The Best (and Nearly Free) Holiday Gift Ideas


One of the most frustrating things about the holidays can be that awful, empty feeling you get…in your wallet. The gut-wrenching feeling you get when you find the absolute perfect gift for that special someone… and that inevitable ache when you remember you have nothing left in the budget. Well, happily, we are here to give you a few ideas for clever, thoughtful, fun, and best of all nearly free gifts you can give. These are the things that money can’t buy…gifts given with love. That should help make spirits brighter!

Make a mix tape – Remember this blast from the past? We sure do! Of course, cassettes have gone the way of the caveman, so your version will be a mix CD. If you’re not sure of their favorite tunes, you can browse your friend’s Spotify, Facebook, or Instagram for music posts or mentions. Then burn them all onto a blank CD and wrap it with pretty paper, ribbon, and a heartfelt card.

Food! – No need to go crazy buying lots of expensive groceries. One look through your cabinets and Pinterest and you’ll no doubt find lots of great foodie gifts ready to make…cookies, cakes, muffins, bread… the list is endless. Package them in festive bags, glasses, and containers and top with beautiful bows. And of course, for those extra special people, you can always opt to make them a homemade dinner (candles and romantic music optional)!

Make an Instagram or Facebook photo/journal album – Is your friend a big fan of posting pics on social media? Of course they are! So grab an inexpensive blank journal with pretty pages or photo album, and a USB thumb drive, and start downloading! Then take the USB to a drug store and have the photos printed. Use stick glue to fix the pics to the pages. Use colorful pens to decorate the pages and add your own memories and personal touches. If you’re using a blank book, they can use the rest of the pages as a journal!

Write a letter – You remember those, right? Letters? Before emails and text books and messages and tweets…there were pages and ink and stamps and envelopes. So buy a few pages of pretty stationary, sit down, and write a heartfelt letter to your loved one for Christmas. Reminisce on all the good times you’ve shared, laughs you’ve had, thank them and tell them how much their friendship means to you. Then put a holiday stamp on it and mail it. Imagine their surprise when they open and read it…and know that they’ll treasure it forever.

Make a movie – Using your phone or tablet, record clips of mutual friends and family telling the camera what they love about that someone special. Have them recount funny or meaningful moments, or share when and how they met. Then using one of any number of free or inexpensive apps you can download, use the clips to make a mini movie. Some apps even allow you to intersperse still pics into the video and put it all to music! What a unique, unbelievable, and totally unforgettable gift to give!


Image by Aurelien Jena is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 (source: flickr)