Holiday gift giving can be tough on the wallet. The average American spends $929 on gifts during the holiday season, more than half of us take on at least some debt this time of year, and 58 percent of families say they find it impossible stick to a holiday budget.
Still, it's possible to save money around the holidays without turning into Ebenezer Scrooge. With a few creative gift ideas, you can lower your festive season spending and enjoy giving your friends and family something truly unique, guaranteed to warm the heart of even the grumpiest Christmas Grinch.
Get into the Holiday Spirits
An abundant array of creative gifts starts in the kitchen. If everyone is over 21, make delicious holiday-themed liquors. Start with an inexpensive vodka as your base, then add in candy or winter-themed ingredients – candy canes; orange rind, clove and brown sugar; or pear and cinnamon are particularly tasty choices for a wintertime warmer. Soak vodka with add-ins for a week, strain and put into a mason jar or any recycled and cleaned glass jar with a pretty ribbon. Slap on an elegant label that personalizes the gift, and you're good to go.
Picture Perfect Christmas
We live in a time when everyone is constantly photographing everything, but those photos rarely have a life beyond social media. Gifting an album of carefully chosen memories is a great way to save money while showing that you've actually thought about the person receiving your gift. After all, Instagram might not care about all those photos of your time together, but your loved ones probably do. You can find cheap photo albums at discount stores, or make your own with a few pieces of stiff cardboard. Print and stick on photos of you and your gift receiver, add a few messages to stoke the great memories, and you’ll have a creative gift that will be cherished for years to come.
IOU Your Way into Their heart
Literally, millions of gifts are returned at the end of every holiday season, so this year, make a commitment to save your friends and family the hassle – and gift them a service or experience instead. Your significant other might like an IOU for a massage or a candle-lit meal at home; think afternoon coffee dates for friends and coworkers; and for parents and grandparents, a promise to do chore around the house or to teach them something new on the computer are creative gifts they’ll love (and won’t have to worry about returning). If you're the type of person who regularly gets volunteered into helping people, this has the added benefit of not only saving money, but also turning something you were probably going to do anyway into a memorable gift.
Soaping You Have a Merry Christmas!
Save money and reduce the stress of your loved ones by giving them DIY bath and body products. A few kitchen staples are all you need to create these spa-worthy creative gifts. Try sugar, coconut oil and a scented essential oil for a refreshing face scrub; oatmeal, yoghurt, and honey for a soothing face mask; or beeswax, coconut oil and cocoa butter for a lip balm. And here’s a hint – you can do this for men as well as women: Hazelnut oil mixed with some essential oils can make a beard balm able to tame even the wildest of facial hair. Packaging your gift is a breeze; for women put a pretty ribbon on the jar, for men, use rustic twine or tie up a spring of pine.
All You Need Is Gloves
The feeling of having freezing cold hands is exactly no one's favorite thing about the holidays, so why not save someone from a touch of frostbite while saving money? Make a pair of mittens from an old sweater. It costs next to nothing, requires no skills other than a little bit of sewing and once you get the hang of it, it’s a very easy DIY that’s good for creative gifting to friends, family, and coworkers or any age, man or woman. As long as your intended recipient has fingers, chances are they'll be grateful. In fact, a nice set of mittens for your loved one's dog or cat can work wonders too, since there's nothing cuter than a pet in winter clothes.