The thing I remember most about Christmas morning as a kid is the presents.
Not so much the specific gifts, although there are a couple that come to mine even in adulthood.
No, I’m talking about the whole scene; the tree at the far end of the family room, surrounded by piles of wrapped gifts.
Christmas was a big deal in our house. I wouldn’t say we were spoiled necessarily, but Christmas mornings were magical.
It’s only been in adulthood that I’ve come to realized it they were expensive, too.
But it doesn’t need to be this way. Great gifts don’t need to be expensive.
Don’t believe it? Here are some of my favourite gift ideas that seriously fit any budget.
What is a gift?
The dictionary defines a gift as “a thing given willingly to someone without payment; or a present.”
Taking this a step further, the dictionary defines “thing” in even broader terms — a thing is a spatial entity.
A thing, in other words, can mean…well, a lot of things.
Why does this matter in a conversation about gifts?
Understanding the meaning of the word gift opens up the criteria so just about anything can fit in.
By this definition, the gift is less about the item and more about the intention.
A few of my favourite things (that you might love, too)
With that in mind, here are four of my favourite gift ideas that can fit any budget. Seriously.
The Gift of Time
What makes this a great gift: Time is a precious commodity, one that often feels like as if it’s in short supply in the hustle and bustle culture we live in. It’s not always easy to find time to connect with the people we love — which is what makes the gift of time so great.
By example: A couple years ago, I gave the gift of time to Jeff in the form of a year worth of date nights.
In the lead up to Christmas, I researched ideas for dates and choose 12 — one for every month of the year. After I figured out what we would be doing, I popped over to Canva and made a graphic for each one. I printed them out, put them in individually sealed envelopes then gave them to Jeff in a binder at Christmas with a note. The note explained at the start of every month, we’d open the envelope then find a time to go on the date outlined on the paper.
It was fun both to make and to do; more importantly, Jeff loved it.
Cost: What makes the gift of time such a great gift is that it can cost as much or as little as you want. During that year, we went on some dates that were totally free, while others cost a bit of money. It really depends on how you want to spend this gifted time.
The Gift of Reminiscence
What makes this a great gift: There’s something really power about gifts that speak to the past. These gifts show loved ones you remember and value that time — so much that you have taken the time to commemorated it.
By example: One of the best gifts I ever gave Jeff was an exercise in reminiscing. I purchased this book from Chapters on a whim, thinking it would be fun to fill out. But when I started looking through it, I found some of the questions didn’t work for me – and that’s when I got an idea.
Over a span of several months, I set to work filling out some sections and using the rest of the space to create what is essentially a memory book of our relationship. I filled it with little momentos collected over the span of our relationship, pictures and even letters from loved ones.
It was a labour of love to be certain but it was fun to make and Jeff seemed to enjoy it.
Cost: Again, this depends. The little red book wasn’t a terribly expensive project – the biggest cost was the actual book. That said, after we got married, we gifted wedding photo books to family at Christmas and while it was certainly a worthwhile gift, it did get a little pricey.
The Gift of Your Talents
What makes this a great gift: Who doesn’t love a great, handmade gift? What I like most about the gift of talents is that they are always unique and thoughtful, crafted with intention over time.
By example: Tasha, one of my best friends, is artistically gifted and, out of this talent, she gives really awesome gifts. Two come to mind immediately: the magic bag she made for me on year at Christmas, which I use all the time, and the amazing quilt she made for us for our wedding. Do you paint or craft or knit? Use those DIY skills!
Cost: I feel like a broken record, but it’s true: it depends. Some materials cost more than others, so it really comes down to what it is you like to do and what resources you have already at your disposal.
The Gift of Giving Back
What makes this a great gift: It might seem odd to include a gift that is, essentially, giving away money on a frugal gift list, but hear me out. Christmas is about giving — and I believe making a donation to a charity of some sort is both a great way to celebrate and acknowledge something that can be easy to forget during the day to day: how very blessed and privileged many of us are. The gift of giving back is a powerful gift.
By example: One thing I try to do every Christmas is make a donation of some sort in Jeff’s name. One of my favourite things is to make a purchase through Oxfam Unwrapped. This amazing program allows you to pick gifts ranging from livestock and seeds to wells and vegetable gardens. My personal favourite purchase for Jeff through this program: a goat. Needless to say he wasn’t expecting that!
Cost: As much or as little as you want it to, honestly. The gift of giving back can involve your time, your money or a combination of both.
Some of the best gifts I’ve given and received were also the least expensive.
It’s a huge cliche, but it’s true: when it comes to gifts, it’s the thought, not the price tag, that counts. You can give great gifts with any budget because ultimately, it’s intention, not cost, that is the most important factor.
What’s the best gift you’ve ever given? What’s the best gift you’ve ever received?