Curbly Gift Guide: No Purchase Necessary

Curbly Gift Guide: No Purchase Necessary

With only five days left for Christmas, there isn't much time to find that totally unique, one-of-a-kind for every one on your list. And that's okay, because there are plenty of meaningful things to offer your loved ones that don't cost a thing. Whether it's something you've made, a gift of your time, or a promise, we all know, as the Grinch learned,

"Maybe Christmas,” he thought, “doesn’t come from a store.

Maybe Christmas … perhaps … means a little bit more!"



Credit: Craft Supply Site [http://craftsuppliessite.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/craftsupplies.jpg]

Chances are if you have a creative hobby, you also have an excess of supplies to go with it – I know I have tons of paint, extras boards/canvas, beads, etc. To save money this Christmas, challenge yourself to create gifts for everyone using only the supplies that you have on hand. This will give you a chance to share your skills with others while cleaning out some of your overstock for the New Year!

Pass Something On

Express your love for someone by passing on an item that they've long admired. The holidays are an ideal time to pass down grandpa's toy train to your son, great grandma's bracelet to your daughter. To make this gift even more special, be sure to pass along any history that's attached to the item.


Credit: [http://curbly.com/diy-maven/posts/9373-recover-a-chair-in-5-minutes]

Get in the habit of checking for "treasures" around your city on trash pick-up days, and you may just find the perfect gift for someone on your list. If you have the time to put into a bit of restoration, you could just net the perfect, one-of-a-kind gift for someone on your list-especially if you are shopping for someone who loves antiques. My parents found me an art easel one year and it is still one of my favorite gifts – and it cost $0!


We all receive gifts that we can't use-whether they're things that don't suit our tastes or simply duplicates of items that we already have. Or sometimes you get a gift that you know someone could enjoy more than you could. Re-gifting is a great way to keep these items from going to waste and a great money saver too.

 Send A Video

Credit: IntoMobile [http://images.intomobile.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/facetime-apple-touch-ipod.jpg]

This year, instead of sending out Christmas cards to your relatives, make a video! With all the technology these days, between skype, flip cameras, camera phones, there are so many ways to capture those treasured moments. And you can share you memories through e-mail, facebook, youtube, or send a cd/dvd. What should you put in your movie? You can describe what's new in your life or use it as an opportunity to tell the recipient how much they mean to you. Or compile funny stories and favorite memories of a certain honoree from their loved ones.  Send a movie of the kid’s holiday pageant or their most recent piano recital. This is a great idea for parents and grandparents. This is an especially touching gift if you won't be able to spend the holidays with your family.

Gift of yourself

We all have skills that are coveted by others. Take an inventory of your skills and determine how you could best put them to work to help the people on your Christmas list. You could give baby sitting services, technology help, house keeping services, lawn care, house sitting, pet sitting, snow shoveling, help in the garden, massage, mending, laundry, ironing, shopping or errand running. Or how about lessons in art, music, acting, singing, jewelry making, quilt making, rug making, candle making, soap making, embroidery, carving, sculpture, or pottery. These are gifts that keep on giving as the recipient learns a new fulfilling hobby without having to pay for instruction. Then create a gift certificate out of construction paper, glitter, sequins and whatever else you have around the house offering your services. Recipients are sure to value this gift of your time and your skills.

Christmas gifts are more about the sentiment than the price tag. Challenge yourself to find the perfect no-cost gift for each person on your gift list. We want to hear your ideas as well. If you’ve come up with no purchase gifts please posts comments below!!


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Jill W on Dec 23, 2010:

Kristen - that's a great idea! 

Kristin on Dec 22, 2010:

For my low-budget gifts (not quite $0, but it seems working out to about $4-$5 a person), I made an assortment of candy this year.  I got bulk supplies at a warehouse-type store, super cheap packaging (read: 50 Chinese take-out containers for $3.79) from a restaurant supply store, and scored some cute, modern, sparkly tags (no I didn't make them...), 32 for $2. 

I've never made candy before, but so far, all of the batches have been excellent, and the tests I've given to people have been positive.  I'm excited, and all I had to do was spend some time, learn some new skills, and share the results.  I think about 45 people will be sharing in my candy (not all equal amounts, since quite a few people are my co-workers and they are getting smaller quantities).  

atirenna on Dec 20, 2010:


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