Inexpensive Christmas Gift Ideas

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

Check out sites like:

This site has tons of recipes for making play dough, modeling clay, jewelry clay, etc. Type "homemade toys" into Google for more ideas.

Check to see if your local thrift store has a "free bin" - sometimes you can find good stuff.

Public libraries often have free passes you can reserve for local children's and science museums, reserve passes for Christmas vacation. These museums often have free days, too, give your kids a coupon for a day at the museum.

Public libraries sell used books for 10-50 cents each.

Borrow movies from the library and have a fun movie marathon with your kids.

Teach kids how to make their own board games like "Nine Man Morris" (for directions go to

A box of crayons is a great, inexpensive gift.

Make baby rag dolls from old socks - take a sock, stuff it, tie it closed and fold the end down to make a hat. Draw a face or sew one on.

Make a finger puppet theater out of a box, and make finger puppets. You can find directions on line.

Make a beanbag game using beanbags made from fabric scraps and fill with sand or beans.

By Veronica

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Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 169 Posts
January 3, 20110 found this helpful

Lentils make good beanbag stuffers. They are smaller than beans and make "easy to handle" bags for tossing.

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January 4, 20110 found this helpful

The dollar store near us has some very nice, microwave-safe mugs for $1. I think for my next gift exchange (with a $5 limit,) I'll buy a mug and stuff it with instant soup, cocoa or tea pouches. But then, the youngest member of my group is 20 or 21 now...

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November 28, 2012

My daughter has been involved with a man for three years and recently moved in with him and his children. I've only met this man twice. His girl is a preteen and he has a teenaged son about the same age as my grandson who also lives there. I'm on a fixed income and when I planned my Christmas budget, I didn't know of this new development. I've already bought and made my gifts for my daughter and her kids.


I have no idea what to get this family and don't want to resort to buying something from the dreaded "gift aisle" at the local big box. I feel that is a waste of money and is disappointing to the recipient. I don't have the money to buy video games, etc. for the kids and don't know them well enough to do something handmade. With surgery coming up the 18th I don't really have time either.

Do you think it is chintzy to purchase a traditional board game or nice jigsaw puzzle and tag it for all of them? My daughter and grandson will be receiving individual gifts.

By Frannie


November 30, 20120 found this helpful

I think you should ask your daughter for suggestions and buy each their own gift- she could even do the shopping for you. I would not hesitate to give her a budget amount as she knows your situation.


At this time it might be nice for the children to know they are important to you with a gift that is just for them - even if it is just their favorite cookie or a book of their interests.

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November 30, 20120 found this helpful

How about a "family movie night" box or bucket? Wrap a box with Christmas paper, put shredded-paper filler on the bottom, fill it with a couple of boxes of microwave popcorn, boxes of candy and/or candy bars, a gift card to rent some movies, a movie magazine with information on current stars, etc. Add a tag with a sentiment such as: "Poppin' over with Christmas Blessings for the whole family to enjoy!" Then sign your name.


It'll be something they all can enjoy, and they'll know you put a time and effort into making something special for them. (Total cost: between $10 and $15.) I've done this in the past for several families, and the boxes are always well received and appreciated.

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November 30, 20120 found this helpful

I bought my step-grandson itunes gift cards and he loved them. He was 14. Look for deals on them. On black Friday they had them for $30.00 for $20.00.

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November 30, 20120 found this helpful

I would agree about asking your daughter for info on them - the kids especially. You could make them cookies - but I like the idea of a board game as that is something they could all do together.


The idea of a movie box was a neat idea too. Good luck with the additions to the extended family! Making them feel welcome is a good idea!

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December 1, 20120 found this helpful

I think a basket/bowl/container of goodies (homemade or store-bought) would be thoughtful and considerate, until you get to spend time with "him" and his kids. Chocolate-covered pretzels are always a hit!

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December 5, 20120 found this helpful

Since you do not know much on them, please talk with your daughter. His kids could have an allergy to certain foods or anything. Explain you have limit to spend. Maybe a gift certificate for each at their favorite store.


It doesn't have to be enough to get a game but just help to go towards something. Your daughter should also explain to her partner and his kids that you live on a fixed income.

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