Christmas Gifts that Keep on Saving, Part 2

He's making his list & checking it twice.

What do I get all these people for Christmas?

Still Christmas shopping? Me, too. Once you’ve sorted out your approach to Christmas gifting, it’s time to tackle the shopping list. Here are some ideas for the frugal people on your list, or those you think could stand to learn a little thrift. These mostly practical gifts will strike the thrifty as luxury items because they make either life, or saving money, so much easier.

For the new parent:

temporal lobe thermometer: This thermometer is so quick & to use, my kids like getting their temperature taken. It also seems more sensitive than traditional ones.

miracle swaddler: This blanket gently helps keep those arms swaddled much longer than other styles.

white noise: A small, portable white noise machine is ideal for travel, even if it’s just to put your baby down to sleep at a friend or grandparent’s house. It’s also great for hotels and camping.

rechargeable batteries: Battery-operated toys are bound to enter your house. This set will save you loads in the long run.

For the handy man: (suggestions from Neil)

drive socket set: I’ve been preaching this to anyone who will listen lately, once you go 1/2″ for automotive work, you won’t go back. If you or a loved one will be doing any work on their car in the near future, I cannot recommend highly enough to get 1/2″ drive sockets. Most people use 3/8″ drive, and it’s nothing but frustration and busted knuckles.

wire strippers: These auto-stippers are a tool you didn’t know you needed until you use one. They perfectly strip wire of any common size without breaking the conductor. Much better and faster than using scissors or traditional strippers.

loupe – LED illuminated: These loupes are really fun. Easy to use and show the kids stuff close up. Bugs, carpet, newspaper, wood, all fun when viewed through a loupe.

wood-splitting ax: This Fiskars Axe is the only way I am able to split my own firewood. I am not a giant lumberjack; I cannot wield a 8-10# maul for a few hours at a time. This thing is light, swift, and well designed. It makes splitting wood fun.

drill bit set: Get these if you own a 1/4″ drive impact driver. Makes it into a small electric impact gun. Very useful and fast for backing out bolts/ nuts.

For the home chef:

pressure cooker: I never knew how amazing pressure cookers are until I received an electric one as a gift. It has saved dinner on more than one occasion when I forgot to thaw meat, or got home later than expected. It can cook bone-in frozen chicken pieces in less than half an hour. It also makes meat way more tender than other cooking methods.

instant pot: I don’t have one of these, but I’ve heard it’s the pot to end all pots. It’s a programmable pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, yogurt maker…you name it, it can do it. It’s priced very reasonably compared to purchasing one or two of these other devices. If I didn’t already own a pressure cooker and slow cooker, this would be on my wish list.

good knife: A good knife makes cooking sooo much more enjoyable–and safer.

For the kids:

K’nex, Legos, or Duplos: My son spends countless hours playing with these building toys.

Narnia book seriesLittle House book series: Classic children’s books make a great gift kids and parents will like.

Craft supplies or Play-dohReplenish crafty consumables.

Zoo or children’s museum membership, sports class, Highlights magazine subscription: keep them entertained throughout the year with fun activities or subscriptions.

For the brown bagger: These glass food storage containers are healthier than heating in plastic, and don’t leak at all.

For the bread-maker: We nearly always have a bread from this book on hand: Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day book.

For the Indian food-lover: If you’d like to stop paying $18 for take-out Indian entrees, this is the cookbook you need. It’s accessible, relatively simple, and tastes authentic. Madhur Jaffrey’s Quick and Easy Indian Cooking

For the home exerciser: For those skipping the gym membership, my favorite workout videos are Zumba,  Ballet Beautiful, & P90x.

For the whole family:

Whirlypop: We make all our popcorn in this stovepop popper. It makes excellent kettle corn as well.

Board games such as the Busytown Game (for younger kids): This game has the whole family work together to win.

Book sets such as Narnia book seriesLittle House book series

DVD sets such as Narnia, Harry Potter, or Star Wars

Museum or zoo memberships.

For the tea drinker: hot pot, Yorkshire English breakfast tea.

Happy shopping! I hope you find something for everyone on your list.

What are some favorite gifts you’ve given or received?


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23 Responses to “Christmas Gifts that Keep on Saving, Part 2”

  1. Jonathan Finna says :

    Don’t forget those Sears gift cards for your handyman or appliance buyers!

  2. Amanda says :

    GREAT gift ideas! Thanks for the idea on the wood splitting axe. My husband only has a huge sledge hammer and wedge – making it nearly impossible for me to split wood.

