Gift Giving for the Cheap, Frugal or Monetarily Challenged

I am cheap. I have a hard time purchasing items that are not on a sales rack and on top of that I never get excited about gift giving. I feel anxiety when I think of purchasing that present for a relative or friend. Is it “their color”, their style and is it something that they need or want? I cringe at the thought of my hardworking £10.99 being used to purchase a singing mounted fish that will just collect dust in a dark corner of an attic because frankly who actually likes those things? So, I have comprised a list of rather thoughtful, lovely gift ideas that won’t cost you anything other than time. As a matter of fact most of them don’t require you to leave the comfort of your home and all of them will allow you to dodge those brutal crowds and heinous mash-ups of Christmas songs blarring over loud speakers. I know it is Christmas Eve…kinda late to be thinking of gift giving you say?  Nope, this list is perfect for not just the frugal, reluctant gift giver but it is for the seasonal procrastinator as well!

1. Give the gift of literacy.  Have a really good book just sitting on your shelf? Why keep it to yourself? There is nothing like sharing a really good book with a friend. Not only is it warming but it can also be a conversation piece as they move through the chapters. Why not attach an inscription for them to pass it along to someone that they care about as well.

2. Write a loving HANDWRITTEN letter. In this age of technology,  we are often inundated by texts and e mails. Don’t get me wrong I fully appreciate the mass Christmas morning text messages that I get from friends and family wishing me a happy holiday but there is nothing that touches the soul like a good ole handwritten letter. This makes a great gift to your partner. I am certain that there are couples out there that couldn’t identify each others handwriting if they had to but could very well identify their text messages. Bring it back to basics and he or she would love you for it! If you have a little one get them involved. Have them write a letter as well. Grandparents melt at the sight of hand made gifts from the kiddos. NuNu loves to write letters!

NuNu's letters often involve food requests!

NuNu’s letters often involve food requests!

3. I will give you the world! Ok, maybe not but having the opportunity to explore the land makes for a wonderful gift. Are you a modern day Daniel Boone/Davy Crockett? Love the outdoors? Familiar with all of the hiking trails from the East to West Coast? Put together a day hiking trip for interested friends and family. Your gift? You will be the trail guide for the day. Nothing like bundling up for a bit of scenery and fitness. Make this gift even more of a hit by choosing a spot that runs by a river/stream for aesthetics and supply a light lunch.

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4. Give the gift of light…candlelight that is. Why wait for Valentine’s Day to invite your sweetie over for a romantic candlelight dinner? Taking the time to prepare a christmas dinner screams LOVE and partnered with candles says I MADE AN EFFORT. You will indeed have a Merry night!

5. Forgiveness. There is no better time than around the holidays to mend a strained relationship. Forgive a person that has apologized for a wrong doing or if you are in need of apologizing to someone and it is weighing on you, give him or her a call. It may be a gift for them but it will also give you a renewed spirit as we head into the New Year.

6. A garden. Have a green thumb? Save some of your seeds and put them in a cute little pouch with ribbon or even monogrammed brown paper bags. Type up instructions for planting and caring for those beautiful flowers or edible plants and the recipient will be grateful.

7. Food! If your famous homemade lasagna is always a hit at every potluck and you are willing to part with the recipe (to those that can keep a secret of course) then why not type it up and give it to your closest confidant. If you are into baking sweet treats such as cookies, cakes or breads, place the dry ingredients in a mason jar with the recipe tied to the lid with twine or ribbon. Christmas-Cookies-in-a-Jar8. Regift! This is an old tried and true answer to gift giving. Some see it as tacky but really it is resourceful. Personally I would much rather for someone to regift an item to a person that will make use of it. With that being said, if any of my readers have any “unwanted” accessories (jewelry, scarves, vintage purses) I will be more than happy to take them off of your hands!

9. Coupons. There are two ways you can go with this. If you know a couponing king or queen you can clip coupons from the Sunday paper, arrange them nicely with a note wishing them a joyful holiday. For penny pinchers this will be a much welcomed gift. If you are up to offering your own set of services you can make out coupons for those you love. Coupons for date night babysitting for the busy couple in your life or lawn mowing for your neighbor will be an instant hit!

10. Hugs and Love. I don’t like getting into a person’s personal space but everyone could use a good cuddle every now and then.  Pick up the phone and call someone that you care about and tell them just how much they mean to you. Hearing “I LOVE YOU” is the most valuable gift you can give and it doesn’t cost a thing!

It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving” ~Mother Teresa

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