You are currently viewing Frugal Christmas Gifts: 24 Ideas for Affordable Presents

Frugal Christmas Gifts: 24 Ideas for Affordable Presents

Some of the links on this site are Affiliate Links and if you use them to make a purchase, we may earn a commission. For more information, read our Disclosure Policy.

One of the biggest costs of Christmas is paying for presents. By no means am I saying that you should simply shirk the holiday tradition, but – with the right mindset – it is possible to give fabulous frugal Christmas gifts, without overextending your budget.

Frugal Christmas Gifts

Buying expensive and lavish gifts for everyone on your Christmas list can certainly put a dent in your holiday budget. But, guess what? You don’t have to spend a lot of money on presents at Christmas. If you are looking for easy ways to save money this holiday season, my list of frugal Christmas gift ideas can help. 

The Cost of Christmas

Trying to be frugal for an overly-commercialized holiday is a complex mission. It is not just the presents, but the cards and the food and the clothes and the decorations that all add up to making it an expensive holiday.

If you feel like you are facing a battle, you will need the right gear. In order to keep your Christmas costs in check, you need to start with a budget.

How To Save for Christmas Gifts

I recommend budgeting for Christmas year-round – that way you are not caught off guard when December rolls around. If you keep a monthly budget (and I highly recommend that you do!), Christmas costs can be a Sinking Fund line item in your budget every month of the year.

By setting up a Sinking Fund for your holiday budget, you can be saving money in a designed Christmas savings account throughout the year. 

New to budgeting? Get started today with my FREE Budget Template and my top Financial Books for Beginners!

Get Started Now with a Free Budget Worksheet

Budgeting Christmas Gifts

In the list below, I share very specific ideas for frugal Christmas presents. However, I also share heaps of frugal Christmas ideas in my blog post, How To Plan an Affordable Christmas, that will help you get started with the holiday budgeting process. I offer tips on everything from how to save to affordable decorations.

You can also use my affordable Christmas Budget Bundle. The printable templates are specifically designed to help you create your holiday budget, track your holiday expenses and stay on top of your gift list.

Christmas Budget Planner Bundle Etsy by

How to Save Money Buying Christmas Gifts

Before we get to my Christmas ideas on a budget, I want to share a few tips about saving money when buying Christmas presents. 

Cash Back Credit Card for Christmas Purchases

When buying presents for loved ones at Christmas, I recommend using a credit card that earns you cash while you shop. It’s important to stay within your outlined budget and to pay off the credit card in full when it comes due – but the money earned on the credit card for Christmas presents (and throughout the year) can help pay for next year’s gifts. 

Gift Cards with Bonuses

While I am not a huge fan of giving gift cards as presents for Christmas (it’s just so impersonal!), there is a really good reason to purchase gift cards during the holiday season: Promotional Bonuses. During the holiday season, many companies offer a little extra bonus for purchasing gift cards. For example, buy $50 worth of gift cards and get an extra $10 gift card for free. 

You can then opt to use the gift cards – with the bonus – to purchase gifts or give the gift cards directly to the recipient. Just remember to always read the fine print. 

Black Friday Shopping

Black Friday is a blessing and a curse. The day of super sales can be an excellent time to pick up good, cheap Xmas gifts – but people typically overspend when shopping on Black Friday. Use my tips for how to Maximize Black Friday Savings.

Start your Frugal Christmas Shopping Early

The earlier you start your Christmas shopping, the easier it is to find the perfect frugal Christmas gifts for her or the best deal on gifts for him. Personally, I think it’s best to look for cheap Christmas-themed presents starting on December 26, when everything goes on sale, but many shoppers contend that wrapping up their shopping list by mid-November allows them to enjoy the holidays even more. 

One top tip is to keep a list of everyone you want to buy presents for – and keep it top of mind throughout the year. Jot down ideas as they come to you and cash in on specials – even if they happen in the middle of summer. Just be sure to keep track of how much money you spend on Christmas presents throughout the year…and stick to your budget! 

Find Deals at Secondhand Thrift Stores

Many shoppers bypass the thrift store when looking for affordable Christmas gifts – and it’s a shame, because there are so many deals to be had at second hand shops! Items at second hand stores are often unique, one-of-a-kind presents…and they cost a fraction of brand new items in the store. Books, art, vases and kitchenware are all heavily discounted (and sometimes barely used) items that make great, inexpensive Christmas gifts. 

DIY for Good but Cheap Christmas Presents

When coming up with ideas for Christmas presents that are cheap, don’t discount good old-fashioned homemade Christmas gifts. Make a snow globe for your favorite person. Frame a photo for someone special. Gift a platter of cookies using your favorite recipes. Even better, handwrite your best recipes in a book to gift to your children or grandchildren. 

There are endless DIY Christmas Gift ideas. Sugar scrubs, hot chocolate kits and knitted scarves are all excellent, cheap presents for Christmas – and they will mean so much to the recipient! 

