Last minute holiday gifts that won’t bust your budget

Christmas giftsWe’re coming into crunch time now, and if you’re anything like me, there are probably still a few people on your list for whom you need to buy gifts. I always find myself adding people at the last minute, which can be a real problem for my gift budget.

Here are some easy, frugal gift ideas for gifts for the last few people on your list.

Baked goods

Who doesn’t love to get cookies at Christmas time? It’s likely you’ll be doing some holiday baking anyway, so pick up some decorative plastic wrap and give away a dozen cookies wrapped with a bow.

Magazine subscriptions

Amazon has some amazing deals right now for 1-year magazine subscriptions. Many of them are even available for $10 or less. Choose something you know they’ll be interested in, and it shows that you’ve put thought into the gift. They won’t get the first issue until after the holidays are over, but there’s plenty of time to print up a card that says, “I got you a gift subscription!” They’ll know it’s on the way, and it’s no hassle for you.


Supermarkets usually offer great discounts on good wines right now, because they know people are entertaining. Pick up a nice bottle for under $15, stick a bow on it, and you’ve got a great gift for the wine connoisseur in your life.


I love to get a fun desk calendar for work or a wall calendar for my home office at the holidays. Find one with practical tips or a theme they’ll like, and they’ll think of you every day of the year.

A night out

When I was a teenager, I always gave my parents a “date night” for Christmas with two movie tickets and a gift certificate for their favorite restaurant. People who are strapped for time love this because it gives them an excuse to work time into their busy schedules for themselves. If your budget is too tight for a restaurant meal, consider a gift card for a coffee shop instead or a “movie night” gift basket with a movie rental, popcorn, and snacks.

If it’s a close friend or family member with kids, be sure to offer your babysitting services, too, so they can take advantage of your gift without having to worry about finding a sitter.

Share your last minute gift ideas by leaving a comment! We can use all the help we can get this time of year. :)

Photo by obd-design

4 thoughts on “Last minute holiday gifts that won’t bust your budget

  1. Bobbi

    While you are making cookies, throw in some chocolate covered nuts or pretzels too! It gives the baskets and extra touch!

  2. Marla

    The wine is my tried and true go-to idea but last night in the grocery store I came up with a new one – large mug, tin of hot chocolate, bag of marshmallows – lovely gift for about $10. I plan to add a couple of little candy canes and wrap in red cellophane.

  3. Melinda

    I made some sugar scrubs over the weekend for the ladies in my life that I wanted to give a small token to this Christmas. There are tons of yummy recipes online for any combination of scents you can think of – and they are so easy and fun to make. We had our first family get-together over the weekend and I took a dozen with a variety of scents and let each woman/girl pick a jar without looking at the labels beforehand. They were THRILLED to get some homemade bath stuff! I bought small canning jars, covered the lids with a square of cloth (cut from $1 holiday dish towels, and printed gift tags w/instructions to attach with ribbon). I had so much fun making them, that I am thinking of starting an Etsy shop now!

  4. lovepony

    Thank you for your sharing! Wine is great for Christmas party! This year, I prepare to give my BF an Olympus digital camera. It’s 10MP, but only for $20. When I found this from a deal site named, I was shocked for its unbelievable price! I also plan to write him a love letter. Both of the two gifts aren’t expensive at all, but I do think they’re unique and perfect gifts. Setting your budget, or else Christmas spending could kill your wallet!

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