Giving Gifts for Christmas on a Budget

This post contains affiliate links. Read my disclaimer page for more info.

Gifts are usually the biggest part of any Christmas Budget, and often times the thing that pushes us into over-spending or even using credit cards + wracking up debt during the Holidays; but I'm here to show you that it doesn't have to be that way! 

This will be my family's 4th Christmas on a super strict budget, so you could say I know a thing or two about buying thrifty + frugal presents.

Family Holiday Budget Planner computer image.png

First of all, let's make sure you have a Christmas Budget set up! 

Grab my FREE Printable Family Holiday Budget Planner to get yourself organized + read more about Planning for Christmas on a Budget in Part 1 of this Blog Series! 

Gold line.jpg

After you've downloaded my FREE Printable Family Holiday Budget Planner, you'll want to write out a Gift Budget for each person on your list, and then brainstorm a few gift ideas for that person. Feel free scratch through + edit these numbers or gift ideas as you go to make sure that you're not over-spending on your Total Gift Budget. 

Please remember that if this is your first Holiday Season on a Budget that things might look a little different for your family than they did last year...and that's okay! That's why I'm here to walk with you through all of that! 

The main thing I want you to take away from this Part 2 of my Christmas Blog Series (Find the rest of the series here!) is that budget-friendly or cheap doesn't have to equate with cheesy or crappy! You can still give thoughtful + useful presents even when you're on a tight budget. In fact, I feel like the more thoughtful + purposeful you are, the more it doesn't really matter what you actually spent on the gift. Also, make sure to give yourself plenty of time to put some thought into each person's gift. The best way to start that process is by picking a gift giving strategy! (I get serious about my gift giving y'all!)

Your 3 strategy options:

To be truly successful at following a gift budget I feel like you should pick one strategy per person and stick to it! For each person on your list you'll want to decide which strategy is best for them...and then run with it! 

1. Goodie Basket or Group of small gifts that are cheap while still being practical + fun.   

2. One gift that is nice, mid-priced, very thoughtful + unique

3. Small limited number of gifts that are nice + cheap/mid-priced. (Great strategy for your kids for example: "Something you Want, Something you Need, Something to Wear, Something to Read" or "3 Wisemen Gifts") 

Now, let's talk about some gift ideas for each strategy...

1. Goodie Baskets / group of small gifts / Stocking Stuffers

What you'll want to do with this strategy is buy several small + cheaper items, and then group them together in either a fun basket or use them as stocking stuffers. This strategy can work for really anyone on your list because who doesn't love receiving practical, but yet still fun gifts!?!

Grab a basket (the plastic ones from Dollar Tree are my favorite) or another large container like a mixing bowl or a cookie jar. Add a few small items, some shredded paper filler (I also buy this at Dollar Tree), ribbon + other cute accents, and then about 5-20 items depending on the size + allowed budget.  

Basket or kit theme Ideas

I love the idea of coming up with a theme for a basket to help you stay inspired while shopping...and I've listed a few of my favorite ideas below.

  • Movie Night: Bottle of Soda, Popcorn, Candy, DVD or Redbox Gift Card

  • Spa Kit: Bubble Bath, Lotion, Face Mask, Candle, Wine Glass

  • Nail Kit: Nail Polish, Foot Scrub, Lotion, Nail Tools, Fuzzy Socks

  • Snack Basket: Several different kinds of Candy + Snacks all together

  • Baking Basket: Cake, Brownie, or Cookie Mix, Kitchen Utensils, Hot Pads, Kitchen Towel (Bonus points if you use a Mixing Bowl as your "Basket")

  • Cute Wine: Bottle of Wine with a Free Printable Tag + Ribbon

  • Mixed Drink Set: Soda, Jar or Glass, Mini Liquor Bottle tied on with a Ribbon

  • Cute Coffee: Coffee Cup, Individual Coffee Package, Mints, + Ribbon

  • Hot Chocolate Set: Mug, Hot Chocolate Mix, Marshmallows, Candy Cane

  • Candy Bar Bouquet: Several Candy Bars (mini or full size) taped to craft sticks gathered into a Jar, Mug, or Basket

