Last Minute Frugal Christmas Gifts

We are now two days from Christmas.  Do you have all of your shopping done?

If you are like many people, the answer is no.

If you haven’t had the time, money, or ability to head to the mall and buy all your gifts, all is not lost.  There are still frugal, last minute gifts that you can give.

If you still have presents to get, consider some of these ideas:

1.  Give the gift of your time.  This gift costs you nothing, and yet it could make a big difference to the recipient.  If you know a family with young children, offer to help out in whatever way they would most appreciate.  You could take the kids to the park to give mom a break, or you could bring dinners to the family for a week, giving the family a much needed break from the kitchen.

Similarly, if you have a plow on your truck, perhaps you could give a season of free driveway plows to a family member.

2.  Give keepsakes.  There’s not much time left for making presents, but thanks to Pinterest, there are plenty of things to do that don’t cost much.  If you have young children, consider giving family members momentos that the kids made.  For instance, you can buy Christmas tree bulbs and paint.  Have your child dip his thumb in the paint and put it on several places on the ornament.  Then, with a permanent marker, add on antlers and eyes.  A dot of red paint makes the nose.

We made these just yesterday.  The Christmas tree bulbs were already on clearance, and we had the paint, so we were able to make 12 bulbs for less than $4.

3.  Give gifts to make.  Another idea is to give gifts that others can make.  A mason jar filled with ingredients and directions to make your favorite cookies will likely be a welcome gift.  Best of all, you probably have all of the ingredients in your home already.  Since you’re not actually making the cookies, you save time and your recipient can enjoy the treat after the glut of holiday food is gone.

4.  Give a delayed gift.  If you simply have a temporary cash flow right now, you could give a gift that requires you to pay later.  For instance, you could promise your friend a ticket to the game of his choice.  Then, when he decides on the game he wants to attend, you’ll buy the tickets and the two of you will attend together.  This helps you avoid the cash crunch at Christmastime but still let’s you give a nice, thoughtful gift.

Similarly, if you have nieces and nephews, you could give them a coupon for an afternoon of pizza and a movie.  When they’re ready to cash in the coupon, you’ll take them.

Some of the best gifts, like the gift of your time or your assistance, aren’t necessarily gifts that you purchase at the store, but they will be appreciated as much or more than the presents you can buy at the mall.

What are your favorite last minute, frugal gifts to give?