Welcome to the Budget Holiday Gift Guide from First Choice Power. You won’t find any dust-collecting trinkets on this list, and we’re going to avoid technology gifts because they will be obsolete in a few years. Instead, we opt for gifts that offer experiences, which means they create life-long memories.
Gifts Under $100
‘Tis the season for giving, and with your list as long as Santa’s, keeping within a budget is important.
More importantly, in an age where we have copious amounts of everything, we prefer items that are helpful or truly useful, as opposed to yet another snow globe or swan figurine. We’re also a huge fan of edible gifts and gifts that create moments. That way, we have the memory and don’t have to move the trinket around the house (or worse – store it)!
Most importantly, whenever you develop a budget holiday gift guide for your loved ones, start with the hobbies they enjoy so you can give them something they’ll appreciate, something to enrich their lives. And this definitely includes service opportunities!
1) Cooking Class
If your loved one is a frequent cook (or just loves the idea of it), the opportunity to spend concentrated time with a trained chef would provide a great experience, as it would deliver crucial culinary tips.
Depending on the chef running the class, class length, and materials used, a standard cooking class can run anywhere from $65-$100. Check out your high-end grocery stores in the area for classes, or call Sur la Table, which offers classes in most major Texas cities.
We specifically recommend looking for a class that would be of maximum interest to your loved one. For us, it would be a pasta-making class.
However, don’t blindly sign up someone unless you know for sure that date in their life is open though! And to increase the value of the experience, take the class as a date you will both remember forever.
2) Art Workshop
Know someone who likes art, but doesn’t know where to start? Give them a push out of their comfort zone by signing them up for an art class. There are so many options available: from pottery, watercolor painting, and poetry writing to weaving, blacksmithing, woodworking, and more.
If you’re really unsure where your friend’s interests lie, start with an art appreciation class, but just make sure it’s something unique to their interests – and that they would never have thought to sign up themselves! This just might spark interest in that discipline and set them down the garden path with a whole new hobby.
An afternoon art class running for three hours can cost you anywhere between $65-$90, though it depends upon the discipline and the materials used.
3) Pasta Maker
Who doesn’t love pasta? Yes, technically a pasta maker is a gadget of sorts, but I am betting you eat pasta more than you make waffles with that waffle iron you bought a few years ago.
With a little patience, some YouTube videos, and/or that cooking class above, your loved one will be making fettuccine, ravioli, or spaghetti in no time. This is also a great gift to give someone with children as the kids can participate in the pasta-making, and it’s a gift that will be used for a lifetime.
A high quality pasta maker made in Italy can be purchased from between $70-$100.
4) Cheese Basket
Notice I didn’t say “fruit basket!” At this time of year, most fruit baskets are loaded with sour, unripened fruit that has likely been sitting in the wrapped basket for a month prior.
Instead, take your loved one on a tour de cheese by selecting brie, a hard cheddar, a manchego, and a creamy chèvre. If you can make your purchase from a local cheesemonger (like Dairymaids in Houston), that’s all the better. Just don’t forget the crackers and a jar of local jam or honey, too. And if you have a few bucks to spare, throw in a cheese knife they can use with their spread.
Purchasing 4-5 high quality cheeses in a nice basket with a jar of local honey will run you somewhere between $70-$90.
5) Camping Gear
Do you have loved ones who want to camp more, but aren’t sure where to start? While the first answer should always be a really great sleeping bag, that item will definitely run you more than $100. Instead, opt for a good sleeping pad that can be purchased for $100 or less.
I went years without using a sleeping pad, but once I started sleeping with one, I can’t believe it had taken me so long to use it! It’s truly a gift that will change a person’s camping experiences, and it can last a lifetime if taken care of properly.
You’ll find a great quality sleeping pad for $85-$100. We personally recommend Therm-a-Rest, an excellent brand with a great warranty, and you can purchase them easily at REI.
6) Spa Time
Many of us rarely splurge on our self care, so giving something that nurtures and restores might be the perfect gift for anyone, especially to use after the rush of the holiday season.
Buy your loved one a one-hour massage at a local spa. If they’re not the sort of person that would enjoy a massage, a facial or manicure / pedicure combo might be more their style. A standard higher-end massage can range from $65-100 (depending on where you go), while a facial or mani/pedi should certainly bring you in under $100.
Happy Budget-Friendly Holidays!