With at least five major gift-giving holidays in the U.S. (plus birthdays, anniversaries, and memorable moments like graduations, weddings, and new babies), it's easy to bust your budget on presents.
Gifting is big business, and it is hard to avoid the constant marketing, advertisements, and in-store promotions baiting you into spending more money on the holiday of the month.
According to the National Retail Federation, Americans spend an average of $175 on Valentine's Day, $179 on Easter, $220 on Mother's Day, $172 on Father's Day, and $648 on Winter Holiday gifts. Adding it all up, on average, Americans are spending $1,394 on these five holidays alone. So if you want to divert money from your current budget toward paying off debt, saving for retirement, college, or a vacation, cutting down on gift costs is a great place to start.
Consider one of these family gift ideas to spend less on gifts year-round.
25 Fun and Reasonably Priced Family Gift Ideas
Are you struggling to stay within your already stretched budget and come up with family gift ideas that are meaningful, affordable, and leave some money in your wallet? Here's a list of 25 inexpensive family gift ideas that pull on heartstrings, can be enjoyed repeatedly, get a family moving, or act as a day out.
Plus, there are a few Do-It-Yourself (DIY) family gift ideas that you can make and sell for loved ones or even as a small side hustle.
1. Family Photo Album or Frame
A family photo album or frame helps preserve memories spent together. It's also a relatively inexpensive gift. Look for clearance picture frames throughout the year and store them for an instant gift under $10.
2. Board Games
Board games make fantastic gifts that kids and adults of all ages can enjoy year-round, year after year.
From the iconic UNO card game, Zingo, Ticket To Ride, King of Tokyo, or Settlers of Cattan, there are fun-filled, award-winning options at every price point.
3. Reoccurring Monthly Subscriptions
If you're looking for family gift ideas that keep on giving, there are now a wide variety of monthly subscriptions besides a ‘fruit of the month' club. There are packages for almost any passion, for example, Kiwico or Raddish Kids send monthly STEM or cooking projects. If you're looking to treat a coffee or cheese lover, there are choice options for foodies too.
4. Gift Card to a Favorite Restaurant
If you're looking to give one gift to an entire family, how about the gift of dinner out? A gift card to a local restaurant or their favorite fast-casual place is something the whole family can enjoy.
5. Ice Cream Lovers Gift
Got brain-freeze on family gift ideas? If you know people who scream for ice cream, consider a basket of fun ice cream bowls, spoons, toppings, and multiple containers of fun sprinkles.
6. Ice Cream Maker
Consider an ice cream maker if you have a little more room in your budget. Kids will enjoy watching the paddle churn the ingredients, and parents will love that they can make their family favorites a little healthier.
7. Gift Certificate to a Local Attraction
Do you know a family that prefers experiences over more toys? A gift certificate to a nearby amusement park, museum, arcade, play place, or bounce house would be a winner. Parents will appreciate the chance to get the kids out of the house and make memories without opening up their wallets.
8. Hotel Stay
Want to treat a family who lives in a state with really long winters? Consider gifting them a one-night getaway to a hotel with an indoor pool to break the winter blues. It doesn't have to be a big resort, a fun overnighter to an affordable local hotel is a welcome break from the everyday routine.
9. Tickets to a Show
A night at the theater is a great way to spend time together as a family. Choose a movie, play, or musical that everyone will enjoy, and prepare for a fun-filled night. With local theater productions and touring musicals, there are many options and price points to choose from.
10. Personalized Mugs
Coffee, tea, or even hot cocoa lovers would appreciate a set of personalized family mugs. Add a photo or special message to make it extra personal. Stuff each one with hot cocoa or coffee packet or include a kid-friendly snack or cookie.
A puzzle can get the whole family involved in one activity and spend time together. Consider a custom puzzle made from a picture of the entire family. If your budget allows, include a puzzle mat to store their unfinished masterpiece between puzzle sessions.
12. Personalized Fleece Blankets and a Movie
A personalized cozy fleece blanket is a gift idea for the family who loves to snuggle up and watch movies together. Include fun snacks or a gift card for Disney+ or Netflix.
13. DIY Corn Hole
If you're handy or your tween is taking a woodworking class at school, work together to make a corn hole game as a gift for another family. Grab some wood, paint, and beanbags and personalize them with local sports teams, movie or game franchise characters, or even family names.
14. Oversized Yard Games
You don't have to stay at a resort to enjoy the oversized outdoor games many of them offer. Trick out a family's backyard with giant Jenga, Chess, or Connect 4.
15. Family Cookbook
Consider making a collaborative family cookbook for a gift high in nostalgia and low on price. Gather a favorite recipe from every family member, add your favorite recipes for meaningful holidays, and add notes for future generations.
16. Camping Equipment
Whether beginner or advanced campers, there's always new gear and gadgets to help make camping more enjoyable and convenient. Make a gift basket with items for each family member to enjoy on their next adventure.
17. Fire Pit and S'More Supplies
For about $50, you can gift a family a small firepit and s'mores supplies for magical nights in their backyard. Don't forget reusable sticks, wet wipes, and bug spray for the ultimate s'mores gift package. It's an affordable activity with kids that's always a treat!
18. Badmitten and Volleyball Net
For a competitive family, consider a badminton or volleyball set. Add a scorekeeper's notepad or small chalkboard for epic family tournaments.
19. Electric Pizza Maker and Supplies
Build a pizza lover's kit according to your budget, including items like dough mix, sauce, and nonperishable toppings. Perhaps add in a fun pizza plate for the finished masterpiece.
20. Building or Crafting Kit
Many home improvement or craft stores sell complete kits for DIY projects like wooden cars, birdhouses, planters, garden gnomes, or stepping stones. The whole family can work together, perhaps on a rainy day.
21. Supplies for an Indoor Garden
Choose from higher-end kits with lights and seed pods or a make-it-yourself succulent mini-garden. Planting seeds, watering them, and watching them grow can be a new experience for the whole family.
22. Large Lego Project
Are the whole family fans of Star Wars or Harry Potter? Depending on your budget, you can gift them a giant Lego set from their favorite franchise. They can display their work in the house for years to come.
23. Movie Projector
No longer a splurge item or your grandparent's movie projector, these easy-to-set-up projectors can be used indoors or outdoors by connecting a laptop or phone. Take movie night to a new level with this gift for under $100.
24. Karaoke Machine
No need to wait until a night out to sing your favorite songs with your family when you have your karaoke machine at home. Kids can sing along to their KidzBop favorite, and adults can enjoy the fun with this gift.
25. Picnic Backpack
For families that enjoy group hikes or nature walks, grab them a picnic backpack to step-up their next adventure. Fill it with fun treats, snacks, or even a Yeti water bottle.
5 Family Gift Ideas That You Can Make and Sell
After making some of these family gift ideas, you might find that you have a knack for finding and packaging items together in a way that people love. If that's the case, you could start to sell them as a way to make money from home. If you want to get the word out about your new side hustle, donate a small basket to a school tricky tray or auction to reach many families in your town.
1. Themed Baskets
Take some of these ideas, add all the components and accessories, wrap them in a basket and a bow, and post them for sale on social media. For example, make a breakfast basket with pancake mix, syrup, fruit, coffee, and cocoa. Don't forget to wrap them in cellophane and add a bow.
2. The Ultimate Scrapbook Kit
Is a family in your social circle going on their bucket list vacation? Before or after, gift them all the scrapbooking supplies they'd need. Think of the ultimates book to house images and stories to preserve their vacation memories.
3. Customized T-shirts
Do you own a Cricut and know a family headed on a bucket-list vacation to Disney or Legoland? Consider customized T-shirts. Add each family member's name, or choose a design that will look great in their trip photos. Even if you don't open your own Etsy shop, you can make some money on the side by creating customized items for your friends and family for them to give as gifts to others.
4. Custom Quilts
If you have a knack for sewing, create a basic nine-square quilt pattern using the recipient's favorite colors or characters. Use fleece as the opposite backing. For a sentimental graduation gift, parents can provide old t-shirts and have a blanket made for their child to take to college or their first apartment.
5. Gratitude or Wish Bucket
Include the paper, markers, and a large glass jar or galvanized bucket. Encourage the family to write everything they are grateful for, fun stories of their wishes for the summer or year ahead. It's an activity for the whole family that will get everyone talking or sharing what they'd like to do in the months ahead.
Which One of These Affordable Family Gift Ideas Will You Give First?
With a bit of pre-planning and the family gift ideas from this list, it is possible to give thoughtful presents and stay out of credit card debt. Resist the urge to purchase additional items on a whim or leave gifting to the last minute.
This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.
Sara Conklin is a Certified Financial Coach, wife, mama, Grammie, and founder of Frozen Pennies (https://frozenpennies.com/), a site that she started after a year-long spending freeze. She’s passionate about frugal living, budgeting, and helping others. She writes about ways to save money, get out of debt, and intentional spending. When Sara is not working on the business, you can find her reading, drinking coffee, and spending time with her family.