11 out-of-the-box Christmas gift ideas for pinchpenny

Are you pissed off with –

  • consumerism
  • the subtle ( read: explicit) pressure of gift-exchange any festival calls for
  • the ostentatious celebrity-weddings/parties
  • vanishing of simpler days of gift-exchange?


And, looking for alternative ways to expensive presents?


11 out-of-the-box Christmas gift ideas for pinchpenny


Then hop along ‘cause I’m on the same boat. And listed down 11 alternatives that won’t burn a hole in your pocket.


If you’re too embarrassed to own this “minimalist” approach, call it

beta testing of Christmas gift-exchange tradition”.


Everybody will love it without getting offended!

Related read: No-gift Christmas


1. Campaign for “Humane” Christmas


Just declare (albeit nicely) in your social circle that this year- you’re pulling in money to giving foods to stray animals in your locality- thus putting a hold on “gift exchange” this year.

Rather, ask others to contribute. Label it as humane Christmas.



2. Teach a technical skill

Whether you teach your aunt the magic of e-wallet or your father-in-law the nitty-gritty of digital painting– teaching a technical skill to someone who is tech-jinxed ( *pointing fingers towards me, myself*)- is in the spirit of Christmas.


3. Teach a financial skill

Teach the close ones of about investment, the stock market and cumulative wealth generation- given you’ve sound knowledge about them in the first place.


4. Teach a life-skill

…Especially if he/she/<insert gender> a kid.


11 out of the box Christmas gift ideas for pinchpenny



  • Basic hygiene,
  • good-touch-bad-touch,
  • first-aid care,
  • money saving and
  • easy household chores (don’t discriminate on gender).

5. Create a “basic healthy” hamper

Without gifting someone a tray of imported organic seeds (yes, they are bloody expensive in India), why not put together a basic, functional “healthy-living” kit?

I mean instead of expensive perfume, you can put together a kit consisting-

  • vaporizer,
  • hot bag,
  • hand-sanitizer,
  • floss, herbal tea for cold & cough etc.

6. Do babysitting for few hours

This is I’m planning to do for my sis-in-law. She is a new (read: exhaustive) mother and would appreciate ( I hope) to have few hours of free time when the baby is in a trusting care.

Replace two-legged baby with four-legged one (sorry, can’t help being frivolous) and anyone would wipe tears of joy for your pet-care service too.

7. Gift second-hand classics

Do you have got paperback classic on shelf-  gathering dust?

Turn it into hardcover, wrap it up nicely and present on Christmas to your bookworm friend, with an artistic personal note.

See, making a genuine reader happy is that simple!

8. Pledge to “buddy-do” something till next Christmas



11 out of the box Christmas gift ideas for pinchpenny


How about buddy-reading 12 classics till next Christmas or kickstart/ exchanging notes/ keeping each other in the loop of New Year’s weight loss journey?

9. Give someone your attention


As I’m growing older, attention is something I crave more from the ones I love (geez, I sound like a mellow cat lady for sure).

As I want them, I’m believing in  Mimetic Desire theory.


Whether it’s giving a patient ear to your father venting out about the government or listening to your aunt talking about “empty nest” syndrome, do it.


It’s just for few minutes (okay, 1 hour at max) and would brighten up someone’s Christmas.

10. Gift a subscription for something useful/ online course

If you’re in any of the metros in India, chances are you’d find some online book rental libraries in your city.

I Googled and found out that one of the drop-and-pick libraries in my city offers 10 in exchange of Rs. 600/month.

If you don’t have the “teaching” streak in you (many of us don’t), then gifting someone an online course would be wonderful.

All the MOOCs (including Udemy) offers discounted courses during the holiday season.


11. Barter/ recycle in lieu of gifts

This I did a year ago on Christmas. One of the popular bloggers on my timeline opened a Christmas second-hand gift exchange thread.

Obviously, most of us exchanged books.

Or, how about recycling things and gifting them in the garb of eco-friendliness? .





  • hand-painted milkshake bottles as flower vases,
  • totes from old newspapers etc.


Even if you whip up your DIY skill after watching countless YouTube videos, anybody with a heart would love a handmade product.


Did you love the gift-items I listed above? What’s your favorite “reasonably-priced” gift item for a loved one on Christmas? Do let me know.


7 thoughts on “11 out-of-the-box Christmas gift ideas for pinchpenny

  1. Tajinder Kaur says:

    Great practical suggestions in lieu of material possessions. I particularly like the second-hand classics suggestion, you can never go wrong with a good book. It’s great for various reasons, escapism, increasing knowledge and expanding vocabulary. Thanks for sharing dear!


  2. Abhijit Ray says:

    Really interesting and nice idea. I doubt it will be accepted by society in general. At the end of the day, we all expect to see something nice happening to us.

  3. Shalzmojo says:

    These are such lovely ideas. What stayed with me is the buddy-do and the 2nd hand gift exchange. Maybe next year I will do a Secret Santa with this!!

    Wish you a very happy new year Jheelam!!

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