Christmas is almost here. Are you ready yet?
It’s getting to be crunch time if you want to have enough goodies to fill all those stockings on Christmas morning. And don’t forget all your nieces, nephews, second cousins and neighbor kids whom you may want to shower with your affections. Fortunately, we have some great gift ideas that cost practically nothing.
Here we go:
I know. Some of you are freaking out at this suggestion. Holy moley, those babies are expensive, right? Well, sure, if you’re going to buy the Millennium Falcon ($9,999). But you can get plenty of fun little sets such as a surfer rescue or an adorable little Duplo calf at regular or sale prices that are less than $10. However, if you buy on Amazon, you’re totally going to want to look for free shipping so you don’t end paying an outrageous price to ship 4 ounces of plastic.
You can pick up a cheap pack of cards from virtually any dollar store or toy department in the country. They cost just a couple of bucks, but they come with the potential for many hours of fun. For the younger set, look for games such as Old Maid or Go Fish that feature big numbers and bright graphics. Tweens and teens might like to receive a regular pack of cards and learn some grown-up games once the dinner dishes are put away.
3. Craft Supplies
You could spend $20-plus on a bundle of craft supplies or you could make your own set for less than half the price. Head to the dollar store and look for construction paper, markers, ribbon, glue, beads and other crafty items. Arrange them in an inexpensive bin or basket and wrap it up with some wrapping tissue or cellophane for a fun and creative gift.
4. Temporary Tattoos
There’s something about temporary tattoos that children love. It’s like being given permission to write all over yourself. You can find some stencil kits that will let kids make their own body art or, for the non-artists, check out Finger Monsters to combine tattoo mania with hand puppet fun.
5. Coupon Book
You can’t beat free, and you don’t have to spend a dime to give your favorite kids a homemade coupon book full of little splurges. Coupons could be for an extra hour of screen time on the weekend, a night off from chores or having dessert before dinner one night.
6. Give an experience
Similar to a coupon book, you could give an experience. Younger kids might not quite grasp the concept behind this gift, so it might be best for those who are a little older. Put in a box or card a certificate entitling the child to a date with you. It could be taking your niece to see a matinée or going fishing with your grandson. Either pick something you know they’ll love or let them make the call — as long as it is within reason.
7. Makeup Bag
For this one, if you aren’t buying for your own daughter, you’ll want to check with the parents first. However, if you get the green light, most girls love the chance to play dress-up and that includes experimenting with makeup. Pick up an inexpensive toiletry bag and stuff it with sample-size makeup items. If the girl in your life isn’t quite old enough for makeup, you could include lotions, soaps or other bath items instead.
8. A Share of Stock
Not all kids will appreciate this one when it comes out of the box, but if you make a wise choice, they’ll thank you later. Buy a single share of stock and wrap up the certificate in a box or card. Then, show them how to follow the stock value and explain that eventually that $10 gift might be worth a whole lot more.
Some hardcover books can be pricey, but there are plenty that fall in the $10-and-less range. And you know what? Almost every kid loves some type of book. Even if they are not the reading type, you can find Mad Libs, puzzle books or comic books that fit just about every level of interest.
10. Candy Bags
You simply can’t go wrong with candy. Mom and Dad might not be thrilled, but if you show up at the Christmas party with bags of candy for every boy and girl, we’ll bet you’ll be in the running as the favorite relative for everyone younger than 18.
What is it about kids and flashlights? From making shadow puppets on the wall to usurping Mom and Dad’s authority and reading under the covers after bedtime, flashlights are a gateway to a whole slew of cool activities. Since these are kids we’re talking about, no need to buy top-of-the-line models. Get an 8-pack of inexpensive flashlights, and you’ll be good to go to the big family party.
12. iTunes Gift Cards
It seems like every kid today has an i-something, and that means you can’t go wrong with an iTunes gift card. These aren’t just for music. The under-18 set also likes to use these to download apps and games. If you belong to a warehouse club, check there to see if discounted cards are available.
13. Toe Socks
Socks are boring, but toe socks are the bomb. Not only do they fit feet like a glove, but they also come in all sorts of fun patterns. You can get frogs, cats or, for the more conservative child in your life, solid colors. Best of all, you don’t have to break the bank to buy this fun gift.
More from Money Talks News:
- Holiday Toys Kids Love and Insurers Hate
- Grandparents: Here’s the Ideal Gift for Your Grandkids
- 12 Awesome Gifts for Kids That Will Also Make Their Parents Happy