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Gifts that don't cost a penny

The holidays are a time to show our loved ones how much we appreciate them, and according to almost every advertisement, film and just history in general, we do that by offering gifts wrapped in shiny paper and ribbons.

This can make the season of giving a bit tough for those of us who haven’t figured out the secret to growing magic money trees in our backyards yet. Even if you’re rolling in the dough, Christmas shopping can be stressful and we often end up giving and receiving a bunch of stuff we don’t really need.

Luckily, there are ways to show someone that you care that don’t involve high credit card bills or long lineups at the mall. Here are some gifts you can give this year without spending more than your own time and energy, based on what you’re good at. Although these gifts don’t cost a penny, they might just be priceless.

For the music lovers

Are you the designated DJ in your group of friends? If you find that you’re constantly looking for new music and curating awesome playlists, create one specifically for someone on your list this year! Fill it with songs that you think they would like, and include some of your personal favourites, as well.

If you happen to possess the gift of musicality yourself and can sing or play an instrument, learn one of their favourite songs and record it or perform it for them. Even better, write a song for them. This is a gift that will surely never be forgotten, even if you miss a few notes.

For the wordsmiths

The right words can be so powerful, and often make the best gifts of all. If you love to read and write, you’ll likely find these heartfelt gifts to be quite fun to put together!

Create a book of your favourite poems or quotes, either by hand or digitally. For bonus points, include some of your original work. They will love that you trust them enough to open up to them in such an intimate way.

A kind, thoughtful letter also goes a long way. These are the types of gifts that will be cherished for years to come.

For the chefs

If you love creating masterpieces in the kitchen, share some of your culinary knowledge by creating a cookbook of your favourite recipes!

If you’re computer savvy, you could make it digitally and even include your own food photos if you have them. If not, just stick some simple recipe cards in a box or album and voila!

For the photographers

Whether you’re a pro or just happen to snap a lot of pics on your iPhone, you can use those pictures to create a photo album for someone on your list! Nowadays, most photos are just tossed online, so the process of carefully picking out your favourites and putting them together in a meaningful way will truly showcase the memories that you have made together and how special your relationship is.

If you really are a good photographer, offer a free photo session to someone on your list who would love to have some great photos taken, whether that means snapping a few headshots or doing a whole family photoshoot.

If you like making videos, round up the special people in your gift-receiver’s life and record them sharing a lovely memory or thought about that person. Put them all together and you’re sure to present a tear-jerking gift.

For the artists

This one is pretty simple. Art is beautiful. If you can make it, share it.

Whether it’s a painting, sketch or just a pretty handmade card, the thought and time that you put in makes it special.

For the do-ers

If you love doing things for people, or sharing fun experiences, then the number of gifts you can give are countless!

Offering your time is huge. Offer to babysit, walk their dog, help clean the house, whatever it is they might need. If you live with the person, it’s also fun to hand make some simple coupons for chores or nice gestures, like doing their laundry or making them breakfast in bed.

If the gift is for someone who loves adventures, plan a fun day for them that includes all the things they like to do, and give them an itinerary to get them excited for the big day. Or, if you want to get a little creative, make a scavenger hunt that takes them to places where you share special memories together.

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