This “ 12 Days of Christmas Low-Cost and Free Christmas Gift Ideas ” posts ideas for Christmas gifts when you are tight with money. These ideas cost nothing less than a few dollars. This post contains affiliate links/ads. See disclosure policy.
Oh, I love Christmas! I can tell you Christmas stories since I was a little kid and the stories will keep on going and going and going. There was never a dull Christmas in my family even when we didn’t have a lot way back when.
Christmas is just around the corner, literally. November is almost here. Next thing you know, it’s Christmas time.
Christmas is my favorite time of the year. It is during this time that I feel the love all around me. The thing is, that’s what Christmas is all about. I’m not just referring to the love I receive from my family and my extended family. I’m referring to everyone around me and everyone I see wherever I go.
I like to listen to Christmas songs and sing Christmas songs. I like to build my own ginger bread, put up a Christmas tree, and decorate it with a lot of ornaments. I like to decorate our apartment with a ton of Christmas decorations, which I accumulated over the years.
What I am saying is I like Christmas from any or every angle. But there are a couple of things that I don’t like during Christmas.
Christmas means shopping. It means never-ending traffic and a ton of gifts, which could mean a ton of money shelled out.
One tip: If you want to set aside a Christmas budget but don't have the time or you think you can't do it, try Qapital. It helps you save by rounding your purchases and putting the money towards your goal automatically. For example, if you buy a coffee worth $2.75, Qapital will round it up to $3.00, which you will see in your statement. The 25 cents difference will be credited to your savings goal.
If you happen to use your credit cards or bank accounts for paying bills and others and want to set aside a budget, then, Qapital is for you. We use Qapital to save money for things we want without really having ourselves to set money aside for those wants.
12 Days of Christmas Low-Cost and Free Christmas Gift Ideas
Over the years, I have managed to reduce my Christmas budget to a more reasonable budget even when my family and extended family keep on growing year after year.
I like to share you some of my tips and tricks on how to put a break on your Christmas spending without compromising the quality of gifts you give to those people you love.
Let's start with what I call the 12 days of Christmas of low-cost and free Christmas gift ideas.
1. Christmas Cards
One the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me….. Christmas card and I love it.
This is definitely one of the best 12 days of Christmas gift ideas.
With so many technological advances and other great products in the market, Christmas cards may not be valuable to many people. But it should not be.
When I hear Christmas, one of the first things that comes into my mind is gifts. When I think of gifts, I think about personal and memorable gifts. When I think of personal and memorable gifts, the first thing that comes to my mind is Christmas cards.
A simple Christmas card can mean a lot when you put into written words what you want to convey to the person you’re giving the card to. Christmas cards need not be plain. If you are creative or want to put extra effort and time, you can always find ways online on how to create professional-looking cards without spending too much money.
2. Cash back
When you are on a tight budget, any saving is great. That in an essence is a gift to yourself.
If you ever plan on buying gifts online, always make sure to activate Paribus.
It's the best thing you can have to save money without actually doing anything. All you need to do is download and activate Paribus and you are on your way to saving money.
The benefit of Paribus comes in when the prices of products you just purchased drop. Paribus will request reimbursement for the difference of the price you paid and the new lower price. This reimbursement magic applies to any purchases you make. When I say any, I mean anything and everything you have just bought.
As a fact, my wife and I have received more than $40 back in just 3 weeks because of Paribus.
Because a lot of people will go online to do their shopping, it is best to get Paribus before the Christmas shopping season starts.
3. Grocery shopping
This is definitely one of the best 12 days of Christmas gift ideas as well.
When I say groceries, I mean products that don’t get spoiled easily like personal care items.
To give valuable gifts means to give things that others can use. At least that's what my mom and dad taught me while I was growing up. In short, being practical is not a bad thing to do when giving someone a gift.
If you want to save a ton of money on Christmas gifts, you can always give grocery products. You can always wait for sales, look for clearance items, and use coupons to get big discounts on those products. You just have to make sure that you buy what those gift receivers need.
You can always put those groceries in nice paper bags to make the gifts look more presentable.
Oh, before I forget. There are grocery shopping apps that will help you save and make money. My wife and I have earned over $100 as of the date of this post because of using these shopping apps. These include Saving Star and Ibotta, which are by far my family's favorite shopping apps. Check out this link for the list.
If you try the Ibotta app, you will receive $10 instantly. Yes, you will receive the $10 sign up bonus when you redeem your first brand name rebate within 7 days of registering an account.
4. Purchase a meal plan
If you are a frugal person just like me and want to share your frugal tips and tricks, you may want to consider trying the $5 meal plan.
It's what my wife and I use to save boatloads of money on groceries.
Actually it's what my sister gave me as a gift for Christmas. It's a monthly subscription of $5 and she paid for 6 months.
I believe it's one of the best gifts you can give to other people. This meal plan is not only cheap but it is also a game changer. In our first month of using it, we slashed our grocery bill by $100. After than, we slashed our bill even further by $500.
You can use this meal plan for you or pay for subscription for other people.
For $5.00/mo, you can't beat that price.
5. Discounted discount gift cards
That’s not a typographical error.
If you can’t figure out what to buy for your loved one but you know his/her favorite stores, places to shop, etc., then, gift cards are good substitutes to traditional gifts. You can buy gift cards for $5, $10, $15, and so on.
This doesn’t mean you need to buy gift cards at full price. Whenever I buy gift cards, I always follow these two steps:
- Visit websites for discounted gift cards.
