8 Free Holiday Gift Ideas Perfect For Last-Minute Procrastinators Who Are All Out Of Money

There's no denying that the holidays are the most expensive time of the year, and they definitely have a way of sneaking up on you before you've had a chance to fully prepare. Luckily, if you still have some recipients left on your list but are a little low on cash, there are plenty of great free holiday gift ideas perfect for last-minute gifting. Yes, you heard me right. Absolutely and gloriously free.

You know that old saying about gift-giving that claims, "It's the thought that counts"? Well, the older you get, the more you realize that sentiment actually holds some water. It's not all about how much you spend — the thought and effort you put into picking out a gift that you know your recipient will adore means so much more than just a price tag.

But, we all know that pulling together a free gift when you're older is a bit of a challenge. When you were little, you could just put some scribbles on a piece of construction paper, and all of the adults would just swoon. If you did that now, when you're supposedly an "adult" yourself? Well, people would probably think it's a ridiculous scheme to avoid having to buy a "real" gift.

However, there's no reason to stress yet! Scribbling aside, there are still quite a few free gifts you can pull together in the eleventh hour that are sure to impress your friends and family. Not a believer? Here are eight creative last-minute gifts that won't cost you a dime.

1. Coupon Book

The handmade coupon book is a classic gift that pretty much everybody loves receiving. Plus, you can fill it with whatever you want! Coupons for back rubs, dinner choices, or even an entire day when you have to do everything your gift recipient asks — it's up to you! Whatever you decide, it's sure to be your loved one's favorite gift of the year.

2. Your Movie Recommendations

Are you known as the resident film expert? Are your friends and family members always coming to you for recommendations of things they should watch next? Why not jot down all of your favorites so it's easy for them to reference?

You can piece it all together just like a coupon book, and even have different sections for your favorite dramas, comedies, romances, etc., and include the most iconic quote from each movie. If you want to spend just a little money, package your little booklet of recommendations with a bag of popcorn and some classic movie treats. Voila — you have a creative and personal gift!

3. Cookbook

If your friends and loved ones are always complimenting your skills in the kitchen, why not share your knowledge? Collect all of your favorite recipes, and compile them in a personal cookbook as a gift. Or, if you know how to mix up a mean drink, a booklet of your most popular cocktail recipes is sure to please as well.

4. Your Time

Sometimes, there's no greater gift than getting to spend time with the people you love. That's right, your time is a present all on its own. But, you can make it a little more special by putting a little effort into planning your time together.

Maybe you want to take your friend or family member out to a free event you know he or she would love. Or, perhaps you want to coordinate a time when you can both dedicate a few hours to a cause your loved one is passionate about — like an animal shelter or soup kitchen. It's a gift that gives, and that's what the holiday season is all about!

5. Scrapbook

Here's a gift that's sure to make mom cry. Dig out all of your old photos, some scissors, and stickers, and put together a scrapbook for that special person on your list. You can include pictures of all of your past holidays together, or photos and keepsakes from any of your favorite memories.

If you're a little more tech-savvy, you can also create a digital version. Put together a slideshow of photos and video clips, with a special message from you at the beginning. Just prepare for your mom to show it on the big screen at every single family get-together. It's inevitable.

6. Playlist

Back in the day, creating a mixtape was the ultimate symbol of love and affection. So, kick it old school, and compile a playlist or CD. You can select all of your favorite songs that you think your friend or family member would love. Or, you can pull songs that mean something to the both of you, or spark a special memory. Get out some permanent markers to decorate the CD, and you're left with a perfectly personal gift.

7. Heartfelt Note

Sure, you know you love all of those special people on your shopping list. But, how often do you actually tell them how much they mean to you? Sometimes a genuine note or card telling someone how much you love and appreciate them is really the best gift they can receive. Fair warning: it's another gift that will make mom cry.

8. Treats

The holidays are all about filling up on delicious and festive sweet treats. And, if you're one of those people who loves to bake, spend some time in the kitchen whipping together your favorite holiday recipes. Whether it's snack mix, puppy chow, cookies, or candy, your loved ones are sure to appreciate you taking the time to make their favorite treat especially for them.

Looking for more holiday cheer? Check out Bustle on YouTube.

Bustle on YouTube

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