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40 Creative Frugal Christmas Gifts

The holiday season is a time of joy, love, being with friends and family, and giving. However, finding the perfect Christmas gifts that fit within your budget can sometimes be a challenge.

We’ve curated a list of 40 frugal Christmas gifts that are not only thoughtful, but also practical and personal.

Potted herbs and garden tools.

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These thrifty gifts show that you care without breaking the bank, ensuring both your wallet and your recipients’ hearts stay warm this festive season!

1. Used Books

Used bookstores can be treasure troves of great titles. A used book is just as pleasurable to read as a new book, and the savings can be significant. A friend of mine who was on a very tight budget once bought used books for all ten people on her gift list for $25. My family loves and encourages used books!

2. Handmade Candles

Craft a cozy atmosphere with homemade candles in various scents, perfect for creating a relaxing ambiance at home.

3. Personalized Recipe Cards

Compile cherished family recipes on customized recipe cards, adding a personal touch to the kitchen. Or make a simple cookbook with your favorite recipes.

4. Succulents

Small succulent plants bring a touch of greenery indoors and require minimal care, making them ideal for busy individuals.

It’s also easy to propagate new succulents from cuttings, so if you plan ahead you can make lots of new baby plants for gift giving!

5. Hand Knit Washcloths

My friend Lynn at Nourish and Nestle has an easy pattern to make hand-knit washcloths, plus a free printable gift band.

6. Movie Night Package

Combine a classic movie, microwave popcorn, and a cozy blanket for an enjoyable night in.

7. Potted Herb Garden

For cooking enthusiasts, an herb garden in a pot offers fresh flavors right from their windowsill. You can grow your own from seeds or use an indoor herb garden planter kit.

8. Christmas Goodies

Make your loved one’s favorite holiday treat, such as a batch of chocolate fudge, a big bag of homemade Chex mix, or Christmas cookies,

9. Homemade Granola

Whip up a batch of delicious, wholesome granola with nuts, dried fruits, and honey for a nutritious and delightful gift.

10. Travel-Sized Toiletries

Assemble a collection of travel-sized toiletries, perfect for those who are always on the go and planning their next vacation.

11. A Special Beverage

Always welcome, you could give a bottle of French lemonade or your recipient’s favorite wine, a six-pack of gourmet soda, or an assortment of microbrewery beers.

12. Board Game

Classic board games provide endless fun for friends and family during gatherings.

13. Creative Supplies

paint brushes and watercolor paints.

Give a budding artist paints and brushes or blank canvases; give your favorite writer a fat, blank notebook.

An assortment of pretty papers and stickers would be a welcome present for a scrapbooker, or give new garden gloves and tools to a gardener, or a generous bag of instant yeast to your favorite bread baker.

14. Custom Coffee Mug

Design mugs with personalized drawings or quotes. Your loved ones will enjoy a daily dose of warmth and inspiration every time they pour their morning coffee.

15. Cookie Baking Mixes in Jars

Give layered cookie mixes in Mason jars so your gift recipients can make easy and delicious homemade treats whenever the mood strikes.

16. Plant Cuttings

Share cuttings from your own plants for friends to cultivate their green spaces.

17. Cozy Socks

Fuzzy, warm socks are a simple yet appreciated gift, especially during the colder months.

18. Photo Collage

Create a memorable photo collage capturing shared moments to remind loved ones of the good times.

19. DIY Spa Kit

Combine homemade sugar scrubs, bath salts, and soothing teas in a basket or gift bag for a DIY spa experience your friend will love.

20. Family Calendar

Design a personalized calendar with family photos, featuring important dates and memories.

21. Local Foods

Share local flavors like honey, jams, or specialty snacks that showcase your region’s uniqueness.

22. Custom Magnets

Create magnets featuring personal photos or artwork to brighten up refrigerators. Shutterfly often has promotional deals on photo magnets.

23. Reusable Shopping Bags

Stylish, eco-friendly bags are both practical and environmentally conscious. You can sew your own reusable grocery bags with colorful fabrics to reflect your loved ones’ interests or style.