  • Cute Candy: Candy taped or glued together in the shape of something else (think candy bars + candy canes into a sleigh or pudding cups with red Rudolph pom-pom noses)

  • Cookies Kit: Cookie Dough Mix, Candy or Toppings, Cookie Cutters, Kitchen Utensils, Hot Pads, Kitchen Towel (all Christmas theme for extra fun)

  • Cupcakes Kit: Cake Mix, Candy or Toppings, Cupcake Liners, Kitchen Utensils, Hot Pads, Kitchen Towel (all Christmas theme for extra fun)

  • Ice Cream Party Kit: Ice Cream Scoop, Cups, Cones, Spoons, Sprinkles, Other Toppings, and maybe even fun colored Napkins

  • Gingerbread House Kit: Gingerbread Cookie Mix or Graham Crackers, Icing, Toppings...gather into a Mixing Bowl, Cookie Jar, or Toppings into a small Tackle Box or Mason Jar

  • Jar Kit: Any small group of items, but squeezed all nicely into a Mason Jar or Cookie Jar (Who doesn't love a good Jar!?!)

  • Craft Basket: Random craft supplies...Paint, Markers, Washi Tape, Ribbon, Hot Glue, Stickers, Scrap Book Paper, etc etc

  • Creativity Basket: (Fun for young kids) Play Doh, Chalk, Paints, Makers, Stickers, Bubbles, Jump Rope, Frisbee, Ball, etc

  • Pen Pal Kit: Note Pads, Blank Cards, Pens, Markers, Stickers, Envelopes, and Stamps

  • Favorite Color Basket: (Really fun for kids) Find random items all in the person's favorite color and group them nicely into a color-coordinating Basket

  • Favorite Cartoon Basket: (Again, really fun for kids) Find random items all from the same favorite cartoon and group them nicely into a fun Basket

  • Baby Goodie Basket: Small but necessary items for someone welcoming a new baby (think pacifier, diapers, wipes, thermometer, etc)

  • Boo Boo Kit: Basically a first-aid kit for the moms in your life (think children's medicines, thermometer, band aids, tissues, lollipops, etc)

  • Pet Goodie Basket: Either for your own pet or your friend's pet...Tennis Balls, Treats, New Collar, New Leash, Toys

  • House Warming Basket: Perfect for the new home-owner or recently moved out young adult in your life...Cleaning Supplies (Cleaners, Sponges, Gloves, Rags, Duster, etc), Kitchen Items (Utensils, Towels, Hot Pads, etc), Candles, Picture Frames, Small Decor Items, and Gift Cards for various stores (Bonus points if you use a Laundry Basket or Mop Bucket as your Basket)

  • Handyman Basket: Useful items such as Extension Cord, Small Tools, Duct Tape, Wood Glue, Extra Screws/Nails Boxes, Light Bulbs, etc

stocking stuffer or group Ideas

Even if you don't decide to pick a theme you can still use this strategy! Simply gather up a group of items into a basket with a bow, a box filled with tissue paper, or use a traditional stocking. 

I've listed below a few of my favorite ideas depending on who you're shopping for. 


  • Candy, Fruit, Cookies, Snacks

  • Glow Sticks, Bubbles, Silly String

  • Puzzles, Card Games

  • Reading Book, Coloring Book, Notebook, Stickers

  • Crayons, Markers, Water Color Paints, Pencils, Chalk

  • Play Doh (Homemade or Store-bought)

  • Christmas Crafts, Stickers, Trinkets

  • Toothbrush, Hairbrush, Body Spray, Bath Toys, Cartoon Washcloth

  • Hair Accessories, Lotion, Bubble Bath, Nail Polish, Chap Stick

  • Water Bottle, Thermos, Sippy Cup, Crazy Straws

  • Hat, Scarf, Gloves, Socks, Costume Jewelry

  • Small Toys (Racecars, Plastic Animals, Ball, etc)

  • Homemade Coupon Book (think...get out of one chore or choice of dinner)


