As the holiday shopping season gets into full swing, it can be stressful for those of us who don’t want to overspend. Christmas presents can kill your budget and crush your debt-free holiday goals.
If you’re looking for alternatives to the same old store-bought gifts, try your hand at something homemade and from the heart. Not only will these gifts spare your budget, but the fun ideas will allow your creativity to shine! You can gift something truly special and one-of-a-kind to everyone on your Christmas list.
Consider these creative free gift ideas that your friends, family, and co-workers will love:
Make Your Own Photo Calendar
Create a custom, one-of-a-kind calendar using your favorite photos. Homemade Gifts Made Easy offers a free template that makes creating your own custom calendar so simple. Just download, add your photos and print out. It’s perfect for grandparents, or even for friends who want to share their favorite snapshots of memories throughout the year.
Create Wall Art with Free Printables
Search for free printables that you can use to create cool wall art. All you’ll need to do is print them out and cut them to size. You can decoupage them onto a piece of cardboard or scrap piece of wood. Another option is to find an unused picture frame to pop the print in. Customize it any way you like to make it extra special for the recipient.
Related: 10 Awesome Frugal Gift Basket Ideas
Family Recipe Book
Pull out your recipe box and put together a family recipe book to gift the food lovers in your family. You may need to do a little asking around to make sure you get all of the best recipes from loved ones. Handwrite or print them out, bind them together with ribbon or twine, and they’re ready to gift! This also makes a great wedding/wedding shower gift, too.
Family Tree with Details
When money’s tight but you still want to give something thoughtful to your loved ones, a little research can be the key to a great gift. Spend some time putting together a family tree with details about loved ones. You can talk to older family members before getting to work doing some online research with publicly available records. For an added bonus, include copies of photos of ancestors. Everyone will enjoy receiving a copy of this treasured information, and all you need to do is put it together and print out copies.
Family Memories Collection
An alternative to the family tree is putting together a collection of favorite family memories. The holidays are an excellent time to share those treasured memories of fun times that have been enjoyed together. You can share your favorites and ask loved ones to contribute theirs. Gather them together and add photos to make it even more touching. All you’ll need to do is make a printed copy for each recipient.
Raid your craft closet for supplies and browse Pinterest for easy ideas on handmade ornaments that you can whip up quickly and without spending a dime. A handmade ornament shows that you put thought and effort into a gift. These are also perfect for kids to make for loved ones, especially as gifts for grandparents!
Decorate a “Savings” Jar
Grab an empty glass jar from the recycle bin and jazz it up with some simple decorations. All you need is a hot glue gun and a few embellishments, like buttons, rhinestones, ribbon, etc. Then you can give the gift of a dedicated savings jar to help the recipient reach their goals! This is also a great gift idea for kids.
Related: How to Shop for Free on Amazon!
Plan a Day Out Together
Quality time together with a friend or loved one doesn’t require spending any money. When thinking of free gift ideas, don’t just consider actual stuff. Experiences make for fabulous gifts on any budget!
Plan a special day out together to visit a local park, go for a hike or bike ride, or even just have a picnic in the backyard. Don’t let the winter weather keep you inside, either. Fill up thermoses with cocoa or hot coffee or tea and head out on an adventure.
Plan a Day In Together
If you’d rather stay home, plan a fun-filled get together at your place. You could host a movie or game night complete with cocoa and popcorn. Turn on Netflix or bust out the board games and enjoy plenty of laughs with friends or family.
Another idea is to host a crafter-noon. Have some snacks on hand and bust out your craft supplies, then get creative! It’s a great way to enjoy quality time with friends and family without anyone having to spend money.
“Mixtape” Spotify Playlist
Create the modern version of a mixtape by putting together a special playlist. Choose songs and artists that you know the recipient will appreciate and make a playlist that you can share with them. It could be a collection of songs with special meaning or just a mix of music that you think they’d enjoy. It’s a great gift for any music lover and very thoughtful, too!
Collection of Inspirational Quotes or Poems
Put together a collection of inspiring quotes or poems that you just know the recipient will love. This is a great idea for students, aspiring entrepreneurs, or anyone you know who will appreciate a little extra motivation and encouragement. You can print them out and add embellishments to the pages, or handwrite them and bind together with a ribbon or twine. It’s a heartfelt and personalized gift that they’re sure to treasure.