Holiday Gift Ideas for Your Family That Won’t Dent Your Bank Account

Written by: Hanbi Lee

Around this time of year, I always start to feel stressed for two reasons: the first is the inevitable final exam season that’s looming around the corner, and the second is figuring out what gifts I can get for my family without going completely broke (and ensuring that they actually like the gift). Searching for the perfect gift is a time-consuming task, and you’ll want to start hunting extra early so that your gifts arrive on time.

It can be challenging to get creative, meaningful/practical gifts on a student budget, but after going down a rabbit hole of online shopping and browsing, I’ve concocted a gift list that’ll hopefully save you the time and effort (so that you can focus on acing those exams instead).

Here are a few of my top picks with suggestions for each family member (of course, feel free to deviate from the suggestions):

For Moms:

For Moms Who Love to Cook...A Customizable Cookbook!

Your mom will now be able to collect her favourite recipes and even pass them on to future generations with a cute, customizable cookbook!

For Moms Who Need a Spa Day...Foot Care Kit (or any care kit really: skin, hands/nails, etc.)

Now your mom can have feet as soft as a baby’s butt.

For Moms Who are Sentimental...A Journal

This particular journal is less than $20 and it’s a great way for you and your mom to keep a written dialogue, so you guys can have a permanent record of how much you cherish each other. But if this a bit over-the-top sentimental for you, any cute journal (with or without a theme) would be a great gift!

For Dads:

For Dads Who Love Adventure (And Beer)...Can-cooling Adventure Vests

Now your dad can keep his beverages chilled while he’s on an outdoor excursion (or pretending to be on one).

For Dad Who Love Trvia...A Trivia Book

So that your dad can have even more knowledge than he’s already accumulated. Plus, it’s a great toilet read.

For Dads Who Like to Snack...All-in-One Snack Bowl

There are a lot of interesting looking snack bowls out there designed purely for convenience. This particular one holds salsa and chips, but you can look for the perfect utensil for your dad’s favourite snacks.

For Sisters:

For Sisters Who Love Lattes or Hot Chocolate...A Milk Frother

In case your sister is an aspiring barista, a milk frother is a great affordable gift (and readily available on Amazon) to get her started.

For Sisters Who Are into Room Décor...Wall Art/Poster (or a lamp or a rug or a plant!)

Etsy has a great selection of amazing wall art that you can gift to any member of the family. If your sister happens to love a particular show/movie/musician, a poster could also be a great gift. Various plants can also be a gift that spices up the room, and if they don’t have a green thumb, just make it a succulent!

If you’re looking for other room decor gifts, Ikea has a wide selection of affordable lamps and rugs that make wonderful gifts as well.

For Sisters Who Love to Sleep...Pajamas

Nothing is cozier than a warm, soft pair of pajamas. And pajamas are often one of those things that you never really want to buy yourself, so what better than to buy them as a gift? Around this time of year, Aerie always has buttery soft pajamas on sale.

For Brothers:

For Brothers Who Love to Collect...Funko Pop!

There are literally Funko Pops for everything. Star Wars, Harry Potter, Adventure Time, The Office, NBA players, etc. (I’m really just scratching the tip of the iceberg.) They’re great to place on your desk, bookshelf, or even inside your PC case!

For Brothers Who Need to Stay Hydrated...Insulated Water Bottle

An insulated water bottle is great for any time of year. If your brother (or anyone else in your family for that matter) needs a reminder to drink more water in the new year, this could make for a great practical gift.

For Brothers Who Enjoy Home Workouts...Ab Roller Wheel (or any other fitness equipment)

Speaking of practical gifts, fitness equipment is also a good option to gift in anticipation of the new year! There are several affordable options available on Amazon.

For Uncles:

For Uncles Who Are Aspiring Mixologists...A Mixology Guide

A mixology guide is a fun gift that can be useful and/or aesthetically appealing to place on your coffee table. This one from Indigo comes with a fun literary twist to each drink!

For Uncles Who Love to Rock and Roll...A Vinyl of his Favourite Album/Artist

If any of your family members own a record player, a new vinyl or two is always a great gift for them to add to their collection. You can choose a band you already know they love or introduce them to a new artist that you think they might enjoy.

For Aunts:

For Aunts Who Like to Keep Organized...Stationary Set/New Agenda

There are so many beautiful agendas out there to choose from, many of which can be found on Indigo, like the one pictured above. If someone in your family is a planner, get them a new agenda for the new year that matches their personality. If you’re unsure about which planner to buy or if the recipient is a bullet journaler, buy them (or put together yourself) a stationary set. You can include highlighters, pens, markers, and other cute items you think they will love. Muji is a great place to check out for pens, and Amazon also carries several vendors (e.g., Tombow) that sell a variety of markers and pens.

For Aunts Who Love Their Morning Coffee...Pourover Coffee Maker

Pourover coffee makers are trending among coffee connoisseurs as a great way to make fresh coffee. Some of these kits might be a bit more on the pricey side, but this one made by Bodum (available at Indigo) is budget-friendly! Alternatively, a French press would make an equally amazing gift for coffee lovers.

For Aunts Who Are into Charcuterie Boards...Cheese Knife Set

Cheese knives (or any type of charcuterie sets) are a fun Christmas gift that can be useful for Wine and Cheese Nights or other charcuterie events (or non-events, if you just like cheese and crackers as a snack). They can really jazz up the quality of a charcuterie board in front of guests.

For Cousins:

For Cousins Who Are on Their Way to Becoming YouTube/TikTok Famous... Selfie Tripod

This gift can also be used by the whole family on family trips and vacations to take successful group photo without missing someone in the photo or having to ask a stranger to take one (and risking it possibly turning out horrible). It's also great for amateur videographers and photographers to start their projects.

For Cousins Who Like to Read...Cozy Reading Socks

If your cousins are the kind of people who like to stay in and read a book, get them these cozy reading socks to keep their feet warm. Actually, it’s a great for a gift during the winter season regardless of whether they’re readers or not, especially since we’ll all be indoors this year. The pair pictured above are from Indigo, but fuzzy socks can be found almost anywhere!

For Grandparents:

For Grandparents Who Love to Bake...Holiday Cookie Cutters

If you’ve got bakers in your family, these seasonal cookie cutters are a great gift for the holiday season. Who doesn’t love cookies shaped like snowflakes and stars?

For Grandparents Who Like to Keep Their Drinks Warm...Mug Warmer

This is an amazing gift for anyone who likes their hot beverages hot. This mug warmer keeps your mug (and consequently, the beverage inside the mug as well) warm for as long as you want it. There are a variety of options available on Amazon, but this one pictured above is student-budget friendly!

Hopefully, some of these gift ideas were helpful in your holiday gift search for your family members! Even if they weren’t, I hope it got you thinking about possible ideas. When searching for the perfect holiday gift, a helpful tip to keep in mind is that the best gifts are always catered to the receiver’s interests and hobbies!

In case you wanted to grab items from this list, here are links to a few of the specific items that were suggested:

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