  • Candy, Fruit, Cookies, Snacks

  • Toothbrush, Hairbrush, Body Spray, Makeup, Makeup Brushes

  • Hair Accessories, Lotion, Bubble Bath, Nail Polish, Chap Stick

  • Puzzles, Card Games

  • Art Supplies, Pencils, Pens

  • Earbuds, Phone Charger, Flash Light

  • Magazine, Comic Book, Crossword Puzzle Book, Adult Coloring Book

  • $5-$10 Itunes, Amazon, or Starbucks Gift Card

  • Homemade Coupon Book (think...get out of one chore or choice of dinner)


  • Candle, Essential Oils, Car Air Freshener

  • Face Mask, Lotion, Soap, Body Spray, Travel Size Perfume, Bubble Bath

  • Makeup, Nail Polish, Chap Stick

  • Nail Kit, Makeup Brushes

  • Small Picture Frame

  • Coffee Cup, Thermos, Water Bottle, Wine Glass

  • Costume Jewelry

  • Scarf, Hat, Gloves, Socks

  • Candy, Fruit, Cookies, Snacks

  • Cake, Brownies, or Cookie Mix

  • Individual Sized Coffee or Tea Packs

  • Small Kitchen Items, Kitchen Untensils, Cookie Cutters, Magnets, Hot Pads, Kitchen Towels

  • Flower Seeds, Garden Gloves, Wind Chimes, Garden Sign

  • Notepad, Office Supplies, Journal

  • Paper Back Book, Adult Coloring Book, Crossword Puzzle, Magazine

  • Pens, Pencil, Highlighters, Washi Tape, Markers

  • $1 Scratch-off Lottery Tickets

  • $5-$10 Gift Card


  • Travel Sized Cologne, Razors, Beard Oil, Comb

  • Hat, Gloves, Socks, Money Clip, Wallet, Tie

  • Coffee Cup, Thermos, Water Bottle

  • Candy, Fruit, Cookies, Snacks, Beef Jerky

  • Individual Sized Coffee or Tea Packs

  • Mini Liquor Bottle, Bottle Opener, Koozie, Shot Glass

  • Paper Back Book, Magazine, Cross Word Puzzle

  • Flash Drive, Small Notebook, Keychain, Phone Charger

  • Golf Balls + Tees

  • Guitar Pick

  • Fishing Lures, Compass, Handwarmers

  • Pocket Knife, Lighter, Flash Light

  • Playing Cards + Set of Dice

  • $1 Scratch-off Lottery Tickets

  • $5-$10 Gift Card

Gold line.jpg

If you didn’t already know...
budgeting is kinda my thing!

I help overwhelmed families with my simple approach to budgeting through my full budgeting course, Your Sunny Money Method.

2. One gift

If you're going to only give one gift to someone I say make it count! Buy or make one really nice + thoughtful gift, wrap it beautifully, and then pat yourself on the back for not going overboard with too many presents! 


If you're on a really strict budget or you just have a ton of people on your list, then homemade gifts might be the route you need to take to keep that budget low!

Consider making a bulk amount of whatever type of project you decide to do. For example, if you decide to type up a family recipes cook book then use that as several people's gifts and print multiple copies to save yourself some creative development work.  

Tap into one of your talents and run with it! Search Pinterest + YouTube for DIYs + How Tos to learn more. Whether you focus on cooking, painting, crafting, sewing, photography, or a talent you haven't yet discovered...don't be afraid to get your hands dirty + learn something new in the name of saving money! 

  • Fresh Baked Cookies, Pie, or Special Desserts

  • Candles

  • Bath or Beauty Products

  • Recipe in a Jar

  • Sewing Project

  • Jewelry

  • Cook Book

  • Framed Photos, Photo Album, or Scrap Book

  • Christmas decoration or Ornament

  • Adorable craft project from Pinterest


Check out my favorite ideas on my
Christmas on a Budget 
Pinterest Board!

  • Savings Plans

  • Family Activities

  • Free Printables

  • Budget-friendly Hacks

  • Gift Ideas

  • Craft Projects

  • Decorating Ideas

  • DIY Inspiration

Gold line.jpg

Store bought

This is your time to grab a nice local boutique item, a specialty gift from an online store, or even that one super adorable thing from Target. Put some thought into it + remember that this gift can be mid-priced because you're only buying one thing!  