Practical Christmas Gifts

I love practical gifts – it gels with my frugal spirit. When searching for frugal Christmas gifts for adults and teenagers, don’t overlook practical items. One year in the 1990s, my siblings and I wanted a bathroom refresher (new towels, soap dispenser etc.), my mom gifted us the items along with a padded toilet seat, which was the latest fad at the time. She was going to buy the items anyway, but unwrapping them on Christmas morning was pure gold and it ranks as one of our most-talked about gifts to this day. To be honest, I don’t even remember what else we got that year – but the toilet seat was hilarious! 

Practical gifts for Christmas range from a coffee machine for your spouse (to help cut down on expensive coffeeshop coffee) to laundry basket gift baskets (complete with detergent, wool dryer balls and other household cleaning supplies) for young adults. 

Experiences instead of Presents

One way to limit how much you spend on Christmas presents is to agree with your spouse or family to set a budget for Christmas experiences, rather than wrapped gifts. Create an Experiential Advent Calendar and include inexpensive or free Christmassy things to do. It can be as simple as ‘Listen to Christmas music while making dinner,’ ‘Enjoy a cup of hot cocoa with the kids’ or ‘Go ice skating.’ 

With an Experiential Advent Calendar, you celebrate the entire season – but only exchange simple Christmas gifts on Christmas morning. 

Frugal Gift Ideas: Christmas Presents on a Budget

Still need more ideas for frugal gifts for Christmas? I’m highlighting a few top picks of the best frugal Christmas gifts for children, women, men, coworkers and family. Best of all, most of my frugal Xmas gifts cost about $20 or less, so you can stay on target with your budget. 

Frugal Christmas Gifts Affordable Presents by

Frugal Christmas Gifts for Kids

One of the best things about buying affordable Christmas presents for kids is that there are so many inexpensive, yet entertaining, gifts.

Educational Games

I love gifting educational gifts to kids – especially when they come in under budget! There are heaps of inexpensive learning games, like letter games for young children.


Creative Activities Gifts

Gifting presents that will inspire creativity are the best! A classic gift (that even I got as a kid growing up) is a weaving loom that can be used to creatively make potholders, coasters and headbands. And, by the way, the items kids make with the loom also make great frugal gifts for Christmas for their friends and extended family members.


Educational Tools

An inspiring and inexpensive Christmas gift for a child is an educational tool – like a world globe. It is true that globes can get pricey, so stick with one within your budget.


Craft Kits for Kids

A craft kit is an excellent budget holiday gift…because the possibilities for fun are endless. A basic craft set is low cost and lots of fun – which is what makes them such great frugal Xmas gift ideas!


Dress Up Gifts for Kids

Playing dress up if fun for kids (and some adults, too!). In fact, dressing up is one of the activities I include in my mega list of Free Things To Do. There are a range of dress up options – from super heroes to princesses. Pro Tip: Save a bundle by opting for a generic character rather than a Disney or Marvel trademarked outfit.

Inexpensive Holiday Gifts for Women

When it comes to buying cheap Christmas gifts for women, proceed with caution. There are tons of gifts that will fit the bill, but it is important to be thoughtful and find something she will really appreciate.


Plants are great low-cost Christmas gifts because they add cheer to dreary winter days. What I love about Bonsai plants is that, not only are they beautiful, but they convey peace and are easy to care for.


Home Spa Treatments

In-home spa treatments are always a good bet for an inexpensive gift for a woman who likes to treat herself. Some ideas for affordable spa-related gifts are facial masks, nail care kits, bath salts or bath bombs.

Framed Art

Framed artwork is a perfect frugal Xmas present. There are endless options of framed works of art for under $15 – from scenic photographs to watercolor prints to modern quotes to abstract art.


Specialty Soaps and Lotions

Winters can be harsh on skin, so what better time than Christmas to gift a woman a luxury moisturizing soap or hydrating lotion?


Jar Candles

I don’t think you can ever really go wrong with candles! For the holidays, gift a scent that speaks to her…like this Reflection and Clarity Sea Salt Sage candle. Pro Tip: If you like to give holiday scented candles, plan far in advance and buy them right after Christmas when they are deeply discounted. This is one of my best tips for Gift Giving on a Budget!

Affordable Christmas Presents for Men

Some people think that buying budget Christmas gifts for men is easy, but I think it still takes a little finesse. To help you give the perfect present, here are a few of my favorite frugal finds for guys.

Desk or Dresser Organizer

Give your guy the gift of organization with a classy – yet inexpensive – faux leather and velvet tray organizer. It’s ideal for both his desk at the office or dresser at home.

Multi-Tool Credit Card

The Wallet Ninja is one of my favorite all-in-one, affordable Xmas gifts for guys. The size of a credit card, the multi-tool has 18 functions.


Grill Spices

Spices can jazz up any meal – which is why they are a great gift! If they guy you are buying for is a grill master, then help elevate his game with a set of affordable spices. This 5-piece spice set of BBQ rubs is a bargain at $15. Be sure to also read my complete guide to a Budget Christmas Dinner!

