59 Unique, Cheap, but nice Gifts to Give for the Holidays


December 5, 2006   •   Fact checked by Dumb Little Man


So there is actually a site named Buy Nothing Christmas ’06. My wife’s friend’s sister’s (who cares) sent it to me and as the title suggests, the entire site is dedicated to giving you ideas on how to give gifts for little or no money.

There is no way I am listing all of them, here are 10.

    • A hand made recipe book would be a good idea. A compilation of old family recipes from your family, and your friends’ families. Start collecting them in the summer and take your time and edit and make them real nice and sturdy (to withstand the heavy use!) – Brittany
  • Books on tape – this is great if you have two or three people on your list that will enjoy the same book, it only costs time! A compilation CD of the choir my husband and I sing in. Make a puppet theater – paint a white sheet, cut a hole out for the stage, and hang in hall/door with a tension rod). If I get ambitious, I’m thinking of producing a video for distant family members of our kids’ exploits in the past year. My husband is a composer, and he is planning to compose theme songs for some of our family members. – Noelle 
  • Adopting a polar bear, snow leopard or giant panda in the name of all my friends and family members from World Wildlife Fund. – Matt 
  • One year I made mini loaves of quick bread. I think it was pumpkin bread. One could make cranberry or whatever you like. I wrapped the loaves and placed them in small baskets that I picked up at yard sales over the summer months. I added packets of instant spiced cider, cocoa, or tea, and festive napkins. I then tied it up with a raffia bow along with a recipe card for the bread. Another year I made key chains out of beads that matched the color of each persons car. – Lisa Wilson
  • Well, our buy-nothing circle spread just a little wider this Christmas, and I’d like to share a few highlights. They include some “transition” gift ideas too, for those who can’t handle BNC just yet:
  • One friend saved us a lot of money by simply handing us some RAM for our PC. He knew we needed it and he had extra. It was great! 
  • Two family members got creative and made by hand an “action figure” of my husband and a marionette of me! Of course, this wouldn’t work if the individuals didn’t happen to be so artistically talented, but what unique and personal gifts! 
  • Another friend who makes pottery simply gave us a lovely bowl more special than anything we could have bought.
  • Parents bought us necessities that we would have had to buy anyway. 
  • We made writing paper with hand-drawn silly little doodles and hand-folded envelopes for some friends. 
  • For most of those who weren’t ready to move to a buy-nothing Christmas, we bought organic herbal teas and fair-trade coffees… they don’t add to the clutter because they’re enjoyed and gone, and they support sustainable businesses!

Small steps … but in the right direction. – Sara Parks Ricker

  • Brilliant website and ideas. You get my full support. As an another idea, try www.oxfamunwrapped.com. It allows you to send a gift to the 3rd World and depending on your budget you can buy chickens, blankets, radios, right up to a traveling theatre! Our 10 year old son has ‘traded in’ some store gift vouchers to buy a goat. We have sent friends and families Christmas gifts from this site. Best wishes – Chris, Nottingham, UK 
  • At our house, we try to make all Christmas gifts. That means that December is a flurry of activity as our children make salt dough ornaments and then paint them to give to teachers and other adult friends. Last year, one boy made play dough, and one made a crayon ball to give to the other. For our friends, we’ve painted white candles with Christian symbols; these have become tradition. For our extended families, we made books with old pictures and memories. Our children especially love hand-made gifts; in this age where everything is plastic, they relish the idea of love in a sweater. – Molly 
  • I have been going down to my local recycling centre to see what’s on offer. To my surprise, I found 10 glass coffee containers. Which are now glassed painted and filled with goodies for kids. – Sophia 
  • A couple of years ago I did a calendar for the family with everyone’s photos and birthdays. That was a big hit. – Karin 
  • Give Linux for Christmas! It’s free and it works like a charm! These days, distributions include not only the operation system that runs your computer, but applications such as word processing, spreadsheets, picture and sound editing, etc. And give a hand installing it. It’s not that it’s too difficult, but some people’s tech-savvyness is rather limited. —Gilles Pelletier 

If you want more, there are 49 other ideas like this at buynothingchristmas.


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