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9 Dec 2019   ·   3

Cheap Alternatives to Gift Exchanges

Looking for cheap alternatives to gift exchanges? Here are 12 ideas to still have fun while on a tight budget!

Recently, a reader wrote in and asked this question:

“Our extended family usually does a gift exchange for the kids each year where we all draw names of which kids we will buy for. The spending amount is usually $20-25 per child. This year, one of the families is struggling financially and asked that we do not exchange gifts at all. Others would like to give something to the kids, but don’t want anyone to feel bad. My question is, are there any other fun, cheap alternatives to a kids’ gift exchange? -a reader”

I posted this question on Facebook and got so many great responses. Here are 12 of my favorite cheap alternatives to gift exchanges:

1. Stocking Fill Up

Every child can bring a stocking to fill and each family puts a little something into each stocking. That way everyone goes home with the same thing and nobody needs to know who gave what. Just drop in whatever fits your budget, whether it’s a candy cane, a book, or a fro-yo gift card. -Jenny

2. Saran Wrap Ball

Have one of the families that wants to do gifts do a Saran Wrap Ball super big for the kids. That way everyone gets something and no one is left out. It’s so much fun to watch the kids do it. Give them a set of oven mitts to hold the ball and unwrap it with them on. You’ll love it! -Autumn

We have done the Saran Wrap Ball and it is so much fun!! Just have the families who can afford to pitch in help pay for the small gifts. We went to the Dollar Tree and Five Below and there were items for every age group!! So much fun… and then the kids don’t have to feel bad or the parents! -Tonia

3. Experience Gifts

Maybe instead of gifts everyone who can afford to chip in can do so to pay for the kids to all go bowling, ice skating, or some kind of outing? This way, they can make memories together. You could even make little gift certificates to the outing/event for all of the kids.  -Kristin

4. Our Favorites Game

We do something called “our favorites”. We pick a theme (this year is Favorite Cracker) and if you want to participate you can but you don’t have to. You bring your favorite cracker, wrapped, and then we all sit in a circle and read a story that has a lot of ‘lefts’ and ‘rights’ and you pass the gifts accordingly.

At the end of the story, the gift you have in your hand is yours. We take turns opening the package and guess who the gift originally belonged to.

We keep the theme very simple so it’s affordable but it’s something to do together. One year was a favorite candy bar, favorite salty snack, favorite magazine. Some families bring one gift to share as a family, some families bring a gift for each person in the family and the kids LOVE passing the gifts back and forth during the story. -Jenny

5. $5 Gift Exchange

With our extended family we used to have the kids draw names and exchange $5 gifts. Last year, we didn’t draw names for the older ones (10+) and instead they played a passing game with their $5 gifts and they loved it! I mean, some of them literally ended up with nail clippers and gum but they had so much fun choosing interesting cheap gifts and playing the game that it didn’t matter how small the gifts were. -Kimberly

6. Homemade Gifts

One year, our gifts all had to be homemade. It was so great! We had chili mix, homemade vanilla, a “fort kit”, baked goods, handmade blankets, and more! -Emily

7. Ice Cream Social & Toy Swap

How about an evening of “toy sharing” and dessert buffet or sundae bar? Have the kids pick one or more of their own toys to bring and share with their cousins for the evening or day. Kids always love to even just play with a toy that’s new to them.

Each family can also bring either a treat to share or an ingredient for an ice cream sundae bar. Those who can spend more can buy the ice cream or more elaborate toppings and those who have limited budgets can bring something inexpensive like a bag of mini marshmallows (usually under $2 or $1 on sale) or chocolate chips. Set it all up and let kids and adults indulge.

The kids get to go home with their toy (or maybe even swap for a bit if a cousin is willing) and everyone enjoys an evening of fun and treats. -Ulana

8. White Elephant Gift Exchange

We do a White Elephant Gift Exchange in our family, so you can do what you already have or snag something from a thrift store, (we have a $5 limit). Then we do the draw numbers to see the order we open, then you can either open yours or steal someone’s already opened one and they can either open/keep or steal. After something has been stolen 3 times it gets to be kept by that person/out of play. It is a riot, you still get to open something, it took all the pressure off of the shopping aspect which made everything more enjoyable for everyone! -Laura

I would do a funny white elephant gift. Pick stuff from around the house. The whole family can get in. Just pick fun and goofy things, that you might have laying around! We did this at work, and there was everything from a t-shirt folder, used candles, ugly decorations, etc. Everyone had a great laugh! And for those that didn’t have stuff, they went to Goodwill and spent like a dollar or two! – Dawn

