Great and Inexpensive Holiday Gifts

Great things can come in small packages and, fortunately for all of us, they can be had with a small budget, too. If you’re left wondering what in the world to get for those you love but pondering the fact that there’s currently not much left jingling in your pocket, take heart!There’s plenty of great gifts for everyone on your list that don’t cost a lot. Here’s just a few ideas to help get those names on your gift-giving list checked off.

“Homemade” can be heartfelt, well-loved and easy on the wallet. When I was a little girl I loved giving gifts so much that I’d make many gifts for everyone in the family, wrap them all up and display them proudly under the tree for all to see. Unfortunately, though, my brother and sister didn’t share my enthusiasm. “Are these real presents?” they’d ask aloud. “Or are they from Shannon?” Sadly, my feelings would understandably be hurt, but many adults worry that any homemade gift they may give might also meet with such a reaction. The trick is to really take into consideration who the gift is for, their preferences and your talents. If you’re a phenomenal baker, you should relish the idea of baking sweet and savory treats for those in your gift giving circle, for example. Plain Epsom salt perfumed with beautiful essential oils doesn’t take any talent, but a recipient who suffers from sore muscles or just enjoys relaxing lounges in a bath would certainly appreciate such a thoughtful gift. “Homemade” doesn’t have to equate to “cheap.”

Holiday gift

Visit a thrift or secondhand store. Now before you go automatically discrediting this tip, wait! I’m not necessarily suggesting you give someone something used as a gift. Many secondhand stores and thrift shops now days also sell completely brand new products at phenomenal prices. Not only that, a quick trip through the book section will often reveal books that are in pristine, “like new” if not completely brand new condition. If you’re shopping on a tight budget, consider putting these shops in your rotation, too. Another perk?They’re usually much less crowded, too!

Visit the warehouse shops. If you’ve got a lot of smallish gifts to get, consider creating small, but thoughtful gift bags yourself. A trip to any warehouse store will reveal a multitude of fun, indulgent items that can be had on a modest budget. Coffee, teas, holiday candy, soaps and candles are all safe bets that are appreciated by most. And you’ll know that the gift will also actually be used rather than sit around and collect dust.

Novelty and “gag” gifts can effectively fit the bill. Sometimes the very best gift you can give someone is a reason to laugh. Last year, I wondered for weeks what to give to my father-in-law, the man who has everything. It wasn’t until I thought outside of—or ratherinside—the box that I came up with an idea. A huge fan of the TV show “Lost,” I decided to create a Dharma drop-box for him. I filled it with everyday food items that he loves such as wasabi almonds, strawberry jam and even a bottle of beer. But I removed every label and instead replaced it with black and white Dharma labels. I didn’t spend more than $10 and the items themselves certainly weren’t anything exciting, but he laughed about it all day long. Perhaps a bit of thought and creativity may reveal a similarly fun, gag gift for someone you love as well.

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Author Info

This post was written by Shannon M. Medisky. Shannon is an educator turned parent turned writer and focuses on sharing new and innovative ways to not just survive, but thrive on empty. Visit to learn more. Her newest book The Complete Idiot's Guide to Stretching Your Dollar is available in bookstores now.

One Response to “Great and Inexpensive Holiday Gifts”

  1. Jonathan |  Feb 12, 2012 at 6:15 pm

    Great ideas for holiday gifts, I especially like the idea of visiting a warehouse and buy some bulk individual items and then then creating your own gift set.