The holiday season has become a time of great stresses and budget busters. Don't get me wrong, I love getting gifts and having material objects as much as the next person. However, I personally feel that such a huge focus on material objects greatly detracts from the spirit of the season – loving and appreciating the gifts and people we have in our lives.
To that end, I try really hard to make or create as many gifts for friends and family members as I can, instead of buying them a bunch of stuff they may not need. If you need a little more help staying on budget, you can check out our 4 ways to save money on Christmas shopping.
More Great Christmas Gift Ideas
10 Cheap but meaningful gift ideas for adults:
1) Charging Dock
This is great for achieving that decluttered look! In this day and age, the majority of us have devices that need charging on a regular basis. Having charging cords all over the place (especially in a family that has multiple devices needing charging) can not only look cluttered, but it can also become a hazard.
Clean things up (and reduce “clutter stress” in the process) with a nice looking charging dock. Several varieties are available, depending on the need of the receiver. Everything from single docking stations to multiple device docking stations are available!
This is one of my personal favorite gifts! I love learning new recipes and trying them out for my family! I have a fairly extensive cookbook collection already, but each one has at least one gem in it!
Here are some great family friendly ones that I personally love:
3) Art Set
I'm not talking extensive and expensive charcoals, oils and the like (which is GREAT for true artists). I'm talking about colored pencils and an adult coloring book. How soothing is it to just stop thinking about all of life's worries and create a beautiful page. Creative and relaxing at the same time…I'll take it!
4) Workout Incentive
I would limit this one to people you are extremely close to and who would appreciate it (meaning, no snide gifts, please!). Think yoga mat bag or new fun water bottle to take.
5) A Beautiful Tin Full of Goodies
This is one of my favorite traditions each year. I get together with my mom and my sister, and we bake cookies, make chocolate covered pretzels or some bark, and maybe a quick bread. It's fun time together, and then I package up a few of each item we made into a tin. I usually add a small ornament (a crocheted snowflake or perhaps a crocheted angel) or a note before closing it up.
Then we take these tins of goodies and deliver them to friends and neighbors just to say “Happy Holidays”! I love that this tradition provides me time with loved ones and creates a gift that feels more heartfelt and meaningful than so many other options. My kids love to join me in doing this, and I love having them help me because I want to teach them that it's more important to give and be generous than it is to worry about what they might get from other people. They love seeing the smiles on people's faces as we deliver our goodies and talk about it for days and weeks after we are done.
This is a very cost-effective gift because the baking supplies don't cost much, so you can give a large tin of goodies to someone for $5-10, including the $3 tin! Because there is so much inside each tin, this gift is perfect for the office or a family rather than just one person.
6) Family Calendar
I make one of these every single year and give it to grandparents, aunts & uncles and any other family members who would enjoy it. We also keep one for our family to use during the year, and my kids love getting one as well! They love being able to look through all the photos from the previous year to remember what we did, and they talk about their memories and favorite experiences frequently.
I know you can get these from many places, including VistaPrint, Shutterfly, Costco, and more. I've tried several different sites to make and order these, but my favorite is Snapfish. I can usually find great deals with Snapfish, too!
This is something I do for close family members and sometimes close friends. I love adding ornaments to our tree to mark an event from the past year: the birth of a baby, a wedding, learning how to ride a bike, buying a new house, etc. The list of possibilities is endless!
It's fun to put the date (or just the year) on the ornaments and enjoy the memory year after year as you (or your family members) decorate the tree! I love the very personal and memorable touch doing this adds to our family Christmas tree.
8) Make a gift
This is a personal favorite of mine. I love homemade gifts – they have so much more meaning for me than something bought from a store because I know that someone personally put in the planning and the time to create something specifically for me. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy gifts bought from stores as well! I just know how much time and effort can go into making a gift by hand.
Here are some ideas for homemade gifts:
- Crochet or knit a hat and/or scarf
- Make a homemade decoration
- Crochet an afghan
- spice mix
- hot chocolate mix
- sugar scrub
- hand soap
- delicious quick bread, such as pumpkin or zucchini
- strawberry honey
- and more!
Did you take a fun trip this year? Celebrate a special event or occasion? Did someone get married?
Photobooks are a great way to document special events in a way that is clean, beautiful and easy to store. Plus, they can be pulled out time and time again to enjoy the photos and memories. My kids love looking at photos and talking about them again and again!
10) A great book:
Reading is incredibly enriching and enjoyable for many people. Chances are, that special person that you are buying for has at least one book that they would enjoy receiving this year. If you need any ideas, check out our reading lists for adults, toddlers, young elementary students, and older elementary students.
The gift of reading is a gift that keeps giving in so many ways.
By making a plan ahead of time and setting a budget, you can effectively save a lot of money on your holiday shopping this year while reducing stress and giving some really meaningful gifts! Take advantage of these great deals between now and then to help you stay on track.
Tell us in the comments below: what are creative and frugal gifts that you have given to friends or loved ones?
We have more great ideas for you! Check them out: