15 Totally Free Gift Ideas That Will Save You So Much Money
These gifts won't cost you a thing and will warm even the coldest of hearts during the holidays.
The holiday season can easily become a real budget-buster, with Americans spending more than $1,000 on average during Christmastime, according to the National Retail Foundation. But that doesn't mean breaking the bank is a foregone conclusion—not all of your holiday presents have to be purchased brand-new from the store. In fact, some of the best gifts, the ones that will be appreciated the most, aren't tangible at all; instead, try gifting a tiny gesture or small act that will go a long way. Whether you're looking for presents for friends, family members, or colleagues, here are some totally free gift ideas that are sure to warm even the coldest of hearts during the holidays.
Offer to babysit.
Of course parents love spending time with their kids, but that doesn't mean that they can't use a break every once in a while. Offering to let your friend or family member's kid braid your hair and finger paint with you—or just sitting in their house watching Netflix while their little one sleeps—may not seem like a big gift, but the parents in your life will definitely appreciate the time off.
Dog and cat parents are parents, too—and just like moms and dads to humans, pet parents have to base their lives around their kids' needs. Give a pet parent the gift of freedom this holiday season by offering to petsit. In doing so, you'll give them the chance to go on vacation—or even just stay out late at a holiday party—without having to worry about Fido or Fancy going hungry or making a mess of the place.
Create a playlist with all their favorite songs.
Show your friends and family members how thankful you are for them with a customized Spotify playlist. Simply add all of the songs that you love to listen to together and present it to them with fervor. They'll appreciate not just the playlist itself, but the fact that you took the time to make it just for them!
Give them your favorite book.
Your favorite bibliophile would definitely appreciate receiving some old reads from your bookshelf. You can even turn this into an annual tradition, exchanging your favorite novels with friends and family at an annual book swap and discussing them afterward!
Take them with you to a workout class.
Most gyms give out a certain number of free guest passes every year for members to use at their discretion. During the holiday season, take advantage of those freebies and bring a friend or family member who's a fitness fiend with you to a yoga, barre, or Pilates class—or all the above, if you're feeling extra generous!
Mow their lawn or shovel their steps.
For older individuals, housework, like mowing the lawn and shoveling the driveway, is more than just difficult—it can be downright dangerous. So, one of the best free gifts you can give seniors is help with their outdoor maintenance tasks—though we imagine the younger folks on your holiday shopping list wouldn't mind an afternoon off from raking or shoveling, either! It's a few hours out of your day at most, but it'll mean the world to them.
Give a family member a cherished heirloom.
Passing down heirlooms from generation to generation is a great way to bond with younger family members. An heirloom has history, it has meaning, and it's also totally free to gift (even though it's also priceless). And somewhere down the line, whoever you pass that heirloom on to can eventually do the same.
Put snacks and drinks outside for delivery people.
Delivery people work extra hard during the holidays, pulling long shifts and hauling countless packages—and they deserve a little something for making the season bright for everyone else. But you don't have to spend any money whatsoever to put a smile on their faces. Just grab some snacks and water bottles from your pantry and put them out on the porch with a note thanking them for their hard work. We guarantee it'll go a long way!
Package holiday ingredients in a Mason jar.
If you have all of the essential baking ingredients—like flour, sugar, and some candy—lying around, as well as a few Mason jars you're willing to part with, then you can make some adorable layered cookie mixes this holiday season. They're cute, they're easy, they're free, and they're sweet in every sense of the word! Head over to Celebrating Sweets for a step-by-step guide on how to make a batch of your own.
Or bake homemade cookies yourself.
If you want to take it a step further, then you can always combine those ingredients yourself and give the gift of delicious freshly-baked cookies this year. Whether you need a gift for your kids' teachers or your coworkers, cookies are guaranteed to be a hit.
Make a cookbook with all their favorite recipes.
Sure, the chef in your life could just head to Pinterest whenever they want to make their favorite one-pan garlic chicken or hearty tomato soup. However, they won't have to worry about looking up recipes if they have a homemade cookbook full of all their go-tos. You can even make it extra special by including a few of your family recipes that The Joy of Cooking doesn't cover. Every time they open up this thoughtful gift, they'll be reminded of just how much time and care you put into their holiday present!
Or cook them a special dinner with all their favorite ingredients.
Technically this free holiday gift does require some spending, but the essence of it—cooking a meal for a good friend or family member—is 100 percent gratis. And even if your cooking skills aren't Top Chef-worthy, anyone would appreciate a thoughtful, home-cooked meal that consists of all their favorites.
Make them a DIY body scrub.
Do you have sugar, oil, and lemon sitting around? If so, you have everything you need to make your own DIY body scrub. And if you have some mini Mason jars sitting in a cupboard, these scrubs make the perfect free gift to give out to friends or family members who could use a little pampering. Check out this step-by-step guide from The Simple Veganista to get started on your own batch of body scrubs.
Offer to edit their résumé.
Know someone who's on the hunt for a new job? Spend a few hours working on their résumé this holiday season. It might not seem like a "gift" to you, but to the person looking for a new gig, it'll be a huge help.
Or provide any other specialized services!
If you're an amateur or professional photographer, offer to take their headshots. If you're a coder, offer to re-do their website. If you're a hairdresser, give them a chic new 'do. Everyone has some sort of talent, so why not put your special skills to good use by offering them up to the people who mean the most to you?