First Person: How I Buy Super Christmas Gifts for Under $15

Christmas is right around the corner, and if you are living a frugal lifestyle finding unique gifts that are not only well received, but inexpensive is a trick. Well, I have become a Christmas gift magician in the last few years and my seven children are always thrilled beyond words with what I have chosen for them. What they don’t know, nor do they need to know, is that I spend no more than $15 per gift. They get one very well chosen gift each year, plus a stuffed stocking.

How do I do it? First, I know my kids and what they like. Secondly, I think outside of the box and take those likes and turn them into seeds of ideas for gifts that go beyond big box stores and more commercial options. For instance, two years ago, vintage cluster earrings were very hot, so I got each daughter two gorgeous pairs of cluster earrings. I shopped on and paid no more than $4 for each pair of earrings.

Two of my sons live and die for the Red Sox. For one son I found a vintage Havoline Motor Oil advertisement from the 50’s that featured Maine born, Red Sox legend, Ted Williams. I found it on and it cost me $4. He was thrilled, and I let him have it framed. For my other son, I found a copy of his beloved Sporting News from an independent seller on the Internet. It just happened to be the baseball edition, printed the day after he was born, and it boldly highlighted the Red Sox on the front cover. These are the types of gifts that become heirlooms and the cost for such a gift is so little, but the heart behind it is huge!

Independent sellers, either online, or locally, are great resources for inexpensive Christmas gifts, and many will negotiate a bit, too. From jewelry to makeup to vintage books, I find unique gifts at great prices without fail, usually under $10. I stay far away from big name websites and stores that are run by huge corporations. It feels better to support people like myself, who are trying to humbly earn a living, and I save while I support real families. Don’t forget eBay to find great deals on clothing, handbags and all sorts of designer named items. A Coach handbag in excellent used condition makes a great gift at a steal of a price. Recycled gifts save money and resources, money being a big one.

I do like to shop locally, too. I know a woman who makes absolutely gorgeous beaded jewelry, some of it hand painted. At the most, a pair of one of a kind earrings costs $10, but usually $6 to $8. I check out local shops, especially co-ops that feature a number of different sellers. I never know what I will find, and am usually amazed at the small price that I pay for that soon-to-be-treasured Christmas gift. Also, I buy handmade, not mass produced. The gifts I give will supports others locally and will last, not end up as trash.

This year’s gifts are a secret, but I am making a lot of my gifts, as well as continuing to support local craftspeople, and independent Internet sellers. And, I have not exceeded my $15 per gift limit. I am more than just a little excited to see the look on my kids faces Christmas morning, and even more excited to know that I will still have money in the bank! Have a Merry, Frugal, Christmas!

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