100+ Free or Almost Free Gift Ideas For When You Have No Money Christmas

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What do you give if you have no money at Christmas? You can still give some great gifts on a tiny budget with these free and almost free gift ideas.

Free Gift Ideas
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What do you give if you’ve got no money for gifts this Christmas?

It’s easy to get caught up in the spending – the average credit card debt from Christmas spending alone in Australia is around $1,727 [source].

But you don’t need to spend a lot of money to give beautiful gifts and create Christmas memories that will last long after the gifts are forgotten.

In fact, you probably have many things you can give that won’t cost you much – if any – money!

In this post, you’ll find dozens of ideas for free or almost free gift ideas.

Tips for Free Gift Giving

While these tips apply no matter what the gift, they are especially important when you’re giving a free gift or something a little out of the ordinary.

  • Match the gift to the person and give them something you know they will like and appreciate.
  • Give something beyond what you’re already obligated to (that means if you’re already taking grandma out to lunch, don’t make that your Christmas gift.
  • Follow through. If your gift is the service of babysitting, then make sure you do some babysitting when needed.
  • Presentation is key. Presentation can make a cheap gift look lux. For example, if you’re giving food, print off some labels (look on Pinterest for a tonne of free ones). Check out the second-hand store, Spotlight or your local Two Dollar Shop for fancy (but inexpensive) jars, craft and decorative items to make your gift look fancy.
  • Combine free and inexpensive gifts to make a personalised hamper. Hampers are a great way to turn lots of little free gifts into something special.
  • Turn a service into a gift with homemade coupons.

{You might also like: Second-hand items that make great gifts.}

Ideas For Free and Nearly Free Gifts

Even if you haven’t got a lot of money for gifts, there are still many things you can give to make Christmas – and more importantly, your recipient – feel special. Here are the free gift ideas…

{You may also like: How to have a Magical Christmas even if You Are Flat Broke}

Gift a Service for free

Is there a service your recipient wants or needs that you can do for them? Maybe you have unique skills related to your job (hairdressing, for instance) that you can gift. Here are some ideas:

  • childcare
  • petcare
  • massage, spa, pedicure, manicure etc.
  • baking, cooking meals for the freezer
  • car detailing
  • yardwork
  • cleaning
  • maintenance, handiwork, home reno
  • car service
  • photography.

Teach a Skill

Do you have a skill that you know your recipient (or their kids) would like to learn? You can gift them lessons. Ideas include:

  • cooking
  • playing a musical instrument
  • sewing
  • woodwork
  • home maintenance
  • surfing.

Food Gifts

Food gifts are always useful, and if you have the ingredients already in your pantry, they can be practically free. Look out for supermarket sales to save maximum money.

Bath and Spa Gifts

A relaxing home spa doesn’t have to cost the earth. Here are some ideas for bath and spa products that you can make cheaply at home.

Gifts for Family

Gifts of family, for the family.

  • photos photobook or album of your family (especially good for grandparents who live far away)
  • home video
  • your family history (you can explore your family history at your local library for free and get help from genealogists)
  • life stories/memoirs
  • a family heirloom to give to other family members.

Sentimental Gifts

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Maya Angelou

Sentimental gifts are free and yet priceless. They can be among the most cherished of gifts. Here are some ideas:

  • A printable quote. Download a free quote from Pinterest or make your own on Canva. You can frame it in a second-hand frame.
  • Create a playlist of favourite or meaningful songs. Check out your local library for free songs you can download or create a playlist on YouTube and share it with your recipient.
  • A handwritten, heartfelt letter. A letter to your children telling them of all the things you’re proud of and a recap of the year would be cherished for life.
  • Write a story with your recipient as the hero. If you can draw, make a personalised comic book with your child as the hero. You never know, it might be the next Captain Underpants.
  • Create an inspiration jar.
  • Or a memory Jar (I received one of these on Christmas. It’s a beautiful, inexpensive gift that I really appreciated).
  • Make an audiobook using your computer by recording yourself reading a favourite book (or using your phone).

