Frugal Christmas Gift Ideas

December 1, 2010

Offer a free Christmas gift this year, such as a night of free babysitting, a day of house cleaning, an afternoon tutoring a child or adult, or even just spending time with a shut-in person who is unable to get out. The recipient will thank you for your thoughtful gift.


By Ron from Cortez, CO

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December 12, 2011

Here are a few of my ideas for inexpensive but thoughtful gifts.

Purchase a glass shaker jar. I found one at the dollar store. In a bowl, mix one tablespoon of cinnamon with a half cup of sugar. This will give you enough to fill about two or three jars.

Homemade cinnamon sugar shaker jar with tag.

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December 14, 2009

Many of us frugal folks know that when we don't have money to spend on gifts, we sometimes choose to give people "coupons" for things like babysitting, cooking, mowing the lawn and other useful chores or activities.

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December 10, 2007

I find it challenging to give all the gifts I'd like to without exploding my budget. For many friends and their children, I have a $5 budget. I feel like this can work when 1: the gift is thoughtful and original and 2: the gift is well wrapped and comes off looking more expensive.

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December 22, 2008

I just came back from my weekly thrift store run and found small ceramic flower pots, already painted for 40 cents each. I am adding a envelope (downloaded from Alenka's printables) of seeds from my garden and a candy cane. I will give these as a small gift for office co-workers, since I am known as mother nature--this fits perfect with everyone's thoughts of me.

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December 16, 2000

I always have canning jars around. At Christmas, I fill some with assorted Christmas colored candy; those star brite mints, gold and silver foil wrapped candies, etc.

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October 29, 2004

One way to make a great Christmas gift is to take pictures of the children in the family unbeknownst to the family. This is tricky, and then make a photo album. Add a page in the album where you write a poem or your favorite time spent with the child was.

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13 Questions

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I am already thinking about Christmas. I know it's early, but with my budget I need to plan ahead! My whole family buys for each other, even though I have suggested many times to maybe draw names, but this never seems to go over well.

They all want to buy for everyone. But my question is what can I buy different from every year? Mostly I end up buying clothing because I am at a loss as to what to buy. I would appreciate any suggestions. I am not too imaginative and would love to do something different this year. Please help!

Lisa from VA


November 24, 20160 found this helpful
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I often choose one thing/theme each year. This year, I'm making personalized Xmas ornaments for people in my family. A couple of years ago it was knitted scarves

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November 28, 2016

I have 2 kids (grandparents), 6 grandchildren (all grown), and 18 great grandchildren (oldest ones are 6 years)! What do I do at Christmas when I live on low income Social Security?


December 2, 20163 found this helpful
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The best gift you can give is yourself. You may record stories of your youth, memories of them when they were young, or stories about people who have passed away. They would also appreciate old photographs or treasured recipes. As the saying goes, they need your presence, not your presents!

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December 4, 20160 found this helpful
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How about searching through all your family photos and giving your children a nice inexpensive photo book, one enlarged and framed special photo of them or even just an envelope full of their childhood photos?
You may be surprised how special that is for adult children and even their children will enjoy seeing their parents as little ones!

You may or may not want to write out a special memory to go with one or more of the photos too!

These memories are gifts that only you can give!

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January 4, 2001

What is the best gift you've received that was not expensive?

Some of my favorites are:
A book of poetry by my adult daughter.
A picture of me drawn by my younger daughter.

(It's a funny picture, but I love it).
A set of tapes of my favorite music compiled by my son.


January 6, 20010 found this helpful

... TIME! ...

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January 6, 20010 found this helpful

I buy teacups for decorative jars {with lids} at a thrift shop and decorate them. I hot glue ribbon and bows on the jars and bows on the handle of the teacup. I then fill with tea bags, cinnamon sticks etc for the tea cup and cocoa for cafe mocha in the jars. You can adjust these to the tastes of the gift receiver. They average about 1-3 dollars a piece and people love them! - Lisa

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January 6, 20010 found this helpful

To give of your time to someone that needs it. Be it a job to be done or to listen to someone.

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January 7, 20011 found this helpful

Honestly, the best thrifty gift I've ever given was this last Christmas. I bought about 20 men's tube socks and filled them with rice. After painting each recipient's name on their sock, it became the own personal "rice buddy" to be heated in the microwave and used as a heating pad. I figure each gift cost me about $1.50!
Shelley Dabney

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January 7, 20010 found this helpful

Some of my favorite gifts this past Christmas were:
-a stocking that my 11 yr old daughter sewed, so that Mom would have a stocking too.
-a bottle of shampoo from my 7 yr old son--my husband said he tried to convince him to get me something else, but Thomas insisted that Mommy likes to shower after exercising and he thought I needed shampoo.
-A ceramic angel from my 14 yr old son who said he overheard me tell a friend about how we buy an angel ornament every year to remember the baby we lost 6 years ago.

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December 6, 2000

I have a friend that I met online and we've been emailing back and forth for almost two years now. I wanted to send her a little something for Christmas, but don't have a lot of money to spend. Any ideas?



December 8, 20000 found this helpful

Because this is someone you know online, why not take excerpts from the emails you have been sending back and forth. Find the passages that mean the most to you and put them together in a "friendship" book to say "You mean a lot to me" and thank her for her friendship.

In two years I'm sure you have impacted each others lives. Let her know when and how this happened.
Just an idea,

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December 8, 20000 found this helpful

I love Susan's idea! Just a thought also - by now you two have worn out at least 1 mousepad - how about sending one with a picture or saying that would mean something special to her or both of you?

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December 11, 20001 found this helpful

I send one of my very close on line friend, that I also met 2 years ago from CA, a box of my homemade Christmas cookies every year. She looks forward to them as they are ones she doesn't make. It's a way of sharing part of my traditional Christmas with her every year. I find a good box and fill cup cake liners with them and put a piece of fitted cardboard between each layer and they arrive all in one piece, and I live 3000 miles from her. Some of the ones I make are very fragile too. Good luck.

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July 1, 2017

Large and multigenerational families can make gift giving at Christmas quite expensive. This is a page about thrifty Christmas gifts for a large family.

A large family exchanging Christmas gifts.

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