There’s no getting away from it, Christmas does our bank balance dirty with a capital D, and when you’ve got 15 family members to buy for, present shopping can quickly suck the fun(ds) out of the holiday season.
And then there’s figuring out what to get your significant other when quite clearly, they’ve already won the Christmas lottery. They have you, duh.
Often the gifts that cost nada but require thought, care and creativity are the gifts that hit different, so in the name of being thrifty and thoughtful this Christmas, here’s a bunch of free – or almost free – gift ideas for your other half.
Put together a time capsule
Not sure what to do with all those ticket stubs, leftover currency from your favourite holidays, photos, floor plans of your first home, receipts from date nights, wedding cards and all those sentimental bits and bobs you want to keep hold of? Make a time capsule! Grab a box with a lid or a padlock, fill it with mementoes and seal, ready to be opened on a specific date in years to come.
Make a DIY bouquet
A hand-tied bouquet from your own back garden or foraged on one of your favourite lockdown walks is as wholesome as gift-giving gets. You can also keep any foliage, berries and flowers from any shop-bought bouquets, dry them out for your DIY bunch or press them between books for present-toppers and cards.
Go on a Christmas lights tour
Wrap up in some cosy layers with a flask of homemade hot chocolate in tow, hop in the car and take them on a festive tour of the Christmas lights in your neighbourhood – there’s always one street that goes all out, so do your research before to avoid cruising around aimlessly. Ok, technically not free because petrol is £££ but the festive feels? Priceless.
Make a memories playlist
Craft a playlist for them full of meaningful bops and funny mems and share it with them on Spotify or go old school and make them a cd. Homemade and straight from the heart!
Knit them something cute
If you know how to hand your yarn and you’ve got some going spare, pick up your needles and knit your other half something cosy. Socks get a bad rap but when it takes you two weeks to craft somewhere for your OH to house their toes with your bare hands, you bet they become a top-tier gift.
Make a photo album coffee book
In an age where our photos generally live in the abyss of our digital devices, printing them off and binding them into a book always feels like you’ve gone to some serious effort to make sure those treasured memories aren’t lost to an IOS update or a concrete floor.
You may already have lots of photos and photo-booth polaroid pictures dotted around your home, in wallets and bedside tables, so all you need to do is find an old notebook and get sticking. Of course, you can always buy a blank journal or a hardback photo book, if you prefer – it’s not free but it’s still way cheaper than the new PlayStation or Gucci tights.
Put a recipe book together
From treasured family recipes you know they love, bakes they’d love to try or themed dishes relating to their life, fill up a recipe book with personalised notes and dinner ideas for you both to enjoy time and time again.
Give them an ILU jar
Write down all the things you love about them on little notes, fold them up and fill up a mason jar for them to open when they need a little soppy reminder of how bloody lovely they are. Too schmaltzy for you? Stick to date night ideas instead.
Give them homemade IOU tokens
Whether it’s taking care of the boring household stuff like valeting the car or making them breakfast in bed or ya know, giving them free hugs or the best big quivering ‘O’ of their life, from the mundane to the magical, love tokens will do the job.
Give them a Hall(mark) pass
Not a hall pass exactly, it’s not that kind of Christmas, you filthy animals. Give them a Netflix punch card. This entitles the bearer full rights to the remote for one whole night. No compromise, no complaints. Consider this their get out of Hallmark movie & reality tv prison free card. So generous.
Write them a series of “read this when” letters
Write them a series of letters and label them ready for your dearly beloved to open on certain occasions throughout the year. From when they’re having a bad day to when they have something big to celebrate and when they need to know you love them, you’ll have the perfect heartfelt message already prepared. You’re basically Beethoven.
Surprise screen savers
Like changing someone’s FB status when they left it open & unattended in your presence back in 2007, only cuter. Make a load of personalised screen savers and sneak them onto their computer when they’re not around. When they’re done with all their back-to-back Zoom calls and enjoying 10 minutes of well-earned procrastination, boom, the sentimental screensaver will appear.
Give the gift of time
Screen-free, uninterrupted, quality time. Just you, them and your undivided attention.