The Regift

Regifting is giving something you were given to someone else. It’s something that hasn’t been opened or used and that you really don’t want or have no use for.

Some people think it’s tacky, but I think it’s a smart way not to waste money and resources. It’s the thought that counts. Stop the waste!

Having said that, here are some tips on regifting:

  • Keep a track of who gives what so you don’t give the gift back to the same person or a close family member or friend.
  • Check for gift tags, monograms, personalised inscriptions etc. before regifting.
  • Avoid making the same mistake and give the regift to someone you know will actually like it.
  • Consider repackaging it or putting it as part of a hamper.
  • Divide up a large gift (like a hamper) and create smaller gifts from it.
  • Pass on handmade gifts with care. I don’t think you should never pass on a handmade gift or a meaningful gift. It can be nice for a handmade gift to come with a story: “This was handcrafted especially for me by someone I care about, and it has given me great joy. Now I want to pass that onto you…”)

Creative Gifts

Are you a creative person? Maybe you are an artist, or you can sing or play an instrument. Maybe you can sew or carve wooden animals. Give away your creative gifts. Some ideas include:

  • give your artwork
  • give a performance (live or recorded)
  • write a story
  • knit something
  • sew something
  • build something

Be careful to give something your recipient will like. Taste in artwork can be very personal.

If you have a lot of craft supplies at home already, you can create a craft kit instead so that your recipient can make their own craft.

Home and Garden

If you’re a green thumb, consider growing some cuttings, dividing plants you already have, or collecting and planting seeds to give very cheap potted plants as a gift. You can dress them up in a cheap pot that you’ve painted or glammed up. 

Other almost free gift ideas include:

Gifts for Kids

You don’t need to spend a fortune on gifts for kids for them to have a wonderful Christmas. Old-fashioned gifts are timeless, and kids love them. Here are some free gift ideas for kids:

Free Gifts Ideas Sewn From Scraps

If you sew and you keep your scraps from other projects, scrap buster crafts can make inexpensive gifts.

No matter what your budget (and even if your budget is zero) there’s always something you can give at Christmas. It’s not the cost of the gift but the thought that matters most and gifts that cost no money can be some of the most thoughtful.

Looking for more gift ideas on a budget? Check out these articles:

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5 Comments

  1. Please help me for Christmas I don’t have no money to get anything for my kids I never ask for anything but this year I wish someone could help me I work but not alot hours and I’m single mom with 4 kids anything will help and I can’t not get Christmas tree this year

    1. Hi. I’m sorry to hear things are really tight for you at the moment. Your local charity is the best place to approach for help. They can be great with kids gifts and food hampers. You’re doing an amazing job and your kids will appreciate your time and love. I hope things pick up for you soon.

  2. Hello, money is very tight for me right now, and I have no job or source of income. I’ve got a few friends who are going through hard times and I thought I would try to make them happy this Christmas season, but I have no money for gifts. I cannot cook, or make any crafts of the sort and I’ve already got some memory jars made. Would you have any suggestions?

  3. This year we decided to get back to basics (and not having a job over Christmas has also aided in this decision), we have decided to give homemade gift vouchers to our immediate family. Our children have been given the challenge to give a personal gift or act of service to each member that costs them nothing. I was making up a list to help them and I had run out of ideas when I came across your blog. Thank you for taking the time to put this together.
    I believe that we already have so much, and take so much for granted. This year it is time to refocus and be grateful for what we have, not what we don’t have. I am looking forward to seeing what ideas my children come up with.

    This next part is for Nelia, a Christmas tree is what you make it. A potted plant decorated with homemade decorations. Spending time as a family making the decorations. Another idea is to trace around each child’s hand on paper and cut them out. If you turn the handprint upside down and make rows of the handprints in the shape of a tree you have not only a tree but the memories of making it with your children. Hope this is helpful, and praying that you will be blessed this Christmas season.

  4. My husband and I are both disabled we have 7 children, 17gran,4great grandchildren and no money to get gifts this year. Do you have any ideas for us