By Sarah Deveau
For families on a tight budget, Christmas gift giving can make this time of year more stressful than joyful. Here are 25 ideas for giving big without a big bill.
- Create a handmade ornament, like these felted wool gnomes
- A small whiteboard or brightly coloured sticky notes make a good gift for a forgetful friend
- Knit a pair of mittens or crochet a coffee cozy
- Create homemade bath scrubs or body lotions
- Create a small scrapbook or a do-it-yourself photo book using a dollar store mini album
- Give an avid reader a selection of funny bookmarks
- Print a collection of your tried and true recipes for friends
- A writer might appreciate a few nice gel pens or a stylish, purse-sized journal
- Make a no sew fleece blanket
- Think of something the receiver has been forgetting to purchase for themselves. If your mother-in-law always remarks that she wishes she had a second gravy boat for big holiday dinners, get her one!
- Create a unique plant holder – this dinosaur one was fun to make and give
- Find a used copy of your favourite book and write an inscription in it for the receiver
- Bake something for the baking challenged – they appreciate it immensely. These cinnamon rolls are easy and delicious
- Create cookies in a jar (or for the health conscious, overnight oatmeal in a jar)
- Buy a small amount of tea or chocolate that’s decadent and a treat
- Videotape your parents talking about childhood memories and give the tape to siblings
- Do you remember your favourite childhood books? Your parents likely remember reading them to you. Buy them a copy, and be sure to inscribe it
- Create a family website where siblings, parents, cousins, and other relatives around the world can post photos, announcements, and update each other on their lives
- Looking for a gift the kids won’t lose interest in within a day? Little kids love costumes, so create a Tickle Trunk! Buy a large, sturdy plastic container, and visit a thrift store for inexpensive and unusual costume pieces
- Plan a romantic dinner for two and present your honey with a menu, asking them to make a reservation soon
- Create a basic travel craft kit from dollar store items
- Find strangely shaped cookie cutters that will appeal to a friend’s sense of humour
- Magazine subscriptions are inexpensive, and it’s like the recipient receives a gift every month!
- Instead of spending $40 on a new board game, invest $10 in an old classic, and pair it with a promise for a fun night of games and conversation
- With a little planning, you can give beautiful houseplants in yard sale plant pots just using cuttings from your own plants
It can be daunting to get through the season of giving with your finances intact so setting a budget and sticking to it is very important. You can figure out how much money you have to spend in total, then break it down per person in a list that you can keep handy and update as you spend. If you use a smartphone, download one of the many free apps that can help you keep your holiday spending on track.