Inexpensive Christmas Gift Ideas

December 5, 2007

Christmas Gift IdeasA wonderful, inexpensive, lovely idea for Christmas gift giving. Purchase a measuring cup, preferably glass. Tie a ribbon to handle with a card stating this or something like this:

"The measure of a person should be by the content of goodness in their heart.

The amount of love they show and give.

The amount of compassion toward others.

The giving of themselves, even when they don't feel

like there is much to give.

The unselfish acts they perform.

The kindness they emit.

The joy they share.

The measure of a person should be by what is in their heart alone.

And you, my friend, Measure Up!

Thank you for being a true friend!

This Christmas, may your cup runneth over!

I wish you a Truly Blessed Christmas! 2007"

I wrote this and gave these last year to my best lady friends - it was a huge hit! They just loved them and were so very touched. I am so happy to share this with you all!

May God Bless you too!

By Bennae from Bartlesville, OK

Read More Comments

More Solutions

This page contains the following solutions.

February 15, 2005

At Christmas, I was signing cards and found more than a few I'd like to endow with a 'tiny' gift. I enclosed a flavored tea bag or two and got nice responses.


January 2, 2011

For those of us who have children and need low-cost or free gift ideas.


November 30, 2000

Here's my idea for inexpensive holiday gifts. It saves me some money to make many of my holiday gifts this way, and people seem to like them.


November 9, 2016

I went into my Dollar General store and was looking for a gift for a few friends. I decided on a small seasonal themed drinking cup with a straw as a container to hold three small Christmas cookies, some candy, and gum.


The little cup will be reusable after the gift is opened.

filled cup


September 16, 2008

When my 3 children were little, money was tight. So I bought a present for each child every month. Granted they were very inexpensive gifts but they still had 12 gifts to open on Christmas morning.


November 15, 2005

If you're stumped on what Christmas gift to buy for someone or you're running low on cash AND have a computer and printer...


16 Questions

Here are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community.

November 29, 2010

I'm an 18 year old college freshman, and I'm really worried about gifts this year. I know that, living in a dorm room or small apartment, getting stupid wasteful gifts isn't practical. I want to get some girls [and guys] I'm friends with small, cheap, and meaningful gifts that they can use and love. I'm looking at between 5-10 girls and 5 guys. Please remember that most of these people live in small rooms or apartments so we don't have room for random junk. What is something creative? Thanks!

By maddie from Normal, IL


Bronze Feedback Medal for All Time! 186 Feedbacks
November 29, 20100 found this helpful

This isn't really creative or unique but I would think shower gel/body wash would be welcome. Sometimes you can also find inexpensive day planners.


A funky looking mug with a couple packets of hot cocoa mix in it.

Read More Answers

October 19, 2004

For several years now, when I do an internet search for "Homemade Gift Ideas". I come to your site, and see all the great ideas, like Jar, or basket gifts etc. But even those seem to be too expensive, and not really workable for my needs.

Here's my problem.

Christmas is just around the corner, AGAIN! And I have almost no money, I have almost 300 people to send Christmas cards (and a little "something" to go with it) to (So it has to be flat (easily mailable, and that won't make the envelope too big or heavy), not fragile, and useful, something that anyone (man, or woman, and if it can even be for any age, that'd be even better) will find useful. It can't be food or teas or whatever, because so many people on my list have allergies, or illnesses or are on a diet, or are picky, or etc. And, it also has to be quick and easy to make, because I'm almost out of time. And I've already made bookmarks, several years in a row. I need something new.

I hand make each of the greeting cards we need, each year. But I haven't started yet, for this Christmas and next year. So, ideas on card designs would be appreciated too.

Also, on my list are a few people that I can spend a tiny bit more on, and That I can hand deliver the gifts to. These people have everything, or go into phases where they get rid of everything they own (almost). And stuff. I need "useful gifts" that aren't food. And I need good gift ideas for a 4 or 5 year old boy (I know very little about age appropriate gifts). I don't see him often, so I don't know what he loves most and what he already has, and etc. (something other than food, or a "toy", would be good).

Also.... For a Christmas Party I'm going to, I need a "healthy" cookie recipe! (and it needs to be fancy!).

So, you can see, I have a lot of trouble each year, because this is what I'm faced with each year. My annual "Christmas Anxiety" has begun.

Please, please, please, help!

-- In Peace, Phoebe.


