Here's what to do if you can’t afford to buy Christmas presents

Can’t afford to buy Christmas presents for your loved ones this year? No problem. These hacks for how to spend next to nothing but still give something thoughtful and meaningful are what you need right now

Here is what to do if you can’t afford to buy Christmas presents
© Photo by David Orsborne on
Here is what to do if you can’t afford to buy Christmas presents

There’s no shame in not being able to splash on Christmas presents for everyone you love and appreciate this year. With the cost of living crisis pushing us into hard decisions, more people than you think struggle with the same question: how to give something without spending any money on it? Luckily, there are some clever ideas foramazing hand-made presents, and crafting them is more fun than shopping.

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Just be honest

Don't feel bad about not being able to buy Christmas gifts this year as people surrounding you are financially strained too and understand the struggle better than you think.

The climate emergency and plastic waste are other reasons why people start avoiding gift-giving just for the sake of it.

Be honest about your situation with potential recipients of your gifts. Consider putting it in a kind email and sending it in advance to avoid awkwardness when the big day comes and release others from feeling obliged to buy something for you.

Make a gift of time

Quality time spent together is the best gift you can offer to someone you care about. Why not invite them for a special homemade meal or schedule a scenic walk with a picnic in one of the months following Christmas?

Make a handmade Christmas card

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In a fast-paced world where everything can be bought and sold people especially appreciate thoughtful, handmade gifts crafted especially for them. Regardless of if you’re an artist or not, you can create a personalised Christmas card with affordable supplies from Poundland and a Dollar Store. You can add some holly, mistletoe, dried leaves, or pieces of pinecones for a festive feeling.

Bake cookies for a delicious seasonal gift

Handmade cookies rather than ‘stuff’ is another treat people love getting for Christmas. Whether you find your inner baker or mess-maker, unique, one-of-a-kind delicious creations are guaranteed. Beautifully wrap when in paper packaging and opt for reusable ribbons for an eco, artisanal feel.

A jar of delicious jam, by you

Making jam is easier than you think, and practically anyone can pull off the high-quality fresh, delicious and organic treat at home. This yummy raspberry jam from BBC Good Food might be just what your loved ones need during the colder time of the year.

Stick the label with ingredients and the date it was made and add a personalised Christmas message.

Make a scrub for a 'Me Time' gift

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If you have some spare glass jars at home, consider making me-time treats for your loved one. Why not try this exfoliating coffee body scrub or this turmeric scrub for radiant and glowing skin with detailed YouTube tutorials? There are plenty of recipes online for any type of skin, and they are fun and economical to make. Don’t forget to attach a personalised ‘Treat Yourself’ message.

Print and frame a photo of your loved one

With IKEA, Poundland, and Wilko photo frames starting at £1, printing and framing pictures of the best moments involving your loved ones is a no-brainer. Write a special Christmas message on the back of the photo or something personalised on the frame itself. Appreciation guaranteed.

Make a Christmas video about your loved one

Whether you are digital tools-savvy or not, there are a lot of easy-to-use online tools for making a video compilation of the highlights of the year featuring your loved one.

You can do it on your computer, on your phone, or on the go.

Just find the best pictures and clips, arrange them in the manner you like, add or skip filters, add Christmas music and deliver your creation to their messenger of choice in an instant. It can even be shown at your Christmas gathering.

Free video-making tools include CanvaCapcutSplice, and many more. Success guaranteed!

Here's what you can do with unwanted Christmas presents you can't exchange in store Here's what you can do with unwanted Christmas presents you can't exchange in store