9. Secondhand Exchange

One year, we did an exchange that had to be used or second hand. We could hand down our own toys, book, or clothes, or purchase from a garage sale or thrift shop. -Emily

10. Gingerbread Building House Night

What about building gingerbread houses together? We make simple ones out of graham crackers ahead of time and have everyone bring some candy to share. It’s one of my kids’ favorite Christmas activities. -Jessica

Tip: If someone is buying the gingerbread house supplies ANYWAY, wrap up the various candy. That way the kid’s ‘gifts’ are actually contributions to the gingerbread house! Everyone feels like they made an important contribution to the house and then when leaving, all the kids split up the house and take some home for a treat later. -Shannon

11. Ornament Exchange

My mom and her sisters always did an ornament exchange. There were lots of homemade ornaments and some store bought ornaments when times were better. The cousins all had Christmas ornaments for their first tree as an adult.

One of the favorite ornaments was a box made of old Christmas cards with M&M’s in them. My aunt was so embarrassed that she had almost no money and made them with reused cards. She was a married in aunt and the sisters all had tremendous artistic talents. All of the cousins loved them the best that year and they were refilled for many Christmases to come. -Anne

12. Book Swap

We do a book exchange among all cousins. We encouraged gifting beloved books from their own library or our local used book store. -Sarah

Tip: I love to read and to give books for presents but that can be rather expensive. However, I have found a FABULOUS way to keep the cost of books down to a minimum: I hit the used book store and the thrift stores in my area. It’s like a treasure hunt, you simply NEVER know what kind of good books you might be able to find.

Periodically, I have to purge my book shelves of books I don’t want anymore. If I know someone in my family that might enjoy it, that’s what I give them for their birthday or Christmas. If I don’t know anyone in my family to give it to, I take it to the used book store for a credit. Once I have enough credit, I use that credit for books to use as gifts. It’s such a fun way to spend the day.

Also, many of the libraries in my area also have a “Friend s of the Library” room where they sale the books they are discarding for whatever reason for a nominal fee (usually it’s like 10 cents for magazines, 25 cents for paperbacks and 50 cents for hardbacks). -Constance

What other ideas would you add to this list? I’d love to hear!

#1 photo credit; #2 photo credit; #3 photo credit; #4 photo credit

9 Dec 2019   ·   0

DaySpring Coffee Mugs for just $3.33 each, shipped!

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WooHoo! Another great deal on DaySpring Coffee Mugs!

Peace Joy DaySpring MUgs

DaySpring has their coffee mugs on sale for $5 each right now! There are over 40 different designs to choose from.

And through tomorrow, you can get an extra $20 off any $60 purchase plus free shipping when you use coupon code GREENMONDAY at checkout.

Hope Faith DaySpring Mugs

Combine these two savings for a GREAT deal on coffee mugs. Here’s a deal idea:

Buy 12 coffee mugs at $5 each — $60
Use coupon code GREENMONDAY to get $20 off + free shipping
Pay $40 shipped — or just $3.33 per mug!

This is such a great price, and these beautiful DaySpring mugs make wonderful gifts!

Keep Shining Beautiful DaySpring Mugs

If you don’t need to buy 12 mugs, you could go in with a friend or two to still score the savings and free shipping. You might also check out their other sales going on to help you meet the minimum $60 purchase requirement:

Valid through December 10, 2019. Shop early for the best selection.

9 Dec 2019   ·   1
Disney Frozen 2 Socks

FREE 15 Days of Socks Advent Calendar after cash back, plus bonus $15 Amazon gift card!!

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Whoa!! This is SUCH a good deal on Socks Advent Calendars!!

Disney Frozen 2 Socks

Top Cash Back is currently offering $15 cash back on these 15 Days of Socks Advent Calendars at Target, making them FREE!

Plus, they’re offering new members a $15 Amazon gift card as a sign-up bonus right now!! That makes this a $30 FREEBIE!

Here’s how to get your FREE Socks Advent Calendar + bonus $15 Amazon gift card:

1. Head here for the special Socks Advent Calendar offer and sign up for a new Top Cash Back account.

2. Buy a Socks Advent Calendar for $15. There are lots of styles to choose from. Shipping is free!

3. Within 21 days, your Top Cash Back account will be credited with $15 — enough to cover your purchase! Your bonus Amazon Gift card will be credited to your account at this same time. (Visit the “Payable” section of your account, look under the option that says “Amazon gift card”, and you’ll be able to cash out for your bonus.)

