What are some gift ideas that don’t cost a lot of money?
You know, I think my idea of inexpensive is very different from the rest of America’s idea of inexpensive. Whenever I see things like “dresses for a great deal, all under $100” I think, uh, that is not a great deal. Maybe if it’s a super nice dress that is very versatile, then I might spend close to $100. But that is NOT a DEAL. On that note, I’ve been seeing blog posts all over the internet that say things like “Cheap Gifts for Christmas.” Then I go to the post and the gifts are $30-$50! I mean seriously, that is not cheap, that is normal-expensive. Maybe it’s just because I have a big family, but I have rarely spent over $30 for a Christmas gift unless it was for my husband. Even then, we only spend more than that if we have talked about it and decided together that it is okay to spend that much money (we do this for things like a T.V. or a video camera, etc.).
Well, for all you poor people with big families, here are some gift ideas that are cheap by my standards. There will be a few things that are up to $30, but for the most part, the gifts are $5-$10. I have divided them into categories, but be aware that these categories are not mutually exclusive. There may be something in the “Brother or Brother-in-Law” category that is perfect for your mom, or something in the “Child” category that your sister-in-law would just love. The categories are just meant to get you started.
Also, this is a great time of year to look at places like Target or Michaels that have a “dollar” section. I was just in my Target and saw some really cute notepads and dishes that I thought would make great gifts for friends and neighbors. There were also some little toys and ornaments that were cute. All of them were $1-3! Michaels is a great place to check if you have any “crafty” people on your list. Also along this line is the good old dollar store. Granted, some of the items there are really cheap quality, but you never know what you might find! A child who is interested in art just might like a couple bingo markers to practice their pointilism :).
There are links for most of the items and many of the links take you to Amazon. I do get a commission if you purchase any items after clicking through from my website, but honestly, I just provided links because I am a visual learner and I wanted to provide pictures for the people who want them. Do not feel any obligation to purchase anything after clicking through to Amazon. Although, hey, I’m not going to complain if you do. ;)
Please leave a comment with any ideas you would like to add to the list. Also, if you’ve received any gifts in previous years that you liked and were inexpensive please share!
Mother or Mother-in-Law
- Homemade bath fizzie
- Flash drive
- SD Card for camera
- Picture Frames with photos of family, especially grandchildren
- Homemade fridge magnets with family pictures (do just like these letters, but use pictures instead of letters and hot glue a magnet to the back)
- Cookie Cutters
- Canvas bag decorated by kids
- Dish cloths (I knit dish cloths out of cotton and they are the BEST dish cloths! But you can buy them too)
- Yummy smelling soap for the kitchen
- Clothespin magnets
- Homemade Picture Frame Chalkboard
- Silicone Bread Pan with bread recipes
Father or Father-in-Law
- Gum or mints
- Nice pen
- Computer mouse
- Book (something related to their interests: politics, computers, history, science, etc.)
- Photo holder for wallet filled with family photos
- Drill bits or other small tools
- Car wash gift card from local car wash
- Mug and hot cocoa
- Luggage tags
- Window/leather wipes for car
- Chocolate Covered Nuts
Brother or Brother-in-Law
- Keychain/lanyard for keys
- George Foreman grill
- Winter hat/beanie
- Ice Scraper
- Money clip
- Mini lego kits
- Silly putty
- After shave lotion
- Body wash
- Comic or Joke Book especially if they have a favorite comic
- Nerf Gun
- Car air freshener
- Fingerless gloves
- Card game or deck of cards (you could also buy some at the dollar store although the size is generally slightly different)
- Homemade necktie wallet or cell phone holder
- Running Socks or Ski/Snowboard socks
Sister or Sister-in-Law
- Nail Polish or Manicure set (nail files, buffer, cuticle pusher, fingernail clippers, etc. I actually found a pretty nice set from the dollar store that I use frequently)
- Earrings or any jewelry within your price range
- Warm hair accessories (big knit headband, ear warmers)
- Scarf (T.J. Maxx always has a good selection of scarves about $15 each, as does H&M and Target)
- Body wash, lotion, body wash, bath salts, etc.
- Tights or leggings
- Pocket mirror
- Bubble bath
- Coin purse
- Jewelry box
- Chapstick, lip gloss, lipstick
- Cell Phone Charm
- Homemade heating pad
- Craft Supplies
- Sleep mask
- Cleaning cloth for glasses or camera
- Small purse or bag
- Funny, funk or extra warm socks
- Magnetic Fabric Bulletin Board
- Homemade peppermint bath salts
- Cute Door Pulls
- A collection of your 5 favorite recipes with a spice or ingredient to go with one or two of them, or you could even just bundle the recipes in a fun envelope or bag and call it good!
