[Editor’s note 11-14-13: I updated the prices and availability on most of these. If they are updated, the information is in the brackets]
It’s wonderful to be able to give special gifts at Christmas, and it’s even more wonderful to be able to give a perfect, yet inexpensive gift.
Last year The Fat Dollar published Frugal Gifts – 10 Inexpensive Gift Ideas and Awesome, Yet Inexpensive Gift Ideas but there are still many more gift ideas for gifts $10 or less. Most of these are for older children or adults. I’ve tried to include links where I thought it would help you find the specific recommendation.
1. Make an Admiration or Adoration Box.
Start with a smaller box or a pretty jar. Decorate it with fabric, costume jewelry, and/or trim if you like.
Next take slips or squares of paper and write (or print with your computer) one thing on each slip that you love, admire or find unique about the person the gift is for. You can even write special memories of that person. Use full sentences, single words, even little photos or drawings. The idea is for each slip to bring a special thought or feeling.
You can get as creative as you want with decorating the slips of paper, using calligraphy, special paper, or printing them with your printer with special fonts for the letters.
Put the slips in the box or jar so that the person can draw one out and read it whenever they like or whenever they need a boost of love.
This is an especially good present for grandparents or for someone who does not really need more “things”.
Cost: Will vary with how much decorating you do and whether you buy a box or container, but the estimate would be $1.00 to $3.00 in paper and decorating materials.
This sale is good through Dec 15 and includes:
119 Recipe CD for $5.00
4 piece cork or bamboo coaster set for $2.99
Organic Cotton Oven Mitt $4.99
Molded Bamboo (Moboo) Salad Serving Set $2.99
Practical DIY Projects How-To CD $5.00
Cost of each above gift is $2.99 to $5.00 each (not including shipping)
3. If you are buying for a writer or someone who keeps a journal, look at the Miquelrius line of notebooks.
These are a premium notebook and my personal favorite for journaling. I’d rate them a 5 star. The pages are ultra smooth, the lines are fine and straight, and the spirals are high quality. The notebook lies flat for easy writing.
I order them from Kate’s Paperie online.
[Update 11-14-13 – Kate’e Paperie appears to not carry this line of notebooks any longer. You can buy them from www.shopmiquelrius.com or from amazon.com]
Cost: $8.00 to $10.00 (does not include shipping)
4. Book Ideas:
101 Things Every Man Should Know How to Do – paperback – currently $9.68 at Amazon.com
How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free – currently $9.93 at Amazon.com
I Could Pee on This: And Other Poems by Cats – currently $7.77 at Amazon.com
The World Almanac and Book of Facts 2013 – currently $7.36 at Amazon.com
The Everything Kid’s Science Experiments Book – currently $8.95 at Amazon.com
Pocket Posh Brain Games – 100 Puzzles – currently $7.99 at andrewsmcmeel.com, Amazon Pocket Post Brain Games also has a variety – [11-14-13 updated amazon.com price is $7.19]
5. For the book reader – a book light
Energizer LED Book Light – currently $7.90 at Amazon.com [11-14-13 currently 10.51 at amazon.com]
Fulcrum Multi-Flex LED Task Light – currently $8.73 at Amazon.com [11-14-13 price is $8.19]
Carson Flexneck Booklight – currently $9.99 at Kmart.com [11-14-13 appears no longer available]
6. Leather Kindle Cover by mCover in Pink , Green, Blue, or Black
mCover Kindle Cases at Amazon – currently $9.99 at Amazon.com
[11-13-14 … I’ve had mine for a year now and it still looks great!]
7. Make a book of your family’s favorite recipes – hand write or print with your computer.
Put them in a spiral hardback notebook and leave room for the recipient to add their own favorite recipes. This is especially nice to give to a new family member.
Black n Red Hardcover notebook – currently $8.13 at amazon.com
Lady Jayne Flower Poppy Spiral Lined Hardcover Notebook – eBay has one for $3.99 but the listing ends Dec 15th.
8. Bag of gourmet coffee and a coffee cup
Try SoZo Coffee Roasting for a unique gourmet gift. They roast the beans in-house and ship them immediately. Fresh! – cost $6.00 for a 6 oz bag
9. Make a gift basket
Ideas: Variety of popcorn in a popcorn bowl
Muffin mixes and a muffin tin
Pancake mix and syrup (darn it, adding a skillet or griddle would take the cost over $10.00)
Jellies and jams and a box of biscuit mix (or a container of your homemade biscuit mix)
Decks of cards and a book of card game rules
Basket of soaps and wash cloths
10. Give a garden
– Growums has delightful kits for $9.99
Kits include Pizza Garden, Ratatouille Garden, Herb Garden, and Stir-Fry Garden
Perfect for the cook or the gardener … even great for kids!
11. Give a bottle of wine.
Consumerreports.org has a a good listing of recommended wines, with many being $10.00 or less … you have to be a subscriber to see the ratings, so this link may not work for you.
