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Best Shameless Cheapskate Gifts

The holidays can get expensive if you're not careful. The good news is, great gifts don't have to be pricey. Here are 10 of the best cheap Christmas gifts to give this season.

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The holidays can get expensive if you’re not careful. The good news is, great gifts don’t have to be pricey. Here are 10 of the best cheap Christmas gifts to give this season.

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mugvia Shutterfly

Photo Gifts

In our digital age, printing out a physical photo has become an extra step that often doesn’t happen. Do the legwork for a friend or family member. Ask for a favorite photo from the past year, or dig up an old one showcasing a favorite memory out of your archives and digitize it. Put it on a photo gift, such as a mug, magnets, or simply a print in an inexpensive frame. If you have the time and want to make this gift truly special, here’s how to make a frame yourself.

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Chalkboard AstridSinai /Shutterstock

Chalkboard Platter

Does someone on your gift list live to host parties? Track down a cool-shaped pre-owned platter at a flea market or thrift store. Then paint it with chalkboard paint and finish with a food-safe clear coat, to create a modern look that’s useful, too. Give it with some soapstone chalk to set up the recipient for a creative way to identify platter contents, such as cheese types or options such as vegan or gluten free.

If you’re feeling more ambitious, here’s how to make a fun and useful chalkboard that makes a terrific gift.

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cd Carlos andre Santos/Shutterstock

Personalized Playlist

Create a personalized playlist a streaming service such as on iTunes or Spotify. (Be sure to find out the service they are already using first.) Or, go old school and make them a mix CD they can listen to in the car on their way to work. Include songs that remind you of times spent together, some new tunes you think they’d enjoy—or a nice mix of both.

Did you know that Aldi doesn’t have music playing in their stores? Here’s why.

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Memorable Magnets

Give them a fun magnet that will remind them of you. These plant holder magnets are the perfect way to display small succulents or mini cacti. Their small geometric shape and bright color will be a fun touch in any room.

If you don’t know about rare-earth magnets, you should!

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Write a Letter

Never underestimate the power of a thoughtful letter to someone you care about. Whether you hand write or print it out, tell the recipient about a great memory you have of your time together or what you appreciate about them, or even write a poem. Finish it off by placing it in a special box or frame, or snail mail it to them in a festive envelope.

If you’re not much of a writer, you can still tell people just what makes them great with these personalized fill-in-the-blank books—an inexpensive Christmas gift anyone would be happy to receive.

Have too many books? Here are 15 brilliant ways to repurpose some of them.

Want to waterproof that envelope? Here’s how!

Here are 12 crazy things that postal carriers see on their routes.

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Tic Tac Toe Thejothanakorn/Shutterstock

Travel Tic-Tac-Toe Game

Head to the craft store and pick up some wooden Xs and Os, and paint them a fun color. Pick up a burlap or white-fabric bag from your local craft store, making sure it’s large enough to store the Xs and Os and work as a board. Use a permanent or fabric marker to carefully draw the Tic-Tac-Toe grid onto the bag.

Another DIY option: Make a wood-and-marble tic-tac-toe game. For those who prefer outdoor games, this Frisbee tic-tac-toe game is super fun (and super inexpensive to make).

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candlesFamily Handyman

Homemade Gifts

Homemade candles are an inexpensive holiday gift idea. Is your gift recipient a sweets lover? Make a batch of cookies or give a homemade baking mix in a holiday jar. Or, if you like the idea of experience gifts, plan a candle making or cookie baking afternoon as a gift. And, part of it is the fun of taking home what you’ve made together.

This DIY candle project uses repurposed glass yogurt jars and beeswax.

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Bottle Openervia

Survival Tool

Get 11 tools in one with this multi-purpose survival tool. It’s the size of a credit card so it’s perfect to carry in your wallet. The tool includes a can opener, cutting edge, flat screwdriver, ruler, bottle opener, four-position wrench, butterfly screw wrench and saw blade.

10 drool-worthy beer fridges.

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Magazine Subscription

This is the perfect time to introduce your loved one to a magazine you think they would enjoy, and of course we know of a great one! One year of Family Handyman is just $10! The lucky recipient will get expert advice and how-tos on everything from DIY plumbing and electrical to DIY tips, kitchen and bathroom remodels, car care, gardening and the innovative Family Handyman homeLAB. It’s also a great option for any new homeowner on your gift list.

If the person on your gift list isn’t in to home improvement, there are niche publications out there for just about any interest.

Check out these 13 throwback Family Handyman magazine covers.

How to make magazine storage containers.

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Wristband via

Magnetic Wristband

When it comes to cheap Christmas gift ideas for the DIYer in your life, the magnetic wristband is another great option. The wristband helps keep screws, drill bits, nuts and nails at hand so you won’t have to go back and forth to the tool box to get what you need when working on a project.

20 gifts under $20 DIYers will love.

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Rachel Brougham
Writer and editor with a background in news writing, editorial and column writing and content marketing.