Courtney Omell | 

40 Free or Inexpensive Gifts to Show You Care This Holiday

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We’ve been talking all year about skyrocketing prices on even the most basic things like eggs and butter. If your holiday budget is feeling tight this year, you’re not alone. In fact, almost 42% of you expect to spend more than you can afford on Christmas in 2022. We are constantly doing our best to show you great deals to shop for and save money, but we also wanted to take some time and let you know that it’s okay to take a step back and take a break from spending. Yes, we find huge sales that are almost too good to pass up, but this is your gentle reminder that it absolutely is okay to skip a sale. In fact, we support it. For that reason, we wanted to share a list of free or inexpensive gifts that you can do for your loved ones this holiday.

You can show someone how special they are to you in so many ways that don’t cost anything. Here are our favorite inexpensive gifts and free gift ideas you can do to show your family and friends you care.


Free Gifts for Everyone on Your List

Free printable Christmas BINGO cards

Handmade and thoughtful gifts mean so much more than big expensive presents. Show your friends and family how much they mean by creating something personalized for them or by doing something kind. These free holiday gifts are easy to do and won’t cost a thing.


Handmade Gifts

  • Handwrite or print out your favorite recipe or recipes to share with your friends and family.
  • Print a free Walgreens photo that you think your recipient would love. Candid photos from your phone are wonderful — not everything has to be posed and perfect.
  • Create a time capsule with some of your favorite holiday things to open next year.
  • Handwrite some of your favorite memories with a friend or family member in a notebook and share it with them to add their own.
  • Film a heartfelt video to send on Christmas Day telling them how much they mean to you.
  • Gift them something of yours that they always compliment (like your favorite jacket or piece of jewelry).
  • Create a slideshow of photos they’ll love and a song that is important to them. If you have a MacBook, you can do this pretty easily on iMovie.
  • Make a Spotify playlist of all their favorite songs or songs that remind you of them.
  • Put together a digital photo album of all of the photos together you’ve taken over the years that they’ll love.
  • Write them a note to open at a later date.


Experience Gifts

  • Set up a Christmas scavenger hunt to do on Christmas morning with some of their favorite things they already own (a favorite movie, a cozy blanket). Or print free Christmas Bingo cards and play!
  • Plan a family movie night to watch some favorites you haven’t seen in a while.
  • Do a white elephant-style gift exchange with items you already own.
  • Take them for a drive or walk to look at holiday lights.
  • Volunteer your time in their name at a charity that means a lot to them.
  • Host a book exchange for all of your friends to trade books they love.
  • Offer to do a casual photoshoot for their family.
  • Go get beauty counter makeovers together.
  • Plan a day to binge-watch movies or a favorite TV series.
  • Organize a family trivia night with facts about all your family members.
  • Pass on your favorite book to someone you think would enjoy it.


Helpful Gifts

  • Offer to babysit or plan a babysitting swap in lieu of gifts this year.
  • Create a handmade coupon book with coupons for things like cleaning their car, babysitting, cooking dinner, or doing some laundry.
  • Create a video tutorial to show them how to make that recipe they love or play their favorite song on the guitar.
  • Offer to clean their house.


Inexpensive Gifts That Cost a Little but Mean a Lot

A mom and her kids sitting at a table, the children both working on some art for a holiday gift

If you still want to spend a little extra on someone special, these inexpensive gifts won’t cost more than a few dollars and are sure to brighten anyone’s day.

  • Print and frame your child’s school picture with a handwritten note or card.
  • Have your child make a craft for their teacher using inexpensive supplies from the dollar store.
  • Gift a batch of homemade cookies.
  • Cook them their favorite dinner.
  • Make a small donation to their favorite charity — any amount is enough.
  • Create a homemade sugar scrub.
  • Host a cookie swap where everyone brings ingredients to make one batch of cookies and send everyone home with cookies from each batch.
  • Make a hot chocolate mix in a mug.
  • Gift them a bag of their favorite coffee or snack.
  • Put together a homemade freezer meal for the next time they’re too tired to cook.
  • Take a look at inexpensive stocking stuffers to create the perfect gift from small items.
  • Get them a magazine subscription. Some annual subscriptions are just $5.
  • Consider digital gifts and subscriptions running from free to $5.
  • Make a batch of salt dough ornaments and do an ornament swap.
  • Put together a free coloring book with online printables and gift a set of colored pencils or markers.
  • Plan an afternoon hike with a small picnic lunch.

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