    I’ve been thinking about buying the instant pot. It crossed my mind yesterday when I put the stew into the slow cooker a little late in the day. The flexibility is appealing.

    • Kalie says :

      I should clarify–Neil wrote the descriptions for the handy man items. I have never split wood, but I think this would be the right tool for ladies. I know Mrs. ONL does split wood so she’d be the person to ask.

      I’m thinking if/when my other cookers die, I’d like an instant pot. Maybe you could ask for gift cards towards one.

  3. Josh says :

    Thanks for the ax recommendation. Getting one is on my wishlist this Christmas as we installed a wood stove.

    I also loved my pressure cooker from my single day. My wife does all the cooking now & she grew up with a crock pot so that’s her preference. But, the pressure cooker is great if you are in a somewhat hurry or unpredictable schedule and need to prep & cook the meal at the same hour you will eat it.

    • Kalie says :

      I hope you get the ax. That’s awesome you installed a wood stove!

      I like that my slow cooker holds more food, but my pressure cooker makes meat more tender as well as being faster. Both good options.

  4. Fruclassity (Ruth) says :

    I just bought a slow cooker tonight as a gift for our daugher. Instant pots? I don’t trust them yet – but I’ve heard great things about them. Give me another yeear (or 5) for that. Great ideas here : )

    • Kalie says :

      Slow cookers are also great. I use mine quite often. I’ll end up waiting to see about the instant pot, too, since I really don’t need one at this point.

  5. Fruclassity (Ruth) says :

    (I also meant to add, in case you didn’t read my response to your comment at PDF: I WISH $30,000 had been the amount of our mortgage reduction in two monts! It was actually 2 x $3,000. I made that more clear with an edit : )

    • Kalie says :

      Oh thanks! We always keep each other precise with our numbers 🙂 I was wondering how in the world you did that! But 2 x $3,000 is also awesome!

  6. DC YAM says :

    Wow lots of great suggestions here! I think when it comes to kids they either love Legos or are meh about them. I used to love them growing up and I have a younger cousin and it’s fun to see her really get into them.

    • Kalie says :

      We have most of the Lego collection from my four sibs & me growing up. It’s an amazing boon. It remains to be seen whether my daughter will get into them but my son plays with them for hours every day.

  7. Brian says :

    Good list! Crock pot is another cook one for the home cook. We make many great meals during the winter months in our crock pot, with a little prep in the AM.

    • Kalie says :

      I love my crock pot for certain meals, and also use it to cook dry beans in large batches. And I use the stoneware for when I make yogurt. So they are definitely useful and I have given them as bridal shower gifts more than once.

  8. Emily says :

    The rechargeable batteries are a terrific present idea…we spend so much on batteries for various toys.

    • Kalie says :

      I’m so glad we finally shelled out for a set. I’m starting to think I should give them as shower gifts (baby and bridal), even if they’re not on the registry. Who doesn’t need batteries?

  9. Mustard Seed Money says :

    A white noise machine was such an incredible gift that we received. Being able to turn it on while the baby is sleeping and going about our morning and afternoon chores is such a blessing.

    We forgot to turn it on one day and the baby was up within five minutes. We didn’t make that mistake again 🙂

    • Kalie says :

      White noise is magical for babies! It really does make difference, especially with a floor plan like ours where the kitchen is on the same floor as the bedrooms.

  10. David says :

    Your suggestion to get Madhur Jaffrey’s cook book (also on our shelf) brings mind Nancie McDermott’s Thai, Vietnamese, and curry cook books. we’ve made a bunch of recipes from these, most aren’t hard, and several of them have become ones that we make over and over.

    Bonus for frugality: many don’t think of giving used books as gifts but if the recipient won’t be offended, you can pay between a couple dollars less to basically paying only for shipping!

    Amazon link for convenience that you can remove if it offends:

    • Kalie says :

      Thanks for the recommendation–we love Thai food!

      Great point about buying used books as gifts. I do it all the time, and would much prefer someone buy me a used book and save the cost difference.

  11. Frugal Millennial says :

    I like the Zumba DVD idea. Working out at home is a great way to save money! Definitely beats an overpriced gym membership…especially on days when it’s 20 below zero outside and I don’t want to leave the house.

    • Kalie says :

      So true about not wanting to leave to exercise when it’s cold out. Not to mention how expensive gym memberships are, especially now that I need childcare.

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