The following are suggestions for affordable gifts you can give for Christmas, other holidays, or occasions that won’t break your budget. Our suggestion is to give gifts from the heart. Put meaning and into the gifts you give your spouse and loved ones. On many occasions —it is the thought that counts.
Affordable Gifts From the Heart:
• You can give a Photo Calendar. Put together with photos that are meaningful to the recipient. Office Supply stores and other places like these offer to put this together for you for a reasonable price. Or you can get the program to put a calendar together on your computer.
• Give some Homemade ornaments or order a personalized ornament.
• Dessert of the Month Gift. It’s the gift that keeps on giving throughout the year.
• Bake up a dessert (Christmas cookies, brownies, etc). Put it in a nice container with a note in it that promises a dessert once a month for the whole year.
• Make a coupon that entitles the recipient to a free night of babysitting so they have a night out together with their spouse without the cost of babysitting. You can also give a gift certificate to a restaurant or whatever so the night out is a free one for them. (At Themarriagebed.com you can find a PDF template to help you with this. Just click on Love Coupons.)
• Find a note card that has a picture on it that reminds you of that person. Then write a note of appreciation inside explaining why you chose that card with that picture. And then let them know some of the things you appreciate about them. (One of our sons who was in college did that one year. Everyone thought that was one of the best gifts they’d ever received.)
Additional Affordable Gifts:
• Give a magazine subscription so the recipient receives a type of “hug” every time their magazine comes to them throughout the next year.
• Give a journaling book so they can write their life story in their own words. This will give them the opportunity to write out a “lasting heritage for their children and grandchildren.” A few suggestions: Thomas Nelson Publishing has the journaling books titled: A Mother’s Legacy: Your Life Story in Your Own Words and A Father’s Legacy: Your Life Story in Your Own Words and A Grandparent’s Legacy: Your Life Story in Your Own Words and Chronicle Books has Memories for My Grandchild, which have questions on each page and space to write a personal answer. (Or you can purchase a lined journaling book and put a question at the top of each page for them to write their story below it.)
• Give a simple gift (funny or otherwise). Talk to your sibling(s) about simplifying Christmas. Instead of giving each other more “stuff” that’s not necessarily needed, agree to give a humorous or sentimental card and/or a small gift and give the money you would have spent on a larger gift to a charity or ministry in their honor.
• Decide together with your siblings that instead of giving gifts to every one of them put the names together in a bowl before Christmas. Then each person selects one name that they would give a gift to. (Determine ahead of time the amount that would be the most they could spend on that person.)
More Ideas on Affordable Gifts to Give:
• Go to garage sales or thrift Stores. Pray that God will show you what you could give to your loved one that will bless them. This will take pre-planning, but it’s sure kinder to the budget when you need the gift.
• Give a gift of yourself. Give a card with a gift certificate in it for a grocery store near them and make a date to take that loved one there and then promise to spend the day together doing errands that need to be done.
• As a family make up a coupon book to give to a loved one. The coupon book could contain coupons that include: raking leaves, mowing their lawn, baking a dessert for them, renting and then watching a video together, running errands together, walking their dog, babysitting, or any number of creative acts of love that you can come up with.
• Find a picture of you with your loved one when you’re together in a favorite place. Have the picture enlarged and frame it as a gift.
• Give them days of laughter. Buy for them a cartoon book that they would find humorous. They could be Snoopy, or Far Side, or Family Circle, or Calvin and Hobbs, or Fox Trot, or Herman, or “Uncle John’s Bathroom” books, or whatever you think they’d find funny. You could even get them at a used bookstore to help the budget out even further.
Additional Affordable Gifts:
• Put together a “Memory Jar.” Make up little notes with little memories you’ve had with them of the blessing they’ve been to your life. You can put scripture verses in the jar to encourage them. You can also include prayers you’ve prayed for them. Just be creative in finding things to put in it that will be a blessing to them.
• Along that same line, here’s something to inspire your gift giving written by Gary Thomas:
“I interviewed a woman who told me about an amazing marital ‘exercise’ she put into practice. She spent an entire year working on her husband’s Christmas present. What she did was write a journal that recorded something she was thankful for about her husband that particular day. These were very specific, day-by-day accounts of what the husband did and why she was thankful to be married to him: putting up the Christmas lights when it was very cold (December 7th), coming home and playing with the kids after a long business trip even though he was obviously tired (Sept. 22), that kind of thing. When she gave her husband the journal he immediately sat down and read it in one sitting. Later, when recounting this gift to a friend, he told him, ‘Reading that journal makes me aspire to be the man she thinks I am.’”
You might even consider even adapting this idea. You don’t have to do this for a year. Any amount of time that you take doing this—noticing what your spouse does that you appreciate, and letting him or her know is like a care package for their heart. Think about it!
Here Are More Gift Ideas:
• Get a basket and put some of their favorite foods in it.
• Give them a coupon for “Just You and Me Time.” We know of a grown son that gave that coupon to his mom. They chose a date and the son picked up his mom, and took her to dinner. He then took her to the symphony. These were “not the best seats in the house” according to the son. This is “because of a tight budget.” But they were million dollar seats to the mom. It was one of the highlights of her life.
