If you’re here, you’re likely trying not to overspend on Christmas presents. But saving money doesn’t mean you have to get rubbish gifts for your loved ones. Not at all, in fact. We’ve found lots of ideas for Christmas gifts on a budget that could easily be contenders for ‘Best Present of the Year’.
When it comes to buying Christmas presents, it can be very easy to overspend. Take a trip around any shopping centre playing Christmas music and you’ll soon find yourself picking up overpriced box sets and random gifts and putting them in your basket. But all those little gifts can add up – and when you’re a little strapped for cash – overspending at Christmas can have a huge effect on your finances.
In fact, according to data, 80% of Brits struggle with their finances in January, the long month after the early Christmas payday. That’s why it’s a good idea to trim the spending a little before Christmas. So, if you’ve got a bit of spare time in between the mince pies, carol singing and screenings of Love, Actually (and Home Alone, Miracle on 34th Street, Elf, The Santa Clause, It’s A Wonderful Life and – of course – Die Hard), as well as some elbow grease that needs putting to use, here are some Christmas gifts on a budget that will blow your loved ones away. All of the gifts on our list will cost between £5 and £20.
Bamboo’s Christmas gifts on a budget
1. For the music lover: A vinyl record clock
Cost: £5 – £10
Do you have somebody in your life who is the proud owner of a large record collection? Or somebody who spends all their time listening to music, going to gigs or playing an instrument? The first of our Christmas gifts on a budget is just for them – and it couldn’t be easier to make.
Simply buy (or dig around for) a record that you know they’ll like – perhaps it’s by their favourite band or a song that has a special meaning – and take it out of its sleeve. Charity shops are great for this – records usually cost around £1.
Next, buy a clock mechanism. They’re dead cheap – this simple mechanism is just £0.99 on Amazon.
Put the mechanism through the hole in the centre of the record and voila! You’ve got yourself a handmade, DIY gift that’s thoughtful, impressive and one-of-a-kind. And all for a couple of quid. If you want to make it even more impressive, you could put the sleeve in a record cover frame (about £5 on Amazon) and make a themed package.
2. For the person who likes the little things: A homemade candle
Cost: up to £10 (£20 if you want to make them a set of 3)
This gift requires a little more work than the vinyl clock – but the results are probably more impressive. This is one of those Christmas gifts on a budget that’s worth the little extra effort. Especially because this present is incredibly versatile and customisable.
Choose a container. This is where you can really personalise the gift: tea drinker? Use an old tea cup. Beer lover? Use a half-pint glass. Gardener? Use a nice plant pot. The possibilities are endless – just make sure that it’s a non-flammable material, obviously.
Buy some wax. You can either buy bags of wax that’ll make a few candles or you can shave and melt down old candles. You just need enough shaved wax compared to fill the container twice.
Place the wax in a glass jug (or bowl) and place the container in a bowl of water. If you’ve ever melted chocolate, you’ll know the drill – gently heat the wax until it melts. If you’d like a touch of colour and have a box of broken crayons laying around – you can use those to colour the wax any colour you like. Also, if you have essential oils, you can use these to add a scent to the candle for an even more personal touch – just put a few drops in the wax and stir well.
Grab a wick (if you need to order them, you can get 100 for £5) and put it in the container, holding the top out of the wax either with a peg or tongs. Then, pour the wax over the wick until it reaches the top. Then, let the wax set for 24 hours, snip the excess wick and you’re done.
One homemade, DIY Christmas present on a budget. And one new life skill learned.
3. For the person who needs some me-time: A homemade bath bomb
Cost: £5 – £10, depending on the scents and salts you use.
Does anything say, ‘I care about you’ more than a homemade bath bomb? We don’t think so. Sure, you can pop to Lush, Boots or Superdrug and buy a bath bomb – but where’s the fun in that? Plus, they can get pretty expensive.
Instead, why not make a few with all of her (or his, we’re not judging here) favourite scents and colours?
Get the ingredients. OK, this list looks long and expensive – but almost everything is either super cheap or is probably already in your kitchen cupboard.
- 1 cup baking soda
- 1/2 cup citric acid (not a store cupboard essential, we know – but it costs just over a quid online)
- 1/2 cup Epsom salts (Epsom salts cost about £5 per kilo, but you can use table salt or sea salt instead)
- 1 tsp. water
- 2 tsp. essential oil (choose a scent you know they love, or go with lavender for a classic relaxation scent)
- 3 tsp. oil (olive oil, sunflower oil)
- food colouring
- rubber gloves
- plastic mould (optional)
Combine all the wet ingredients in a bowl with a whisk. In a separate bowl, combine all the dry ingredients.
One tablespoon at a time, add the dry ingredients to the wet. Pretty soon, you’ll start to see the mixture come together.
Once it’s all mixed together, glove up and grab a handful of the powder. Compact it into a ball or use a mould to shape the mix and set on a tray to dry. Keep going until all of the mixture is used up.
Wait 24 hours, and then put gently in a nice box. Job done! For extra brownie points and an added wow factor, you might want to add rose petals to the inside of the bomb, so they float out when it dissolves.
4. For that friend you can always count on: An abacus bracelet
Cost: around £20
If you’ve got a friend that means a lot to you – but that you can’t find the perfect gift for – this abacus bracelet is perfect. It’s handmade, personal and – of course – a great pun!
Now, this isn’t an easy process – it involves wood, veneer, setting, moulding, cutting and lots of other things – but if you’ve got time and patience, the end result is incredibly impressive.
Head over to Instructables for a step-by-step guide you can count on. There’s even a printable PDF if you’d rather not risk gluing your laptop together just before Christmas.
5. For that friend who needs to slow down: Homemade sloe gin
Cost: Around £20, depending on the gin you use
This is one of those perfect Christmas gifts on a budget – frugal, thoughtful and impressive – and, best of all, it’s incredibly easy to make. Get some sloes – you can find sloe bushes if you know what you’re looking for (or you can order them on Amazon) – and prick the skins with a needle.
Then, take 225g of caster sugar and 1L of their favourite gin and mix them together in a sealed jar. Add the sloes and shake well. Leave to steep for about two months – shaking once a day for the first week, then once a week until Christmas.
Just before the big day, strain the sloe gin through muslin into a nice bottle and you’re golden!
So, there you have it: 5 DIY Christmas gifts on a budget that are bound to get a ‘wow!’ when they tear through the wrapping paper. Have you got any top tips for finding (or making) Christmas gifts on a budget? Let us know in the comments or on social media!