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Holiday Gift Hacks

By Jami McDermott, B.S. Speech Comm., Outreach Coordinator

The magic of gift-giving lies not in extravagant price tags but in the thoughtfulness, effort, and special touches that take a simple token into a cherished keepsake. In the spirit of spreading holiday joy without straining your budget, here is a list of simple and affordable gift ideas. From homemade treats that carry the warmth of your kitchen to personalized notes that express heartfelt sentiments, these gifts express the idea that it’s often the care you give that makes a present truly special. Embrace the joy of giving with these creative and budget-friendly ideas that celebrate the season with thoughtfulness and a touch of DIY charm.


List of Gift Ideas

Homemade Treats:

  • Bake cookies, brownies, or fudge and package them in festive containers.
  • Add the recipe card to create a jar with the dry ingredients for a favorite recipe.

Handwritten Notes or Cards:

  • Write heartfelt notes expressing your appreciation, good wishes, or favorite memories.
  • Design personalized holiday cards or make your own.

Coupon Books:

  • Free Babysitting
  • A meal
  • A dessert
  • Free dog sitting

DIY Crafts:

  • Create handmade ornaments, or decorations.
  • Knit a blanket, hat, or mittens.

Photo Gifts:

  • Print and frame a memorable photo.
  • Make a photo album or scrapbook.


  • Choose affordable scented or decorative candles.
  • Create your own candles with simple molds.

Hot Cocoa Mix in a Jar:

  • Layer the ingredients for hot cocoa in a mason jar and include a festive tag with instructions.


  • Craft personalized bookmarks.
  • Pair them with a book or a note about your favorite book.

Cookbook with Personal Recommendations:

  • Find a secondhand cookbook and write personal notes or recommendations next to your favorite recipes.

Tea or Coffee Sampler:

  • Put together a small collection of different teas or coffees.
  • Include a festive mug or reusable cup.

DIY Bath Salts or Scrubs:

  • Make homemade bath salts or sugar scrubs and package them in small jars.

Seed Packets:

  • Give flower or herb seed packets for a touch of nature.
  • Include a note with planting instructions.

Soup Ingredients in a Jar:

  • Layer dry ingredients for a favorite recipe in a jar and attach a cooking instructions tag.

Coupon for a night of Games from the past:

  • Put dice and cards in a decorative bag with various game instructions.
  • Jacks
  • Hula Hoop competition

Holiday Excursions:

  • Sledding, ice skating, hiking
  • Favorite Christmas Movie night
  • A car ride to see Christmas lights
  • Hot Chocolate and a fire pit


Remember, it’s often the thought and effort that make a gift special, and there are plenty of creative ways to spread holiday cheer without breaking the bank. It’s about memories, joy and love.

If you are facing an unexpected pregnancy this holiday season and aren’t sure if or how you can make ends meet, reach out to Birthright St. Charles for expert counseling and support. Merry Christmas and happy holidays!

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