8 Christmas Gifts Ideas for Those on a Budget

Are you on a tight budget this Christmas? You may be worried about how to buy everyone gifts without breaking the bank or going into debt. 

Shopping on a budget at this time of year can be tricky, especially if you have a large family or lots of friends to buy gifts for. This paired with high inflation and increased cost-of-living expenses means that Christmas in 2022 may be a struggle for many families. Despite this, the National Retail Federation says that Americans plan to spend roughly $832 each on gifts, food, and decorations this year. 

The good news is that there are plenty of options for Christmas gifts on a budget. You don’t have to blow through your savings or rely on credit cards to have a great holiday period. We’ve listed some budget-friendly gift ideas below to suit all types of interests. 


8 Ideas for Christmas gifts on a budget

1. Homemade gifts

There’s nothing quite like a homemade and gift-wrapped box of cookies, a decorated cake, or even a homemade candle.

If you’re a baking lover or are crafty, why not put your talents to good use this season and make some homemade gifts? 

It’s a more budget-friendly option than buying everything at a store and it’s also much more thoughtful. Friends and family will appreciate the care and effort that go into your homemade gifts. Grab some Christmas-themed decorative boxes and bows to make them look extra special. Why not go one step further and include your cookie/cake recipe printed as a bonus gift?

2. Personalized items

A simple and inexpensive way to show you care about a loved one is to give a small personalized gift. Etsy is one of the most popular options and is full of easily personalized items to buy such as jewelry, coffee cups, keepsakes, portraits and much more. 

Prices of personalized items can vary depending on the item you’re purchasing, so be sure to shop around and check if there are additional costs associated with personalizing the gift. 

3. Build a Gift Basket

Buying a ready-made gift basket can be quite expensive for what you actually get. It’s much cheaper to purchase all the items yourself, plus some DIY materials such as a basket and decorative tissue. 

Not only do you make a more thoughtful gift, but you also guarantee that everything in the basket is something that the recipient will genuinely love. 

4. A subscription box

Another inexpensive gift option is to purchase a trial subscription box or even a year’s subscription to your recipient's favorite app, game, membership site, or magazine.

Popular options include beauty boxes such as IPSY, coffee subscriptions like Atlas Coffee  or even pet subscription boxes such as KitNipBox

You could also give something thoughtful like a Headspace app membership for those who are interested in practicing meditation and mindfulness. 

5. Plant cuttings

For those with a green thumb, a great way to save money on Christmas gifts is to take a cutting from your current plants and give that to your fellow plant lovers. 

In this case, the only expense you might have is buying small plant pots to hand them out, which are fairly inexpensive and can easily be decorated if you’re inclined. If you want to be extra thoughtful, include a little note on care instructions for your plant’s new owners. 

6. Pet portrait

For those with a furry four-legged friend, a great gift they’ll appreciate is a pet portrait. You can do this in a few different ways. If you’re artistic, try your hand at a hand-drawn or painted picture of their beloved pet.

Alternatively, you could create an art print from a photograph of your pet. Or, an even simpler option is to take a great photograph of their pet and put it in a decorative frame as a gift. (Bonus points if you can get them to wear a Christmas hat!)

7. Framed posters

On a similar theme, another budget-friendly gift is to buy a poster and frame it. Rather than getting a canvas or a picture already in a frame, you can save money by buying them separately. 

This is a gift that can work for lots of different people. For movie fans, get a poster of their favorite movie or some vintage-inspired movie artwork. Music, art, animal, and travel fans will all love a poster of their favorite thing framed. If you’re crafty, you could even design or decorate a frame yourself to give.

8. Arts and crafts for kids

Buying brand new toys, games, or technology for kids isn’t always necessary. For those kids in your life who are creative and love to draw or paint, a little arts and crafts bundle could make the perfect gift. 

Similar to the gift basket idea, you could purchase a few supplies such as crayons, colored pencils, or paints, and pair that with a sketch pad, canvas, or coloring book for an inexpensive but fun gift for kids. 


Best places to find Christmas gifts on a budget

Here are some places you can find cheap Christmas gifts:

  • For personalized items such as cups, T-shirts, and jewelry, try Etsy.

  • For subscription boxes, you can find the perfect one for any hobby on Cratejoy.

  • Find any type of poster to frame on AllPosters.

  • Buy arts and crafts supplies at Michaels.com.

The trick to holiday shopping on a budget is to think about small, personalized, and more thoughtful gifts over flashy tech presents or designer labels. Not only does this approach help you stick to a small budget, but these types of gifts are often more thoughtful, unique, and greatly appreciated by recipients. 

Don’t be afraid to use your talents to make homemade gifts or to try something a little different such as a personalized photo frame. Remember, not everything needs to be purchased brand new from a store. 

If you’re worried about sticking to a smaller budget this year, it’s worth talking to friends and family about your intentions to have a more budget-friendly Christmas. As times are tough for many people, you will likely find that others are in the same position and will be glad to join in with you to seek out unique, fun, and inexpensive gifts.

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