How To Give Great Holiday Gifts When You’re Broke

The holidays can be a stressful time, and that includes putting stress on your finances. Thankfully, thoughtful and custom gifts don’t have to be expensive. If your wallet is missing some green this holiday season you can still make and create amazing gifts and experiences that will have the people you love the most feeling important this holiday season.

Check out 10 ways to give holiday gifts even when you’re broke.


Host a potluck.

There’s a good chance that your friends are also strapped for cash this time of year, so why not host a potluck and have everyone contribute one dish? Great parties can be thrown for $100 or less (click here to find out how). If you want something for your guests to take home as well, ask your friends to make cookies and bring their own tins for a Cookie Exchange. Check out this delicious cookie recipe from Gusto.


Curate a playlist for friends.

Mixtapes have always been a fun gift to give friends, but with cassettes and CDs going the way of the dinosaurs, it’s even easier than ever to make your friend a banging playlist just for them. Thank you, Spotify.


Send 12 days of postcards.

Make your own advent calendar by sending your friend a fun postcard every day for the 12 days leading up to the holidays. Include a fun memory from the year, something you love about them, or draw a picture. It’s rare to get fun snail mail anymore and postcards are an inexpensive and fun way to make the mail fun again.


Give a custom gift.

If you do have a bit of cash laying around for gifts this year, but don’t know what to get for the person who has everything, make it custom. Companies like Canvas Pop make you the artist, choosing your own photos and maybe your friend’s painting to put on a pillow, canvas and more.


YouTube DIY tutorials.

What did we do before YouTube? There are tutorials on making just about anything and that includes thoughtful homemade gifts. Try Much Creator Letitia Kiu’s super cute holiday décor DIY projects for the festive friend in your life.


Use books as your Christmas cards.

Have books laying around that you love but won’t read again? Use them as holiday cards. Write a personal message inside and give them to a friend or relative you think would love the book as much as you did. Bonus: More shelf space for you.


Make a family recipe.

If your friend or relative is busy around the holidays, receiving a homemade meal could be the difference between them having a happy holiday and a hangry holiday.


Put together dessert ingredients.

Grab some mason jars and the ingredients for hot chocolate and voila, you have a cute and thoughtful DIY dessert gift.


Dress up a snack pack.

Never underestimate the happiness that comes from receiving a personalized candy package full of your favourite treats.


Design a friendship date night.

The holidays are about showing people how much you care, so remind your friend or relative that they’re loved by planning a special night around their favourite things. It doesn’t have to be expensive. Watch their favourite show on CraveTV, catch a Much movie marathon, plan a meal they like, grab a bottle of wine or take in a favourite holiday pastime like skating or looking at the Christmas window displays.