Add more value to your holiday than any price tag can measure

10 Free Holiday Gifts

by Melissa Mayntz

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Holiday gifts may be one of the last things to purchase on a strict budget, but they are often the first things that recipients notice missing, even without ill will. Gift givers whose budgets are stretched this year, however, do not have to play Scrooge with gift lists. These ten gifts are completely free to give and will make a lasting impression both on the giver and the recipient.

1. Companionship

Visiting an old friend or spending a chilly winter afternoon with someone who is unable to get out is a great gift to warm the hearts of both parties. A simple conversation, board game, shared meal, or watching a movie is a great way to spend the time together enjoying the holiday spirit.

2. A Letter

The "happy family update letter" is a popular feature for many holiday cards, but nothing beats a hand-written, personal letter. Longer than a quick note or signed greeting card, a special letter can be reread and enjoyed throughout the holiday season.

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3. Coupons

It is easy to draw or print simple personal coupons to give as stocking stuffers or meaningful gifts. A free kiss coupon is perfect for couples, while kids will appreciate a "get out of trouble free" coupon or a "dinner pick" certificate to choose a favorite home cooked meal.

4. Services

Free labor is a great gift to share to help ease that special someone's holiday burden. Offer to shovel snow for a week, baby-sit during another holiday, or share special skills the recipient can use, such as professional advice or tips that are free to give but will be invaluable for them.

5. Quitting a Habit

Making a concerted effort to quit a bothersome habit like biting fingernails, interrupting, etc. is a thoughtful way to show someone that you've been listening to their requests for you to stop throughout the year. Stronger habits such as smoking and gambling may be more difficult to quit, but doing so is an even more meaningful gift.

6. No Arguing

The perfect gift kids can give their parents is a day free from petty arguments and fights. The same concept applies to tense family situations or any social occasion when not everyone may get along, but time free from that tension is a great gift to offer.

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7. Pampering

Pampering someone special doesn't have to cost a mint. Offer a neck or foot massage, draw a warm bubble bath, or otherwise treat them like they deserve all of this and more for a thoughtful gift that will be thoroughly enjoyed.

8. Time Alone

Parents especially will appreciate the gift of time alone. Offer to take care of the kids, answer the phone, and deal with any emergencies that crop up in order to give the recipient time to enjoy whatever they want or to catch up with their own to-do list.

9. Day of Chores

A day of chores can be a useful and productive gift. Whether it includes daily tasks such as cooking a meal and cleaning the kitchen or too long delayed chores such as cleaning out the garage or attic, offering a 24-hour period of complaint-free servitude is sure to be appreciated.

10. Forgiveness

The holidays often bring family and personal problems into the spotlight when fights break out or estrangements become apparent. Make this holiday season extra special with the gift of forgiveness, and move past disagreements to welcome the new year with a new attitude toward one another.

It is easy to spend hundreds of dollars on the latest clothing, technical gadgets, and must-have items during the holiday season, but long before the bills are paid off, many of those gifts are unused or forgotten. By choosing meaningful free gifts to share, it is possible to trim the holiday budget and add more value to it than any price tag can measure.

Melissa Mayntz is a freelance writer and editor from Utah. She has written more than 1,500 articles for print and online markets, and she edits manuscripts for publishers and individual writers. Learn more at

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