Tightwad Tuesday: Frugal and Personal Gift Ideas

Baskets are frugal, personal Christmas gifts.

There’s 16 days left until Christmas. Are you finished with your Christmas shopping? Or are you still contemplating what to get your 17 year old nephew, who seems to have everything?

Fortunately, I’ve finished my shopping, but I’ve definitely been in the “lost for a gift idea” camp before. Hopefully these ideas will work for you, or at the very least, spark some ideas for your own frugal and personal Christmas gifts.

Always a Hit With The Grandparents

Every year I make a calendar for my parents. Some years, when I have extra time and I’m feeling creative, I make it myself. Other years, like this year, I order through Shutterfly or another photo service.

I always include pictures of the kids and little captions, telling our parents what was happening in the pictures. Then I fill in important dates, such as birthdays. Our parents always appreciate having the birthdays written in!

Through today, Shutterfly is offering buy one, get 30% off calendars and 8% cash back through Ebates, making multiple calendars a reasonable deal. Vista Print is offering (again through Ebates) 50% off photo calendars and 10% cash back through December 31.

For those Men Wondering What to Get Their Wives

A spa basket. My husband did this for me one year for Valentine’s day, and I can’t tell you how much I loved it! Get a little basket (you can find them inexpensively at any thrift store), and fill it with yummy soaps, bath beads, and candles. Add one of those aromatherapy pillows to top off the basket.

The key to making this gift a success is to make sure your wife has uninterrupted time to actually use the bath products…without toddlers knocking at the bathroom door every 5 minutes!

Wives, for Your Sports-Loving Husbands

A tailgating gift basket. Buy a small cooler and fill it with your husband’s favorite beer, some barbeque sauce, grilling utensils, and some chips. Then make sure you free him from his honey-do list on a Saturday to attend the game with his buddies.

For the Teen Boy

If the teen boy in your life has a car of his own, fill a bucket up with some good car washing supplies. I haven’t met a teenage boy yet who didn’t like to take great care of his car.

The possibilities are endless. If you keep the personality and interests of your loved ones in mind, you can come up with a gift basket, jar-mix, or photo gift for almost anyone.

For more thoughts on gift baskets and jar-mixes, see:

What are your favorite frugal gifts?

Photo by TimWilson.


By , on Dec 9, 2008
Lynnae McCoy I'm Lynnae, wife of one and stay-at-home mom of two. I'm committed to getting out of debt by being frugal with my choices in life.


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  1. Those are some great ideas! I am going to do the calendar!

  2. Shera:

    Here are some additional toys for under $30, under $20 and even under $10 for the holidays that you can find at any BJ’s Wholesale Club.

    Some examples include:

    Toys under $30

    My Real Digital Camera ($29.99)
    Mega Bloks® CAT® Workbench Tub, Ages 1 and up ($29.99)
    Dress-Up Trunk with Accessories, Ages 3 and up ($29.99)
    Kawasaki® Music Platinum Series 49-Keyboard with Stand, Ages 5 and up ($26.99)
    Fisher-Price® Little People® Music Parade or Time-to-Learn™ Ride-on Toys, Ages 1-3 ($27.99)

    Toys under $20

    Disney® Princess Cool-Bake Magic Oven with Bonus Pans, Ages 3 and up ($19.99)
    Hyper Jump™, Ages 6 and up ($19.79)
    Pre-school Classics Radio Control GM® Muscle Cars, Ages 3 and up ($17.99)
    Play-Doh® Activity World™, Ages 3 and up ($17.99)
    Bakugan® Battle Brawlers Battle Pack, Ages 5 and up ($17.99)

    Toys under $10

    Assorted Travel Games, Ages 7 and up ($9.99)
    Licensed Character Sno Speedsters, Ages 3 and up ($9.99)
    Hall of Fame Classic Toys, 3 pk., Ages 6 and up ($8.99)
    Classic Etch a Sketch® Collector’s Edition, Ages 4 and up ($8.99)
    Tonka® Real Rugged™ Construction Vehicles, Ages 3 and up ($8.99)

  3. Gift baskets or collections are always a good idea – as collections of things just seem to WORK better…get a few things, perhaps from a dollar store and put them together artfully and voila! a classy giftbasket – Do you think commercial giftbasket makers get much higher class stuff most of the time? no…

    I also always give BOOKS. It’s gotten to the point between my husband and me that Xmas presents are icing on the cake and not essential stuff – so books always work here. And you can get nicely used ones or vintage ones for pennies on the dollar and new ones at bargain prices at places like Barnes & Noble or Border’s.

    It’s really for us just a matter of having wrapped presents to UNWRAP on the 25th…

  4. Yep I agree that a spa basket is a great idea, I’m putting one togther for my wife this year as she loves pampering. What I like about the idea is that it’s a chance to do something creative and to enable her to try out products that she would never have considered before as well as including some of her old favourites. Some great ideas in this post

  5. That picture of the gift basket made my mouth water……I would love some Guiness for Christmas!

    Maybe if I’m extra good this year, Santa will bring me some Pyramid or Karl Strauss!

  6. You’re done your shopping! WOW. :D
    I got a Heart Rate Monitor for my sports loving “better half”. It was last year’s model so super frugal. I do lots of family photos throughout the year, so I tend to print the good ones and present them in a nice frame.

    Thank you so much for the mention Lynnae!

  7. SIXTEEN DAYS?! Are you kidding me? Well, I guess you’re not, since it IS after all, Dec. 9 already. Where did the year go?

    I think everyone would appreciate a good gift basket. If someone gave me a food-themed one, I’d love it!

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