By Becky (Guest Post)
October 19, 20040 found this helpful

First, I would think about cutting down the number of people you give gifts to. Are they all really necessary? Just the fact that you make them a card seems to me like a gift in itself. You seem to making this harder on yourself than it should be.

For the Christmas cards, always save the cards you receive. Cut off the front and any nice sayings from the inside. You can use these in the making of yours. Why not try making ornaments out of these too. (i.e. cut out a picture of an angel, embellish with a gold metallic pen, tie a pretty ribbon to the top). These would be a flat gift you could send.

For the kid, go with a book.

Kitchen gadgets always make good useful gifts. Pampered chef sells a handy opener (for soda and jars and 2 liter bottles), seasonal cookbook for $1, and other little gadgets that people love.


Good luck and try to enjoy the true reason of Christmas - Jesus and love! :)

By krista (Guest Post)
October 19, 20040 found this helpful

I love magnets. you can make your own from photos and magnetic sheets for a personal touch. Almost everyone has a fridge or some where that they could use a magnet. It's small, flat and cost effective. For the boy, a book is a good idea as well as art supplies ie. colored pencils, markers, paints, paper, etc.

By Mari (Guest Post)
October 20, 20040 found this helpful

How about making them stationery? A ream of paper is about $5. and just print the top border with whatever pattern you like and choose one which looks good in black ink. Such as a title "Memo From Mari".

October 20, 20040 found this helpful

Magnets sound great and how about a favorite recipe (perhaps tailored to those with allergies etc. Printing one on an index card and making copies.
Depending on the time you have, the recipe card could be personalized with decorations or stickers.

October 20, 20040 found this helpful

When my granddaughter was leaving the country for a year, I made a little bag, it could be an envelope, Then I added a birthday candle or star to index cards. I then added a bible verse, or a memory to each one, And on one Merry Christmas. On one I wrote Happy birthday. I think I made ten cards, It could be less. This was small, weighed very little and reminded her of home. She loved it. For the little boy, colors, pencils and drawing paper are always welcome.

By Kelly (Guest Post)
October 20, 20040 found this helpful

I agree that you need to simplify! A cute idea for a little gift to put in a card: Felt ornaments. I use cookie cutters as patterns. Simple shapes like stars or hearts work well. Cut 2 pieces of felt the same shape and sew them together using embroidery floss. Leave a little opening and put a little bit of stuffing inside (cotton balls work) and then finish sewing shut. I use a blanket stitch to do mine. A nice finished look. Add a ribbon hanger. They wouldn't add to the cost of postage because they weigh virtually nothing.


Bronze Feedback Medal for All Time! 104 Feedbacks
October 20, 20040 found this helpful

I know this isn't what you asked for :-) but I'm afraid I agree with Becky. Gifts are for family and close friends. Cards are for friends and acquaintances - in fact I have even stopped sending cards as I think bought ones are a complete rip off - I just send a very long newsy letter which people appreciate much more than a card or cheap useless gift. The fact that you spend the time to handmake cards should be a gift in itself. 300 gifts a year is insanity! If there is no one you can possible just send a card to I suggest you make gifts throughout the year as making and sending gifts under such stress negates the joy of giving. For help in organising for next year I would join Flylady ( and plan and execute your gift making in babysteps.

Regards and good luck for this Christmas!


By Barbara (Guest Post)
October 20, 20040 found this helpful

re the suggestion of making stationary.....if ya want to be really TW'd print at your local library. Our library allows us something like 400 printed papers a month......2 or 4 to a sheet and you have quite a bit of stationery....or recipes, or a special poem....

give a gift from the heart......find a poem and decorate it for ALL.....enjoy and don't sweat the small stuff........and if these aren't business cards, do you REALLY receive 300 gifts back from all of these people? reconsider and drastically cut the list is what I'd be doing........

By owenmohrbucks (Guest Post)
October 21, 20040 found this helpful

i thought about this on my way to work today and remembered a little gift that will almost cost you nothing. i know you said you made bookmarks and was looking for something else but here is my bookmark suggestion. have people save you all their junk mail envelopes. cut the corners of the envelopes so you will have a little triangle shape. you can then decorate them with stickers, etc. the bookmark will slip over the corner of the page you are reading.

By RoseMary (Guest Post)
October 22, 20040 found this helpful

How wonderful you have so many that you want to share Christmas with and those that recieve your hand-made card and gift must feel very special. Keep it up as maybe some of those you send to might only get the one you send. Gifts are not meant to be given only if you get one too. As for something easy, check out the ornaments in a magazine called Scrap and Stamp on page 32 the foil ornaments. They are made by krinkled foil put over ornaments that you cut from cardstock and then use glitter crayons, they are then melted with a heat gun and the affects are wonderful. You punch a small hole and string fancy yarn for the hanger. Cheap and beautiful.

