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One of the biggest costs of Christmas is paying for presents. By no means am I saying that you should simply shirk the tradition, but – with the right mindset – it is possible to give fabulous frugal Christmas gifts, without overextending your budget.
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.
In fact, 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 line item in your budget every month of the year.
New to budgeting? Get started today with my FREE budget template!
Budgeting Christmas Gifts
I share heaps of tips 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.
Frugal Gift Ideas: Christmas
The best way to stay on target with your budget is to find frugal gifts for Christmas – so 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 just $15 or less!
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.
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.
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!
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 or bath bombs.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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 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 blog post, Gift Giving on a Budget), but I have a few specific family gift ideas, too.
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 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 more ideas in my blog post, 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…
“It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.”
Interested in more of my Life and Entertainment Tips? I round them all up on the Frugal Lifestyle blog page!
We Want To Know: What are your favorite frugal Christmas presents to give or receive?