24 Christmas Gifts for $3.00 or Less!

We all want to express appreciation to special people at Christmas.  But, when you begin to make a list of recipients, costs can add up quickly.  Today, I’m going to give you examples of inexpensive ways to show others our love during the holiday season.

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1. Notebook and A Pen

Most folks, especially educators, can always use a new notebook.  I found premium ones on clearance after Back-to-School at Office Depot marked down to just 25¢ each!  I also found this Van Gogh inspired notebook on Amazon for a super low price!

You need a pen to go with that notebook.  You can get a big pack for pennies during back-to-school.  I did these gifts for my children’s teachers.  What does a teacher use almost daily?  A red pen!  I found a pack of 24 of them on clearance at Office Depot for $3.00 for all 24 of them!  

2. Herbal Tea and a Wooden Spoon

I found premium herbal teas on the clearance rack at Big Lots for just $1.00 each! I adore Plantation Mint tea and Amazon sells a 6-pack at a terrific price.

The great little wooden spoons were marked down at Pampered Chef for $1.25 each!  

SAVINGS TIP:  Ask what day of the week they do weekly markdowns at your Big Lots!  Big Lots has two markdown areas – 1 for groceries and 1 for general merchandise.  Check them both!

3. Premium Soap and Christmas Towel

I actually bought these towels months ago!  They were marked down at Pampered Chef to $2.99 for a two pack.  I love them!  High quality and the colors were perfect!  Look for Christmas towels marked down 50% or more right after Christmas.  Often you can’t even tell that the pattern is supposed to be a holiday pattern, making it possible for you to keep these items in your gift stash and give them anytime of the year!

I love Yardley soap. It’s a premium soap at an incredibly reasonable price. You can get a 10 pack from Amazon for under $2.00 per bar.

Wrap the soap up with the towel, adding coordinating ribbons at the ends, making a package which resembles a large piece of Christmas candy!

SAVINGS TIP:  Look for the mark down aisle at local craft stores and stock up on ribbon.  

SAVINGS TIP: I always make two or three extra of these gifts.  Keep these handy for those times when you realize that you have forgotten to add someone to your list or someone stops by with an unexpected gift for you.  This makes it easy to grab a gift all wrapped and ready to hand to them.

4. Bath Bombs 

Visit any Bath and Body Shop and you’ll see a huge selection of bath bombs.  One of my students gave me one of these as a gift last year for Christmas.  She had a blast making them and they certainly came in on the “thrifty” end of the gift scale.  I saw the cost estimated to be about $2 each to make these yourself.  Here is a step-by-step tutorial.

5. Rice Bag Warmers 

I actually ordered a set of these years ago.  You can warm them in the microwave or chill them in the freezer.  They are perfect for tummy aches, muscle aches, keeping your feet warm on cold nights, or anytime you need a little comforting warmth or cooling.  They are easy and inexpensive to make.  Here’s a tutorial.

6. Homemade Bath Salts: 

Kathy, one of my regular readers, says she relies on this thrifty gift-giving idea.  Add essential oils to coarse salt and then pour into inexpensive containers.  Voila!  Here are instructions on how to make this elegant and yet inexpensive gift.  You can get plain Epsom salts at Dollar Tree for just a buck! 

 7. Wooden Pallet Sign: 

I received a beautiful homemade wooden sign from special friends last year.  You can make a personalized version for under $3.00.   I found this tutorial from S & S Blog to be very easy-to-follow.

8. Recycled Crayons in Fun Shapes

If you have kids, you have a container with worn down or broken crayons. Ask friends to give you their broken crayons and you’ll find up with a huge supply for free to start your crayon remolding project. Melting them into fun, new shapes is really popular right now and is such an easy DIY project!  I love these Lego themed silicone molds from Amazon.  Here’s a tutorial on making the crayons to get you started.

9. Doodle or Activity Book: 

Last year, one of my sons downloaded free images, used PowerPoint, added instructions and graphics, and then printed and collated it,  creating a wonderful doodle book for my youngest son.  Lots of fun and it was a personalized gift from his older brother! 