As for the little boy, a learn to read book if great, so many people lean towards videos or toys at this age and a learn to read book is what they need to get a good start at school. I hope this helps.

Rose Mary

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Jesus Christ

October 22, 20040 found this helpful

How about making tiny travel sewing kits, that people can keep in their wallet.

Get some thin white card and cut into credit-card sized oblongs, rounding off the corners. Cut a few nicks in both of the long sides and wind around a couple of feet of different coloured threads - I suggest black, white, cream, brown and grey. Sew a shirt button on the card and stick a needle and two pins securely through the board. Add a safety pin. Slip the whole thing into a tiny polythene bag, or the corner of one, cut to size. Better still, get some transparent A5 document display wallets and use the bottom corners to make two holders for the sewing kit.

If you can get a cheap job-lot of some tiny embroidery scissors, or folding scissors, these would make a great addition, held in place by weaving between the threads. It might even be worth contacting manufacturers, to see if they can give you a decent price for a bulk order.

By owenmohrbucks. (Guest Post)
October 22, 20040 found this helpful

for the sewing kit you can cut your card stock and fold it over and staple it like a matchbook cover and decorate the front of it. then wrap your thread around another piece of card stock and put your needle, straight pins, safety pins also on it and then stick it in the matchbook cover.

By Michael (Guest Post)
October 23, 20040 found this helpful

Is this a joke? If not, you need to chill out. NO ONE IN THIS WORLD actually needs a bookmark! (That's what those annoying little cards in magazines are for!) No one really needs a flat ornament either.
Or, maybe write Martha

By April (Guest Post)
October 26, 20040 found this helpful

Why don't you give a donation to a charity? They will usually give you small cards if you request them stating the charity you gave money to. You can put these cards in the Christmas cards you send out, and you know that your money is going towards a good cause.

By brendast (Guest Post)
February 5, 20060 found this helpful

I belong to an email group and we send 'swaps' to each other now and then, which must fit in an envelope. Generally included in mine are a holiday paper napkin, holiday confetti, tea bag, flat candy (Ghirardelli chocolates work great!), post it notes, bookmark, flat magnet, poem or saying, recipe, stickers and seed pack if it's spring or summer. I try to make it festive and fun while keeping it inexpensive and as flat and lightweight as possible.

By christine V.H. (Guest Post)
September 11, 20060 found this helpful

You might do some scrapbooking to a picture or frame,maybe even a small brag book. All ages seamed to like these. Just make them personal if you can. You can just put there own name on a couple of pages,just use stickers or colorful pens.

By MissIlona (Guest Post)
October 26, 20060 found this helpful

With reference to your card query, i may have a cheap way of making cards for you. I got a load of handmade paper samples from a discount stationery store and a bumper pack of xmas table confetti. Then i cut the paper samples into small squares, glued on a snowflake or star from the confetti and stuck it on the card.

By TM (Guest Post)
December 8, 20060 found this helpful

A nice healthy treat is simply dried apricots 1/2 dipped in white chocolate ...I don't even like apricots but I love them done this way.

By SANDY F (Guest Post)
June 26, 20080 found this helpful

Get a glass salt and pepper shaker and wash and dry thoroughly. Spray paint the top to coorindate with your colors. Put bath powder in the shaker and decorate the outside with buttons, lace, ribbon, etc. This makes an excellent gift for ladies or girls to pack in their suitcase or leave on dresser. Your cost is usually under $1.00.

By BJ (Guest Post)
December 2, 20080 found this helpful

As a small gift I made business cards. For a cook, clip art picture of a cook stirring a big pot of soup. For a high school girl interested in acting I used clip art Comedy/tragedy. It was a lot of work, but lots of fun doing it and thinking of what they would really be interested in.
I wish someone would give detailed information about bookmarks, are they printed on both sides? Do you laminate them?

Answer this Question

December 11, 2009

I have a 5 year old step son and he is into the Hulk, Transformers, Mickey Mouse, cars, and just all this boy stuff, but he has all the toys in the world because his dad and real mom spoil him. I was just wondering what I should get him with a budget of $50 for him maybe only $25. Please help me.