4. After you receive the $15 payment in your Top Cash Back account, you can choose to transfer it to your bank account or request a Paypal payment.

This is for new Top Cash Back members only. If you are already a member, you are allowed to sign up another adult in your household.

This deal is valid through December 15, 2019 — or while supplies last.

9 Dec 2019   ·   0
Willa American Girl Doll Set

*HOT* American Girl Doll & Accessory Sets for just $66 (Reg. $110)!!

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.

Whoa! This is a HOT American Girl Doll deal. Hurry!!

Willa American Girl Doll Set

American Girl has select Less Than Perfect American Girl Doll & Accessory Sets on sale for $66 today! Hurry — the selection is selling out FAST.

These are regularly $110, so this is a HOT deal. Each set comes with an American Girl Doll in her introductory outfit, plus an extra outfit and accessories.

Ashlynn American Girl Doll Set

These “less than perfect” sets are cheaper than the original sets because they arrive in damaged original packaging, but the doll and outfits are completely fine! Note that these are final sales and no returns/exchanges are allowed.

This is a really great way to get a discounted American Girl Doll, if you’re on a budget and have a child who really wants one!

Shipping is free on orders of $125 or more.

Valid today only, December 9th, while supplies last.

9 Dec 2019   ·   0
Catan Board Game

*HOT* Catan Board Game for just $24.99 shipped!!

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.

This is a GREAT price on the Catan Board Game!

Catan Board Game

Amazon has the Catan Board Game for just $24.99 shipped right now!

This is the LOWEST price on record, and it definitely won’t last long! Hurry!!

This is such a fun game with all kinds of potential expansions for endless strategy. It never gets old!!

Sign up for a free trial of Amazon Prime to get guaranteed FREE two-day shipping (and possibly one-day or same-day shipping!). And don’t forget you can sign up for Swagbucks to earn free gift cards to use on deals on Amazon.

Psst! If you’re looking for more board game gifts, be sure to check out our Board Games Holiday Gift Guide.

Thanks, Cha Ching On A Shoestring!

9 Dec 2019   ·   0
Paper Mate Flair Felt Tip Pens Special Edition Set

Paper Mate Flair Felt Tip Pens, 20-Count Special Edition Set for just $11.88!

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.

This is such a great price on Paper Mate Flair Felt Tip Pens!

Paper Mate Flair Felt Tip Pens Special Edition Set

Walmart currently has this Paper Mate Flair Felt Tip Pens 20-Count Special Edition Set for just $11.88!

This is a big price drop and matches Cyber Monday pricing! Hurry — it won’t last long at this price!

These are great pens to give as a gift to someone — especially teachers! These pens are the BEST.

Choose free in-store pickup to avoid shipping costs.

Thanks, Kosher On A Budget!

9 Dec 2019   ·   0
Character Weighted Blankets

Kids Character Weighted Blankets only $24.97!

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Looking for a kid’s weighted blanket? These Kids Character Weighted Blankets are SO cute and fun!

Character Weighted Blankets

Walmart has Kids Character Weighted Blankets for just $24.97 right now (regularly $40)!

There are several options to choose from including Paw Patrol, Disney Frozen 2, Baby Shark, and more.

Choose free in-store pickup to avoid shipping costs.

Thanks, Hip2Save!

9 Dec 2019   ·   0
Superfeet Men's/Women's Charcoal Insoles

*HOT* Superfeet Men’s/Women’s Charcoal Insoles only $12.99 shipped!

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.

The super hot deal on these Superfeet Men’s/Women’s Charcoal Insoles is back!

Superfeet Men's/Women's Charcoal Insoles

Proozy has these Superfeet Men’s/Women’s Charcoal Insoles for just $12.99 shipped when you use the promo code MSM1299 at checkout!

These are regularly $59.99 per pair, so this is a great deal on these highly rated insoles!

Valid through December 13, 2019.

9 Dec 2019   ·   6
KiwiCo Boxes

KiwiCo Promo Code: Get a box for $7.98 shipped!

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Don’t miss out on this rare KiwiCo promo code to get 60% off your first box!!

