Your microgiving Xmas guide: Giving a lot while spending a little

According to ASIC, the average Aussie plans to spend over $400 during the Christmas season on gifts alone. While it might be tempting to splurge at this time of year, you don’t have to break the bank to make the festive season a hit for you and your loved ones.

Instead, take the frugal approach this Christmas by trying your hand at microgiving - the art of giving gifts on a tight budget. Here are some tips for giving inexpensive, meaningful gifts to get you started:

1. Get Crafty

The DIY gift is a great place to start for microgiving - it’s personal, inexpensive and can range anywhere from novice to expert in difficulty. You can make friends and family personalised mugs, original artwork or even handmade soap. If you knit, the options are endless, from socks and tea cosies, to woolen jumpers. Think about what you’re good at - chances are there’s a DIY gift just waiting to be born. 

2. Take a trip down memory lane

The best gift this Christmas might be memories of the year that came before it! This can be really thrifty if you know how to go about it. You can end up paying a lot for a nice photo frame or album, but most of your photos are probably saved in digital form anyway, so if you stick with that, you can create personalised photo arrangements for your nearest and dearest. There are loads of free sites like BeFunky, where you can create digital collages and scrapbooks and share them by email or social media, so you’re sure to find one that suits you.

3. Make a new memory

If you never remember to take photos, or don’t have the crafty mindset for collage and scrapbooking, then why not make a new memory instead of relying on old ones? This is perfect for your partner and can be simple - a night in with their favourite movie and a pizza - or something a little more out there - like a scavenger hunt around your home city. You can even make a personalised voucher book, which your loved one can redeem for services like back rubs, bubble baths or an afternoon of their favourite activity! Whatever you choose, remember the goal is to have fun and spend some quality time together.

4. Re-gift a book you love

Is there a bibliophile in your life? New books are nice, but writing a personalised note in your copy of a book you love is sentimental, inexpensive and a great idea for close family and friends. This can go for other items as well, but stick to sentimental things. Re-gifting and giving second-hand possessions is not a cardinal sin as long as you do it carefully - choose something with personal value, something you want to share and think they’ll genuinely enjoy. Want more tips for re-gifting like a pro? Check out our How to re-gift and get away with it blog.

5. Give an original recipe book

This is great if you or your gift receiver fancy yourselves chefs and it can be something you put together yourself, or you can have it professionally bound. Officeworks, has bound A5 books starting at around $4 that can be picked up in-store for free. When filling the pages, pick dishes with some kind of significance, whether it be to your relationship or to the season. Bonus points if at least one of the recipes is your own jealously guarded secret that the receiver has been after for years!

6. Share a meal

Building on the last point - put one of those recipes to good use! Whip up a batch of your famous brownies or your mother’s potato salad. Employ your dad’s closely held barbecue secrets. And then share the results with the people you love. This is a great idea if you’ve got extended family who you can’t afford to buy individual gifts for and has the added value of giving everyone an excuse to get together for some quality time.

Whatever you do, the key to Microgiving is to make it count. Try to inject something personal, original or sentimental into each gift you give. If you do that, small things will mean a lot more, and you’ll be less likely to overreach your budget.