69 Free Gift Ideas They’ll Totally Love

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The holiday season can be hard on your wallet – but the good news is, it doesn’t have to be!

It’s difficult to plan Christmas gifts when you have no money, but you can let it inspire you to find something truly meaningful.  

Whether you’re shopping for a birthday, anniversary, or the upcoming Christmas season, the thought you put into your gift is much more important than the amount of dollars you spend. 

Here are some great low-cost and no-cost gift ideas to show someone that you really care – without breaking the bank. 

69 Ideas for Gifts That Cost Nothing.

While these gifts might be low cost, the real magic comes from the amount of love you put into giving.

Gift ideas without spending money are often even more valuable to your loved ones, because instead of a generic item they’re receiving something chosen and crafted with love and attention.

It truly is the thought that counts, so put a lot of thought into choosing the right gift, and don’t forget presentation.

You can make a free gift idea look a million bucks if you pay attention to how it looks. Don’t forget to include a heartfelt inscription to make your gift even more meaningful. 

Regifting

  • When you’re looking for free gifts, unwanted gifts you’ve got stored away are a great place to start. Storing generic gifts like books, chocolates, gift cards and wine that you don’t really want gives you plenty of options for regifting. 
  • If there’s a special item you’ve loved, and you know someone will feel the same – consider adding a personalised inscription and gifting it from the heart. A beloved book, movie, or painting with a heart-felt dedication could become a treasured heirloom. 
  • It’s all in how you present it, but puzzles are great to regift if they’ve got all their pieces and are in good nick.  
  • You probably don’t want to just wrap up your castaways, but for the right person, your vintage clothing or special baby items are even more special for being pre-loved.

Nature

  • Dried flowers can be turned into lovely arrangements, or pressed into a frame. Dried petals can be added to a bath kit for a beautiful bath. 
  • Take a stroll along the beach, and collect some driftwood. It can be crafted into some boutique-looking hangings and decorations with minimal effort.
  • Plant cuttings are great free gift ideas for friends. You’ll need to start ahead, but many common household plants can be successfully propagated or grown from cuttings – it only takes a few upcycled jars. 
  • If you already have your own, take some cuttings and make some potted herbs as gifts – they’re practical and beautiful.
  • It will depend on your location, but pumice stone can be found at many beaches and is a great addition to a low or no cost beauty hamper.
  • Whether you’ve harvested your own or bought them at a very low cost, seeds make great free gift ideas for teachers or customers of a small business – especially with a slogan like “Thanks for helping us grow”, or something that reflects your business. 

Kids

  • It’s easy to make with ingredients you’ve probably got in your cupboard, and playdough is always a win. You can make it even more seasonal by adding cookie spices to make it smell like the holidays. 
  • Slime is great for keeping kids busy, and is very inexpensive and easy to make. You might add glitter or small toys to make it even more special.
  • If you’ve got a bunch of old sheets, some bulldog clips and anything else your imagination can dream up, why not make a fort kit the kids can take home and play with throughout the holidays?
  • Bubble kits can be made even more special with the addition of some glycerine to help the bubbles stretch even bigger. 
  • There are plenty of recipes for bath crayons online, and they’ll make getting clean a fun experience for all. 
  • A movie night kit is perfect for those special family nights, with some treats, popcorn, and a favourite movie. 
  • The same goes for a board game kit, giving the gift of a fun family night together. 
  • As long as they’re safe for kids, any make up or beauty items you haven’t used or can simply make from gentle ingredients would be cherished by many little ones. 
  • The ever-famous coupon book is a fun idea– an extra bowl of ice cream, a movie outing, some special time with parents, breakfast for dinner, or whatever motivates your kids. 

Sewing

crafty gifts

  • Every reader needs a bookmark, and a beautifully hand-sewn placeholder is a perfect gift. 
  • Either creating tea towels or adding some crotchet to make them into hanging hand towels is practical and lovely addition to a kitchen.
  • As a great sewing gift idea that also doubles as a practical aid, it’s simple to make a rice heat pack that’s great for aches and pains. 
  • A wine tote is an easy shape to make and a fun, practical and personal gift. 
  • Whether it’s used for stationery, make-up, women’s hygiene items or just a multi-purpose hold-all, a simple zipper pouch uses small amounts of fabric in a useful and creative way. 
  • For the traveller in your life, a travel neck pillow lets you send some love away with them.
  • Warm, cosy, fashionable and easy to create. There are plenty of patterns for infinity scarves online. 
  • For those who love a bit of therapeutic calm, lavender bags have plenty of uses and make great gifts.
  • A unique gift only for a very special person, a scrap quilt makes use of small pieces of fabric, lots of time, and lots of love. 
  • Oven mitts are another universal kitchen accessory that everyone will appreciate. 
  • A t-shirt pillow made from a favourite old t-shirt is a simple but very sentimental gift, especially if it’s made from the clothing of someone who has passed on or lives far away. 

Craft

  • It really just takes some cords and knots – macrame wall hangings and plant hangers are seriously in fashion and will be welcome gifts. 
  • Even if you don’t consider yourself a Picasso, many styles of paintings are very achievable for beginners. Consider acrylic pours or masking tape art – but tread carefully, as art is highly individual. 
  • If you can sew, why not create a design and put it in a frame. Semi-ironic cross stitch with modern scenes and phrases are a very popular decorating items. 
  • Ornaments are the perfect free gift ideas for Christmas. Decorate baubles with glitter and other add-ons or try baking and decorating salt dough shapes.
  • If you’ve got plenty of craft supplies and want to get someone else hooked, make a craft starter kit to share your passion. 

