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.

  1. Create a handmade ornament, like these felted wool gnomes
  2. Photo Courtesy Sarah Deveau

    Photo Courtesy Sarah Deveau

  3. A small whiteboard or brightly coloured sticky notes make a good gift for a forgetful friend
  4. Knit a pair of mittens or crochet a coffee cozy
  5. Create homemade bath scrubs or body lotions
  6. Create a small scrapbook or a do-it-yourself photo book using a dollar store mini album
  7. Give an avid reader a selection of funny bookmarks
  8. Print a collection of your tried and true recipes for friends
  9. A writer might appreciate a few nice gel pens or a stylish, purse-sized journal
  10. Make a no sew fleece blanket
  11. 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!
  12. Create a unique plant holder – this dinosaur one was fun to make and give
  13. Photo Courtesy Sarah Deveau

    Photo Courtesy Sarah Deveau

  14. Find a used copy of your favourite book and write an inscription in it for the receiver
  15. Bake something for the baking challenged – they appreciate it immensely. These cinnamon rolls are easy and delicious
  16. Create cookies in a jar (or for the health conscious, overnight oatmeal in a jar)
  17. Buy a small amount of tea or chocolate that’s decadent and a treat
  18. Videotape your parents talking about childhood memories and give the tape to siblings
  19. 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
  20. 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
  21. 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
  22. Plan a romantic dinner for two and present your honey with a menu, asking them to make a reservation soon
  23. Create a basic travel craft kit from dollar store items
  24. Find strangely shaped cookie cutters that will appeal to a friend’s sense of humour
  25. Magazine subscriptions are inexpensive, and it’s like the recipient receives a gift every month!
  26. 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
  27. 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.