Linsey's book review on Debt-Proof the Holidays inspired me to consider quality (but inexpensive) gifts that I have given over the years. She mentioned home-made gifts as an alternative to store-bought gifts, which can dramatically lower expenses -- as can limiting your gift list. Having struggled with gift-list limiting (I have 1 husband, 2 children, 2 parents, 9 nieces and nephews, and 12 in-laws) and being hopeless at crafts, I have opted for creative gift buying with some occasional holiday baking. Here are 25 non-crafty gift ideas, all for less than $5, suitable for nearly everyone on your list.
1. Fruit Basket
These are pricey if you order fully prepared and decorated from a gift basket company but it's easy to make your own. You'll need to find a good buy on fruit such as the one offered by Citrus Unlimited, an Indian River (FL) grower that visits my town with truckloads of citrus (oranges, grapefruits, tangelos) for sale. Last week, I bought a bushel of navel oranges for $18. Put 5 of these in a dollar-store basket and you've got a fruit-basket gift for just under $5.
If you don't have access to bulk fruit, try a member of the Florida Gift Fruit Shippers Association. Prices are slightly higher than the off-the-truck variety, but still a bargain.
Everyone can use a flashlight, right? This gift will be especially useful for the outdoorsy but is great for anyone who needs to see outside at night or who happens to find him/herself off the grid or without power. Find one at your favorite hardware store or order this "super-bright" compact flashlight.
3. Classic Books
Dover Thrift Editions have been one of my holiday traditions for nieces and nephews. Titles include A Christmas Carol available through amazon.com and Anna Karenina, which you can find at the Dover online store.