Don't know what to get your loved ones this Christmas? Here are some gift ideas that should make their day without blowing your budget.
It’s Christmas soon and that means hitting the shops to buy presents!
If you're looking for good, cheap Christmas gift ideas for your friends and family, then you've come to the right place. Here are a few ideas from loveMONEY to get you started.
Gifts for free
Mixed CDs/online playlists: This is a nice thoughtful present for friends and family that is really easy to make and will cost you nothing if you have a few spare blank CDs lying around or have a streaming service that allows you to share playlists. It's a great way to introduce loved ones to some new music or make them smile with some of their favourite tunes.
Cash in on loyalty schemes: Make the most of all those points you’ve saved up over the year using loyalty schemes.
Save the planet: Community websites like Freegle, Freecycle and SnaffleUp encourage people to give away things they no longer need, anything from furniture and electrical goods to baby gear and bicycles. Sign up and root around for something that would make a good gift.
Free gifts from cashback: Cashback websites like Quidco or TopCashback can make you money as you spend on Christmas gifts. So with the cashback you build up you can get another gift for free or sneak in a little something for yourself.
Time vouchers: If you have friends or family that could do with your help babysitting or renovating you could offer your services with some vouchers for your time, redeemable throughout the year or within a month.
Stocking filler gifts
Three for two: This popular deal in the retail world can help fill up all of your stockings on the cheap. Boots and Very have some cracking items you can mix and match. If you buy No7 Glamorous Nudes Eye Palette (£10), Nando’s Fiery Trio Rack (£12.50) and FCUK Bodyspray Trio (£10) it’d only set you back £22.50, for example.
Cosmetic bargains: There are a whole host of sweet-smelling and beautifying bargains available on deep discount sites like Half Price Perfumes, Fragrance Direct and Cosmetics Fairy. You can get a Rimmel Moisture Renew Lipstick for just £1.50 (saving £3.50) from Fragrance Direct, stunning eyes with this Paul Smith Extreme for Men (100ml) from Half Price Perfumes for £17.99 (RRP £42) or bag a few 99p bargains from Cosmetics Fairy.
Sporty gifts: For the sporty people in your life, check out Decathlon for low-cost practical equipment, accessories and clothes. These Golf Balls are just £3.99 and this gym ball pump is £1.99. For cheap designer brands head to Sports Direct, where you can get this Slazenger water bottle for £1.50.
Sexy gifts: What could be a better stocking filler than some lingerie? Check out ASOS, Myla, Bravissimo, or FigLeaves online to get your hands on some super sexy items, without having to brave the high street. You could go for this Mango Lace Trim Babydoll from ASOS for £25.99.
Kitchen gifts: When it comes to kitchen gifts, don’t disregard the almighty online behemoth that is Amazon. Who could resist this Ninjabread man cookie cutter for just £7.25? Or these Assault and Pepper Shakers for £9.80? For gadgets to help in the kitchen make sure you read the best and worst kitchen gadgets from our sister site loveFOOD. The gadget that comes highly recommended is the Egg-Perfect timer from Lakeland that only costs £6.49.
Miscellaneous bargains: Before looking for bargains on eBay, visit fat fingers - a site which sources items listed on eBay with spelling mistakes. These often have fewer bids as fewer people can find them. Perfect for bargain stocking fillers! Read more in 26 eBay buying tips, tricks and tools.
The gift that keeps on giving: Why limit your festive generosity to Christmas Day? For fans of the short-form, there are plenty of magazine subscription deals out there. Try Magazines Direct or buysubscriptions.com. You can save 39% on BBC Gardeners’ World by taking out a six-month subscription for £16.50. Or you could team a digital subscription with the new iPad or smartphone they’ve asked for this Christmas. How about a year-long digital subscription to Decanter magazine for £30.49?
If you're out on the high street, pop in to WHSmith and check out the vast range of magazine subscriptions available there too.
Give an experience
However, these tend to cost an arm and a leg, so why not create your own ‘experience day’ to give as a gift instead?
Build it around what your loved one enjoys doing, and go with them for some quality time together as well.
For example, culture vultures might like a backstage theatre tour (the National Theatre runs these for £9.50 per person). Or for those that love the outdoors and beautiful architecture, what about a trip to a National Trust property?
Cheap Christmas gifts for her
For posh perfume and luxury make-up brands, there are several specialist comparison sites that will check prices at the big retailers and tell you where you can get the one you want at the best price. Try FragrancesCompared and CheapPerfumeExpert for starters.