10. Cookies!  

You will find a plethora of baking supplies on sale right now for rock bottom prices!  My boys always participate in the baking and decorating! Purchase containers or bags at   75- 90% off about a week to ten days after Christmas.  Big Lots has been my “go to” place for years to look for these items at super clearance prices after Christmas.   

11. Cookie or Brownie Mix in a jar! 

Don’t have time to actually bake all those cookies?  Give them in a jar!  Cookies in a jar are fun to make.  I used pinking sheers to cut circles of material.  Place it on the jar and add the ring so that the pretty material shows at the top of the jar.  Add a coordinating ribbon and tie on an inexpensive cookie cutter! 

 12. More Gifts in a jar! 

I’ve done hot cocoa, and soup mixes and more.   Here’s a link with lots of ideas!  https://www.tasteofhome.com/collection/recipes-for-gifts-in-a-jar/.

13. Bread. 

For over 2 decades I have made homemade bread for our neighbors for Christmas.  Both traditional raised breads and quick breads – like pumpkin or zucchini are wonderful!  Wrap, add a festive bow, and your neighbors will wait at their doors for you to bring the next batch! 

14. Melt and Pour Chocolates. 

Those wonderful white and brown chocolate bark bars are so simple to use!  These holiday themed molds from Amazon will last you for years!  These dipped pretzel rods are pretty and festive!  Place them in a coffee mug from Dollar Tree or in green or red plastic holiday bags.  You can purchase these bags for 50% off after Christmas and keep them for the following year.  

15. Soft Soap Wrapped in a Towel

Liquid hand soap can easily be found for a couple of dollars. Wrap it in a pretty holiday-themed kitchen or bath hand towel and tie it with a coordinating bow.

Soft Soap’s coconut and warm ginger scent is available in a 6-pack from Amazon.

SAVINGS TIP: Purchase Christmas linens, like towels and washrags after the holidays at savings of 50-90%.

16. Dinner in a basket.

  Italian:  Pasta, marinara sauce, and homemade bread. Mexican:  Salsa, tortillas, and a jar of DIY taco seasoning.  Soup Night: Soup mix in a jar, a loaf of homemade bread, and homemade crackers

 SAVINGS TIP:  Watch for filler items to go on sale.  Pasta often goes on sale for just 50¢ for a pound last week at major grocery store chains! 

SAVINGS TIP: Line the basket with a pretty cloth napkin.  I get them throughout the year on clearance or at second-hand shops.  Do the same for baskets. 

17. Tea or Coffee in A Basket

These baskets are so easy to put together for $3.00 or less if you purchase baskets at second hand stores or garage sales. Big Lots has the best prices that I have found on name brand herbal tea. You could also purchase a package of hot cocoa packets for under $2.00 for 8-10 packets of cocoa.

 18. Popcorn and a movie!

 Walmart has DVDs for about $3!  You have to dig through one of those big, huge, round bins.  But, there are some winners in there.  Add a pack or two of microwave popcorn and tie with a pretty bow! Dollar Tree also sells movies, but the selection can be a little dismal.

19. Crayons and Coloring Book

Back-to-school sales rock when it comes to finding markers, colored pencils, and crayons at amazing prices. Even if you don’t have little ones anymore, these make great gift and stocking stuffer items. I found the neon green coloring book on clearance at Office Depot for just $1.00. I gave this to a friend for her birthday and she was delighted. Adults are rediscovering the joy and satisfaction of coloring pictures.

20. Nail Polish

Unless you know the recipient well, it’s best to stay with neutral colors. Name brand nail polish easily be found for $1.00 a bottle at Big Lots. You can even throw in a bottle of nail polish remover or a small nail file kit.

21. Lip Gloss

This is another gift that is perfect for a young lady from age 10-16. It’s hard to find appropriate make-up items for a pre-teen girl. But, lip gloss just adds a little shine and moisture without a lot of color. I found the whimsical cupcake shaped gloss in the photo for just 25¢ each. They were 90% off at Kroger after Easter.

22. Jigsaw Puzzles

You can find these at Dollar Tree for just $1.00 each. Unless you find one with the original seal in tact, this is probably one items that you should not buy used. There’s just too much of a chance that a piece or two will be missing.