- Dry erase crayons
- Foam Shape or Letter stickers (also check the dollar store)
- Coloring book or educational workbook (there are always a couple good ones at the dollar store too)
- Picture Book (try looking at a used bookstore or thrift store, you can generally get books in good condition for a great price!)
- Popsicle sticks
- Toy Cars
- Finger Puppets
- Play cell phone (even if it’s from the dollar store, this one is always a winner with kids)
- Homemade Color Book
- Homemade playdough
- A set (or two or three) of the Flat Marble Alphabet in fun colors
- A marble set with instructions for marble games
- Do-a-dot Markers
- Camera Strap
- Instagram Photo Book
- Sharpies (my dad loves new sharpies ;) )
- Sudoku, Crossword puzzle, or maze book (they usually have some good ones at the dollar store)
- Puzzle (They always have a bunch at the dollar store. You decide if they are good enough quality or not.)
- Regular size or pocket calendar (also check the dollar store)
- Phone sleeve
- Cell phone car charger
- Hand warmers
- Tickets to something (zoo, a concert, planetarium show, movie, family puppet show, etc.)
- iTunes gift card
- Amazon Gift Card
- One month of Netflix or Hulu plus
- Homemade caramels
- Homemade non-slip slipper socks
- Bananagrams or another game
- Magazine Subscription
One last thing, if you are crafty in any way (for example, I am a knitter) don’t forget to consider the things that you could make. I always have a big list of things to knit for Christmas and it has saved me a lot of money. It does take me a lot of time and this year I had to start in early October, but I have been able to make some very nice gifts for a fraction of what they would cost in a store. Use your talents! If you have any other inexpensive gift ideas, please share them in the comments.
Last bullet reads: Banagrams or another game
It’s Bananagrams. Not trying to be rude. Typos are literally my only pet peeve. lol (:
Thanks for pointing it out! We’ll get it fixed!
You mention that you knit a lot of things for Christmas. Can you post what you make/made? I am a beginning knitter and looking for ways to make some easy and memorable gifts–besides scarves.
Thanks for the great list!
DD We will definitely have a post of knitting ideas. I’ve actually been working on compiling a list of my favorite patterns. Check back in a little while for it, I’m guessing it’ll be ready just after Thanksgiving.
We’ve posted our Christmas knitting! Feel free to take a look!
My sister always makes my mom a calendar of the family mostly grandkids I do the same for my mother in law for Mother’s Day its under 20 bucks and they always love it and they have it all year long and what’s nice is you can give the same gift every year you never have to think of something to give them again for that holiday
Such a great idea and a great way to share photos with everyone! Thanks for sharing!
An easy-to-make gift is peppermint bark. You chop up candy canes, melt chocolate (dark or light–I prefer dark) and toss in the pieces of peppermint. Let it harden. Break it up. Put in in a pretty baggy. This year, I’m trying a new version with mint chocolate chips. Recipe is on the bag: melt chocolate, toss in chopped almonds (or other preferred nuts). Once hardened. Break up.
I also make greeting cards and give away. People love them!
A really easy cookie is: Use Ritz crackers, spread with peanut butter. Add a second Ritz cracker on top. Melt Almond Bark (chocolate melting bars sold at Wal Mart). Dip the layered Ritz cracker in the melted chocolate and set on wax paper to dry. My daughter and I love these cookies! (Melted chocolate chips do not work FYI. Need dipping chocolate. Michaels or Jo Ann sells Wilton brand.)
I also like to buy a pretty mug. (Dollar store or Big Lots or watch the sales througout the year. Even garage sales or thrift shops are an option. Then add a $10 or $15 Starbucks card with some red and green hersheys kisses and/or M& Ms and wrap in cellophane with a pretty ribbon. Everyone seems to love this gift.
Buy a theater style popcorn holder ($1 store or save and wash your theater ones), full with packages of popcorn, candy, and 2 theater tickets. Teens love this one!
Hope these help!
Thanks! Those are all great ideas!
This year im making mason jar cups (ie. Drill hole in lid, insert rubber grommet, put in crazy straw) easy peesy! And i filled each cup with nail polish, facial stuff, manicure set, fuzzy socks, mini lotion, mini nail polish remover and cotton balls. And for all the men we are making venison jerky and cake pops. Each mason jar cup cost less than $4 and the jerky/cake pop combo is about the same! Love diy and christmas!
Great ideas for the diy-er! Sound like the jars are full of useful things too!
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