Every year my dad calls me just before the holidays launch. He calls because he is panicked about what to buy my mom for Christmas. So I take him out shopping (on his credit card, of course). This is so much fun—I always tell him I love shopping with his money because no price is too high when it comes to Mom. Unfortunately, my own holiday gift budget is quite a bit more modest. Here, I try my best to track down early freebies to supplement what I can afford to spend. If you can relate, here's hoping this list of useful freebies will help you out too!
1. Free Shipping Day
If you love to shop online and have your gifts shipped to out-of-town loved ones, Free Shipping Day has your name all over it. The day was inaugurated in 2008 to help the nation rebound from the prior year’s recession. It became an instant success and has been repeated annually since.
- How to take part: Buy items online and have them shipped. The online merchants pay all shipping costs.
- When is Free Shipping Day this year?: Thursday, December 18th is Free Shipping Day this year. Check out this site for participating retailers.
2. Free holiday tea samples
The winter holidays are the perfect time to brew a warming, welcoming cup of tea for family and visiting friends. Luckily, there's no need to foot the bill for this holiday ritual—just order free tea samples instead.
- TEASTA Teas: http://www.teasta.com/free-samples
- Enjoying Tea: http://www.enjoyingtea.com/fre18lblicbl.html
- Design Tea: http://www.designatea.com/freesamples.php (There is shipping of $5, but this comes with a $2 credit on a future order so you only pay $3 for up to 5 tea samples.)
- Tea Chef: http://www.teachef.com/request_sample.html (You can also submit recipes and photos of you with the tea sample to enter to win other freebies and prizes.)
- TeaMonger: http://www.teamonger.com/samples/
3. Earn free gift cards to re-gift during the holidays
There are a number of reputable merchants that offer free gift cards and prizes as a reward for completing tasks (surveys, listening to new music, watching ads, referring friends, re-tweeting links, etc.). Only merchants with positive reviews are listed here.
- GiftHulk: http://www.gifthulk.com
- Swagbucks: http://www.swagbucks.com
- Inbox Dollars: http://www.inboxdollars.com
4. Score BOGO Gift Cards
The list for 2014 has not been released yet, but you can use this 2013 list as a guide for your holiday gift card shopping. It is quite likely many of these merchants will once again offer BOGO gift cards—which is like getting two gifts for the price of one!
- BOGO gift cards (from 2013, for reference): http://dealnews.com/features/gift-card-freebies/
5. Invite Santa to visit—for free!
If your family celebrates Christmas, these two fun holiday freebies will bring Santa right to your home for free.
- My Santa Talk: Chat with a virtual Santa online for free.
- Santa Letter: Your kids can write a letter to Santa—and (with a little help from you) Santa can reply to their letters.
- Reindeer Cam: Watch Santa's reindeer in action for free!
6. Free Christmas music and stories
This website offers free downloads of Christmas music and audio stories. The songs and stories are uploaded by the artists themselves, and all songs and stories are professional quality, full-length tracks.
- Listen to / download songs: http://freemusicforchristmas.com/free-christmas-music/
- Listen to / download stories: http://freemusicforchristmas.com/christmas-audio-stories/