Presents on the cheap

Children can really be demanding when it comes to presents. From what I have noticed, the most frequently requested items are mobile phone/iPads, video games, inline skates and scooters, Barbie items, and sweets (I am not kidding – they ask for lollies).

If things are tight the first two items are definitely out, a little disappointment is not going to hurt them – besides there are loads of other nice Christmassy things. So what about some cheap options:

  • You can get toiletry/soap gift packs from as little as $5 from Price Line, Big W, Target, KMart and alike. These are nice
  • small gifts for adults and teenagers.
  • The $2 dollar shops have a range of small toys for a song. Think about bubble blowing mix, dominos, marbles, playing cards, colouring in books, pencils and felt pens, stationery for school. (Check toys for small pieces, chemicals and alike – safety first).
  • Lollies. You can get those cheap Christmas stockings full of lollies and other rubbish for about $5 each. Kids lovethem. You can always buy bags of lollies and fill up things like coffee mugs, lunch boxes, jars ($2 shop again), and do them up with cellophane and a bow for a cheap and cheerful present.
  • I hate them, but if your don’t have money to buy and post Christmas cards, an e-card will do the trick and is a good way of contacting everyone quickly and easily.
  • Wrapping paper can be expensive – be creative with your wrapping. Why not use newspaper and brown string, magazine pages, or even your children’s drawings (maybe they can do some Christmassy ones for you). There is nothing wrong with recycling paper! You can also print your own using Christmas motifs available on the internet (this is actually quite expensive).
  • Old cards can be recycled to make new cards or gift tags for this year (see craft page).
  • Presents don’t have to be wrapped with ribbon, but if you choose to use ribbon, buy it from craft shops on sale or from the $2 shop. If you go for the ‘folksy’ look, you can use string or raffia instead.
  • Get crafty and make something.  I have a jar full of shells from a friend that was doing it tough one year. It is a coffee jar cleaned and polished, with a hand picked selection of my favourite shells, tied up with rafia and more shells. Its sits on display in my lounge room as a gift from a fellow beach-comber.
  • Another gift I treasure is a recipe book. I changed jobs just before Christmas one year, and becasue I like baking, part of present was a favourite recipe from each of the team. The Spice Cake on the baking page comes from this collection.
  • “I owe you’s” are another lovely gift – its the ‘lend a hand’ type nature of these things that moves beyond commercialisim to get to the real meaning of Christmas – whether you are offering to mow someone’s lawns, baby sit their children or help them remodel their garden. Its the gift of time and a shared outcome.

Consider this list recently published via

Christmas is about spending time with your nearest and dearest and reflecting on the year past and looking to thefuture. This is the context for gift giving – it really is the thought that counts.