Kids Health/HHS has come up with some cheap/easy gift giving ideas for kids. Even though you may not be or have a kid, some of these may be good for you too.
Sometimes, the best gifts show the person that you know them well and like them a lot. Thankfully, there are many low-cost ways to do that.
Decorate a photo frame and include a special photo. You also might frame some tickets from a special occasion, like a great football game or a concert you attended with the person
Learn to knit or do a needle craft, such as cross-stitching. Nothing too complex — you don’t have much time! Make small gifts showing off your new talent.
With help from an adult, bake cookies or other holiday treats and package them in pretty holiday boxes or baskets. You also can put dry cookie ingredients in a glass jar as a gift. You layer the ingredients (such as sugar, oats, chocolate chips) like sand art. It looks pretty and the person can whip up a batch of delicious cookies. Don’t put eggs or butter in the jar, though, and be sure to include the recipe!
Write a poem, letter, or song to the person, explaining why he or she is special to you. You could also draw a picture or do a painting, if you like that better. Framing it adds a special touch.
Plant flowers that will start blooming around the holidays. You can try “paperwhites,” which are tall, white flowers that don’t even need dirt! Decorate the pot for the plant or wrap a bow around it.
Put names in a hat: Put everyone’s name on a little piece of paper and put all the slips in a hat or a shoebox. Then each person pulls out a name and buys a gift for just this person. You can set a spending limit, too, to make it easier to decide what you should buy. It’s sometimes fun to be a Secret Santa and keep it a secret who will be buying gifts for whom.
Give together: Instead of buying gifts for each other, you could decide to pool your money with your friends or siblings and make a donation to a charity. From animals to needy kids, there are thousands of organizations that would love to receive a donation from you. If you don’t have much money, you might donate clothing, food, or other basics that charity groups distribute.
Do lunch, or any other meal: Sharing a meal is a fun holiday tradition. You could go to an inexpensive restaurant with friends and split the bill. Or you could decide to make a big pancake brunch at your house for friends or family. Either way, it won’t cost too much and you’ll share good times and good food.
Sometimes, students put their money together and buy the teacher a holiday gift. Some kids give individual gifts, too. But you can show you appreciate your teacher with a simple card that has a note of thanks inside. You might even mention the favorite thing you’ve learned in the teacher’s class so far this year. It makes teachers feel good to know that some of the important stuff they teach is sinking in!
The holidays are a good time to think about people who are lonely. Maybe there is someone in your class or school who doesn’t seem to have many friends. Consider doing one small kindness for this person. It could be giving a Christmas card or just having a small conversation. You could say, “Hey, I like your Santa hat” or “Would you like a cookie? My mom made them.” Even inviting someone who’s lonely to join your lunch table can make them feel better. Such a small, small thing, but it could mean a lot to someone who feels a little shy or sad at school.
With the coupons, you can give your little brother something he really wants — like some of your time to play a board game. Or you can give your mom or dad something really priceless: a coupon redeemable for one clean room — yours!
Bookmarks you can personalize. On one of the bookmarks, you can write down what you like best about the holidays.
The other bookmarks also make good gifts because you can write in the top 3 reasons you like or love the person who you’re giving it to.