An Actually Good & Cheap Christmas Gift Guide for Kids, Parents, & Everyone Else

December is here and with it comes snow, eggnog, and an internet-induced existential dread! If you’re a person who participates in any kind of public interaction, chances are that this month you are going to have to…give a gift! I don’t know about you, but I have been quite disappointed by the many outlandish, expensive, or just downright dumb gift guides that exist out there. I don’t want to spend $244 on a salad bowl! Or $90 on gloves! Or $30 on a cedar toothpick holder! Or whatever stupidly-expensive amount of money on gifts that no one I know would actually want. 

The more I complained about my qualms with online gift guides, the more I thought about what kind of gift guide I’d like to see in the world. I want something: fun! Affordable! For a variety of people and interests and ages! Do any of these sounds good to you? WELL YOU’RE IN LUCK, INTERNET PAL! Because I, Grace Leuenberger, have penned a lil’ gift guide for you this year with some of my favorites that could perhaps serve you well this year as you spread Christmas cheer wherever you go. 

Below you’ll find some categories containing a list of items with descriptions, prices, and links to purchase these items here on ye-ol-internet. It’s not comprehensive, but comment with your ideas, too. These are just some ideas to get you started! I get no monetary compensation or bonus-cash-money for these recommendations because I’m just a regular person on the internet whose opinion has no influence whatsoever! ENJOY and I hope this gift guide actually helps you unlike so many gift guides that make me want to throw my computer against a wall.  

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Gifts for tiny people (AKA, kids)

Book: Christmas Trolls • $6.99 on Amazon • This was a book I grew up reading every Christmas. It’s funny and the illustrations are incredible. The author Jan Brett has other amazing books too that can go along with this if you’re interested! 

Clothing: H & M Sweatshirts • $5-$20 on H & M’s website • H & M makes incredibly cute and affordable children’s clothing that is unique enough that you little loved one will be as unique as the bulletin board in their classroom tells them they are! Tons of options, but I’m partial to anything with dinosaurs and/or bears on it. 

Movie: Paddington 2 •  $8.96 on Amazon • Speaking of bears, Paddington 2 is one of the *best* children’s movies available on this spinning sphere of gas and water and chemicals. It is funny, beautifully made, creative, heartwarming, full of a great message, and appealing to adults! I heard it described as “Wes Anderson for kids” once, but I think it transcends even the trendiness of Wes Anderson. Such a lovely film! Get the first one, too. Because it’s also a gem. GET BOTH PADDINGTON FILMS!! Also get them for yourself, too, whatever age you are. 

Music: Ellie Holcomb’s new CD “Sing” • $8.29 on Amazon Ellie Holcomb writes wonderful music for adults, and her music for kids sounds like her music for adults which is great news for parents who can’t stand kids’ music. Biblically sound tunes for cheap: Ellie has got you covered. Also there’s a book that goes along with it! 

Other ideas/quick links: Fisher Price binoculars, Kids Read Truth bible study sets, DVD of Arthur’s Musical Jamboree (arguably the best children’s TV program ever made).  

Gifts for people who like food

Maple goodies from Polly’s Pancake Parlor • $10-$25 on their website Growing up, my family spent most summer vacations in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Every time we were within a 3 hour trip of Polly’s Pancake Parlor in Sugar Hill, New Hampshire, we hopped in our minivan for a breakfast of unparalleled deliciousness. If your loved ones like pancakes, I highly recommend getting them a cornmeal pancake mix and a jar of the maple spread. IT IS SO FREAKIN’ GOOD.

Subscription to Bon Appetit Magazine • $10 per year via this offerI subscribe to BA and really think the quality of this magazine can’t be beat! They also are not too pretentious and out of touch with the regular home cook, meaning that there are recipes in the magazine you can actually make! 

Airbake Cookie Sheets •  2 for $17 via Amazon • Have a loved one who loves to bake? These cookie sheets are super nice and really prevent burned cookies because they circulate hot air evenly through the sheets layered construction! My mom always used them and I do now, too! They’re a game changer.

Gifts for those fit people who aren’t eating any cookies right now

The best running socks I own • $12/pair via Amazon • I’ve been running since I was 12, and these are hands-down the best running/exercise socks I own. Worth the dollars because they don’t give you blisters!! h

Run Fast, Cook Fast, Eat Slow cookbook • $16.50 via Amazon  This is the followup to Run Fast, Eat Slow, and I personally cook multiple items out of this per week. It’s a great cookbook because it’s realistic, adaptable, and has a ton of good tips about nutrition, food prep, running, and a healthy lifestyle. For men or women! It’s such a great resource and the recipes are so tasty.

Sore Muscles Roller AKA “The Stick” • $27.49 via Amazon • This is a great item to have for runners and athletes alike who have trouble with sore muscles. Cheaper than a massage and so effective! 


