No-spend Christmas gift ideas

A few years ago, I found myself in an unfamiliar position: I was the new girl at work. Being the new girl can be intimidating,…


A few years ago, I found myself in an unfamiliar position: I was the new girl at work. Being the new girl can be intimidating, especially when you’re a young professional and you don’t want to come across as someone who’s too eager to please or desperate for approval. One day, my boss called me into her office and gave me a box full of homemade treats.

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They were delicious—I still have some left over—and they meant so much more than just food. They also reminded me that there are times when saying “thank you” can be as simple as providing an edible gift basket or making someone else’s day a little brighter with something homemade (or store bought).

Homemade lemonade

Ingredients for the perfect lemonade:

  • 1 cup sugar (1/2 cup if using a sweetener like honey)
  • 4 cups of water
  • Juice from 10 lemons + more as needed to get to your desired taste. If you want it sweeter, add more sugar. If you want it less sweet, add more lemon juice! The ratio should be about 1 part sugar to 3 parts lemon (or less).
  • A dash of vanilla extract or almond extract if desired. If you’re going all out with homemade everything, make your own vanilla extract too! You can find recipes online or use these directions on how to make homemade almond extract. Don’t forget those cinnamon sticks! This adds another layer of flavor that compliments the tartness and sweetness perfectly!

DIY bath salts

Simple and affordable, bath salts are the perfect DIY gift for your friends. All you need is Epsom salts, baking soda, essential oils (use 1-10 drops per 4 cups of dry ingredients), food coloring and a few drops of glycerin or witch hazel if you want to make it luxurious. To create a festive blend: add peppermint extract and vanilla extract in place of ginger.

Personalized bookmarks

Personalized bookmarks are a thoughtful gift that doesn’t cost much money. They’re easy to make, too! You can purchase the materials needed for the bookmark at a craft store or online.

Bookmark shapes and sizes vary widely, but they all have one thing in common: they slide into the pages of a book so you don’t lose your place while reading. Bookmarks come in many different shapes and sizes; some are just paper rectangles with words printed on them while others are fancier works of art made from cloth or leather. No matter what type of bookmark you choose, though, it will always be useful because it will help keep you from losing your place while reading novels or textbooks–something we’ve all been guilty of doing at one point or another during school years past (and maybe even present).

Homemade soap

I love homemade soap. It’s one of the best gifts you can give someone, and it’s a great way to show your loved ones that you are thinking of them during the holiday season.

You can make soap with just a few ingredients and some time. The process is pretty simple: melt down oils in a double boiler, add lye water (a mixture of water and sodium hydroxide), then let the mixture set until it hardens into soap bars. If you want to get fancy with it, there are also lots of fun ways to decorate your soaps with things like herbs or glitter (or both!).

For gifting purposes, I recommend putting each bar into its own plastic bag (so nothing sticks on the outside) before wrapping it up in cellophane packaging for an extra-special touch!

Homemade sugar scrub

  • Ingredients:
  • 1 cup of olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of brown sugar (like muscovado or palm)
  • Directions:
  • Mix the ingredients together in a small bowl. You’ll have to stir pretty hard, but it should eventually become a thick paste. If you add too much brown sugar and it’s still runny, try adding more olive oil until it becomes firm enough to scoop out with a spoon.
  • Scoop into mason jars and label them with some twine for gifting purposes!

Photo album

  • Make a photo album.
  • If you have photos from your childhood, use them! Your parents will love seeing their baby/toddler/child in the pictures.
  • Use photos of your family, such as grandparents and uncles/aunts. You can also add pictures of friends or loved ones who are no longer with us.
  • You can also include pictures from special events like birthdays, anniversaries and holidays.
  • Include selfies if you want to get creative or do something different than what others would expect out of a traditional Christmas gift idea list (but don’t go overboard).

Custom poem

My gift to you is this poem I wrote, dear friend. I hope it brings you joy and happiness throughout the year. Merry Christmas!

“`I love the way we’d talk on late nights, And how our conversations always led us to something new. You are one of my best friends in all of life, And I can’t wait for more memories with you!

Letter of comfort and encouragement

A letter is a great gift. It doesn’t have to be about anything in particular—it can be about the weather, how much you love them, or even how much you miss them. If it’s heartfelt and thoughtful, it’ll mean so much more than any other gift they receive.

To get started on writing your letter, start by asking yourself what really makes this person special to you and what they mean to you on a daily basis. Then write down all of those things in the form of an actual letter! You could also try using Google Docs or Microsoft Word if typing is more your style (and less messy).

When writing a handwritten note, take care not to make scribbles so sloppy that they’re illegible; no one wants that kind of trash on their desk all year long!

Treasure hunt

If you’re looking for a way to celebrate your child’s birthday or anniversary, consider taking them on a treasure hunt. There are many ways to do this, but the basic idea is that you give the person clues that lead them from one location to another. You can use riddles, puzzles, and games as well if you want something more challenging—or if you want it to be more of a challenge for yourself!

You could also make it easier by having all of the clues lead directly to each other, with no need for travel in between. This may seem like cheating but keep in mind that some people enjoy getting lost on purpose! If your goal is simply an enjoyable experience with family or friends rather than an actual challenge (and who doesn’t love those?), then this might be right up your alley.

These gifts are free but thoughtful.

Free doesn’t have to mean cheap. There are so many thoughtful, meaningful and simply fun ideas that you can make yourself using items you already have or that are easy to buy. You can also make them in advance for a few people or for a whole group of people.

Here are some ideas:

-A scrapbook with pictures of all your friends and family. You could make a special page for each person, or just write them a letter and put it in the scrapbook. -A playlist of songs that remind you of that person, or that they love. -A poem, short story or painting about them (if you’re not good at writing these things yourself, ask someone else to write one). -A collage made up of things they like (this could be anything from photos to quotes to magazine cutouts).


If you’re looking for some easy ideas for no-spend Christmas gifts, these are the perfect options. They’re all thoughtful and inexpensive to make, but they still show that you care about the person receiving them. Plus, they’re fun! You can even make them with kids in tow so everyone gets involved in making their own little gift while having fun together. You can also choose which type of homemade gift best suits your recipient’s personality (or interests), whether it’s something sweet or spicy; colorful or neutral; funny or serious; etc…

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