thought I would put together a list of ideas for some good frugal gifts that you can give this Christmas.
NOTE: 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. Feel free to chime in on the comments section down below with your own frugal gift ideas!
The Big List Of Frugal Gifts
- 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)
- 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!
- 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!
- 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.
- Custom t-shirts: Create your own custom t-shirt for a family member on Cafepress. It can be cheaper than you think!
- Scrapbooks: Make a scrapbook for a close friend showing moments you’ve shared together. My wife did this for a friend’s wedding. Very meaningful.
- 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.
- Handmade Christmas ornaments: make personalized Christmas ornaments for your friends and family!
- 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)!
- Family history DVD: Put together a family history DVD with photos, written family histories, family tree, video and anything else you can think of.
- Framed family picture: Take a picture at a family event, frame it, and give it as a gift!
- Coupon Books: Make a personalized coupon book with such favorite coupons as “back rub”, “dinner” or “clean the house”.
- Make a blanket: make a nice fleece blanket. Instructions here.
- Make some custom painted wine glasses: Make some custom painted wine glasses, and then give them along with a bottle of wine. Instructions here.
- Give a magazine subscription: My brother loves reading National Geographic and the Economist. We gave him subscriptions as a gift.
- Romantic evening gift set: Candles and silk flower petals! Cheap and fun!
- Keeping warm gift set: Give a gift set of hat, scarf and gloves. Add long underwear as well if you wish!
- 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.
- Craft Kit: Put together a crafting kit with things like markers, glitter, scissors, clay, crayons, glue, paper, etc.
- 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.
- 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 :).
- 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)
- Flannel Sheets and PJs: Buy a keeping comfy gift pack with flannel sheets and pajamas!
- Coffee lovers gift pack: Buy some gourmet coffee and a personalized coffee cup for the coffee lover on your list.
- 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.
- Big breakfast gift pack: Put together a gift pack with pancake mix, batter dispenser, syrup and pancake mix-ins.
- Puzzle day: Give a gift pack of a puzzle and snacks to eat while you do the puzzle!
- BBQ Kit: Get some BBQ sauce from local source, and add it to a nice BBQ Utensil kit.
- 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.
- Netflix subscription: Pay for someone to have netflix for a couple of months. If they have a connected device, they can even stream movies!
- 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!
- Cheap keychain digital picture viewer: Buy someone a cheap digital picture viewer keychain (around $20?) and fill it with pictures.
- Bath time gift pack: Buy a nice wash clothe, some bath oils/beads and even some lotions at your local bath store.
- Laser Etched Crystal: Need a unique Christmas gift? Turn any photo into a 3D crystal image. While this isn’t the most frugal option on the list, if you’re looking for something special, you can find something well under $100. Use coupon code HOLIDAYCHEER to save 30%.
- Botanicals: buy a nice low maintenance plant to brighten up their day, along with a small watering can.
- Make a recipe box: If you’re good with wood, make a nice recipe box, and fill it with blank recipe cards.
- 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.
- Book gift pack: Find some books on your own shelf that you’ve already read, and put together a gift pack of books
- Chocolate attack!: Put together a gift pack with all kinds of chocolate. Hot chocolate, chocolate bars, truffles, etc.
- Car wash kit: Put together a kit for washing the car. Can include things like sponge, tire brush, bug remover, car soap, etc.
- 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)
- “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.
- 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.
- 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!
- Picnic pack: Put together a picnic pack with a blanket, a basket, some cheap utensils and plates.
- Sewing Kit & lessons: put together all the sewing essentials (thread, needles, pins, etc) and then give the person lessons on how to sew.
- Gardening gift pack: Buy the person gardening gloves, gardening tools and some seeds. Put them all in a small bucket or waterging can.
- Handmade jewelry: Make a handmade necklace or bracelet at a local bead or craft store. Give it as a meaningful gift.
- Music lover’s delight: give an itunes gift card, along with a book about their favorite artist or band
- Beer afficionado gift pack: Give a beer mug, snacks and gift card from a local brew pub.
- A Birdhouse: Give your loved one of these bluebird houses so they can relax on the porch and watch the colorful avians.
- Outdoorsman gift pack: Put together a gift pack with a leatherman mini, a pair of choppers, and an aluminum water bottle (or your choice of other outdoor gear)
- Used electronics: Have an extra MP3 player and know someone who needs one? Clean up your spare and give it as a gift!
- Art lovers gift pack: Get a free photo canvas of one of your favorite photos, along with supplies to hang it. If the person is artistic, put together a gift pack with art supplies!
- Give a memory photo book: Give the person a photo book that includes memories of you and that person together.
- Active lifestyle gift pack: Put together some small gifts like a BPA free water bottle, workout video or video game and some wristbands. Be careful not to offend anyone with this one. ;)
- Accessories: Know someone with an Ipod? Give them an Ipod accessories pack. Father with a cell phone? Give him cell phone accessories.
- Host a party: Instead of giving gifts to a large group of friends, invite them over for a Christmas party that you host.
- Gingerbread house kit: Give all the things needed to make gingerbread houses, along with recipes for frosting and building instructions. (Best if given before Christmas)
- Give the gift of a blog: Know someone who might enjoy blogging? Buy them a domain name, setup their blog and host them on your hosting account if you have one! Buy a copy of my ebook for them!
- Give the gift of communication: Know an older member of the family who doesn’t have a cell phone? Buy them a cheap pre-paid phone and a small amount of air time. As cheap as $20-30!
- Take someone out to dinner: Take a friend or family member out to dinner at a reasonably priced restaurant on the house!
- Tea gift pack: Give a nice teacup along with a selection of teas.
- Make a music mix: Purchase some of your favorite music for someone from Itunes and put it on a thumb drive or CD-RW! (no illegal content distribution folks!)
- Make a memories CD for a parent: If you’re younger make a memories CD for your mom and dad with photos, audio or video of you talking about good times you’ve shared, and maybe some written memories.
- Yard Work Coupons: Have an elderly family member or friend? Make up some nice looking coupons for free yard work or other odd jobs on your computer.
- Scrappers gift pack: If you know someone who enjoys scrapbooking, put together a nice canvas bag with scrapbooking materials, and maybe a gift card to Michael’s or other craft store.
- Sports gift pack: Know a kid who enjoys sports? Put together a sports gift pack with equipment for several different sports.
- Recipe gift pack: Give the gift of several of your favorite recipes, and a gift card to a local grocery store.
- Create a memory jar: Have a bunch of friends write down favorite memories of the person receiving the gift – get as many as you can. Then put them all on small pieces of paper, and put them in a decorated jar with the instructions to open one fun memory every day.
- Put on a concert: If you’re musically talented, put on a Christmas concert for family and friends. If you want to give to others, go to a local nursing home and play!
- Football gift pack: Have someone obsessed with football? Get them a t-shirt for their favorite team, a team blanket for cuddling up and watching games on Sunday and some snacks!
- Write a poem: Write a “Where I’m From Poem”, either about yourself for the gift receiver, or about them. Details here.
- Custom collage notebook: One year my brother made me a notebook that had a fun photo and magazine clipping collage on the cover. It was creative and I used that notebook for quite a while.
- Movie based on a book: Buy someone a book that you enjoyed, as well as the movie based on that book.
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 Frugal Christmas Gifts & Ideas
75 ideas not enough? Here’s some more ideas for a frugal Christmas!
- 25 Christmas Gift Ideas Under $25
- 25 Christmas Gift Ideas Under $50
- 50 Frugal Christmas Ideas
- How To Start Planning For Christmas And Save
Last Edited: 4th November 2011