We asked our readers for the best inexpensive Christmas present ideas that they would actually want. The results are in! Get some ideas for your loved ones this year from fellow Money Under 30 readers.


What was the best inexpensive holiday gift you’ve ever received? Let’s forget the iPhones and diamonds for a second. Was there a gift that didn’t cost a lot but made you unbearably happy, not only when you opened it, but for months after that?

Now think about how much that gift probably cost.

Chances are, many inexpensive gifts were among the best you’ve ever received. Maybe they weren’t expensive, but they were probably extremely thoughtful or handmade. I’ve received my fair share of jewelry, purses, clothing and electronics over the years, but the gifts that always stick out are the ones that the giver put a great deal of thought into; the amount of money you spend doesn’t make a gift more enjoyable or worthwhile.

And because the thought of spending hundreds of dollars on Christmas gifts can be daunting to many of us, I created a list of inexpensive gift ideas. Gifts that aren’t just easy on your bank account, but that the recipient will actually enjoy and treasure.

First I wanted to poll our Twitter followers and Facebook fans since they’re one smart bunch and usually have some great insights to share.

The consensus of what our followers and fans had to say seemed to fall into four categories:

  1. Thoughtful gifts
  2. Handmade gifts
  3. Experiences
  4. Love or friendship

Here are our Facebook fans’ thoughts:

Best Gifts Received Facebook

And some ideas from our Twitter followers:

Now, since we have four categories of inexpensive, yet enjoyable, gifts, let’s talk about some ideas for each of those categories:

Thoughtful gifts

Thoughtful gifts are tailored to the receiver and can be things that you think the receiver needs or will make their life easier or better.

Our Twitter followers mentioned items involving photos, which are an easy and simple gift.  Printing photos is cheap and easy these days (online or at in-store kiosks). And you can find an assortment of cheap frames online or at the dollar store.

Other thoughtful gifts are ones that are specific to the receiver’s interests or hobbies. Try these simple and often inexpensive examples, all available on Amazon*:

One thing I’ve started doing is taking mental notes (or jotting things down in the notepad on my phone) whenever one of my friends or family members mentions that they’d really like something or if something would make their life a lot easier. Usually, these things are simple and small, but will really make their day when received as a present.

Handmade gifts

If you’re the crafty type, chances are, you’re already making your friends and loved ones beautiful homemade gifts. But you don’t have to be crafty yourself to give inexpensive homemade gifts! Etsy is an online marketplace where artists and craftspeople can sell their creations online so you can find truly one-of-a-kind gifts in all kinds of price ranges.

You can also check Pinterest for bountiful ideas for crafty, do-it-yourself gifts that practically anyone can create. You can find countless tutorials on how to make wall hangings, wreaths, desserts, decorations and more on Pinterest.


Of course, presents don’t always have to be tangible objects. Often the best gifts are ones you experience with someone. And there are plenty of options to choose from that don’t have to cost much – if anything at all.

  • a night of babysitting for the parents in your life
  • a tour of your work if you work somewhere exciting (like the zoo, a brewery, historical building, baseball stadium, etc.)
  • cooking a special dinner for someone
  • spending the day together – doing anything!
  • signing up for a race together
  • going to gym classes together (you could even purchase a set for your friend)

Love and friendship

As cheesy as this is, I got plenty of responses for this “cheap” gift!

Some of my friends and I have decided to forgo getting gifts for each other in favor of just having lunch or dinner together; this way you can spend time with your loved ones during the busy holiday season and share your “gift” of friendship without having to go out and buy a gift for them.

What about you? What are your ideas for the best inexpensive gifts to give and receive?


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About the author

Total Articles: 16
Amber Gilstrap is a twenty-something CPA from Kansas City, Missouri who loves writing, working out, and---of course---finding fresh ideas for saving money.