{Looking for honest KiwiCo reviews before you decide to buy? Read my completely honest review here! You can also check out my list of Top 10 Subscription Boxes for Kids!}

KiwiCo Promo Code

KiwiCo Promo Code

You can get 60% off a KiwiCo box when you use promo code EARLY at checkout. That means you’ll pay just $7.98 shipped for most boxes — which is a super duper RARE discount!! (The crates for older kids will be $11.98 with this deal.)

KiwiCo is a monthly subscription service that offers kid’s educational projects, crafts, and activities on different themes. Each box contains 2-3 projects, all the materials to complete those projects, plus hands-on learning activities and more.

They now have seven different boxes to choose from for specific age ranges!

If you are looking for a great gift for grandparents to give your kids, I highly recommend these. Our kids LOVE these subscription crates! (You can read my completely honest KiwiCo review here.)

And we only see a 60% off KiwiCo promo code like this once or twice per year. So jump on it!

Note: When you sign up for this deal, you’ll be signed up for a monthly subscription that auto-renews each month. After your receive your first discounted box, you can decide whether or not to continue. It’s really easy to cancel your subscription when you log-in to your account online!

Click here to get your first KiwiCo box for just $7.98 shipped.

9 Dec 2019   ·   0
Under Armour Scrimmage Backpack

Under Armour 2.0 Scrimmage Backpack for just $24.99 shipped!

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.

This is a great deal on a backpack!

Under Armour Scrimmage Backpack

Proozy has this Under Armour 2.0 Scrimmage Backpack for just $24.99 shipped when you use coupon code MSM2499 at checkout.

(Even if you see the sale price of $24.99, be sure to use the code to make sure you get free shipping!)

This backpack is regularly $45, so this is a great deal!

Choose from five colors at this low price.

Valid through December 13, 2019.

9 Dec 2019   ·   1
Sports Action Camera

Sports Action Camera only $19.99!

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.

This Sports Action Camera has great reviews and is an amazing price!

Sports Action Camera

Amazon has this Sports Action Camera for only $19.99 when you use the promo code 683UX5XK at checkout!

This camera has great reviews and features 4K resolution, 2 Inch TFT Touchscreen, a high quality waterproof case and built-in wifi.

Sign up for a free trial of Amazon Prime to get guaranteed FREE two-day shipping (and possibly one-day or same-day shipping!). And don’t forget you can sign up for Swagbucks to earn free gift cards to use on deals on Amazon.

Thanks, Hip2Save!

9 Dec 2019   ·   0
Oral-B Orchid Electric Toothbrush

Oral-B 7500 Power Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush for just $89.99 shipped!

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.

This is a GREAT deal on this Oral-B Electric Toothbrush!

Oral-B Orchid Electric Toothbrush

Amazon has the highly-rated Oral-B 7500 Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush for just $89.99 shipped today — the LOWEST price on record!

Choose from four colors: orchid, rose gold, black, or white.

Hurry — this will probably sell out fast at this low price!

Sign up for a free trial of Amazon Prime to get guaranteed FREE two-day shipping (and possibly one-day or same-day shipping!). And don’t forget you can sign up for Swagbucks to earn free gift cards to use on deals on Amazon.

9 Dec 2019   ·   0
Statement Wood Earrings

Statement Wood Earrings only $7.99 shipped!

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.

These Statement Wood Earrings would make such fun gift ideas!

Statement Wood Earrings

Jane has these Statement Wood Earrings for only $7.99 shipped right now!

Choose from 16 different styles.

Psst! We love Jane! Looking for other great Jane deals? Check out our custom Jane page for more of our hand-picked favorite deals each day!

9 Dec 2019   ·   0
Girls' Disney Anna Full Zip Fleece

Columbia Girl’s Disney Frozen Anna Full Zip Fleece only $20 shipped, plus more!

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Have a daughter who loves Frozen? This Columbia Girl’s Disney Frozen Anna Full Zip Fleece would be perfect for her!

Girls' Disney Anna Full Zip Fleece

Columbia has this Girl’s Disney Frozen Anna Full Zip Fleece for just $20 right now (regularly $40)! No promo code needed. And shipping is FREE if you’re a Columbia Rewards Member (it’s free to sign up)!

Or you can get this Columbia Girl’s Disney Frozen Elsa Full Zip Fleece Jacket for just $25 shipped (regularly $50)!

Or get this Columbia Girls’ Disney Frozen Anna Puffer Jacket for just $40 shipped (regularly $80)!

Or get this Columbia Girls’ Disney Frozen Elsa Long Puffer Jacket for just $50 shipped (regularly $100)!