You love your family so much!

Cartoon penguin family doing a group hug

You enjoy giving them gifts, but you're broke!

Youn gman opens his wallet and it's completely empty

No problem! It's possible to find or make free gifts that show your love yet don't break the bank. And chances are, these gifts might be even more appreciated than store-bought items. 🥰

Discover free gift ideas for family members of all ages!

1. Plants and Other Living Things

Do you have a green thumb? Does your family member admire nature?

Give them plant-related gifts!

A large collection of green houseplants in pots in a row along a countertop Photo by vadim kaipov on Unsplash

  • Spider plant babies: Clip off one of the plant's offshoots and put it in an egg carton holder. Include a link to these spider plant care tips. Soon they'll have a larger plant and they can pay it forward!

  • Produce: Everyone loves home-grown vegetables! Gift your produce as-is or pickle veggies such as cucumbers or beets in vinegar. Place in a clean, recycled jar and add a homemade label.

  • Wildflowers: Pick some beautiful blossoms in the woods, then tie them with a ribbon or place them in a repurposed glass vessel.

2. Written Sentiments

Do you have a way with words? Put your thoughts into writing to create a meaningful and lasting gift that your family member will cherish for years to come.

A pad of paper with a black heart on the page

  • Write a poem that expresses your love for them. Use this guide to get started.

  • Make a homemade card that includes a note of appreciation.

  • Write a song for your loved one! Give them the sheet music you wrote, record and send it to them, or sing it live.

3. Upcycled Found Items

You likely have lots of items inside or outside of your home that you can upcycle into gifts! (Note: you may need paint or glue for some of these projects).

A reality TV show guest saying,

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Natural Items

Go outside and gather pinecones, shells, rocks, twigs, branches, or whatever is in your area.

  • Make pinecones into ornaments by adding string or yarn. Adorn with glitter if you have some on hand.

  • Glue shells onto cardboard cut in the shape of a photo frame. Insert an image and voila!

  • Use a fallen branch as home decor. Put it in a pail or planer, spray paint it, and hang natural elements on it. Beautiful!

  • Paint rocks with inspirational words like these.

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Recycled Treasures

Look around your home for gently used items to upcycle!

  • Make a scarf out of an old wool sweater. No sewing skills needed!

  • Grab an old piece of wood and make a personalized sign by painting a scene or the person's name on it. Add a hanger on the back.

  • Grab your old Legos and make a fun photo puzzle! The video below shows you how:

4. Multimedia

Is your family member nostalgic? Do they love looking at photos or listening to music?

A rustic gray wooden surface with an old camera and 3 photos on it. Photo by micheile henderson on Unsplash

Use your multimedia talents to make these thoughtful gifts!

  • Video: Scan old photos or use ones on your phone. Add music and captions for a personalized keepsake.

  • Playlist of their favorite songs: Both Apple Music and Spotify have options for creating playlists and sending them to others.

  • Screensaver photo collage: Try out Be Funky or Pic Stitch.

  • Google Maps Memory Collection: Curate a collection of your favorite places and share it with them. This video clip shows how:

5. Service and Time

You have time; your family member needs help! A gift of service is super considerate and all you need to do is show up when you're needed.

A woman with hand extended. Image from Canva.

You can offer to:

  • Babysit for their children while they go out to dinner.

  • Help with yard work or household chores.

  • Wash and vacuum their car.

  • Teach them computer skills.

  • Serve as the butler or server at their next party.

Reflect on what you're good at and match your talents to their needs!

6. Games and Events

Does your family member love games and activities?

A family gathering with some members playing football and others cheering them on from under an awning in the backyard.

Put together a game or activity for them and let the fun begin!

  • Make a deck of trivia cards for an intergenerational competition.

  • Coordinate a scavenger hunt.

  • Make family discussion cards using this template Then gather together and have a wonderful conversation!

  • Schedule or organize a group activity such as a softball or touch football game, a hike, geocaching, or a sightseeing drive.


Cerie doesn't have extra money for gifts this year. She loves to paint and draw. Which of these gifts would be best? Select all that apply:

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There are lots of options for meaningful, free gifts for your family members. Brainstorm more ideas based on your talents and interests!


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