Ten Free and Almost Free Gift Ideas

Does the holiday gift shopping season make you want to bury your head under the covers until December 26th? Well, you're not alone. But just because big box retailers get all the press doesn't mean that the only gift giving options involve the words "big screen and "TV."

There are countless wonderful free and almost-free presents that do not require parking lot mall camping, and here are just a few:
  1. Give something you already own. This can be as simple as a book (children's or adult) or as meaningful as a special family heirloom. Grandma's rolling pin is just gathering dust in your home, but might be a welcome addition to your adult niece's kitchen.
  2. A gift certificate for your time. Whether it's babysitting or an afternoon of yard work, nothing is cheaper or more appreciated than lightening the load for a loved one.
  3. Divide and repot your houseplants. Add an already owned pretty vintage tin or a piece of antique pottery and you can help to bring greenery into someone's home. Not only do houseplants filter indoor air environments, but they also bring the illusion of spring and summer to long winter months.
  4. Share the bounty of your knowledge. Whether it's your mad sewing skills or your awesome painting abilities, you can help friends and family to craft a project or simply maintain their home.
  5. Frame it, baby! You simply can't go wrong with a framed photos of the kids for grandparent gifts. Thrift stores are stocked to the gills with gorgeous frames, so there's no need to ever pay more than a buck or two. And don't overlook frames you may already own!
  6. Home baked goods. There's a lot of pricey holiday baking that can break the budget, but remember that there's nothing more simple and true than a loaf of warm crusty bread. Throw in some herbed butter, and you've got an annual tradition.
  7. Fear not the regift. There is nothing wrong with passing gifted items along to a new owner. Whether it's candles that would irritate your asthma or a book you've already read, remember that one man's clutter is another man's treasure.
  8. Consignment store treasures. My town has a number of consignment stores that go beyond clothing. (Toys, bedding, household items, furniture, sports equipment come to mind.) Bring in your nice but unwanted items and later cart home some wonderful gifts for friends and family. Trading clutter for gifts, what's not to love?!
  9. Sew your gifts. Instead of heading to the fabric store, you should look around at what you already own. Unused clothing, bedding and curtains are all possible sources of fabric for projects.
  10. Jewelry. If you are female and over the age of twelve, you have jewelry that you no longer wear. Clean it up and package it up for your sister, your friend, your co-worker. Free bling!
Now your turn. What are your favorite low and no-cost gifts? Please share your ideas in the comments section below.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

"Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without."

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