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Gift Ideas For People On A Budget

Last Updated on December 20, 2021

The holidays are here! It’s the season of giving and that special time of year for entertaining family and friends. After having had to distance ourselves from loved ones over the past year, many are excited to go all out this year to make it the greatest holiday celebration yet. With many still rebounding from the pandemic, however, how do you find the perfect gifts and be the gracious host without breaking the bank?

This month, Granite and TREND Transformations has made a list (and yes, checked it twice) of festive gift giving and holiday entertaining ideas that will make even Santa proud—while going easy on the wallet. Plus, we included some helpful tips to make it all as easy as pie!

Tips for staying on holiday budget

girl dressed in Santa hat

They say it’s better to give than to receive. After all, it’s the thought that counts, right? Before you begin your holiday shopping, you need to know who you are buying for and how much you’re spending. Here are some things you should do first:

  • Set a budget—The first thing to do is come up with an affordable amount for your holiday budget—and stick to it. Second, write out a list of who you are buying for and set an amount you are allocating for each recipient. This will give you a solid starting point and keep you on track during the process. Who knows? If you’re a really good shopper, you might even have money left over!
  • Set gift giving rules with your friends and family—We all have different budgets for holiday shopping. To make the gift exchange more comfortable for everyone, it’s best to discuss it ahead of time to get a sense of where everyone stands. To keep the expense down and fun factor up, you may want to suggest a “Secret Santa”—or Kris Kringle—gift exchange. That way, everyone receives a gift without having to buy for the entire crowd. And the fun part is that no one knows who the gift is from until after they open it!

Heartfelt gift ideas for family and friends

Home baked holiday favorites

Christmas Cookies in a jar

If you’re looking for an easy and affordable gift idea that is not only appreciated but mouthwatering, this is the one. While you’re baking your own goodies, bake an extra batch (or two) of all of your favorite holiday treats and set them aside as special homemade gifts. Arrange an assortment of your treats in a festive tin or container and decorate with candy canes, ribbons, or bows. It’s a great way to spread the spirit of the holidays while sharing your family’s delicious holiday recipes. Not a baker? Not a problem! You can follow the same game plan with your favorite store-bought cookies, fudge, or even glazed nuts. They look amazing in a glass jar, too!

Cherished memories

Girl With Grandmother And Mother Opening Christmas Gifts

Passing down family heirlooms at the holidays can be one of the most memorable and nostalgic moments of the day. Grandparents and parents love to share their cherished memories with their children and grandchildren. This is a loving and inexpensive way to give a gift from the heart that will remain in the family for generations to come—not to mention being a wonderful way to open up conversation about days gone by.

Favorite photos

photo albums

With all the selfies and picture taking we do these days, so many great photos get lost on our phones. Today, you can put pictures on almost anything. Now is a great time to print out those favorite pics and give them as gifts. All you need is a frame and you’re good to go. Or, if you want to switch things up, you can have the picture put on ornaments, coasters, calendars, mugs—the list goes on and on. This way, you can select the gift option that best suits your budget. Check out for more inspiration!

Handmade crafts

Making handmade craft christmas ornaments

Are you a crafter? Today’s crafters are designing amazing DIY gifts. If you have the time, a handmade craft is a one-of-a-kind present that will tug at their heartstrings, as they know you took the time to create a special gift just for them. And, it’s a great way to get the kids involved. Just be sure to keep the cost of the materials in mind so you stay within your budget.

Give of your time

home at Christmas time

Some of the best gifts are priceless. The giving of your time may be the greatest gift of all. This time of year, instead of giving a gift, consider offering a friend a night of babysitting, or spend some time with an elderly family member or neighbor.

Plan a fun experience

Christmas comedy show

Instead of buying gifts for your group of friends, plan a dinner at your home so you can all be together (a “Friendsmas” if you will). Or, make it a game night with snacks and desserts. For the kids, plan a holiday movie pajama party and buy Santa hats or fluffy socks for everyone to wear. Bake or buy cookies and serve hot cocoa and snacks. Putting your money toward experiences is money well spent. The memories they bring will last a lifetime.

Affordable ideas for a holiday party

Group Of Friends Dressing Up For Christmas Party

Who doesn’t love a party? And a holiday party at that! If you’re hosting this year’s shindig, we have helpful tips to make it a night to remember while keeping your budget on track. Here are some great tips for hosting a fabulous and stress-free holiday party:

  • Set a budget—Just as we discussed when planning your holiday shopping, setting a budget is also key to planning a party. The key here is to write out your guest list so you can plan on the quantity of food, beverages, and paper goods (if you’re using them), and anything else you will need.
  • Plan the menu—Deciding on the kind of party, and time of day you will be hosting it, will help you determine the kind of food to serve. For a holiday brunch, lighter fare will be on the menu as opposed to an evening soiree where you may be serving hors d’oeuvres and dinner. To keep costs down and the fun factor up, you may want to consider a dessert or cocktail party instead.
  • Make it a potluck—There’s nothing wrong with asking for a little help when hosting a party. In fact, most guests will be happy to make their favorite holiday recipes and show them off. Since you, as the host, will be providing the main course—such as the turkey or a roast—assign your guests specific things to make, which may include appetizers, side dishes, and desserts. For the culinarily-challenged, ask them to bring a dessert, beverage, or paper goods. The key to hosting a potluck is to keep track of who is bringing what, so you don’t end up with five apple pies (not that that’s a bad thing).

Set a festive table

making christmas decorations

Setting a beautiful table doesn’t have to break the bank. Start with your favorite holiday tablecloth and build from there. For a fun centerpiece, try this: If you have a real Christmas tree or any greenery outdoors, clip branches and arrange them in a vase or bowl. Then add a few small ornaments, pinecones, and candy canes. For atmosphere, arrange your favorite candles around the table. (Mixing up the sizes looks great, too.) Whatever your style, keep it simple and chic.

Create a beverage bar

Refreshing drink with cranberries, ice and rosemary

Depending on the time of day, it’s best to offer your guests a variety of alcoholic and non-alcoholic options. A great idea is to serve a holiday-themed beverage, such as a festive holiday punch or cocktail. Just be sure to keep an eye on any little ones at the party. Setting up a hot cocoa station is a fun idea. Set out mugs, marshmallows, and candy canes and let them go to town—after you’ve poured the hot cocoa first!

“The Giving Tree”

beautiful old-fashioned dolls and toys

It’s always a good idea to give back to the less fortunate—especially during the holidays. If you choose, ask your guests to bring a small, unwrapped toy and have them set it under your tree or on a gift table. The gifts can be brought to a community center, place of worship, or anywhere there’s a toy drive.

What are your plans for this holiday season? Whether you’re traveling to see family or hosting your own gathering, we hope you were inspired to try some of the ideas. And remember, sometimes your presence is the greatest present of all.

From all of us at Granite and TREND Transformations, we wish you a happy and safe holiday season!

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