This year, I’ve got a lot to be thankful for. I have a beautiful, healthy son, a loving husband, a roof over my head, and food in my belly. (And so much more, but you get the idea) Unfortunately, having extra spending money is not one of those things I can celebrate. I really don’t have the money to spend on gifts this year, so I’ve had to get creative. I started brainstorming and then researching different free (or cheap) gift ideas.
I promise this isn’t another post that claims everything is free but you actually have to buy a shit ton of supplies and it ends up being the same price as an actual present would’ve been. Most of this stuff is completely free, and it’s separated into categories for your convenience.
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Don’t be Afraid to Re-gift
I tried to think of as many regifting ideas as possible for you, but if it’s not on here, as long as it’s “like new”, go ahead! I wouldn’t suggest gifting something half used, that might look tacky 😉
- That pair of earrings you rarely wear (clean them with rubbing alcohol first)
- Any other jewelry you don’t wear anymore
- A bottle of nail polish you thought you’d use but didn’t (or maybe you used it once, I won’t tell)
- A book you don’t plan on reading again
- Maybe you’ve got an eyeshadow palette you thought you could pull off but never ended up trying, gift it!
- Got any candy sitting around? (Just make sure it’s unopened and not expired, please!)
- A gift you received last year and have never used (I can’t be the only one with some of these lurking around)
- An unused gift card (emphasis on the unused part)
There are so many talented people out there. I’d venture to say everyone has something to offer, these are just the things that stood out to me.
- Photography session: Give a coupon for a photoshoot.
- If you grow veggies, give a coupon for fresh veggies next year (and hit me up cuz I’d love to get in on that action)
- Is art your calling? I know this year I asked my sister for a painting. Give your recipient a one of a kind painting/drawing/sculpture/etc
- Maybe you love kids and have some friends that could use a free babysitter? Offer your services!
- Do you sew? One year I won a handmade pillow, I believe we provided the fabric and she sewed it. But if you sew a lot, you might have some fabric laying around.
- Chef? Bring the person dinner! This could be a one-time thing or a recurring service.
- Have a talent that you could teach? Offer lessons!
Gifts You Create
Some of these are completely free because most people will have the supplies already, some are cheap.
- Painted Rocks: Hear me out. True, this is not a suitable gift for everyone on your list (probably), but if you have kids on your list, this is perfect. Or if you’re a talented painter, this could totally be suitable for older folks, too. Remember that fad (maybe it’s still going?) where people would leave painted rocks around town and if you took one, you were supposed to make one to replace it? My in-laws found one that realistically depicted a local movie theater and kept it because it’s seriously gorgeous.
- Get on Spotify and make a playlist! I’ve done this for my husband, but I also think if you have older kids, it would be cute to do a playlist of music you listened to at their age!
- Create a stack of “Open When” letters. The great thing about these is you can tailor them to fit the person you’re giving them to. (If you have no idea what I’m talking about, go Pinterest it, I’ll wait.) I also have some stationery for ya if you wanna go this route.
- If you have some old Mason jars, really any jar will work, paint them, add ribbons, and boom, candle holder. I know it might sound lame, so I rounded up a few gorgeous examples:
- This one looks like painted glass or sea glass and requires just food coloring and glue or Modge Podge (This one is probably the cheapest unless you happen to have the supplies for the other ones)
- This one is a bit more advanced but gives you a lovely distressed jar, it requires chalk paint, sandpaper, rubbing alcohol, and a clear coat sealant. So it may be a bit pricier but I had to share!
- If the ugly Christmas sweater trend is right up your alley, check out this one. You will need paint, primer, and a white paint pen.
- Seriously, just get on Pinterest and type “Mason jar crafts”. You won’t be disappointed.
- If you have older kids that are out of the house, a little recipe book of some of your family’s favorite home cooked meals would be a wonderful gift!
- I know everyone who’s broke has made or thought of making a coupon book (I have!). But, there are a lot of ways to make this idea fun! You could give one to a younger child (15 extra minutes till bedtime, one more story, etc!). Or maybe your hubby would appreciate a sexy coupon book. You could even brainstorm a bunch of unique date ideas (ahem, not dinner and a movie… again!) and put them in a booklet so that on date night you don’t have to think about it.
- Obviously, if you knit or crochet, there’s always the option of hats and scarves.
- If you’re no good at art but have younger kids, the grandparents would love some of their best artwork!
- If you feed your child baby food from the store, stash those jars and either paint them (see above) or turn them into containers for homemade candles. I did this one year, the kit I bought was a bit pricey but it provided gifts for my family and my in-laws (both of which are large, 6 and 7 kids, respectively). So spending $35 but making enough gifts for everyone ended up being pretty cost effective!
- If you’re a bulk shopper and have purchased some notebooks that never got used, you could make a “Tell Me…” notebook. This is mainly for giving to your parents, although you could also give it to your spouse. You simply write a question for them to answer (leave a few pages so they have plenty of space).
- For your parents, here are some ideas: Tell me about how you met your spouse, tell me your fondest memory from your childhood, tell me about the biggest change you’ve witnessed in the world. You get the idea!
- For a spouse, you could ask: Tell me about your favorite teacher in elementary school, tell me what you thought the first time we met, tell me your most embarrassing moment.
- You might be able to get away with tailoring this to your kids, but they may view it more as homework than a treasured walk down memory lane!
- Have young kids? Try these super simple (seriously, if you have salt, flour, and water, you’re set!) handprint ornaments
It doesn’t cost much to make gifts that are still going to be appreciated. Sure, it’s not the latest gadget, but it came from the heart! (Or it came from around the house if you’re regifting, don’t worry, your secret is safe with me!)
What are you doing for gifts this year? Are you tempted to try any of these? Be sure to share this so others can get some ideas! Or pin it to come back to it later!