The Christmas season is all about giving. We love to both receive and give presents to our loved ones, and it’s fun planning out Christmas lists and wrapping up all the gifts. However, during these economic times, it’s always a good idea to save some extra cash where you can.
With a little creativity and thriftiness, you can still give great presents to your friends and family during the holidays while sticking to your budget.
1. Buy things throughout the year
You don’t have to save all of your Christmas shopping for the last quarter of the year – this can become pretty stressful, and can result in last-minute unnecessary - and possibly expensive - purchases. Have your Christmas list planned out as early as possible, and have a general idea of what you want to get for the person – an item of clothing, something edible or a piece of home décor, etc.
Throughout the year, if you see anything that would be a perfect Christmas present for that certain someone, buy it, and keep it in a safe place. A large cardboard or supply box is great for storing them in until the Christmas season rolls around.
Also, don’t be afraid to buy things that are on sale – these make great Christmas presents too! Just make sure that they’re not damaged or have noticeable imperfections – and be especially sure to take off the sale tag too!
2. Make a 'Goodie Basket'!
Instead of buying an expensive present, how about making an inexpensive ‘Goodie Basket’? The person would appreciate this a lot more, as it’s ‘many’ little presents in one!
Buy straw baskets from your local dollar store or craft shop, and fill it with items that you know the recipient would like. Things such as:
- Candy and chocolates
- Homemade baked goods (be sure to find out if the person has an allergy first!)
- Toiletries (soaps, shampoos, nail polishes, face towels)
- Art supplies (pencils, crayons, etc)
- Costume/handmade jewelry
All of these items are only a few dollars each, and would definitely come in handy!
Arrange them in the basket in an appealing way, then use some cellophane to wrap it up, and use ribbons or faux flowers to decorate the finished basket. Gift baskets are fun to put together, especially if you get the whole family involved.
BONUS IDEA – Create an extra large, bountiful basket, and give it to a group, instead of just an individual. If you have a pair of young siblings on your gift list, fill the basket with art supplies, candies (with the parents’ permission of course), hair accessories and small toys and trinkets. Make sure to have enough items in the basket so that each child gets an equal share.
3. Save money on decorations
Dollar stores and craft shops are great sources for finding nice (and very affordable) Christmas gift decorations. Other items such as fake flowers, tissue paper, stickers and even glitter are sold in these stores.
See if you can buy decorations in bulk – that is, instead of buying a single sheet of gift wrap, buy it by the roll instead. Stores also sell gift bags, name labels, bows and ribbons in large quantities too.
4. Make your own presents!
Making your own items is a great way to add a personal touch to the presents you give, while saving some money at the same time. Here are a few suggestions:
- Knitted/Crocheted items
- Baked goods (like cakes, cookies, and other treats)
- Artwork (paintings, drawings, craft, hand painted clothes and bags)
- Handmade home décor
- Kids’ artwork/handicrafts
- handmade jewelry/trinkets
If you’re planning on making your own presents, do start planning this a few months in advance – that way you’ll be able to collect all the supplies you need and start making things with ample time to spare.
5. Use your store points and gift vouchers for buying presents
If you have memberships at stores that have rewards schemes, you can use these points towards your Christmas shopping bill. Any gift cards that you’re given as a member can be used to lower the price at the cash register, or can even be reused as a gift for someone on your list!
6. The Art of 'Regifting'
Were you given a gift certificate, store voucher or item that you don’t really have any use for? You can give it to someone this year who would appreciate it more.
WARNING: Regifting can become pretty risky. Do it only when you absolutely have to.Make sure you know exactly who gave you the item initially, and then give it to someone who is in a completely different social circle. Also remove any indications that it came from another person. You don’t want to hurt any feelings!
Cardia (author) from Barbados. on December 16, 2012:
Hi sparkleyfinger - thanks for your comment!
that was such a great idea for a gift for your boyfriend's mum! I'm sure she was delighted!
Lynsey Hart from Lanarkshire on December 16, 2012:
I have made up goody bags for people before, rather than a large gift. I made my boyfriends mum a craft collection because I know she likes making her own cards, I included stamps, ink, card blanks, toppers, patterned paper and ribbon. Great idea, and much more personal than a pre made gift set!