By Nikkie09 from Corpus Christi TX

Read More Answers

November 17, 2009

I saw a cute idea for Christmas. It was a letter and it said 1 kiss, and you put a Hershey kiss with the letter. I don't remember what all goes with it and what the letter said. Can anyone help?

By Eva from Miamisburg, OH


Bronze Feedback Medal for All Time! 115 Feedbacks
November 18, 20090 found this helpful

This doesn't call for a letter but thought it might help you. they are called stress bags I use to send them to my girls when in college.

"A Gift of Stress Relief!"

It's a small plastic lace bag (I'll use a piece of lace material instead for a prettier touch) and includes:
1 stick of gum
1 candy kiss
1 pkg of smarties
1 starburst candy
1 mini snickers
1 tootsie roll
1 individually wrapped lifesaver candy

The attached tag says:

A Gift of Stress Relief!
A stick of gum:
to remind you to "stick with it"!
A kiss:
to remind you that you are loved!
to help you on those days when you don't have all the answers!
to give you a "burst" of energy when you need it!
because sometimes you just need to laugh!
Tootsie Rolls:
to remind you not to bite off more than you can chew!
for those days when you need to be "rescued"!

A Bag:
to help you hold it all together and give you "food for thought"!


Bronze Feedback Medal for All Time! 104 Feedbacks
December 5, 20090 found this helpful

I really like this. I have a grandson in college and it would be something nice to tuck in when I send him cookies, etc. What a good idea and showin' some love. I could also include the rest of the bags of candy in the box with this little bag on top. Thank you for sharing this. Barb

Answer this Question

December 18, 2010

What to do with $50 bucks for Xmas? I am super poor right now. My other cheque hasn't come and it's almost Xmas time. I have 50 bucks to buy my kids and fiance gifts. I am looking for some gifts that I could get or make before Christmas.

By Krystal from Kenora, Ontario

Read More Answers

October 26, 2000

I have a huge family. I start shopping for Christmas presents early. Does anyone have any good Christmas present ideas for 10 people for $10. or less. These are extended family members.



December 4, 20000 found this helpful

1) Good old Lottery ticket each

2) Go to the thrift store and get baskets, or tin cans and fill them with homemade candy or cookies.

3) How about creating a christmas ornament - here are two different ideas -

A) Get three different colors of acrylic paint. Last year the colors that I used that were really pretty were purple. light purple, and white. Also buy some glass balls. Now take out the silver hanger and rinse out the balls with vinegar and water. Let drain overnight to make sure that they are dry. Now, put a blob of paint of all three colors in the opening.

Here is the boring part - every 15 - 20 minutes you need to turn the balls until it is all colored. Then turn once or twice a day for about 2 more days. Turn the openings upside down to drain any wet paint. Put right side up in the tray. I like to wait a week and then glue the caps back on and add a bow. Awesome gift that will last for years and they will think of you while they are decorating their tree.

B) Get 12 small stryofoam balls. Take those cd's that come in the mail and cut into different small pieces. I spray paint the ball silver. Next glue all the little pieces of cd on the ball. add a ribbon and you have a GREAT ornament that will add color to the tree.


December 4, 20000 found this helpful

For Children: How about McDonald's Gift Certificates? Or a comfy fleece blanket? My husband and I never go anywhere without our "bwankies" and the grandkids love them, too. We find them to be such a "comfort zone". Look for them to go on sale at Wal-Mart, Target, K-Mart, etc. I never pay over $10.00 for them. You can also make them yourself for even less!

For Ladies: Perhaps a box of all occasion cards and a book of stamps; photo album, Bible, (Bible cover) or maybe a silhouette of their children or grandchildren. You can also make a quick and cuddly shawl out of fleece with very little fabric. Add pockets if you like.
Teenagers: Videos or software for computers, calculators, gift certificates to the movies, Bible.

For Older Folks: THE GIFT OF TIME! Make up coupons that say such things as "Good for a hour of yard work" or "This coupon entitles you to 1 free ride to the (grocery store, doctors, library, church, friend's house, etc.) or "One hour's work of house work." A lot of older folks just can't do for themselves as they once did and these often mean more than anything you can purchase. You might also consider gift certificates at a grocery store.

For men: Work gloves, a nice pen, bullets (for hunters), a fold up nylon chair (can be used for fishing, at auctions, sports events, picnics, etc.) When you have a lot of family, sometimes it's easier to just draw names and set a price limit. You might also consider having a "Home-made" theme, where everyone can only give something they made (or grew, baked, or sewed) themselves.

Don't forget the art of rebating! I have a closet full of items that were totally free after the rebates! It may cost you a little up front but can be very rewarding.