24. Coffee Sampler

Introduce coffee lovers to different blends with a sampler of gourmet coffee packs.

25. Homemade Soap

Handmade soaps in various scents offer a touch of luxury and relaxation. You could also give a soap making kit that includes molds and supplies.

26. Inspirational Journal

A woman's hand with a pencil on a journal.

Provide a space for self-reflection with an inspirational journal that encourages personal growth.

27. Assortment of Seed Packets

For gardeners, seed packets offer the promise of future flowers, herbs and fresh produce. (Busy gardeners will especially appreciate easy-to-grow vegetable seeds you can direct sow.)

28. Flowering Plants

A flowering plant lasts longer than a floral arrangement, and will bring a welcome burst of color to your friend’s home or workspace.

29. Homemade Jam or Preserves

Apple butter, peach jam, strawberry preserves are all welcome. Or make delicious savory Bacon Jam for your favorite bacon lover.

30. Thrift Store Find

I love rummaging around thrift stores, and am always amazed by what can be found within. Some great gifts you might spot include classic cast iron cookware, antique china dishes, vintage Christmas ornaments and cashmere sweaters.

31. Cooking Utensils

Quality cooking utensils or your favorite gadgets are always appreciated by those who love spending time in the kitchen.

32. Digital Subscriptions

Gift access to Amazon Prime, e-books, online courses, or streaming services for entertainment your recipients can enjoy for months to come.

33. Puzzle Books

Sudoku, word search, crosswords, and brain-teasers are perfect for those who enjoy mental challenges.

34. Mini Desk Calendar

Help loved ones stay organized with a compact desk calendar that adds personality to their workspace.

35. Puzzles

Brain-teasing puzzles provide hours of entertainment and cognitive stimulation for recipients of all ages.

36. Painted Plant Pots

Decorated plant pots add a personal touch to indoor greenery. First Day of Home has detailed instructions for painting terracotta flower pots.

37. Homemade Salsa

Share your culinary skills by giving a jar of homemade salsa bursting with flavor. Accompany it with a big bag of colorful tortilla chips, and your recipient will be ready to party!

38. Hot Sauce

For those who like it hot, a new bottle or assortment of spicy hot sauce will warm their hearts!

39. Food Basket

Put together a themed food basket, such as an Italian dinner with gourmet pasta, spaghetti sauce, bread sticks and a chunk of good Parmesan cheese.

39. Eco-Friendly Water Bottle

Give a reusable water bottle that’s stylish, sustainable and functional. Your well-hydrated friends and loved ones will thank you!

40. Donation

Most of us have those people on our gift lists who really do have everything, and would love nothing more than a donation made in their name to a charitable cause.

Print out the details of your donation on a pretty piece of paper, and wrap it in a box for a special presentation.

How About You?

I’d love to hear your ideas for creative-but-thrifty gift giving, enjoying a meaningful Christmas, and making the holidays merry and bright while avoiding debt.

You might also enjoy one of this blog’s most popular posts, “One Real Family’s Real Simple Christmas.” This is a true story about how my friends the McDonalds radically simpliifed their Christmas celebrations one year, and it was later picked up by the Chicago Tribune.

Save for Later

If you use Pinterest to save ideas, here’s a handy pin:

A food and wine basket, herbs in pots, art supplies and paint, and homemade fudge.

About Eliza Cross

Eliza Cross is the author of 17 books, including Small Bites and 101 Things To Do With Bacon. She shares ideas to simplify cooking, gardening, time and money. She is also the owner of Cross Media, Inc. and founder of the BENSA Bacon Lovers Society.

3 thoughts on “40 Creative Frugal Christmas Gifts”

  1. Love #7! I’d love seeds and pots for my garden, or even baking supplies.

    I think we all need to think outside the consumeristic gifts we’re all encouraged to buy.

  2. The more I try to declutter my own home, the more I try to make gifts clutter free for the recipient. Most recently I sent my college-attending granddaughter a subscription for razor/blades; will get used and remind her I’m thinking of her.


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