5 Inexpensive Gift Ideas for Friends and Family

Today’s post is by Catherine Alford!

I can’t believe that the holiday season has officially started, which means that it’s time to start thinking about buying gifts for friends and family.

Many of you have been buying gifts all year long, and for that we give you props.

For everyone else who just realized that it’s December, here are 5 inexpensive gift ideas that your friends and family will love!

1. Hat & Gloves

A modest set of gloves with a matching hat is a pretty inexpensive gift that you can find at big box stores. There are often tons of different styles and colors, so you should have no problem finding a set that’s perfect for the people on your list.

Even in warmer climates, like where I currently live in Louisiana, it still gets chilly enough to merit some glove wearing, so I promise everyone can find some use out of them!

2. A Picture in a Frame

Have you noticed that it’s super rare for people to actually print out pictures? We all show off our kids and our fur children on our cell phones and on Facebook. That’s why I always love giving printed out pictures as gifts.

It’s like a small little luxury taking the time to actually print one out and pick out a frame. For the record, I do think that it’s worth it to purchase frames that are sturdy and nice.

I’ve bought Dollar Store frames before only to have them fall apart, so if this is for a gift, I say splurge a little.

3. A Fun Movie

There always seems to be big buckets of movies at Wal-Mart or Target or even at the grocery store. It’s always an interesting mix too from old Elvis movies to random Disney flicks.

Everyone loves movies, so you can grab one of those and make the gift cute by wrapping it with a bag of popcorn and some candy too!

4. Homemade Bread

I probably shouldn’t count it as “homemade” but we got an amazing bread machine for our wedding. It can make some pretty awesome and unique types of bread, and wow does it make the house smell so good around the holidays!

I’ve realized that people just love getting specialty types of bread as gifts. It especially makes the perfect hostess gift when you are heading to a Christmas party or for your grandmother who has everything she needs already!

5. Ornaments

Ornaments are a great and simple gift to purchase for your friends and coworkers. You can bring them ornaments back from your travels or find ones that have a special meaning to you.

Even though you will be giving it to them right when their trees are about to come down, it’s something that they can revisit year after year and think about you!

Ultimately, there are so many ways to show other people that you care without breaking the bank. These are just a few ideas, but we still have a few weeks to go until Christmas.

So, I’d love if you left some more thoughtful but inexpensive gift ideas in the comment section below!

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About Catherine Alford

Catherine Alford is a personal finance freelance writer who received a B.A. from The College of William and Mary and an M.A. from Virginia Tech. She enjoys sharing her adventures on her blog, www.BudgetBlonde.com.


  1. I already wrapped my gifts for my family and I’m excited to give it to them! It’s not very expensive but I know that it’s very useful for them.

  2. I usually get my in-laws a few pictures of the kids in frames. They’re hard to buy for…and that’s all I can ever come up with!

  3. Being a bit creative and more personal with the gifts can really make an impression and also save you money. Great tips.

  4. Awesome list, Cat!!! I love that you can always find great classic movies at the big box stores for like, $5. We often combine that with some popcorn and candy for a family gift.

  5. Ah, yes to gloves. It seems like I manage to lose one or both gloves every year so I always need new ones.

  6. One of the most thoughtful gifts I ever received was a photo album. My friend took pictures and put together an album as the gift. Pictures are relatively inexpensive and the album is not a budget breaker either.

  7. Every time I’ve gotten warm weather clothes I find that they are very useful. I use them all the time and they are some of the best gifts.

    Some kitchen gadgets are inexpensive and great gifts as well.

  8. Bryce @ Save and Conquer says:

    We have stopped giving gifts to adults in our extended family, but I am giving a calendar with personal pictures to my mom. There are lots of good inexpensive Christmas deals out there for having digital pictures printed on cards, calendars, bags, mugs, and plain old picture books.

  9. One year I bought a board game from the thrift store as a gift for my entire family. My most frugal xmas purchase yet.

  10. Great ideas! Christmas gifts don’t have to be expensive to be enjoyed and appreciated, that’s for sure. Another idea I like for large families is to take the pressure off that comes with having to buy for so many people and just draw names – each person buys a gift only for the one whose name they drew from the hat (or whatever) – it’s a great way to keep costs down. 🙂

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