Ways to Give a Gift without Spending a Dime

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Christmas Gifts that Don't Cost a Thing

Christmas Gifts that Don't Cost a Thing

We know how it is. You really want to get some amazing gifts for your friends and family, but money’s tight. In fact, tight might be putting it a little mildly: you’re tapped. But don’t start panicking yet. There are plenty of thoughtful gifts you can give that won’t cost you any money at all.

Personal instructor. So you didn’t have money to get grandma that new digital camera. Being tech savvy, you can show her how to work it like a professional photographer, something that’s at least as useful. Other useful “gift” skills include teaching cooking, sewing, computer use or practically any sport.

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Say cheese. People love photos, especially of their loved ones. Take a picture and make a nice frame from crafty materials you already have around the house – they’re sure to appreciate it.

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Laborer for a day. Don’t have any specific skills to teach? Gift yourself as hired help. If you live in a colder climate, offer to shovel snow from your recipient’s driveway; for warm weather places, tend the garden or mow the lawn. Or if they prefer, offer to clean the house or help with small remodeling jobs.

Make the Internet smaller. Got an aunt who loves antiquing but isn’t so Web savvy? Do some research of useful websites and blogs and set them up with a Google Reader account with a list of places you know they’ll enjoy.

Be a sitter. Offer an IOU for babysitting the next time your recipient needs it. Or provide pet care the next time they go out of town. Or if you have a family member caring for an invalid relative, give them a day off and help out.

Paint the town free. Most big cities (and a lot of smaller ones) offer a number of free events year-round, including things like movies, concerts, and other fun activities. Do a little research and find something your recipient would be interested in and take them out for a night on the town. Art galleries are especially good for things like this because openings will often not only be free, but offer wine and appetizers. Mmm.

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Mark your place. Nothing could be worse to a voracious reader than losing their place in one of the dozen books they’re reading at the same time, so do them a favor and make them a nice bookmark out of cardboard and wrapping paper or old cards you have lying around. Use a hole puncher on one end and tie a string through the hole to complete the effect.

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