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Grab some of these small cheap Christmas gifts this year. Perfect for coworkers, teachers, or that person you didn’t know was coming! (Whoops!)

Have you ever been to a Yankee Swap party?  (You might call it a White Elephant exchange or Dirty Santa.)  

Basically, you show up with a gift and wind up with a random gift from someone else.

There always seems to be one gift that is fought over.  The gift that appeals to everyone.  

It’s fun to be the winner who brings home the coveted gift.  But it’s also fun to be the one who brought the gift that’s sought after.



Make sure you save this list of cheap gift ideas, because honestly it’ll come in handy all year long.  

Think teachers, coworkers, coaches, and whoever else you’d like to show appreciation to (without breaking the bank).

14 Small Cheap Christmas Gifts They’ll Love

These small cheap Christmas gifts are great to have on hand for last minute giving!

Desktop Stress Toys

Everyone who sits at a desk will want this desktop punching bag. 

Or cheaper enjoyment from this eye popping frog toy.

Lotto Tickets

You can spend a little or spend a bit more.  Give them multiple chances to hit it big.  

If they win?  Best gift ever!  AND those losing tickets just hit the trash can (rather than becoming more clutter).

Car Kit

There are lots of ways you can go with this one.

Box of Teas

Pull together a box of teas.  Use a variety of flavors or choose teas with benefits such as stress relief or sore throats.

Learn how to put together a frugal box of teas!

Frugal Gift Idea: A Box of Teas


Unless you know your giftee really well, you might not be able to choose an actual book that fits their taste. 

But don’t worry, you’ve still got options.

These days you can find coloring books geared towards people of every age and interest.  I’m not into coloring much myself, but I did see this book in the store last week and I actually would love to get it!

My own kids prefer activity books over coloring books.  (Think dot to dots or mazes).  Mad Libs, Sudoku, logic puzzles, crossword puzzles…all fun choices!

Live Plants

potted plant

The gloomy days of January make the cheer of a living plant even better.  Even people with a brown thumb will enjoy a small plant or flower for their window sill.  

If your giftee is notorious for killing plants, opt for fresh cut flowers.

Gifts from the Chef

Christmas cookies

Are you great in the kitchen?  People love home baked goods.  

A plate of cookies can be nice.   (You could even combine that gift with a fun cookie exchange!)  A special treat of caramel corn or puppy chow can be a nice change.  

Better yet, use that famous recipe you’re known for.  Everyone will love it!


You can find board games on sale at great prices this time of year.  For extra fun, get a game that the whole group can enjoy playing.  

Catchphrase is a lot of fun.

Or check out this list of games our family absolutely loves!

Specialized T-shirts

Who doesn’t love being part of a good inside joke?  

Find a specialty t-shirt that matches a favorite hobby or subject of your gift recipient.  Feelin Good Tees sells funny shirts on Amazon for the sarcasm lover.

Lawn Ornaments

At one white elephant party I attended, there was a Duck Dynasty garden gnome

Everyone wanted it!  

Hey, it was unique and funny.  Why not??

If not a garden gnome, see if you can find something fun featuring a local sports team that everyone loves, or maybe a character from Harry Potter, something popular. 

Alcohol, If Reasonable

Alcoholic gifts are only an option if you are 110% confident that the entire crowd will be receptive.  This can go bad very quickly.  

On the job or in the schools is usually a no go.  (Unless you work in a “Mad Men” style office, don’t risk your job.)

Otherwise, I think this one is pretty self-explanatory.  And is usually a favorite.

Make a Mix

You’ve seen all the varieties of gifts in a jar.  You can also set up mixes in piping bags for some variety.  

Give the gift of cookies they can make later (after they’ve detoxed from a sugary December).  Or try a soup mix for something different.

Check out ideas on Pinterest.

Cheap Gift Ideas: Buy Them Dinner Buy Them Dinner

Don’t worry.  I remember that this is “Cheap Gift Ideas”.  I’m not asking you to buy them dinner at a fancy restaurant, or even a gift card.  

Instead, give them a basket filled with groceries ready to go on a busy night! 

Spaghetti, sauce, and a corn bread mix would be frugal, but nice to have on hand.

Pre-Care Kit

Winter is also cold and flu season.  Put together a small care package that they can keep on hand in case they take home more than just presents.  (Ewwww….germs!)

An ice pack (I love this old school style ice pack), a can of chicken noodle soup, soft tissues, mints, and a magazine make a lovely care kit.

Holiday Decor

valentine's day decor

To me, it’s a downer to get Christmas items as a Christmas gift.  Unless I’m getting it several weeks in advance, I’m always bummed that I’ll have to wait a whole year to use it.

But if your giftee loves the holidays, they’d enjoy something new to display for Valentine’s Day.  

Or St. Patrick’s Day.  

You know, something they’ll be able to use soon-ish.

I don’t want to tell you that I saw Valentine’s Day decorations at the store several days before Christmas last year (but it’s totally true).  

“Planners” should check out the clearance on holiday items this year and keep them on hand for gifting next year.


These cheap gift ideas will simplify your gift giving this year.

Make them feel appreciated without going into debt to do it.  And who knows?  Maybe they’ll fight over your gift this year.

Make that gift exchange more fun with one of these gift exchange game ideas!

What’s the best cheap gift idea you’ve ever been given?

Grab some of these small cheap Christmas gifts this year. Perfect for coworkers, teachers, or that person you didn't know was coming! (Whoops!)