Wrist Magnet Tool

A great little gift for the handyman in your life, a wrist magnet tool is a huge DIY project helper. In fact, the wrist magnet tool is also one of the top frugal gift ideas for Father’s Day, too. 


Lounge Pants

Classic, comfortable and a perfect men’s Christmas gift on a budget, lounge pants are a great option for any guy!

Frugal Christmas Gifts for Coworkers

It can be tough to come up with frugal ideas for Christmas gifts for coworkers – especially if you work in an atmosphere where there is pressure to participate in expensive gift giving. However, I have a few ideas of gifts that will allow you to play along without falling out of the good graces of those you work with.

Desk Accessories

Silly accessories for the office always make good gifts – and they are usually inexpensive, too. I was once gifted a Desk Zen Garden (which helped me to channel my inner calm when my boss was pushing me to the limits of my sanity).


Fun Office Supplies

Fun animal paperclips or a comical mouse pad are entertaining and cheap presents. And, come on, who doesn’t love cool animal paperclips?!


Things To Use at the Office

More practical inexpensive gifts for your fellow office workers could be a pair of fingerless gloves for the girl who is always cold or a mini desk fan for the guy who is always hot – and a funny new work coffee mug for a coffee drinker will work for an affordable gift, too.


Frugal DIY Christmas Gifts for Officemates

If you have no money for Christmas presents (or simply don’t desire to spend money on coworkers), then consider gifting frugal homemade Christmas gifts. Baked good can be a big hit in the office, but if you are looking for more inventive frugal Christmas gifts to make, check out the ideas on this list by DIY Joy.

Frugal Stocking Stuffer Ideas

You don’t have to spend a lot of money on stocking stuffer gifts. In my opinion, gifts for Christmas stockings are actually best if they are useful…and there are a ton of useful, yet inexpensive, gift ideas. Stocking stuffers can easily cost less than $5 – and some cost less than $1. (Keep in mind that the Dollar Store can be a great resource for frugal Christmas shopping when it comes to stocking stuffers!)

$5 Christmas Ideas for Stocking Stuffers

Some of the best $5 stocking stuffer gifts are basic necessities – like lip balm and socks. A great $5 gift for teens is a simple gift card. iTunes, Starbuck’s and Target are all great $5 gift cards for stocking stuffers. 


Frugal Christmas Gifts for Family

There are tons of ways to enjoy gift giving with family that fits into a frugal budget.

Two fun ways to cut the costs of giving presents to family are playing White Elephant or Dollar gift exchange games (both of which I feature in my article, Gift Giving on a Budget), but I have a few specific family gift ideas, too.

Family Games

One of the best gifts you can give to your family is time together – and Game Night is a great way to get everyone around the table and talking to each other. Some of the favorite family games in my family are What Do You Meme?, Apples to Apples and Bingo.


Themed Gift Baskets for Family Time

Another fun gift to give the whole family is a themed gift basket – which can be really affordable when you put it together yourself.


Give Money-Saving Gifts

When giving frugal Christmas gifts to family members, one of best gifts is a present that will save money down the road. For example, gifting a coffee machine will help cut down on your family’s coffeeshop expenses – or if you gift the family Roku, you can finally cut out cable. Find more ideas on my list of Products that Save You Money.

Annual Pass

Annual passes make economical family gifts for Christmas. Prices will range depending on the venue, but there are annual family passes for museums, theme parks, zoos, waterparks and even national parks.

A Family Day Trip, Weekend Away or Vacation

A family trip is a phenomenal frugal Christmas gift! Whether you plan a full day outing or an out-of-state adventure, travel is one of the best gifts – and it can be really affordable, too!

Take a road trip rather than flying, tent camp instead of staying in hotels and fill your adventure with free things to do – like hiking – as an alternative to spending money on expensive attractions.

Create Family Traditions

Another way to celebrate a frugal Christmas with the family is to forego gift giving altogether and substitute materialist gift swapping with new traditions. Some fun things to do on Christmas instead of exchanging gifts could be baking together in the kitchen, snuggling in for a Christmas movie marathon (Christmas Vacation, Scrooged and How the Grinch Stole Christmas are our family holiday favorites!) or volunteering together at a shelter.

Need more help to stoke fabulous Christmas gift ideas on a tight budget? I outline heaps of ideas in my guide to Frugal Gifts!

A Final Word on Christmas Presents

If you are still struggling because you feel like your celebration will fall short or that you have no money for Christmas gifts, keep in mind that a little creativity and thought can go a long way. In the great words of Dr. Seuss…

Subscribe to become PFF Budget Worksheet with Categories by

Interested in more of my Life and Entertainment Tips? I round them all up on the Frugal Lifestyle page!

I Want To Know: What are your favorite frugal Christmas presents to give or receive? Also, check out my Frugal Ideas for Halloween!

Pin It!

Frugal Christmas Gifts Ideas for Affordable Presents by
24 Frugal Christmas Gifts to Give by