Gift-buying can be tough.
Christmas is a great opportunity to spend time with family and friends. It serves as a reminder to give back to the people we love. Traditionally, we do this with gifts, and while there’s nothing wrong with that, it can get quite expensive—especially if you’re on a tight budget. You can express your love through thoughtful gifts without blowing your budget, however. In fact, it’s possible to give your loved ones thoughtful gifts that they’ll love, all without spending a dime. Here are a few thoughtful, inexpensive last-minute gifts that you can give to your friends and family this Christmas.
Personalized Cutting Board
If one of your friends or family members loves to cook, a personalized cutting board may be a great gift. Many personalized cutting boards sell for a premium, but you can easily find good deals online or even make your own using a printer and some wax paper. Giving DIY last-minute gifts is a great idea, isn’t it? If you’d like to make multiple personalized cutting boards, you can buy a tool to burn designs into the wood for about $15.
Regardless of the method you choose, you can monogram the cutting board, decorate it with a beautiful design, or use a decorative font to write an inside joke or a classic family recipe—perhaps one they’re well known for making—on the cutting board. It’s surprisingly simple and inexpensive, but it speaks to your loved one’s interests and they’ll be able to use it on a regular basis. No one will put such a beautiful, thoughtful gift in a drawer and forget about it!
Coffee or Tea Set
Generally, people who love coffee or tea really love it, so they’ll enjoy a gift that centers around that theme. You can easily take plain white mugs and create custom watercolor designs in their favorite colors—all with supplies you already have in the house! Then add one or two bags of coffee or tea. If you have room in your budget, you can add inexpensive coffee- or tea-themed items, like a funny dish towel or an adorable mini tea strainer. These are all last-minute gifts they’ll get a lot of use and enjoyment out of, but they’ll also appreciate the thought and effort that went into each aspect of the gift.
Transfer a Photo to Wood
This may sound complicated, but it’s surprisingly simple to do on your own. The idea is to find a picture that your friend or family member loves, such as a photograph from their wedding, and transform it into a beautiful decoration they’ll treasure for years. You need a few supplies to do this craft, including mod podge, a gel medium, a paintbrush, a copy of the photograph laser-printed onto copy paper, and the piece of wood you’ll be transferring the photograph onto. It’s an easy craft, but the result is a sentimental, heartfelt gift that they will appreciate a lot more than a gift card.
Travel Dental Kit
Everyone knows someone who always seems to be traveling somewhere new. Traveling is a balancing act between packing enough and not too much, especially if your bags have to get through airport security. You can help your loved one manage this by getting them a travel-sized dental kit. These kits are inexpensive but contain everything they need to take care of their teeth on the go. They can be packed ahead of time, saving your loved one from having to remember to grab their dental supplies at the last minute. It may not sound like the most exciting gift, but it’ll make their lives much easier when they’re packing for their next trip—a detail frequent travelers will love.
This is a versatile gift that you can buy for between $10 and $25, so you should be able to find a set that matches your budget. There are sets that focus more on doing your nails, soaking in the bath, or relaxing with a face mask and lotion, so you can find the perfect set for your loved one. It’s a simple gift that gives your loved one the excuse to enjoy an evening relaxing and spending time on themselves.
Spend Time Together
Quality time is one of the five love languages, so many people will love the gift of spending time with you even if they see you often—but even more so if you’re often too busy to hang out or don’t live nearby. So if you’re short on cash, set aside an entire day to spend time with your loved one. Quality bonding moments with the special people in your life are ingenious last-minute gifts, don’t you think?
If you have a little money to spend, take them to do something they’ll enjoy; if not, you can stay at home and talk, watch romantic comedies—even if you hate them—or play board games. The idea is to spend time together doing something they love. They’ll appreciate the time with you and the fact that you’re willing to do things you otherwise wouldn’t just for the chance to make them happy.
Personal coupons are slips of paper that contain promises or favors that your loved one can cash in at any time. You may have grown up giving these to your parents, but there are plenty of practical applications as an adult. Tailor your coupons to your loved one’s life, with coupons that offer to watch their kids for free while they go on a date night, drop everything for an emergency girls’ night out, or bring them dinner while they study for exams. You can include as much variety as you want, repeating coupons you think they’ll really love. It won’t cost you anything, but it’s a gift that promises your time and energy, showing just how much you care.
This custom-made jewelry takes a sample of handwriting and transforms it into a ring, bracelet, or necklace. It’s a thoughtful gift that might be especially touching to someone who has lost a family member recently. It requires a little sleuthing, as you’ll need a sample of the handwriting you’d like on the jewelry, but you can usually manage this pretty easily with the help of a close family member. The jewelry is a unique gift with a deep meaning to it; it will almost certainly take your loved one by surprise in the best way possible. The jewelry can get pricey since it’s custom-made, but you can find it for $20 to $30.
If you have a writer in your family, a pretty but inexpensive journal is always a safe gift. Journals vary in price a lot, so you can find them for as low as $5 if you need to. Simply add a personal touch by writing a thoughtful note on the inside cover and include some of their favorite candy if your budget allows.
Food isn’t a love language, but it probably should be; almost everyone loves receiving homemade baked goods. If you bake, it’s an inexpensive and enjoyable way to create thoughtful, last-minute gifts for people. The ingredients you’ll need will depend on what you choose to make, but you’ll likely only have to buy a few basic ingredients. Simply choose a recipe you know they’ll enjoy, like chocolate chip cookies or pumpkin bread, and get baking! They’ll love having the delicious treat all to themselves, and it often means a lot to people that you’d take the time out of your day to bake them food.
Giving gifts is a big part of Christmas, but it’s the thought that goes into a gift that matters—not how much or how little you spent on it. If you consider what your loved ones will enjoy, you can give them gifts that express your love on any budget.