Another year, he took her for a day out to a wonderful lunch. And then he accompanied her to a trip to a museum. There was lots of talking, laughing, and loving the time together. There have been more— but you get the idea. I know for a fact, the mom would have been happy with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and a walk in the park. Just the quality time together made them the best gifts possible. (I know— because I’m the mom.)
Even More Affordable Gifts
• There are a lot of different “coupons” that you could make up. One wife suggested that the husband could make up some coupons the wife could redeem for “guilt free” times together. It could contain coupons for him to do the dishes when she’s tired. Or you can make dinner while she watches TV or do whatever she chooses.
There could be coupons in there for a foot massage, or a back rub. They can include a picnic lunch out together where he packs the lunch. Or it could be playing a table game together like Monopoly or Scrabble (with no complaining on his part). Additionally it could include having her write down several “honey-do” jobs that he’ll do within a certain amount of time without complaint. The possibilities are endless. (For a PDF template, please go to Marriagebed.com to find Love Coupons.)
And ladies, the coupon giving could be done on your part for your husbands. The possibilities could be endless there also.
• Make Hot Chocolate mix, putting it in a nice container (and include the recipe). One recipe for this could be: Powdered milk (that makes 8 quarts of milk), 1 pound of Nestles Chocolate Quick, 8 ounces of Coffee Creamer, 1/4 cup of powdered sugar. Mix all ingredients together. Use 1/3 cup of mix to one cup of boiling water.
• Give a book on CD so they can listen while driving.
• Put together a basket of fruit and healthy snacks. (Perhaps include some not so healthy ones.)
Here Are Additional Affordable Gifts:
• Give them a certificate for “a day with you helping them do their spring cleaning.“
• Give an inspirational book. You could even purchase it at a used bookstore.
• Give tickets to an event that would bless them.
• Make up a personalized photo album for them. Of course you’d have to obtain photos of them— but you could gather them from family members and make it unique. It could even be a humorous one.
• Make a homemade wreath.
• Give a book for journaling. One gift my husband gives me [Cindy] every Christmas is a new Devotional Journal for the upcoming New Year. It’s especially meaningful to me because it’s a gift from him.
• As a family, make a video to send to grandma in another state that contains messages of love to her.
• Make a meal for them, or the promise of a meal so they can have a “not having to cook” day.
• Give a certificate for a massage, or a day at the spa, or a manicure.
• Invest in their marriage. Give them a subscription to a marriage magazine, and/or some CD’s or DVD’s, or a book, or tickets to a seminar that would bless their marriage and their future lives together.
• Giving Phone Cards can be a blessing.
• Give them a photo box or two. Plus, make a promise to sit down with them to help organize their photos.
• Or give them a photo scrapbook of “Christmases of the Past.”
• Give a Gasoline certificate.
And Even More:
• Baked goods that they can eat then or some they can freeze to enjoy later is a great gift.
• Give a photo collage in a simple frame.
• You can give Movie gift certificates or ones to a movie rental store.
• Give a gift certificate to a favorite coffee shop of a fast food restaurant.
• Give Christmas CD’s.
• Homemade candles or homemade soaps can be nice gifts. (You can get these kits at craft stores.)
• Give a basket with stationary (It can even be homemade), envelopes, and stamps.
• Grandkids can send a card that says, “I’ll write to you one a month for a whole year.”
• Notebooks/scrapbooks that contain meaningful things can make lovely gifts. These can include photos, awards, honors, etc.) It will take time to do this. But this is the most precious gift we can give.
• Have a favorite family picture made into a jigsaw puzzle for your loved one.
• Instead of gift-wrapping the gift, hide it. And then give the recipient a card with a clue as to where they can start a “treasure hunt” for their present. At each location have another clue waiting for them to figure out until they locate the location of your mystery present. (You’re giving them a gift. Plus you’re giving them a fun time finding it. We had great fun with this idea with our sons.)
Finally, as it Pertains to Affordable Gifts:
• Put together a “Personal Web Book” that contains web sites you think your loved one will like.
• Pass on some prized possessions. Some of the most meaningful gifts are ones in which you give something that you own that you know they’d enjoy. It could be a treasured piece of jewelry. Or it could be a photo, or an heirloom of some type.
I hope this will help you to bless your family and friends in unique ways, which say, “I care” and/or “I love you.” Giving expensive gifts can be good sometimes, if you truly can afford them. But giving affordable gifts blesses your spouse AND your budget! Try it! You may like it!
Cindy Wright of Marriage Missions International wrote this list.
— ALSO —
Here’s an additional article put together by the ministry of Focus on the Family. Enjoy reading:
And from the ministry of The-generous-wife.com, the following web site link will take you to a contest. It is one, which Lori Byerly conducted. (It’s no longer active.) Below the article though, many women contributed a variety of gift-giving ideas in their comments that you can use:
If you have additional tips to help others, please “Join the Discussion” by adding your comments below.
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Filed under: Finances in Marriage