Unfortunately, the economy is still down, and this year the pressure is still on to find cheap gifts for loved ones. The previous edition of the Last minute cheap Christmas gift guide is still relevant for gift giving, but if you need more modern ideas for what to give on a budget, we’ve got you covered.
- A hug: The classic way t0 let someone know “I’m broke, but I care” a hug is perfect for all ages and both genders! As it’s most acceptable with older relatives, you can also push your luck and give this to siblings and friends. Add a kiss or other affectionate act and you can cross that “special someone” off of your list. Not recommended in work environments (especially with your boss).
- Burnt CDs / DVDs: Let people know that when you steal for them, you steal the best! Whether it be bootleg music, tv shows, movies, or even computer software this is the gift that says “I thought about something that would be perfect for you, then downloaded it off of the Internet and burnt it on a $0.10 bit of plastic instead of wasting money getting it at the store.” Edgy and “counter-culture” this tells everyone involved in the gift giving festivities that you’re a good looking rebel who plays by his (or her) own rules!
- Home Made “Spa” Gift Basket: If you travel regularly (perhaps for business), collect the toiletries they give out free where you stay and make your own “Bed Bath and Beyond” style gift basket. These will be name brand products (just hotel chain names instead of cosmetic companies) at a fraction of the cost! If you don’t travel, perhaps you can ask a friend who does to collect these for you, then you’ll be well stocked for giving indulgence on a shoestring next year.
- Home Made “Savings Book”: Fund raisers will often sell a book of coupons for samples and discounts at local businesses. If people will buy such a thing, it probably has value and can be given as a gift. And why buy it when you can make it yourself? Search through junk mail and store flyers to find as many coupons as you can. For each recipient, put coupons for things they use at the front (and bury expired coupons and things like “$0.10 off Bengay” near the middle where the recipient probably won’t notice them after receiving the book).
- Give Services You Already Provide: Every family has a natural “division of labour” where different members specialize in different jobs. Mom does the laundry, dad shovels snow and cuts the lawn, Johnny sets the timer on the VCR and provides tech support and Suzy makes baked treats. Instead of selflessly and freely giving these services to loved one, give them coupons to receive these services a set number of times in the coming year. This helps them appreciate what you do for them, prevents them from being too demanding, and makes them a little worried what will happen once the coupons are gone (“What Johnny, you don’t have any more ‘home cooked meal’ coupons? Guess you’ll be living off of microwave popcorn until next Christmas.”)
Whether you’re shopping for someone who is starved for affection, a music geek, a woman who appreciates relaxation and luxury, someone frugal or someone who doesn’t appreciate you, with a little creativity you can find a spot-on gift that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg!