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December is traditionally a month of excessive spending. This year, try something different. Step back and consider what’s really important in your life.
The holidays should be about spending time with our friends and family.
But instead we’re manipulated by marketing firms and corporations into buying more. We’re ashamed if we don’t have all the latest gadgets and toys under the tree.
It’s become a competition to see who can buy the biggest, best, most expensive gifts.
What if you refused to participate in this madness? What if this year you embraced the true spirit of the holiday season?
Here are 10 ideas for thoughtful, inexpensive Christmas gifts that will bring your closer to your loved ones without costing a fortune. Options included for the non-crafty among us.
If you’re not crafty, you can buy a picture frame at a thrift store or dollar store for a buck (or less). Take a nice photo of your family and have it printed for a few cents. Put it in the frame, and you have a unique, special gift for under $2.00.
If you are crafty, try making your own frame or decorating a cheap one, although you might have to spend a little more on supplies. Here’s a great tutorial on Stenciling a Picture Frame from Stencils & Stories, and here’s another one for making Wrapping Paper Picture Mats from 320 Sycamore.
Grandmothers especially love to receive pictures of their grand kids, and I know my mom appreciates updated pictures of me and my husband every year.
If you like to bake, try making a few different varieties of cookies and packaging them in decorative Christmas wrap. Find cheap baskets at thrift stores or dollar stores to hold your goodies, and use cheap ribbon and tissue paper to decorate them.
Sugar cookies, snickerdoodles, and gingerbread are traditional, but don’t stop there. You can get creative and make all kinds of awesome treats for very little money. How about these Funfetti Christmas Cake Mix Cookies from the 36th Avenue or these Candy Cane Kiss Cookies from Sally’s Baking Addiction?
If you don’t like to bake but still want cookies as inexpensive Christmas gifts, pick up a package from the bakery of your local supermarket and repackage them. They’re usually no more than $5 for a dozen.
Cookies make great gifts for teachers, coworkers, distant relatives, neighbors, the mailman – anyone really. Who doesn’t like getting homemade treats for Christmas?
Candles and Candle Holders
A nice scented candle is always appreciated. Yankee candles sell for up to $28 for the large jar varieties, but we like the same size (20-ounce) candles by Mainstays at Walmart for only $4.86. They’re long-lasting with great scent. Smaller (11.5-ounce) sizes are only $3.00.
For the crafty, you can make gorgeous candle holders for next to nothing. Buy a cheap glass candle holder at the dollar store for a buck, decorate with glass beads and ribbon, add a candle or tea light, and you’ve got an expensive looking gift for less than $5.00.
A mason jar or other glass container works well for making homemade candle holders, too. Check out how to make DIY Dollar Store Christmas Candle Holders from Coupon Closet, or Snowy Pinecone Candle Jars from Crafts by Amanda.
Hot Cocoa Gift Mug
Although this gift is technically homemade, you don’t have to be crafty to pull it off.
Buy a large coffee mug at the dollar store for a buck. Fill it with a package of hot chocolate, a bag of mini marshmallows, a candy cane or two, and some decorative tissue paper. Tie a ribbon around it and it’s done. To make it prettier, pour the hot chocolate and marshmallows into decorative plastic Christmas bags.
Here’s a great tutorial on making your own 5-Minute Hot Chocolate Gift at Tatertots & Jello, or you might want to try these Hot Cocoa Mix Ornaments from Sprinkle Some Fun. These are a creative take on the classic gift mug. You could also use a Mason jar, plastic tube with cork lid, or a favor bag instead of a mug to hold the cocoa.
Nothing makes a holiday gathering better than alcohol. (In my opinion, at least.) Buy four different shooters at your liquor store counter for a buck each, and save the last dollar for a cute basket or jar to put them in. Slap a bow on it and you’ve got a cheap grown-up gift.
An inexpensive bottle of champagne or wine also makes a great gift if the recipient isn’t a wine snob. If so, they might appreciate a nice wine glass or some wine charms.
Buy Inexpensive Christmas Gifts This Year
Even on a budget of $5.00, you can give thoughtful gifts without looking cheap.
Remember, the holidays are about being together – not spending money.
Here are some tips to help you spend less this year:
- Set a holiday budget and stick to it.
- Check thrift stores and dollar stores for wrapping paper, gift baskets, ribbon, etc.
- Check out Pinterest for ideas on DIY and frugal gifts.
- Most importantly, don’t rack up debt to buy unnecessary gifts.
If you’re on a journey to pay off debt or just trying to get your finances in order, tell your loved ones. They’ll understand and support you. Maybe they’ll even be inspired to spend less this year too.
What are your favorite inexpensive Christmas gifts? Leave a comment below!