Gifts for Everyone Else

frugal gifts

In addition to bigger gifts, there are also all those little gifts for coworkers, neighbors, pastors, hostesses, and teachers. While I love to give these gifts, if I’m not careful, my overall spending on smaller gifts can really add up! With that in mind, here are my ideas for giving all those little gifts on a bare-bones budget:

DIY disguises – I’m thinking of making this fun kit from Life Your Way for a few gifts this year. It seems like a gift that someone with kids or a goofy sense of humor could have a lot of fun with.

DIY gifts

Homemade sugar scrub -You probably even have all the ingredients on hand already!

Coffee/Ice cream gift card – A little goes a long way at an ice cream shop or coffee shop.

Mug – Anthropologie’s monogrammed mugs are super cute (simple ones for $6 or floral ones for $8), but you can often find nice ones elsewhere too. My friend Hannah who works at anthropologie told me people often buy these as teacher gifts and they’re hardly ever returned.

Stationery – Make your own (you can check out my cards board on Pinterest for inspiration!) or check out a discount store like TJ Maxx.

Jarred mixes – You could give cocoa mix in a jar or cookie mix in a jar.

Magazine subscription – I posted about quite a few magazine subscriptions on my lists of frugal gifts for moms and dads, but some are budget-friendly enough to fall under this “little” gifts category – Better Homes and Gardens ($6) and Popular Science (only $5 now through Christmas!).

S’mores Kit – This idea came to me last night as we roasted marshmallows over a fire pit at our local Christmas lights festival. Package up a chocolate bar, marshmallows, and some graham crackers to give your recipients (& their families) a fun night.

Bouquet of flowers or a plant

Candles – Any candles would be nice, but these stamped ones are a fun way to transform plain (aka cheap) candles into something unique. I’ve had this pinned for almost a year, but just realized it’s a dead link :(. The picture does a good job telling how to do it, though!

diy gifts

Magnetic board – I made this DIY magnetic message board for $1.

Gourmet food – This year, we got my girls’ preschool teachers assorted Christmas snacks from Trader Joe’s. They ranged from $2-$5 each – my favorites included dark chocolate covered candy cane Joe-Joe’s (which are TJ’s version of Oreos) and dark chocolate shortbread stars.

Popcorn and a movie – Older movies are often available for just a few dollars in bargain bins at places like TJ Maxx or even at Target. You could package up a classic with a bag of popcorn for a fun movie night.

freeset global

Bracelets that set women free – I just read (on Oh Amanda) about Freeset — an awesome business with the goal to set women free from human trafficking. Freeset sells fair trade bracelets, bags, and t-shirts, all made by women in Kolkata, India who have been set free from human trafficking. If you purchase a set of 3 bracelets (made from recycled saris) for $12, you’ll also be helping support this awesome cause. (While you’re there, they have cute bags too!)

Paper plates – This is probably a better hostess gift than for a coworker and my husband thinks I’m crazy for including it, but seriously – Who can’t use more of these, especially during this busy month? If you give me paper plates, I’ll be cool with it (but Beach Dad might not be…)

Homemade goodies – This is my favorite gift to give friends. I seriously love baking and enjoy making a few different types of cookies to give to friends and neighbors. Actually, this will be fun – I’m going to make mine over the next week or so, so I’m going to declare next week “Dessert Week.” Unfortunately, I can’t share my treats with most of y’all in person, but I’ll post a bunch of dessert recipes next week in case you want to bake too. I’ll start with the most make-ahead friendly recipes (some can even be frozen!), so if you want to bake along, by the end of the week, you’ll also have a fun dessert plate ready to hand out. My plan is to make:

  • double chocolate magic bars
  • unbaked chocolate-oatmeal cookies
  • peanut butter fudge
  • mint brownies
  • sugar cookies (or maybe bars, we’ll see how things are going…)

Yum. If you have any favorite holiday treat recipes, I’d love for you to link them up here!

What other gifts for “everyone else” have you given/received? Would you like getting paper plates?

Please check out my other ideas for Giving Great Gifts on A Bare-Bones Budget and subscribe to stay up to date on my latest posts.

[This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase through them, you’ll be helping to support Thanks!]

I’m linking to: Life as MomFive Days Five WaysShabby Nest, Fingerprints on the Fridge, and At the Picket Fence.

2 thoughts on “Gifts for Everyone Else

  1. Lynda @ Rhody Reader December 20, 2012 / 8:41 pm

    YES to paper plates! My mom and I were just talking about grab bag gifts, and we are both fans of tissues, paper towels, toilet paper…all good and all useful.

    And I love your magnetic board–sounds easy! I’m thinking my little guy might be able to use one to work with magnetic letters and/or to put up his important papers–pictures he’s made, pics of friends…


    • sara December 21, 2012 / 3:55 pm

      Yes! My friend gave us fun Christmas paper plates & napkins this week (she’d already bought them when she read my post – hilarious!) and I can vouch for their awesomeness. Toilet paper, paper towels, & tissues are great ideas too!
      Oh, making a magnetic board for kids is a great idea – I bet they’d have a lot of fun with it.


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