11 tips for budget gift shopping
Check out award-winning lifestyle and travel blogger Phoebe Lee’s tips for budget-friendly Christmas gifts.
Giving someone a special gift at Christmas and seeing the smile on their face is a wonderful feeling. Sometimes though, gift-giving can come with the pressure of trying to outdo last year’s gift or spending more than we want or can afford.
Christmas shouldn’t be about the price of the present – it’s about sharing love with those you care about. Here are some ideas for Christmas gifts that are affordable, thoughtful and a great way to show someone you care.
1. Do something special
Rather than giving someone a ‘thing’ for Christmas, give them an experience to remember. Organise to see them, but don’t tell them what you’re doing, then take them somewhere beautiful, memorable or magical. Pick them up before sunrise, pack fresh muffins and juice, drive to the beach or the top of a mountain and watch the sunrise together. Go to your favourite beach and spend the morning swimming. Head to your favourite park and have a picnic lunch or jump in the car and drive to that one place you’ve been promising to go to, but never have. Whatever you choose, make sure it comes from the heart.
2. Share something personal
Give them one or more of your favourite things and share part of yourself with them in the process. Buy them a copy of a great book and highlight your favourite passages. That way, they know certain parts mean something special to you and you can talk about them over coffee later. Buy them a copy of your favourite movie and watch it with them. Take them to your favourite food or coffee spot and treat them to something delicious. It’s about sharing what makes you happy with someone else.
Head to a vintage or thrift shop and find a weird, quirky or cool pot, glass, jar or something else similar. Fill it up with potting mix then put a beautiful plant in it. You could also make your very own succulent rockery quite easily. Succulents can be bought cheaply from a local market – from as little as a couple of dollars each – or you could use cuttings from your own garden.
We spend so much time looking at photographs online, especially on social media channels, so why not treat someone to a good old-fashioned print? Get a photo of the two of you, a picture that brings back memories of a special time or place, a photograph you took that your friend loves or just a picture you think is wonderful, then have it printed and put it in a frame. You could also pick up a vintage frame from a thrift shop and upcycle it with a lick of paint.
Don’t underestimate the power of a really good cake. Make your friends or family their favourite cake, slice, brownie or other yummy treat. Place your delicious gift in simple clear bags, tie closed with wool or yarn, then hand them out and watch the smiles on people’s faces as they realise they’re in for a very delicious Christmas.
6. Selfie stick
Don’t let the possible negative connotations of a selfie cloud your mind! If your travel-loving friend tends to travel solo, a selfie stick could be just what they need to get photos of them in the stunning destinations they visit.
7. Scratch-off world map
A world map is also perfect for the travel-obsessed person in your life who needs a way of tracking where they’ve been and where they want to go. It works like an instant scratch and win ticket, where you use a coin to scratch off the countries you’ve visited, revealing a bright colour. It’s a cool way of charting how much of the world you’ve seen and how much you have left to go.
8. Encourage creativity
Some people are creative but too shy to share it, or they don’t see the value in buying the things they need to express their creativity. Take a trip to a discount art-supply store, office-supply shop or large discount shopping chain and treat them to some of the things they need to get creative. This can be as simple as a pack of oil pastels, watercolour paints, coloured pencils or even felt-tip pens and an art journal. There are loads of other cool things you can pick up at art-supply shops, like pre-made kits for modelling, sewing and knitting. Another idea – particularly if your intended recipient has had a stressful year – is to get them a mindful colouring book, which will help them stay in the moment and remind them of simpler times.
9. Travel-related art
Inspiring artwork doesn’t have to cost a fortune to make someone very happy. Buy a print with a meaningful travel-related or inspiring quote and put it in a frame. It’ll take pride of place in their home and make them smile every time they see it. If you’re an artist or great with typography, you could even create one of them yourself.
10. Eco-friendly gifts
Christmas is a time when eco-friendly can get thrown out the window. Think of all the wrapping paper that ends up in the bin, and the vast number of gifts that aren’t environmentally friendly in their creation or use. Treat a friend or loved one to an eco-friendly gift this year instead. These can include everything from beauty and skincare products to BPA-free water bottles and lunch boxes to organic bed linen or composting and seed kits.
11. A beautiful card
Never underestimate the power of something simple – they are often the most meaningful gifts. If you’re really strapped for cash, don’t try to live outside your means. Instead, choose or make beautiful cards for those you love and take the time to write to them, telling them why you love them. Gifts come and go – by next year they may very well be forgotten. But the loving, kind words you shared opening your heart to your friends, family and loved ones will last a lifetime.
This is an edited version of a post that originally appeared on Phoebe Lee’s blog, Little Grey Box littlegreybox.net