23. Snacks

This is seriously the perfect gift for the college student on your list. There is nothing better than sending them back to school with an assortment of snacks for the dorm room. I like Kashi or Luna bars, because they tend to contain a greater percentage of real ingredients than other snacks.

24. Card Games

Yes! You can find card games, decks of cards, or even some traditional board games for $3.00 or less. Check Dollar Tree for simple games for just $1.00 each! If you are assembling several card game gifts, this 12-pack of standard playing cards is priced at under $2.00 per pack.

What did I miss? 

Post your inexpensive gift ideas in the comments section!

8 thoughts on “24 Christmas Gifts for $3.00 or Less!”

  1. Such great ideas! I love the notebook and pen idea! Christmas gets to be so “BUY ALL THE THINGS” sometimes, it’s nice to remember that little gifts can be just as meaningful. 🙂

    • Jessica, thanks for stopping by the blog. I totally agree! I tell my sons that just having all of us together at Christmas is enough for me.

  2. Confession – I have a SERIOUS bath bomb addiction and would be 110% okay with getting nothing but bath bombs this season hahaha! They are a great low cost gift that encourages the receiver to take a little time for self-care, which is so important.

    • Yes! They are so fun and seem like such a simple luxury! One of my students made bath bombs for the instructors a couple of years ago. She had a great time being totally creative with colors and scents!

  3. I know this is a few years later, but here are some things I did to “save Christmas” several years ago during a tough financial predicament we were experiencing:

    A major soda and bottled water producer had a rewards program, and my employer bought and used LOTS of these drinks at their company. Before they threw away the packaging, I cut off the codes and entered them into my rewards account. Prior to Christmas, I had entered enough codes to redeem them for several basketballs, hats, t-shirts and stuffed animals, which I used for gifts. Too bad the manufacturer discontinued the program.

    I saved (and still save) all my glass food jars, cleaned them and spray painted the lids with paint I already had. I used various freebie sites found through a quick internet search. Each day, I requested any type of free samples listed. I got a lot of shampoo, conditioner, lotion and face cream packets, a few travel size toothpaste and several perfume/cologne samples. Close to Christmas, I filled each jar with the free samples, cut a square of plaid fabric from an old shirt for the top of the lid and then tied a raffia bow around it with a tag that said “Hillbilly Travel Kit”. Another year, I made more and just changed the fabric and tag to read “Spa in a Jar”. Finally, I have bought the $1.25 bags of peppermints from Dollar Tree and filled the jars with those/decorated the lid. Just the change in packaging makes it look like a proper gift instead of just handing someone a $1.25 bag of peppermints.

    More tips for 2024 using ideas on your list: I just checked, and Walmart currently has the Yardley soap 4 ounce 3 bar pack for $2.97. Also, I bought some 5 and 1/2 inch long wooden spoons at Hobby Lobby the other day for 99 cents for a pack of 12. I was actually thinking of putting Epsom salt in a saved glass jar, tying the spoon to it with a nice ribbon and making a tag to go along with it. In lieu of buying tins for homemade candy/cookies, I save my coffee and potato chip cans and paint them or put wrapping paper on them. I recently painted a tall potato chip can to resemble a gray, weathered log, and my husband was amazed at how realistic it looked. I will ensure it is super clean, and will use it for a gift of cookies (or socks, a scarf, gloves or whatever fits inside of it) at Christmas!

    Thank you for these ideas, Hope and Larry!

  4. I forgot to add these ideas in my last comment:
    My local library has an ongoing basement sale including DVDs, VHS tapes, audiobooks, puzzles, games, hardback books and softcover books ranging from 25 cents to one dollar each. I have picked up some very nice books and have given them as gifts. I made sure there weren’t any marks or ripped pages prior to wrapping them.
    I signed up for Bath & Body Works Rewards. I rarely shop there, but I receive coupons for totally FREE products pretty regularly. I redeem these and save them up. By Christmas, I usually have quite a few, which I put into gift baskets along with body puffs purchased from Dollar Tree (I get the pack of three for $1.25).


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