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6 Good Gifts for Christmas and the Holidays That Don't Cost A Lot, Part 1

by Team Sammy

Santa is Coming to Town

We're collaborating and crafting a list of budget friendly gift giving tips for Christmas.

Our focus isn't on discerning who's been naughty or nice. Instead, we're dedicated to discovering heartfelt ideas that will not break the bank. Our goal is to help families share cheer without the worry of overspending and accumulating unnecesary debt!

To achieve this, we're reaching out to Sammy's friends around the world, inviting them to share their ideas and creativity on how to make the holiday season special without straining finances.

To launch the first installment of this series, we have six Sammyriffic tips for you. Enjoy and be certain to take a listen to our song Sammy and Santa's Advice. We have included it below!

PS! If you have a holiday gift-giving tip, please share it with us and we will share it with the world! Ho! Ho! Ho!

1) Natalyn Jannene, Abbotsford, WI

My tip is great for kids to give to their family members: Homemade Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix in a Jar.

The jar is filled with layers of all the dry ingredients needed to make a batch of chocolate chip cookies. What will make this gift truly special is the attached note that says, "Let's whisk these up the next time we're together!"

The idea is to plan a baking day together, where they can enjoy the process of making cookies and create wonderful memories.

This gift is a sweet reminder of the joy that comes from spending time with loved ones, sharing stories, and savoring homemade treats. It's the perfect way to express your love and anticipation for the next time you can be together.

Natalyn is Assistant Vice President of Marketing at AbbyBank in Wisconsin. In addition to the wonderful gift idea Natalyn offers here, she suggest visiting the AbbyBank blog for additional inspiration on special, inexpensive holiday gift ideas.

2) Karen Holland, Toronto, CAN

My tip is for you or the gift giver to carefully wash and save all your recycling, tissue rolls, kleenex boxes, yogurt cups, you name it. You put it together with a roll of different colours of electrical tape - which can be had for less than $10 - and the kids have hours and hours of creative playing ahead of them. My father did this for my son when he was 5 and every year thereafter until he was 11 - and he loved it. They made lightsabers, fancy garages for matchbox cars…I’ve given this several times over and the kids are super creative with what they come up with. Matt is 24 now but still remembers this tradition with great affection!

I’m now taking it as a hostess gift to my friends who have grandkids - an activity they can do when they’re waiting for the cookies to bake or cool!

Karen is the founder of

3) Jeff Tyburski, Imperial, PA

My tip for a great gift from kids to parents or a project a family can do together is to make a personalized photo calendar (e.g., printed at Walgreens or Walmart).  A calendar?  Seriously?  That doesn't sound high-tech or cool. is cheaper than a virtual reality headset and, perhaps I am a dinosaur, I prefer actual reality to virtual reality.  Every year for about 25 years I've made calendars for my kids, wife, and mom.  We hang them.  We see them.  We talk about them.  The photos I select remind us of the experiences we have had together, the trips we've taken, the pets we love dearly or miss severely, and the people in our lives.  Also, this takes a bit of work and the effort is appreciated by the recipient and the process feels good as you go through your photos and layout your ideas.  Give it a try.  It won't break the bank.  And, not breaking the bank is important to me as I teach financial literacy with the goal to help parents produce financially savvy and career ready young adults.

Jeff is the founder of the website and LLC, Your Financial Sherpa. com

4) Juli Lewis, Lithia, FL

My tip is for either a child to give a parent or for a parent to give a spouse or teenage driver: A Car Care Package for Safe Travels

The package might consist of one or all of the following:

  • Hand wash and wax the recipient’s vehicle for them (all the stuff is probably already in your garage)

  • New air freshener (if you plan ahead you can even order one with your face on it for fun)

  • Basket on passenger seat with their favorite travel/commute snacks (bonus points for homemade snacks)

  • Playlist of songs (their favorites + songs that make you think of them) (no cost)

  • Handwritten note that includes something about their journeys being safe, enjoyable and always bringing them back to you! (no cost)

  • Full tank of gas (this is the pricey thing but nice, if you have the extra funds)

This is a low-cost gift that shows a lot of thought and personal touches. It shows that you care about them enough to devote your time and energy to giving them a great gift.

Juli is Chief Relationship Officer at Michael Walters Adverstising. She also serves as President for the Florida Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy

5) Elisabeth Donati, Kalispell, MT

My tip: Rocks to Riches is a fabulous way to introduce children who enjoy chapter books to the concepts and wisdom of Think & Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. When five children and one pot-bellied pig join forces during their summer vacation, they learn, share and grow as explore the principles that help make life fabulous. Rocks to Riches is one of the most powerful 'financial adventure books' your child will ever read. 

Elisabeth is the co-author of the book Rocks to Riches and a seasoned financial literacy education entrepeneur

6) Brent T. Boden, Cincinnati, OH

Tip: With young children my favorite way to teach about money is with board games like Monopoly Jr or LIFE.  Both have small aspects of resource management that help children learn while having fun and make inexpensive thoughtful holiday gifts.

Brent is a CFP® and principal wealth manager at Savvy Wealth in Cinncinati, Ohio.

Ho! Ho! Ho!

Incorporating these practices into your family's holiday traditions is a beautiful way to celebrate the season while nurturing a sense of responsibility toward our resources and our world!

Related Reading

The Perfect Stocking Stuffer

We warmly welcome you to check our unique, one-of-a-kind holiday Activity Book titled "Sammy and Santa's Advice!"

It is the perfect stocking stuffer and not just any ordinary gift!

The strategic tool skillfully imparts lessons on how to "do the holiday season right" and provides timeless wisdom on money habits and life skills children will benefit from throughout the rest of their lives.

View the Activity Book

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Listen to the song that inspired the Activity Book!