Last-minute Christmas Gifts That Don’t Cost the Earth

Staggeringly, over half of Britons (52%) plan to spend less this year on Christmas, due to the rising cost of living. That’s according to the latest data from YouGov, which also reveals that just 3% of those surveyed expect to spend more than usual, while 36% say they will part with the same amount of money as they normally do ahead of the festive season.

From vouchers to experience days and ‘I owe you’ tickets, we round up the best – and most inventive – last-minute Christmas gift ideas from around the Internet. Plus, they won’t cost the Earth (and some of them are completely free!). Read on…

Whip Up a Treat

Choccy, biscuits (hey, maybe even fancy, chocolate-covered biscuits) – most of us enjoy a sweet treat at Christmas.

What’s better than shop-bought goodies, though? Anything that’s been made at home, from scratch. Move over, Great British Bake Off contestants, eh?

If your budget is tight or you’d simply like to give a truly thoughtful gift this year, make them their favourite biscuits, dessert, or pud.

The BBC Good Food site has plenty of festive-themed offerings, too; from white chocolate, pistachio and cardamom truffles, to iced mince pies, and Christmas jam, the site has every family member in mind.

Choose a Christmassy tin or a generous-sized, Kilner-style glass jar to store your bakes and you’ll have yourself a stunning gift that shouldn’t set you back too much.

Difficulty rating: 3/5*

Cost: £5-20**

*/**depending on the recipe you choose

Plan a Day of Fun

We love this idea from Real Simple, as it allows you to treat someone special while keeping an eye on your budget in December.

The concept we’re referring to is simple: craft a homemade gift card entitling the recipient to a fully planned day of fun, says the author behind the site.

This may include taking your nephew on a tour of the best local playgrounds, for example, or treating a parent to their favourite art museum, suggests the site. The possibilities are endless when you think outside of the box. Plus, giving someone the gift of your time – and company – can be worth so much more than buying an expensive gift.

Difficulty rating: 2/5

Cost: £0-20

Gift Them an Experience Day

If you have a little more to spend, you can choose from a host of ‘experience days’ – from afternoon tea to activity-based days like paintballing – and often for around (or under) £40. Many sites offering these kind of experiences also sell gift vouchers – perfect if you’re not 100% sure what to get that relative who’s difficult to buy for.

As well as shopping on sites like Virgin Experience Days, look for affordable options via Groupon and Wowcher, too.

Difficulty rating: 1/5

Cost: £30-50+

Make an ‘I Owe You’ Voucher

In a similar vein to Real Simple’s idea above, an ‘I Owe You’ voucher makes a priceless gift – particularly for tired parents who are crying out for a free babysitter. So, why not offer up your services by way of a token they can redeem later?

You could make a similar, homemade voucher for others on your gift list, too. How about drawing up a voucher for time spent helping your dad weed the garden, or a full afternoon of interrupted gaming time for your brother or partner?

Difficulty rating: 1/5

Cost: £0

Give Someone a Night Off Cooking

Have a friend or family member who hates cooking? Offer to head round to their house and create a feast – whether that be a slap up, three or five-course dinner or a ‘picnic tea’ of cheese, meats, and other festive nibbles.

Don’t fancy doing the cooking at all? How about treating them to a gift card for use on a site like HelloFresh? They can then look forward to not having to think what to cook in January and beyond, as they’ll have some fresh ingredients ready to whip up into a delicious dinner.

Difficulty rating: 4/5

Cost: £30-70+

Write Down Memorable Moments

Here’s another brilliant Christmas gift idea from Real Simple: scribe memorable moments on slips of paper and place them in a pretty jar with a label like ‘Jar of Awesome’.

Add a ribbon around the top and sprinkle in some Christmas confetti or sequins.

Whether you present someone with this as their main present or it’s an extra, little stocking filler, we’re sure most people amongst your family and friends will like this simple but extremely thoughtful idea.

Difficulty rating: 2/5

Cost: 0.50-£5 (for the jar, paper and Christmas confetti)


Keen to read more articles like this one? Here on the Knowledge Hub of our site, we share regular money-oriented articles and guides, covering everything from the impact of mental health on finances to schemes that could help you get your first home faster.

Until next time…



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