Ready or not, the Christmas season is upon us. Stores are stocking up on anything and everything related to Christmas gift-giving, while many families are trying to find ways to survive Christmas during a recession. Christmas may not seem so “Merry” for those affected by job layoffs, home foreclosures and in some cases, outright poverty. Many families are in need of life’s basic necessities, due in part to the economic downturn, and will be in need of Christmas donations from those more fortunate.
According to a survey by Ing Direct, only about half of American adults (54%) plan to spend $300.00 or more on holiday Christmas gifts this year, a 10% decrease from what Americans spent last year during the 2008 Christmas holiday season. The survey results show that only 11% plan to spend between $1 and $100 in 2009 on Xmas gifts, and 23% plan to spend $100-$299, compared to 21 percent last year.
11% of those surveyed don’t plan to spend any money at all on Christmas toys or gifts in 2009, compared to 7 percent in 2008, a 57 percent increase. 14% of parents are giving children smaller Christmas stockings this year, while others are choosing to not fill Xmas stockings at all, and some will just hang the stockings as a Christmas decoration. Older Americans (55 years old and up) show the most dramatic change, with 61% planning to spend $300 or more dollars on gifts this year, compared to 71% from last year.
41% of Americans say saving more and spending less is a top priority for the remainder of the year and beyond. According to Forbes.com, 67% of Americans say they will continue their frugal ways by saving more money and spending less even after the economy recovers. The recession creates a great opportunity to rethink priorities in life, with less focus on luxuries and frivolous spending, and greater importance being placed on real “needs” vs. “wants”.
If you are being frugal by choice or by sheer necessity, Christmas presents a financial challenge for those who are needing a less expensive, affordable Christmas holiday. Here are twelve inexpensive, frugal Christmas gift ideas that won’t break the bank.
Frugal Christmas Present Gift Ideas
1). Candles – Scented candles are one of the best Christmas gifts candle lovers can receive. You can buy candles and wrap them in cheap wrapping paper and/or ribbon, or make homemade candles yourself in your kitchen (if you enjoy doing do-it-yourself craft projects) and wrap the candles with inexpensive, decorative tissue paper and ribbon as a gift.
2). Stationery or journal, with or without a fancy pen, makes a great gift for someone on your gift list who enjoys keeping a writing journal or writing letters to family and friends. Older folks especially, who don’t use a computer to send and receive email, still enjoy writing to friends and family the “old fashioned” way, and being gifted with beautiful stationery just might be their favorite Christmas gift of all.
3). Jewelry – Jewelry gifts for Christmas don’t have to be fine jewelry made of expensive diamonds or pearls, but can be inexpensive costume jewelry and accessories like: cufflinks, bracelets, necklaces, lockets, charms, earrings, sterling silver rings, birthstones, wrist watch, pendants and chains. Jewelry tops the list of the most romantic Christmas gifts to show your love for the special him or her in your life.
4). Books and/or Magazine Subscriptions – Researching the most popular, best-selling books and ebooks for adults or children is a great place to start, with many adults preferring to read books on a Kindle eBook reader. Books by a favorite author, and/or magazines for kids or adults makes a great Christmas gift that avid readers will enjoy. Children’s classic books are always a good choice, as are newly released books or kid magazines that are fun and educational at the same time.
5). Music and DVD Christmas gifts can sometimes be tricky, especially if you aren’t quite sure what kind of music or movies the gift recipient likes. iTunes gift certificates or gift cards from Amazon.com, in whatever amount you can afford, will satisfy the music-lover and movie-lover in your life without a doubt.
6). Homemade Christmas gifts from your kitchen. Homemade food gifts may include such tasty treats as chocolate spoons for the coffee lover; chocolate-dipped pretzels or marshmallows; homemade caramel popcorn or Kettle corn; cappuccino mixes; homemade breads or muffins; peanut brittle or fudge just to name a few.
7). Christmas gifts in a jar are an inexpensive, frugal gift for anytime of year. Gifts in a jar may be cookie or brownie mixes, holiday beverage mixes, baking mixes, gourmet coffee mixes, tea mixes, soup mixes and even bath salts layered in a glass canning jar, or Mason jar.
8). Homemade gifts of quilts, embroidered handkerchiefs, scarves, hats, gloves, socks, shawls, sweaters, hair ribbons and other things sewn and made by hand are meaningful gifts to be treasured and passed down through the generations as family heirlooms.
9). Photo albums, scrapbooks and picture frames with photo(s) of special occasions and loved ones create long-lasting memories that can be personalized for each gift recipient. Try your hand at scrapbooking with some inexpensive scrapbook supplies and start making homemade crafts and gifts now, and see for yourself if your handmade gifts aren’t the most treasured Xmas gifts of all.
10). Board games and card games are cheap Christmas gifts that can get the whole family (and friends) involved in having fun together on Christmas day and after the holiday season is over. Researching classic board games and checking out the list of the most popular board games and card games is a great place to start, and many of the old board games have been updated and re-released as new and improved.
11). Inexpensive Christmas gifts for him may be travel toiletries, favorite specialty beer or wine, hand tools, car wash kit, shoe polish kit, personalized golf balls, business card case, wallet, money clip, coffee mug, One For All Universal Remote control, men’s cologne or aftershave, gift certificates for guy gadgets. There are also many personalized Christmas gifts for men that are not expensive and will fit in just about anyone’s Christmas budget.
12). Christmas gifts for her under $50, $25 or even under $10 may be bath and body products, her favorite perfume, slippers, scented jar candles (see #1), digital photo frame, affordable jewelry, cashmere sweater or socks, jewelry box, small purse or handbag, iPod, mobile phone accessories, tickets to a play or concert, lingerie, or even engraved/personalized Christmas gifts for women within your Christmas budget.
Are you planning or having to cut back on your Christmas spending this year? What are some of the ways you are going about enjoying the upcoming Christmas holiday season during these tough economic times? Are there any Christmas traditions or expenditures that you and your family have decided to eliminate this Xmas season, perhaps not sending Christmas cards or trimming back on the list of gift recipients? Share your ideas for a frugal Christmas in the comments below.