Unique & Affordable Holiday Gift Ideas

thanksgiving-holiday-giftsAs the Holiday season looms in, everyone is busy preparing gift lists for friends and family. Unfortunately, the concerns about the economy may force many of us to keep a tight budget this year! But don’t worry, there are plenty of thoughtful gifts that you can make, create or buy and convert them to personalized gifts that your family will appreciate, and those that don’t leave a dent in your pocket! Here’s a list of some interesting and affordable Thanksgiving Gift ideas which are meaningful, and can bring a smile to someone’s face. Check them out and see if you find any of them fancy enough for your family! [image credit – wikimedia]

There are hundreds of stores to choose from, and they’ll give you thousands of ideas for what to give as gifts. But when you are trying to express your “Thanks” and gratitude to a person, unique personalized gifts go a long way than plain regular ones! Find or design creative and thoughtful unique gifts online. The time you spend in coming up with an idea will be totally worth it when you see the recipient’s face sparkle with enthusiasm. Of course, for kids, video games and toys mean the whole world, and these are safe bets rather than “thoughtful” but “uncool” gifts:) For anyone else on your gift List, try some of these unique recommendations – you might just find some right for you!

1. Framed Photo Collage or Albums
Take some old family photos, bundle them up into a collage, or add them to a bound album or scrapbook with notes and memorable captions. Pleasant memories captured vividly and preserved in a traditional way (not on an online album!!) is one of the best gifts for any occasion.

2. Fancy Dinner Wines
Here is a great list of Thanksgiving Dinner Wines for 2008, all under $20. If you are a novice, pick a copy of Sunset Magazine – they have wine recommendations too, or simply seek opinion from a connoisseur who knows about wines. Almost anyone will be pleased to get a wine bottle as a gift!

3. Homemade Jams-Jellies & Cookies
If you are a good cook, use the Fall bounty to make some fresh jams, jellies and preserves. I had to choose something special for my aunt because she’s a foodie, so I thought of making some Homemade Spiced Nuts in a Jar. From plums, apples, oranges, pumpkin or any other fall fruits to choose from, you can make preserves, put them in fancy glass jars, and tie them up with a ribbon, adding a personal sweet note for that extra touch! Or opt for personalized gifts, like an engraved coffee mug or a knife-set.

4. Festive Dinnerware or China
A more common but safe alternative is to gift dinnerware or cutlery, if you know someone would appreciate it, and also your choice! Serving sets, salt-pepper shakers, unique Fall Leaf-shaped plates and more will be a safe bet. But you can also go for more trendy and unconventional ideas, as long as you know your friend’s choice quite well!

5. Personalized Music CD’s or Holiday Music
Music is soothing to everyone, and can be a great gift for any occasion. Compile a CD of their favorite songs based on a theme, or just get a lovely Holiday collection CD that they’ll admire. Even relaxation and meditation Music CD’s can be great gifts; a trip to B&N; will mostly give you tonnes of ideas.

6. Gift Cards & Certificates
This needs no introduction, and is probably a preferred choice for both parties! Stress-free, fool-proof, a gift that doesn’t demand a lot from you, yet helps make the recipient happy! However, rather than going for staples, it might be a good idea to find unique gift stores, like Antiques, Designer Stores, a new Clothes or Fashion Store that is not a chain, a Bookstore, or a place where you find collector’s edition of watches! Sometimes simple things, like a day at a Golf course can be a great gift for guys! or try a Wine-Tasting Tour at your nearby Vineyards. Tickets to a Museum, Dinner at a restaurant, or Indoor Sky-Diving for the more adventurous are all great suggestions!

7. Relaxing Home-Spa Set
The ultimate gift for a woman, sure to please her, woo her or relax her; I’d love to have this all the time! A Spa or Massage certificate can be as less as $50, and there are often specials for friends, couples or family. And if that’s too high, you can always gift a home-spa kit complete with bath salts, oils and candles to ensure a day of rejuvenation.

8. Cookbooks or TasteBook
For a foodie who loves to cook, cookbooks are a great gift, as one can never have too many cookbooks! But what’s buzzing this year is the “TasteBook“, a new way to select recipes that you like from different sources, personalize it with pictures and your own message, and send it as a gift, all under $20!! if you don’t know what I’m talking about, take a look at TasteBook, and I’m sure you’ll fall in love with it!

9. Do-It-Yourself Kits for a Hobby
If you know someone is interested in a DIY project, gift them a DIY kit; it can be as simple as a cross-stitch set, a glass-painting kit, or something more elaborate like a remodeling idea. If you are sure a person wanted to do something but hasn’t had a chance to start on a project, a DIY kit can give them the impetus they need!

And here’s the best one that I really really LOVE! I got this idea from a friend who always makes gifts herself for her family for Thanksgiving! She’s using this one as a gift for her parents this year. I was totally enthralled and touched by the idea because it’s not only simple, it is extremely personal and sure to strike a chord in your heart!

10. A Festive Memory Jar
Take some colored paper, cut it into 3″ x 3″ squares, then write down a happy memory on each piece. Keep it short, add specific dates or year if you remember to make it more personalized. Add them all to a fancy cookie jar, tie it up with a satin ribbon and give it as a gift. It’s such a great way to capture memories, and is a timeless gift indeed!

It doesn’t take much to make someone happy; with a little bit of thought, caring and time, I’m sure you’ll figure out a way to say Happy Holidays, with style and smile! Hope these ideas help you find a gift for a loved one!

If you have some ideas of your own, which I’m sure you will, please share them here via comments. After all, there can never be enough of Holiday Gift Ideas!!


  1. Anonymous says:

    Great ideas Mansi. Thanks much.


  2. Nice ideas… very useful tips for the holidays.. Thanks!

  3. Great ideas. I draw rangoli on cards and use them for greeting cards, bookmarks, etc to give it an Indian touch.

  4. that does sound like a nice idea Nic!

    Julie – I can understand! stuffed toys are great for kids as I hardly know a kid who doesn’t like them!:)

    thanks for your suggestions ppl!:)

  5. Anonymous says:

    I try to make stuffed toys for my nieces & nephews, and they just love it:)


  6. Fabulous ideas here, thanks so much!
    Here’s another easy one: I made bookmarks with family photos on them and then laminated them for the grandmothers, they LOVED them.

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