Subscription to Outside Magazine • $19.95 for annual subscription • This is a good gift idea for a brother who is interested in the outdoors, travel, or adventure. My brother has gotten this magazine for years and really enjoys it! Covers a ton of topics from camping and climbing to athletic training and professional sports. 

Gifts for music & movie lovers

War & Peace miniseries (For fans of Downton Abbey) • $19.95 via AmazonThis is a beautifully made miniseries that debuted a few years ago. The acting and actors are simply superb, and it’s a great series to get someone in your life who liked Downton Abbey or any other period drama. 

Schitt’s Creek  Seasons 1 & 2 (For fans of Arrested Development or The Office) •  $10 via Amazon • This TV show is HILARIOUS. The episodes are short, punchy, and unpredictable, and whoever you buy it for will keep on laughing episode after episode. Like I said, great for fans of Arrested Development, The Office, Parks & Rec, Modern Family, etc. 

Live Concerts: a great gift for your dad or others $5-25 via Amazon • For the hard to buy-for dad, I recommend doing some research on Amazon and finding a DVD of a live concert or documentary about his favorite musician. There are a ton out there from a variety of time periods! 

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (For your friend who flew to Iceland on that budget flight that one time) • $10.29 via Amazon •  There are mixed reviews about this movie, but the people who didn’t like it are simply wrong. It is a beautiful and funny film that is both entertaining and inspiring AND it stars Ben Stiller. It really makes you want to travel, so it’s a great movie for that travel-loving person in your life (also good for kids). 

Magnolia Record Club Subscription (Vinyl of the Month) • $78 for 3 months, additional packages are available •  I have a few friends that subscribe to this record club, and they always pick really good music each month. If you have a loved one who likes music and collects vinyls, this is great gift for them. A bit pricey though! A higher end gift for sure. 

Gifts I didn’t know how to categorize so they could probably work for your parents

Meaningful vintage postcard • $5-25 via Hip Postcard I really like to collect vintage postcards from various places that have meaning to me, and this can be a great gift idea for others. The website I linked to has a huge collection, and eBay can also be a great place to look, too. 

DW Home Candles • $12 for a medium jar via DW Home website or cheaper at TJMaxx/Marshalls I am a girl and I’m going to give you an opinion that I don’t think a girl will be upset with you if you get her a nice candle. I could be wrong but candles are nice!! These candles are the best cheapish candles I’ve come across in all my candle-buying experience. You can find them at TJMaxx usually, and I think they have a lot of pleasant scents that last a long time!


Prints: For a new adult who has an apartment to fill or someone who needs wall art besides your 6th grade school pic! • $10-$30 by Cait Giambroni and FamilytreeMost young adults who leave college and get their first apartment are usually lacking stuff like wall art – an extra cost that doesn’t always cut the budget when you don’t have things like real forks and knives (been there). My friend Cait designs lovely prints that I think are just dandy, and I’ve also fallen in love with prints from Familytree that feature different states and landscapes. So nice! 

Make a gift: homemade granola • My favorite granola recipe is a great gift that you can easily make in bulk and give to many people. Just purchase glass mason jars at Walmart, get some twine, and you’ve got a gift to go! Recipe is found here.

Book: The Residence: Inside the Private World of the White House •  $12.22 via Amazon • This book is enjoyable for most all people! I read it, my mom read it, my dad read it, my grandparents, etc. It is highly entertaining but really fascinating and surprising, too! It makes for a great gift.

LL Bean Socks • $19.99 via LL Bean Okay these are pricier socks but they are worth every penny. LL Bean’s wool boot socks are my favorite winter socks, and are found in a variety of colors and weights for both genders. You won’t want to wear any other socks in the winter once you wear these socks. 

Magazine subscription to This Old House • $16 for a year via website I actually enjoy this magazine because I’m into home remodeling, but it’s a great magazine for parents or others who might be into home improvement, being more handy around the house, or building things/DIY! It’s a great magazine with a lot of amazing resources within. 

Okay! I think that’s all I’ve got for now, but I will keep updating to this list if people post comments or questions or make requests for my opinion, though I’m not sure why because I am just a random 24 year old who knows very little. I do have opinions though, so if you want them I CAN share!

Remember that if you can’t think of or afford a tangible gift, experience-based gifts are such an amazing gift, too. Whether you plan a day in a nearby city, a tour of a brewery or historic home, a private lesson, concert tickets, or anything like that, know that experiences are really great gifts to give, too! Or, sitting down and writing a meaningful letter or essay along with printing old pictures is probably one of the nicest and most meaningful gifts as well. Get creative!

I’m wishing you all the best! I hope this gift guide wasn’t as dumb as some others you’ve read. Comment with any questions or ideas, and also comment with horrible gift guides that are really dumb so that we can make fun of them together! 

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