Budget-friendly, last-minute holiday gift ideas

Don’t panic, there’s still time!

Whether you’re celebrating Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, the winter solstice, New Year’s, or any other holiday this festive season, one of the best (and also sometimes the most stressful) parts is gift-giving. We all want to give special, thoughtful gifts that let our loved ones know how much we care about them, but we can’t all buy new phones and spa gift certificates, as much as we might like to. And then there are the time constraints. But don’t let last-minute panic set in–we have a bunch of ideas for gifts you still have time to put together that will be easy on your bank account.

1. Crafty self-care

When some people hear “crafts,” they automatically think they won’t be good at something like that. But you may not realize just how easy some things are to make. Get yourself some old jelly jars or mason jars, and there’s no limit to what you can create. Like this sugar body scrub, which takes about 5 minutes to put together, or these candles, which are so much easier than they look. Have some leftover orange peels and some cinnamon sticks? Throw together one of these simmer pot kits, which will make your loved one’s space smell amazing.

2. Help around the house

One often overlooked gifting option is the gift of practical help. What could be better than having a friend show up to do your laundry, clean your bathroom, or watch your kids while you take a day off?

3. Something sweet

In our experience, homemade sweets are a hit at any time of year. These candied pecans require 10 minutes of prep time and they absolutely slap. For something even easier, try hot chocolate stirrers (which are literally just candy canes from a box dipped in chocolate). If you really want to impress, you can make peppermint bark, but beware that people will expect it every year once they try it.

4. The gift of time

One super meaningful gift you can give is the gift of time together. Invite your loved one to spend a special day together and plan activities you know they’d enjoy. Think snowy walk in the woods followed by a trip to a holiday market and/or a drive around town to look at people’s decorations.

Is a cozy night in more your speed? Get yourself and your loved one some fuzzy socks and robes and cozy up on the couch for a night of hot chocolate and holiday movies.

5. Freezer meals

If food is their love language–or if they’re really pressed for time, hate cooking, or have disabilities or chronic illnesses that make it hard for them to cook–make them a few meals they can keep in their freezer. We promise, they will love you forever. Who doesn’t want chicken soup, chili, or lasagna ready to heat up and eat any night of the week? There are seemingly endless options for freezer meals, so there’s definitely something for everyone.

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