Janet McClain - Abilene, TX

December 8, 20000 found this helpful

Crafts and food are thoughtful gifts at this time of year. You can make several to leave under the tree for those last min. gifts you never got time to shop for. Last year my two children and I made these 5 quick and easy gifts all in one day for about 25 people. We sat down with a bag of flour, brown sugar, salt etc and made brownie jars. Easy to do. Get your favorite receipe and layer all the dry ingredients in a jar. (Pick a jar that will be filled to the top or close to it so it looks nice.) Then put a clean lid and band on it, attach a handmade (or computer made) card that tells what else needs to be added, pan size to use, temp. to cook for how long and attach with a ribbon. You can add stickers to the jar or hot glue some lace around the top etc. We also made a hot tea mix we found on the internet that had red hots in it that we put in fun jars with a different tag for adding it to hot water and enjoy. Another one we did was get a clear snowman candy dish (the type you see thru but opens on the top for a dollar at the dollar store), we filled with min. mashmellows and added a poem about it being filled with snowman poop. (This is a really cute gag gift for those office parties. Got the poem off the internet too.) Or make some bath salts useing epson salts (walmart), a few drops food coloring, and a few drops of potpourri. Put into a clean dry 2-lt bottle and shake well. Then fill a pretty jar and add a cute label about haveing a relaxing soak. For the kids mix a few table spoons of oatmeat with some small glitter and add a note saying to feed Santas reindeer sprinkle on the yard on Christmas eve. (It looks pretty and if you do not use to much it will collect the dew and disappear by the next morning.)

December 6, 20040 found this helpful

Do you have a theater in the area that sells matinee tickets? My supervisor did this for his crew one year and I thought it was a great way to give many diverse people something they would enjoy, since everyone could pick a movie they liked.

November 17, 20050 found this helpful

This year draw names except for the parents and grandparents. Just get every one else a scratch off ticket.

Answer this Question

October 4, 2014

I need some inexpensive christmas gift ideas for around 40-50 girls all over 13. Any ideas?

By Lydia R.

Read More Answers

December 26, 2013

I'm on a extremely tight budget for Xmas gifts this year. I have only got $60 ($30 each child) to spend on my children. My son is 6 years old and my daughter is 4 years old. My aunt already bought them some DSs and games, train tracks, a cupcake marker, and one of those Barbie heads where you can cut their hair off.

I'm kinda unsure now what to get them. I would like to get them something that will be meaningful and will remind them of mommy and how much I love and miss them and that's good for their mental and physical development. I only get to see them once a month for 3-6 days. I'm dealing with money and personal issues, so they can't legally live with me right now, but I'm working on having them back in my home again.

Here is a list of gifts I'm thinking I might them:

For my son:

anything Spideman and Thomas the Train
a nice soft fleece blanket, the one he had as a toddler that I bought him, just something he can cuddle up too and it can be reminder of us having cuddle time.

For My Daughter:

colored rainbow nail polish, especially want to get her purple cuz its her favorite color; she can mix the colors on her nails cuz she likes doing that
light colored makeup
gold earrings (If I can borrow enough money to buy them.)
I was also thinking of making something for them as well, just in need of some creative crafts to make for kids ages 4-6 years. I also want to get and make some something they will actually use and need and like.

Any good suggestions would really be appreciated :D

I know Xmas is already over, but was thinking of buying gifts on Boxing Day to save money too and I don't get to see them until early January.

By Kristal Cecile D.

Read More Answers


ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

December 18, 2010

I am looking for new inexpensive Xmas gift ideas for a brother (36) sister in law (37) and grandfather (85), I usually buy clothes and such for each, but we are on a tight budget...

Gifts FrugalMarch 4, 2013
St. Patrick's Ideas!
Valentine's Ideas!
Birthday Ideas!
AdviceBaking TipsBooksBoxing DayBudgetCardsCharitiesChristmas RecipesCleaningCooking TipsCraftsDecoratingDietingGamesGift WrappingGiftsHelpful HintsHosting TipsLinksMiscellaneousMy Frugal HolidayOrganizationParentingPartiesPhotosPlanningSanta TipsShoppingStocking StuffersTraditionsTravel
Published by ThriftyFun.
Desktop Page | View Mobile
Disclaimer | Privacy Policy | Contact Us
Generated 2024-02-02 18:04:47 in 20 secs. ⛅️️
© 1997-2024 by Cumuli, Inc. All Rights Reserved.