Last-minute holiday gifts don’t have to be expensive or impersonal. In fact, with some creativity and thinking outside the box, the gifts you give can be both frugal and fun. The cheap gift ideas below might not apply to every situation you encounter. What they will do, though, is give you some inspiration for making the holidays special without busting your budget!
Go for experiences
There’s a great deal of attention being paid to gifts that are material items. Not only do many people have far too many things, but they can also become a source of stress and clutter. Think about an experience that you’ve always wanted to do and which person on your gift-giving list would be the perfect companion.
- What about exploring and/or hiking through a nearby park?
- You could provide babysitting services for your young neighbours or for family members who might not have the budget to pay for the service.
- If someone on your list is a caregiver for an aging parent or a disabled child, offer to give them a respite for a few hours.
- Does your gift-giving list contain someone who has household maintenance or car repair projects that are unfinished? If you are skilled in the necessary area, consider offering to help them make the repairs.
- Visit low-cost historical sites and/or museums with the gift recipient and enjoy some quality time with them as well.
Make a gift
Nearly everyone has memories of making lopsided potholders or woodworking projects as a child. This doesn’t mean, however, that you can’t use your skills in innovative ways to create one-of-a-kind frugal gifts.
- If you’re adept at sewing, knitting or crocheting, creating a small and quick gift that’s personalized to the recipient is also frugal.
- Cook or bake a delicious treat or a meal that can be frozen before being reheated later when things get hectic. Better yet, provide a certificate for such a treat that can be redeemed in the future when all the holiday food has been eaten and the winter doldrums have set in.
- Give the gift of time. Make a coupon booklet with a few low-key ideas the recipient can cash out when it fits into everyone’s schedule. You could provide yard cleanup, help hang curtains, or wash a friend’s car, for example.
- If baking and cooking aren’t your strong suits, consider whipping up a dry mix. The gift receiver then adds a few common ingredients found in nearly any kitchen before cooking. Some ideas include homemade hot cocoa mix, soup mix, brownies or overnight oatmeal.
Buy an inexpensive gift
If you need cheap gift ideas for someone on your list, don’t rule out making small purchases. Before you shop, make a budget of how much you plan spend on each person – then stick to it. Here, too, the key is to think about what the recipient would like or find useful and then search for small items or accessories related to that. Head to your local dollar store or secondhand store to score some great fun but frugal gifts.
- A teen that enjoys tinkering around the house fixing things or helping his or her father change the oil in the family’s car would probably love a few inexpensive hand tools.
- Even those people who are experienced in the kitchen sometimes find themselves in need of new measuring cups and spoons but can never seem to remember to buy them while they’re out.
- New markers, pens and paper would thrill the artist in your life, while craft materials provide hours of fun for kids of a wide array of ages.
- Head to the secondhand store and combine a shopping experience with an inexpensive gift such as a shirt, book or something else that captures your companion’s eye.
When it comes to last-minute, frugal-but-fun gifts, the idea is to keep the person who is receiving the gift in mind. Personalizing your gift to meet the needs and/or interests of the recipient is not only going to result in a unique Christmas gift, but it will also ensure the gift will be put to good use!