Gift Guide 2023: Low Cost, No Cost

Dec 6, 2023

Are you tired of Gift Guides, yet?  Yesterday, I got one from my accountant.  My accountant.  And I like Rick, but I am not so hard up for suggestions that anyone will find a one-year subscription to Quicken under the tree.

But because how much we love and like people is not determined by how much we spend on their gift, I thought I would provide a few low and no cost options.

Do you know someone with children?  Offer to watch them for an afternoon or for a date night.  Use these printable Christmas coupons to make the gift a bit more festive.

If you need a gift for someone who lives locally, I recommend compound butter.  It’s easy to make, costs a few dollars per roll, and is always a welcome addition at any meal.  Modern Proper has some recipes and instructions, but the one thing you will need is wax paper.  And there’s no reason it can’t be festive.

Regifting gets a bad wrap.  (Pun unintended, but it stays.)  We all have something in our home that we received as a gift that just wasn’t the right thing for us.  It’s probably still in the box, unused, in the back of a closet somewhere.  So why not regift it?

Also, it’s easy to improve a gift you didn’t love.  For example, a few weeks ago, I regifted a vase that wasn’t my taste, but was very nice.  I bought a bouquet of flowers to go with it.  Last Christmas, I regifted a cheese grater (because I already owned one) with a block of good quality Parmesan.  Regift a candle with an electric lighter or a pack of cool matches.

Everyone likes framed photos as a gift.  Everyone. Don’t know what to get me?  If you have a photo of us together from a fun trip or a great night out (provided the photo is PG-rated), put it in a nice frame.  Sure, I have it on the Internet somewhere, but now I’ll have it in my office.  To take this gift up a notch, get a wi-fi photo frame to update photos regularly.

A friend of mine made 90s playlists for her nieces for their birthdays this year and they loved them.  90s music was having a revival, and having grown up with sleeve-books full of CDs in her trunk, she was something of an expert.  If you know someone really well, it could be a fun idea to put together a playlist for their workouts or workdays. I’m working on a list of “Not Annoying Songs Sloane Likes” to give to my husband for car rides.  You’re welcome, honey.

Christmas ornaments are always a good gift.  Plus, you can go for really pricey ones, sentimental ones, or cheap and funny ones.  There’s something for everyone.  This one is a popular gift for lawyer friends.

A friend gifts Hanukkah candles to people because, as she puts it, “then you don’t have to buy them next year.”  Plus, there are some really fun ones, like this rainbow set or this dripless blue ombre.

So what are your best low cost or no cost holiday gift ideas?

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  1. Cait says:

    I’m making candied nuts for everyone this year. Weirdly enough, there are a lot of allergies/food sensitivities/special diets in my orbit, but no nut allergies, so these meet everyone’s needs. They’re going in the jars I wash out and can’t bear to get rid of but never use, with a cute ribbon.
    In the past I’ve done homemade hot beverage mixes (cider, tea, mocha, cocoa, etc.) in a similar way.
    Last year someone at work brought gift wrap supplies to the white elephant and it was a HOT item, so I’ve though about doing a little gift wrap accessory kit- pack of gift boxes, a few rolls of tape, some ribbon, scissors. Priced it out at Target for <$10 and it would made a nice consumable but non-food gift.

  2. E says:

    I love the idea of playlists as gifts! So cute.

  3. Desperate Mommy says:

    Would you share your “Not Annoying Songs Sloane Likes” playlist after you give it to Kyle?

    • Allison Hancock says:

      Came to say the same thing! I made a playlist of songs my kid loves, but they all drive my husband nuts, except for Yellow Submarine.

  4. KL says:

    One of my friends does holiday cookies, several assorted kinds in a box, and it’s one of my favorite gifts to receive (even though I also bake). I’m going to check out that compound butter recipe!

  5. Amanda says:

    Where’s the menorah from? Thank you! Happy holidays

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