If you’re a person who loves the holidays, this time of year really warms your heart. From delicious food to gift buying to themed events, you’re probably living your best festive life. The larger your circle of friends and family, the more you might enjoy sharing the love this season. Unfortunately, all of these activities can really start to snowball, with added expenses accumulating rapidly. The financial pressures of the season can start to snuff out your holiday spirit.
When the holidays roll around, you don’t have to sacrifice the fun and merriment. You might just have to budget and make a plan so you can enjoy everything without tanking your finances. Seek out holiday events that are free, and get creative with your gift-giving. To help with the latter, here are four bang-for-your-buck holiday gift ideas that won’t drain your wallet.
1. Cozy Clothes
When the calendar flips to December, people’s thoughts turn toward warmth and comfort. Even if your gift recipients live down South, they’ve likely noticed a chill in the air. Wrap your loved ones in a sartorial warm hug by giving them the gift of cozy clothes. While a cashmere pullover may be beyond your budget, the fleece kind probably isn’t. Your lucky giftees will think of you fondly every time they envelop themselves in its fuzzy softness.
A hooded sweatshirt is another cozy classic that makes a versatile gift for all ages. Not only will it help keep your loved ones warm when temperatures plummet, it’s a great layering option all year round. If your recipient is outdoorsy, a Carhartt hoodie might be the perfect thing to unwrap this year. Features like fleece linings and water-resistant finishes will keep them comfy whatever the weather is doing. Brands like this are also sturdy, so you know your gift will withstand several winters’ worth of wear and washing.
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2. Themed Baskets
A themed basket designed around your giftees’ interests can make your loved ones really feel special. It’s creative and shows you put a lot of thought and personalized care into their gift. For a foodie friend, pick out a bottle of wine, add a couple of glasses, and top it off with cheeses and meats. For a film fan, assemble popcorn, candy, and beverages, then add a streaming service gift card so they can rent a movie. Whatever your recipient’s preferences and passions, you can probably come up with a basket that aligns with them — and have fun doing it.
To keep this present idea from breaking your gift-giving bank, you’ll need to be strategic. One tip is to buy one relatively expensive item and add smaller budget-friendly items to it. For example, if you splurge on the wine, maybe you accompany it with vintage glassware from a thrift store. You can find baskets at overstock stores or secondhand stores for extra savings. You could even use a gift bag instead of a basket to reduce the cost. Set your budget, get your container, decide your theme, and go for it!
3. Handmade Items
If you’re good at baking, cooking, or crafting, you could really make someone’s holiday. Your handmade wares might not seem like much to you, but those who lack your talents will greatly appreciate them. An elderly neighbor who doesn’t cook would be blessed by freezer meals and a loaf of pumpkin bread. Your college kid would probably love to return to their apartment after the holidays with a vat of your slow-cooked pasta sauce. And boxes of Christmas cookies are a great gift to share with extended family.
If you can knit, a handmade scarf will be something a fortunate recipient will treasure. Maybe you’re great at woodworking and can make beautiful cutting boards or serving trays for your loved ones. These gifts are special and connect the memory of you to your family and friends for decades to come.
Friends and relatives can be difficult to buy for, especially if they already have most of what they need and want. If that’s the case for the individuals on your list, why not give them an experience this year? The memories from the occasion you made possible may well last longer than a tangible item anyhow! Tickets to a concert or sporting event they have been looking forward to can be a big hit. For extra savings, you can look for tickets on a discount site like Groupon or a ticket resale site like StubHub.
You could give your partner a date night coupon with a reservation at their favorite restaurant already made. If you have grown children, you could give them a gift card to their favorite bistro, adding in a night of free grandparent babysitting. Experience gifts might encompass movies, theme parks, museums, couple massages, and more. Discount sites can make these more affordable, too, and they are great for all ages.
Give Like Santa, Save Like Scrooge
No matter what your budget is this year, you can make it a wonderful season for you and your loved ones. Don’t let the pressure of a fast-draining bank account steal your joy. By keeping a few of these ideas in mind, you can make the most of your gift-giving budget this season.