If you’re after make-up and hair products as well, check out FeelUnique. The firm offers luxury brands at discounted prices and has free UK delivery on orders over £15.
If you’re buying for a fashionista, theoutnet.com is a great place to look for gorgeous designer clothes at rock-bottom prices.
Or if you are sick of hunting around all of the shops for the perfect gift Shopstyle is a website that will save you trawling if you have something in mind. Search for a black dress for example and it will bring up all the black dresses available in all the high street, catalogues and luxury shops.
But if she is more vintage vixen than high street honey you can avoid the dank, oddly-scented second-hand shops and get hold of something unique online. There are a number of great websites like Rokit and Beyond Retro.
Cheap Christmas gifts for him
Cheap Christmas gifts for children
The real thrill of Christmas giving comes from kids racing down the stairs on Christmas day to open their presents.
You can get a LEGO Star Wars Snowspeeder for just £8.99 at Smyth’s Toys.
This Dining Table Ping Pong set for £18.95 from Prezzybox will keep them amused for hours. Or you could get them one (or more) Make Your Own Landmark craft kits for £3.95 from the dotcomgiftshop. They feature the Taj Mahal, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Eiffel Tower and the UK's own Big Ben.
For kids that have their heart set on pricey games and machines like the Nintendo 3DS, Wii U, Xbox One or PlayStation 4, look at bundle offers or look for pre-owned games and consoles in shops like CeX and Game.
You can also head over to Argos which often runs toy promotions or Amazon where you can find great deals. Alternatively try eBay or second-hand sites like Gumtree and Preloved. Just make sure that the sellers are legitimate and that if a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Let’s be honest, most home-cooked gifts are not to be attempted by the time-poor or the kitchen-phobic. However, some foodie-inspired presents are really easy and cheap to make. So if you’re no Jamie Oliver, what about these:
Chocolates in a mug: Buy a nice mug, fill it with chocolates (Quality Street are perfect because they’re colourful and wrapped), pop cellophane around the whole thing and tie with some ribbon.
Cookie mix jar: Pint-sized relatives really like this sort of DIY cookery kit. In a nutshell - get all the dry ingredients for making cookies and layer them in a glass jar. Tie a pretty bow round the top and present with instructions on what they need to add, and what they need to do, to complete the recipe. It should end up looking something like this.
Recipe scrapbook: If your loved one likes to cook, you could make him or her a recipe scrapbook of their favourite recipes as well as some new ones to try out. All you have to do is gather up all the scribbled recipes they have lying around, and collate them - nicely mounted - in a big attractive scrapbook or specially made recipe binder/folder. For some new recipe inspiration check out loveFOOD.
Creative hamper: Getting a basket and filling it with thoughtful foodie bits can make a great gift. It doesn’t have to be your standard chutneys, jams and biscuits either. If you know someone who loves spicy food you could make a chilli-inspired basket full of a selection of hot sauces, some chilli chocolate and chilli oil.
Photo and graphic gifts
When getting photos developed, it’s often cheaper to do it online. Generally, the more you print, the cheaper it gets. If you’re a new customer, websites like to draw you in with a wad of free prints. Snapfish is one of the cheapest places to go and at the moment you can get 30% off all prints with code BEST316.
And if you want to go the extra mile you can use your digital snaps to make personalised gifts. These days you can get your pictures turned into anything from mouse mats and mugs to chopping boards and iPhone cases! With Photobox, for example, you can order a personalised calendar. Prices start from £8.
Unique arts-and-crafty gifts
You can have a lot of fun making things at home for your friends and family. And what’s more crafting a gift yourself is more affordable, personal and unique.
You could try baking some cupcakes, making a bracelet or even painting a picture.
Check out Easy homemade Christmas presents and decorations for some hints and tips.
Alternatively, if you’re running out of time try getting a unique homemade gift from Folksy, an online market-place for crafty folk. It stocks everything from jewellery and homeware to book-binding and metalwork and they have a section on gifts for under £10 like this pineapple brooch for £8 or this hand embroidered glasses case for £8. Similar websites include DeWanda and Etsy.
Home and garden gifts
Home and garden gifts can be fun and useful.
DVDs, CDs, books or games are sure to go down well with just about anyone you have to buy a gift for.
New release in time for Christmas include Bridget Jones’s Baby, Trolls and David Brent: Life on the Road.
This article has been updated from an earlier version.
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