Economical Gift Ideas

While the holidays are supposed to be about time with your family, over the years it’s become much more materialistic and focused on presents. This can be very stressful if you’re on a fixed income and aren’t sure how you’ll be able to have a gift for everyone who gets one for you. If you have several children and grandchildren, even cheap presents can add up quickly.

If this is you, we have put together some economical gift ideas that will still make for a meaningful Christmas. However, don’t be afraid to talk to your family in advance. Let them know what your budget is, and if presents can’t make it into your budget at all, tell them.

Economical Gift Ideas:

  • Use your talents. If you’re handy in the kitchen, the woodshop, with a sewing machine, or with any other sort of craft, use that! Your kids and/or grandkids would love a batch of your famous chocolate chip cookies alongside a framed handwritten copy of the recipe, and you get to save money and put your talents to good use.
  • Give an ornament. If you feel like you need to get several people a present and don’t want to go homemade, ornaments are a cheap and versatile present that can work for everyone on your list. If you’re crafty, you could even combine this tip with the last one and make an ornament for everyone. 
  • Opt for a gift exchange. Part of what makes gift buying so hard and expensive is how many people you have to buy for. If you know you don’t have the money or energy to do that this year, ask your loved ones if they’d be willing to do a gift exchange instead. Everyone can write their name and a few gift ideas and/or interests on a slip of paper and then draw a different name. Everyone still gets a meaningful and nice gift, but you only have to buy one present instead of five or ten.
  • Go simple. If you don’t feel like you can do a homemade gift and you or your family don’t want to do a gift exchange, just do something simple. Pick up some candy or $5-10 in cash or gift cards for each person. It’s fairly cheap and very simple, and who can turn down candy and/or money? 
  • Tell your story. Your family would love nothing more than to hear or read your life stories, and the act of telling or writing down your stories could be beneficial to you too. You can type your stories or use a phone or tape recorder to record yourself telling them, and you can give a copy to your family. If you are not tech savvy or struggle with arthritis or other conditions that make typing hard, ask a friend or family member if they can help.
  • Opt for an experience together. Spending time together goes back to what the holidays are really all about. Rather than buying gifts for everyone, see if your family might be willing to go out to dinner together, go to the movies as a family, or even go on a trip together where everyone pays what they can afford.