Store Bought for Kids

  • Must have toy or game

  • Tickets to Museum, Zoo, or Theme Park

  • Dress up Costume (think clearance Halloween costumes)

  • Piggy Bank with coins inside

  • Needed Clothing Item or Pair of Shoes

  • Book or Art Supplies Kit

Gift Cards

I feel like when in a gift card! Obviously put some thought into what the person loves, needs, or is interested in, but I'm a firm believer that gift cards can still be a thoughtful gift!

Gift Card tip for success: My absolute favorite place to buy gift cards is! Raise offers Physical + Electronic Gift Cards at a discount (make sure to pay attention to what type of card you're buying...eGift Cards can always be printed to be given as a gift). You can save tons of money by buying a gift card as a gift for someone on your list...or by buying them for yourself to shop with! This shopping tip alone saved me $87 last year! 

Click the link below to take advantage of this exclusive offer for my readers! 

3. Small limited number of gifts

The third and final gift giving strategy is to determine ahead of time how many gifts you're going to buy. This way you'll not only be limiting yourself by your budget, but also by whatever number of gifts you've decided on. This will really help if you're normally someone who goes a little overboard with their gift giving. 

My favorite time to use this strategy is with my kids, because of course I'd LOVE to spoil them, but I have to stay focused and not get carried away. 

The two best examples of this strategy are with the "Something you Want, Something you Need, Something to Wear, Something to Read" rule or the "3 Wisemen" rule. 

For our kids we've used the "Something you Want, Something you Need, Something to Wear, Something to Read" rule for the gifts from us, and then we also give a few gifts + stocking stuffers from Santa. 

Whether you follow one of these, come up with your own, or just pick a random number of gifts that sounds good...the point here is to make a plan ahead of time + stick with it! 



Budget-friendly Gift Giving tip for success: Spend extra time on your wrapping + gift presentation to make your gifts look even more expensive. 
I love to stock up on white gift boxes from Walmart, add colorful tissue paper from Dollar Tree, trendy wrapping paper, plenty of ribbons, and a pretty tag. Think gift wrapping from a fancy department store + look up some inspiration on Pinterest.   

Check out the whole Christmas series:

Family Holiday Budget Planner computer image.png

Don’t forget to get your own copy of the FREE Printable Family Holiday Budget Planner!

Sign up below to receive your free download via email.

Gold line.jpg
headshot (1).png


I'm the wife to my high school sweetheart, Daniel, + homeschooling momma to our 3 girls. I'm the Budgeting Coach + Motivational Speaker behind 
A Sunny Side Up Life

My family used to be in $490k of debt + living paycheck-to-paycheck, but after we hit rock bottom everything changed for us!

Now that my family has become debt free + gained financial freedom, I want to help your family do the same! My passion is inspiring women to live abundant lives through budgeting, intentional living, and positive thinking.

I offer a jump start into budgeting with my free 5-day email course + a full budgeting experience with my course, Your Sunny Money Method.

Gold line.jpg

Save these pins below to your favorite Pinterest boards!

How to give gifts for christmas on a budget! Tons of tips and hacks for a family on a holiday budget!  budgeting | holiday budget | christmas budget | free holiday budget planner | free printable | christmas on a budget | budget friendly christmas | printable christmas planner | printable holiday planner | budget worksheets | budgeting for beginners | budget friendly gifts | frugal presents | christmas gifts
Love this Budget Planner!  budgeting | holiday budget | christmas budget | free holiday budget planner | free printable | christmas on a budget | budget friendly christmas | printable christmas planner | printable holiday planner | budget worksheets | budgeting for beginners
Love this Budget Planner!  budgeting | holiday budget | christmas budget | free holiday budget planner | free printable | christmas on a budget | budget friendly christmas | printable christmas planner | printable holiday planner | budget worksheets | budgeting for beginners

Disclosure: There are some affiliate links above, but these are all products I highly recommend. I won’t put anything on this page that I haven’t verified and/or personally used. Read my disclaimer here.