- Use credit cards that pay cash back, points, and other rewards to purchase gift cards.
When you combine these two steps, you can buy gift cards at big discounts.
I go to the following websites to buy gift cards either for those who I will give presents to or for my family to save a ton of money. Personally, I use these gift cards for groceries, gas, and other basic necessities.
- Raise.com (Get $5 when you sign up through this link)
- Cardpool.com (Buy gift cards for up to 35% off or sell yours for up to 92% cash back. Plus, you will get $5 when you sign up through this link)
- Restaurant.com (My wife uses restaurant.com when we dine out. I say, you never have to pay full price when you use this site)
This is definitely one of the best 12 days of Christmas gift ideas you can give yourself in terms of saving money.
6. Volunteer work
The calling birds are calling for you to do some volunteer work.
Even when you don’t have money or don’t have people to give gifts to, there is always a room to help out at church, local food bank, and local shelters. You can always extend your time and effort to these organizations and they’ll be more than glad to accept your assistance.
I think this is one of the best gifts you can ever give and it won’t cost you a dime. It may cost you a few dollars but the few dollars you shell out won’t mean anything compared to the help you extend to other people.
It is during Christmas season that many non-profit organizations need some form of help. If you have time and are willing to open your hearts to helping others, this could be the best gift you can give to others.
7. Picture Frames
This is definitely one of my favorite and best 12 days of Christmas gift ideas.
A picture paints a thousand words. What’s better to seal it and make it look better than a picture frame.
Picture frames may not seem to be the choice of many people nowadays. After all, pictures we see every day are digitized now. Just go to your social media accounts and you will see pictures of your friends, families, and even yourself.
I may be a person who lives in a technologically advanced society but I still like to see pictures in frames placed everywhere in my home. Framed pictures bring a different sense of feeling in a house.
You can buy a picture frame, which you can buy at dollar stores. You can create a pretty frame that may cost you a few dollars. If you are gifting it to a special friend or a loved one, frame pictures of you together. These pictures will bring back fond memories of you together.
8. Simple treasures
Gifts don’t have to be new to be valuable and priceless.
There are things you possess that you consider treasures. You can pass along your treasures to your loved ones and they will be more than happy to receive those as gifts and take good care of them. The treasures that you give to your loved ones may cost less than a dollar but they will see those as priceless.
This is definitely the best of the 12 days of Christmas gift ideas.
9. Simple “I Will…”
When you don’t have any budget at all for Christmas gifts or you just simply don’t want to spend additional money or effort to go out and go against traffic and crowd, then, a simple “I will…” gift may suffice. Some of the things that work include “I will… clean the car today”, “I will… cook for the whole month”, etc.
Simply give the person a blank card and tell him/her what he/she wants you to do. Basically, this “I will” gift is granting that person whatever he/she pens on the card.
This “I Will…” gift is best for couples who don’t know what to give each other. I do this every single year to my wife and it never fails to make her happy.
Food brings comfort to people. When your friend has a cold or flu, you bring food to make him/her feel better. When your loved one graduates, you and other people go out or organize a party, which involves eating and, sometimes, a lot of it.
Food is something that is always appreciated. This is why I included this among the best 12 days of Christmas gift ideas.
Basically, food is a good gift for any occasion. Whether it’s birthday or Christmas, you can never go wrong with giving food as gift.
Food doesn’t have to be fancy to be appreciated. Who doesn’t like cookies? With a few ingredients, you can bake a batch in just few minutes. Or you can buy some from the store and they still won’t cause you a lot of money.
11. Talents and Skills
A gift that comes from the heart is the best gift… always.
For those parents like me, you’ll probably agree when I say that you would prefer your kids to get good grades, clean their room, mow the lawn, etc. as gifts than getting material gifts from them.
You always do the 12 days of Christmas YouTube version. You just need to make a compelling, sometimes funny or cheesy video, post it on YouTube and share it with your loved ones. It's that simple.
My nephews and nieces did it for us and we loved it.
I recommend to give what you can to others. Are you good at cooking, singing, dancing, building tables, babysitting, or something? Those can be gifts. You don’t have to spend money to make people happy. Use the talents and skills you have and share those to the people you care and love and to those you want to give gifts to.
I am not really into scrapbook but it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have any value to me.
When my wife and I were dating way back when, she would keep a scrapbook that contained things that remind her or us about the places we went, the memories we shared, the occasions we went to, and others. This scrapbook served as compilation of memory that helps us remember things that we tend to forget.
Scrapbooks are a good way to keep the memory of the past alive. It doesn’t cost a lot of money to put a scrapbook together.
Is it ok to re-gift? It may seem improper to do just that but it’s not ok either if you are not going to use the gifts you received during prior holidays.
You can always try what other people do heading to the Christmas day, that is, going for the 12 days of Christmas ornaments. What it is is that you make 12 ornaments that you give your loved one either one each day or those 12 ornaments at one time.
So, when is a gift ok to be re-gifted? I always use this checklist to make sure that I don’t offend the person who gave me the gift and that the next person who will receive it will find it more valuable than I did or do.
- The gift was not handmade just for you. In other words, don’t give the gift to others if it’s specifically made just for you.
- The would-be receiver of the gift would find (more) value in it.
- You think the gift can be better used by others.
What have you done in the past to not spend a lot of money during Christmas season? Are there any other tips you want to share? 12 days of Christmas