Here are a couple of Consumer Reports 10.00 and under recommended:
Caberbet sauvignon – Columbia Crest Grand Estates 2008
Caberbet sauvignon – Trackers Crossing 365 (Whole Foods) 2009
Chardonnay – Bogle 2009
Merlot – Cherrywood Cellars – 2009
Moscato – Yellow Tail
Gayot.com has a listing of the Top 10 Wines under $10.00
The Reverse Wine Snob has a listing of the Top 10 Red Wines Under $20.00 – several are 10.00 and under
12. For your northern friends, give a pair of gloves and a deluxe ice scraper.
Other ideas in this category:
Reusable Hand Warmer – Amazon has HotSpot for $2.95, Flapples.com has Winter Warmers Re-Usable Hand Warmers, Mitten, CampingSurvival.com has ProHeat for $4.95, Amazon has Proheat Reusable Hand Warmer (free shipping for Prime members)
Carhartt Mens’ Extremes Cold Weather Boot Socks
Dickies Men’s Acrylis Thermal Boot Crew Socks
HeatMax Cold Weather Survival Readiness Kit (hand and foot warmers, body warmers) – Amazon $9.73 (free Prime shipping)
Emergency Mylar Thermal Blankets (pack of 10) – $8.19 at Amazon
13. Zorbitz Lucky Bracelets or Zorbitz Karma Bracelets
These bracelets cost about $6.99 to $9.99 and each bracelet has a meaning or special purpose. There is a wide selection of really intriguing and attractive bracelets.
To find them, try Luckyvitamin.com, Zorbitz Bracelets at Amazon.com, or some Whole Foods Markets.
14. Find a magazine subscription for $10.00 or less
Good Housekeeping – $7.97
Family HandyMan – $10.00
[11-14-13 price is now $12.00]
Others … Redbook, Outdoor Life, Motor Trend, Marie Claire, Midwest Home, Men’s Journal, Arthur Frommer’s Budget Travel, Boating World … all usually available for $10.00 or less for a year
A magazine subscription is nice because it recognizes a person’s individual tastes and it lasts for an entire year!
15. Practical gifts
These work when you want to give something to someone who has little interest in “stuff” or who may simply need certain things.
- A book of stamps. Add envelopes and note cards too.
- Gift certificate to their favorite fast-food restaurant (yes, I know I said practical and this is a little off-base). Restaurant.com offers discounted restaurant certificates, but I have not tried them so I cannot offer any information
- Especially nice socks or underwear
- Laundry basket with laundry detergent
- Set of bath towels and washcloths (get the nicest you can – a good bath towel is a treasure after a shower!)
- Set of kitchen towels – again go for the more plush ones; the cheap ones are somewhat useless
- Set of shop rags and disposable shop towels (I did say practical, didn’t I?)
- Mason jar filled with homemade cookie or muffin mix with the recipe attached (I love making these!)
- An assortment of spices and herbs – try Penzeys Spices, The Spice House, your grocery store, or local specialty shops. It’s especially nice to get a spice or herb that a cook might hesitate to buy because it is a little more expensive than average.
- Make and freeze a meal, dessert, main dish, side dish, or snack
- Fill a large, tightly-lidded food storage container with homemade biscuit or muffin mix.
- A set of re-useable shopping bags
- Give a deluxe mechanical pencil to someone who appreciates writing instruments such as a writer, engineer, or accountant
- A couple of low-energy fluorescent (CLF) or LED bulbs to replace their energy-hogging incandescent bulbs
- An assortment of chocolate bars for the choc-a-holic (of course this is practical)
- A fire extinguisher, smoke alarm, or carbon monoxide detector
- An assortment of AA and AAA batteries (try the Maxell batteries from Amazon)
- If they have a charger, they would love more rechargeable batteries – find out what kind of charger they have – you can buy the specific battery brand or many chargers will charge a variety of brands of rechargeable AA and AAA batteries
- Make a set of coasters from 4-inch ceramic tiles – use paint, or decoupage pretty gift wrap. Glue a piece of felt on the bottom.
- If you have leftover herbs from your garden, make sachet bundles or little pillows with either specific herbs (like lavender or mint) or from a mixture.
- Give a small planter or flower in a pot
- Make a little gift basket for their favorite pet
- Give a special Christmas ornament that recognizes a person, special interest, or hobby
- Supplies for their hobby – scrapbooking, photography, bird watching, small rocket launching, etc. – find out what they frequently use or like. Unless you’ve heard the person specifically express an interest in something they don’t normally use, then for our practical section, it’s best to buy them something that they normally use but is harder to get or is slightly out of their current budget.
I hope these give you some ideas. As you can see, you can give special gifts for $10.00 or less.
If you have additional ideas, share them with us in the comments. Thank you!
(Note that some of the links are in affiliation with Amazon.com and may pay us a commission.)