Cooking

bath bomb gifts

  • Cookies are a great gift, and simple to make with ingredients you should already have. You could opt for rich, indulgent cookies or beautifully decorated sugar cookies. 
  • If you’re good at getting things when they’re in season, preserves are a present most people love but won’t buy themselves. They look beautiful enough to be a feature in someone’s kitchen.
  • All it takes is a bit of love and some basic ingredients, and you can be gift-wrapping delicious fudge. 
  • Food kits are thoughtful, practical – and delicious. Why not create a sundae kit with everything they need to have a delicious dessert? Just add ice cream. 
  • Everyone loves hot chocolate, but a hot chocolate kit can take things to the next level. As well as powder, include marshmallows and chocolate melts for a drink to remember. 
  • If you have a dehydrator or a lot of patience with your oven, dehydrated fruit is classy and delicious. Try orange slices dipped in dark chocolate for a classy treat. 
  • With some recycled jars, some herbs or spices, and a bit of oil, you can create a stylish and delicious gift. Infused oil adds a dash of flavour to a dish, and looks beautiful on the shelf. Consider rosemary, tarragon, chilli, garlic, or lemon. 
  • Put your quarantine skills to good use and give the gift of bread. Zucchini, banana, or pear and raspberry bread are great choices – wrap them well to make it special. 
  • Similar to the kits, consider beautifully layered jar mixes. Find your favourite recipe, and layer the dry ingredients in a recycled jar. Attach the extra ingredient list and method onto the jar using a beautiful label, and they’re ready to bake! Cookies, brownies, and simple cakes are a great option. 

Bath and Beauty

bath bomb gifts

  • Bath bombs are simple to make and an indulgent treat. You should have most of the ingredients at home. Add some dried herbs or flower petals for a special touch. 
  • With just a few simple ingredients, you can create a rich body butter that will smell great and keep their skin soft and hydrated. 
  • Scrubs are an easy, effective option. A beautiful sugar lip scrub can be made with only sugar and oil, or save your coffee grounds to combine with oil and peppermint to make a coffee body scrub. 
  • It’s easy to make your own soap, and the results are a luxurious product that is free from chemical nasties. 
  • Homemade lip balm is great to store in a purse or next to the bed, to help keep lips soft and moisturised.
  • Treat your loved ones to a foot soak, to help them soak the stress away. 

Upcycling

candle in an upcycled jar

  • Jars with plant cuttings just take a bit of pre-planning, but you can easily propagate many household plants. 
  • If you and a friend have a special movie or song from the past, why not hunt for the CD or DVD and frame the jacket art? If you have access to a good printer you could print an image instead. Otherwise, a framed book illustration from a meaningful book can look fantastic. 
  • Secret compartment books take time but are simple to make, and are an exciting and unique gift to receive. 
  • With a lovely tea cup and an old candle, you can combine them to create a teacup candle that makes a beautiful free present.

Services

  • Gifting some free baby-sitting is an invaluable gift for parents, especially if you are on their list of people to call. 
  • In the same way, taking care of pets can be difficult. Offering pet care can help take the load off. You might offer to walk pets, pet sit over holidays, or do basic grooming tasks.
  • If you’re a good cook, make your own meal voucher so they have a better option next time they don’t feel like cooking. 
  • Car detailing takes time, care, and patience – so take the load of someone’s shoulders by offering to do it for them. 
  • Yard work is always there to be done, and you could help your loved one save time and money by offering your services. 
  • Hiring a cleaner is a luxury, and by gifting your own cleaning services you’re giving a quality gift. Make sure you specify how often, and what you’re offering to do. 
  • Make the most of your skills by offering to tutor. Whether it’s helping with a school subject, woodworking, playing a musical instrument, or giving cooking classes, you have something you can teach someone else. 
  • If you’re skilled with cars or general handywork, taking on maintenance jobs can be a big relief for your loved ones. 
  • Coupon books are a traditional idea that can be fun and thoughtful. Gift a book with services that can be redeemed at a time of their choosing – back rubs, a meal cooked, or whatever you’re prepared to offer. Don’t forget – you’ll have to follow through!

Sentimental

photo frame gift

  • If you are a cook in the family, preserve your family’s treasured recipes by creating a family recipe book.
  • Photos are always a welcome gift – carefully choose precious memories to print out and frame, or create a photo book.
  • If you’ve spent time to learn about your past, sharing your family genealogy is an exciting way for them to learn about their distant past.
  • Stuck for ideas? An inspiration jar helps keep your loved ones on their toes, giving them ideas for dinners, date nights, family nights, ice-breaker questions – whatever you can imagine!
  • A framed quote or verse that’s meaningful to the recipient can be a beautiful, personal, and treasured gift.
  • If you’ve got old clothes with a memory attached and you’re good at craft, sew stuffed animals or pillow keepsakes. It’s even more special if it’s clothes from someone who has passed on or lives far away. 

This holiday season, try one of these free Christmas gift ideas and give a gift filled with love and thoughtfulness.

By either making use of things you already have or a few small purchases, you can make your gift beautiful, memorable – and easy on your wallet. 

Read next: 35 Practical Frugal Living Tips to Save Money

About Emma Healey

Emma is a recognised family finance and budgeting expert and founder of Mum's Money. Her advice has been featured in Readers Digest, Yahoo Finance, Lifehacker, The Simple Dollar, MSN Money and more.