10 Nov 2016

10 Free or Cheap Xmas Gift Ideas

christmas cookies

Christmas can be expensive. Thanks for stating the obvious, Captain Obvious! 

I love Christmas but I'm not the easiest to buy for. I'd much rather receive something homemade, or crafted, with effort, skill, thought and love going in to it. And I'm not alone.

If you shudder at the very thought of forking out for gifts when visiting relatives, be it the expense or if you're stuck for ideas, then this is the post for you.

So before you elbow your way around Tesco hunting for expensive bottles of Prosecco, Baileys or meaningless tins of Quality Street, read on and let's get creative with our cash.

My Top Ten Free or Cheap Christmas Gift Ideas

1. Jack Daniels Truffles (or any other booze knocking about.)
You'll need 300g good quality chocolate broken in to pieces, 300ml double cream, 50g unsalted butter, will make around 30-40 truffles. So enough for 5 people, 6-8 truffles each, under £1 per person, we are winning! Heat cream and butter in a pan until simmering, remove and pour over chocolate pieces, add 2 cap fulls of JD and leave to cool. Put in the fridge for 2 hrs, roll in balls and dust with cocoa or, better still, crushed up Cadbury's flake.

No need to buy boxes, make your own, Isn't that the point of this! Here is a nice clear and concise video showing how: Origami - Gift Box with Divider (4 Compartment Box)

chocolate truffles

2. Golden Honeycomb Shards 
You'll need 100g caster sugar, 4 tablespoons golden syrup,  1½ teaspoons bicarbonate of soda. Heat sugar and syrup in a pan until bubbling, take off heat and stir in the bicarb, there will be a foaming reaction and at this point pour in to a greased shallow tin, leave to cool then break in to small pieces.
Wrap up in clear cellophane wrap, tie a ribbon around the top to close and look pretty.

3. Chocolate Chip Cookies (should make 12)
You'll need 100g of sugar, any kind doesn't really matter, 225g self raising flour, one egg, 125g softened butter, bar of chocolate of any kind will do. Cream butter and sugar in a bowl with a wooden spoon or hand mixer, add flour and egg, mix well. Spoon mixture on greased baking sheet, press broken chocolate on top and bake in preheated oven for 10 mins. Wrap in cellophane like the honeycomb above.

 4. Homemade Piccalilli (This should make 3-4 Jam sized Jars)
You'll need one kilo of raw, leftover washed and cut up veg, typically cauliflower, courgettes, green beans, tomatoes, carrot, onion. You need to sprinkle over with salt and leave in a bowl with a clean tea towel over the top for 24 hrs to draw out the moisture. Rinse in cold water, cook in large saucepan with 600ml cider vinegar, 150g sugar, teaspoon of mustard powder and same of ground turmeric, mustard and coriander seeds. Leave to cool, spoon in to sterilised jars (wash jar in hot soapy water and leave to air dry in a low oven.

5. Surprise Herbs
Buy a nice but cheap plant pot, fill two thirds with some leftover compost and sprinkle in a few herb seeds and a final sprinkle of compost. Tie a ribbon around to decorate and remember to tell them how often to water it, but forget to tell them which herbs you planted.

6. Cartoon Your Relatives
ToonDoo is a free cartoon and caricature website, it's easy and fun to create cartoons and caricatures of your relatives, print it off and put in a cheap frame. Here's ours:


7. Homemade Tomato Chutney
Click here to read my earlier post on how to make this tasty and frugal preserve.

tomato chutney

8. Gift Certificate
I am particularly-loving this idea. Click here to head to free website 123certificates.com and print off any template you like and fill it out, tuck it inside a nice Christmas card and see their faces light up when they open it. Ideas for services can be a nice massage (husband to wife!) 5 hrs of gardening, car valet, child minding , breakfast in bed.

9. Charity Shop Secret Santa
Another of my favourites, you only need to buy one gift and everyone gets one. Set a maximum budget of £3 spend an interesting hour supporting your local charity shops. Last Christmas ('I gave you my heart, but the very next day, you gave it away ..') I found an amazing copy of Samuel Pepy's Diary which was printed in 1923. Sure it was tatty, but we loved thinking about the previous owner and gifter. Imagine the joy receiving a new book. Did they read their new book by gas lamp or candle light? There wasn't TV or radio in those days, I bet it was much-loved by someone.

10. Break Your Own News
I came across this free website breakyourownnews.com where you can upload a family photo and fill out a fun caption, print it off and put in  a cheap frame. Something like this:

break your own news

11. BONUS IDEA Board Games
If you're spending a day with family over the holidays, buy them a board game rather than individual gifts. It's much cheaper and makes for a fun time. Groupon has loads on offer at this time of year.

Here's my pick:

Well, that's my top ten free or cheap Christmas gift ideas, I would love to hear yours. Poopyhead indeed!

About the Author


Author & Editor

Anthony is a SEO, Social Media and Money Saving Blogger | Business Development Manager | Husband | Father to a noisy toddler | Optimistic | Boundless Enthusiasm | Fortunate!

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