The Saturday Weekly Review

10 Christmas Gift Exchange Ideas To Help Lower Holiday Costs : The Saturday Weekend Review #267

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Christmas Gift Exchange Ideas to help lower costsChristmas Gift Exchange Ideas to help lower costs


I took some time this week to think about all of the Christmas Gift Exchange Ideas that would help families control holiday costs so they can enjoy time with their loved ones.

The holidays pose a huge stress for many people especially when there are limited amounts of money to spend on gift-giving.

Over the years Mrs. CBB and I have created a projected expense account for our monthly budget.

This is where we set aside a set amount of money each month into our bank account to help ease the pain of gift-giving.

Just last year we started the same process for our grocery shopping during the holidays.

Unfortunately, we found that we were spending more money on buying food to bring to holiday parties not to mention all of the baking we had done.

This year we are combining Christmas gift exchange ideas below for our private family Christmas and that with our relatives which will most certainly be interesting and fun.

Related: Santa All I Want For Christmas From A to Z

10 Christmas Gift Exchange Ideas To Consider

I think the same old boring opening gifts should be fun and exciting.

This holiday season I hope you try some of our Christmas gift exchange ideas to bring new life to your celebrations.

Below are 10 Christmas gift exchange ideas that I think many of you may want to try especially the sock exchange which I think is pretty cool.

We are doing that this year!

Christmas Sock Exchange

The Christmas gift exchange using socks is an awesome idea because it’s easy to do and inexpensive especially if you plan for it throughout the year.

You can not only find the socks you want to give on sale but the items you stuff into the socks.

Tie the socks with some decorative holiday ribbon and you’re good to go.

This is a great idea for adults who no longer want to buy gifts for each other.

Pick a Christmas Gift

This one again is fairly simple where you agree on a set amount of money to be spent and keep the presents neutral for male or female or label them adult-male, kids, adult-female, teen-male and so on.

You wrap the gifts and set them around the Christmas tree and pick a gift.

You can trade your gift if you have someone to trade with or keep it for yourself. It can become a fun game or just a way to keep things simple for the holidays.

Games and Puzzles Christmas Gift Exchange

Our son is a huge fan of playing kids board games so I thought this was a great Christmas gift exchange idea for the families who love board games and puzzles.

You simply go out and buy board games or puzzles, wrap them up and put them under the tree.

Everyone gets to pick a gift or you draw names and buy a board game or puzzle for the person whose name you chose.

Our son loves the game of Operation and the adults a classic game of Monopoly or a trending new game will do the trick especially if you can find it on sale.

Black Friday sales are great for board games, toys and puzzles so this might be a smart way to shop for those of you sticking to a Christmas budget like we are.

Service Christmas Gift Exchange

This is one of my favourite Christmas gift exchange ideas because you never know when services will be needed.

For example, we have a plumber in the family.

Plumbing is expensive BUT perhaps a service gift of free plumbing service or installation of a new plumbing service would be an awesome gift to get.

If you are a teacher perhaps you can offer free tutoring to someone in the family who needs and would appreciate it.

If you are a mechanic, baker, babysitter, house sitter, dog walker and I’m sure a million other services that are available out there consider offering them as a Christmas gift exchange.

What a wonderful way to save money!

Volunteering Time

Sometimes the best Christmas gift exchange comes from volunteering your time. Instead of exchanging gifts volunteer at local community centers that need help this time of year.

Instead of buying gifts for family and friends pool your money and buy gifts to donate to those families in need or buy food to donate with the money to the food bank.

Related: Homeless Christmas Care Package Ideas

Money Pooling

Another superb money-saving idea for a Christmas gift exchange is to pool the money you would have spent on buying Christmas gifts.

Go ahead and buy yourselves a road-trip, an experience or something fun you can do together as a family.

A trip to Toronto for the day or somewhere you’ve never been before would be a great way to build memories.

Homemade Christmas Gift Exchange

Creating gifts with your own hands that people can appreciate even more than simply buying a gift off the shelf is price-less.

I’m a big fan of homemade Christmas gift exchange especially at my age where I don’t care for traditional gift-giving of buying and wrapping gifts from the shops.

You could also take your favourite Christmas baking recipes and put them in a jar with a bow.

I’ve seen beverage mixes such as hot cocoa in decorated jars or even homemade preserves as gifts that people will use.

Second-Hand Christmas Gift Exchange

You know I’m right in with this Christmas gift exchange idea because we love thrift shopping.

At every second-hand store, you can find new items with tags on them that are in giftable shape.

What I love about this idea is that it motivates family members who would never shop thrift to go in and have a look around.

Not only are we keeping items from going to the landfill we are saving money buying what other people didn’t want or need at home for less.

Christmas Gift Auction

The participants buy gifts with-in a certain price-range, wrap them and put them under the Christmas tree.

This is one of those Christmas gift exchange ideas where you use fake money in envelopes to buy gifts.

Everyone gets an envelope with the same amount of money inside and bids on each gift.

When you win an auction you use the money in your envelope to pay for it until it’s all gone.

Book or Ornament Christmas Gift Exchange

As we made our way through Chapters and Pier 1 on Black Friday Mrs. CBB and I noticed just how many people were shopping for books and ornaments.

With the deals being 50% off books and buy 1 ornament get one free you had money savings at your finger-tips if buying new is what you were searching for.

We thought it would be a great idea if families wanted to try something new at Christmas with a book or Christmas ornament exchange instead of traditional gift-giving.

Discussion: What other Christmas Gift Exchange Ideas can you think of sharing in the comment section below?

Posts you may have missed this week

CBB Home and Blog Update

Hey Everyone,

I managed to clean up a good portion of our garage, donate items and get the wreath up over the garage this week and the Christmas lights are turned on.

I don’t take them down at the end of the year so I have it easy with just flipping a switch.

You can’t even tell they are there throughout the year because I have the lights facing under.

Mrs. CBB has been asking when we will put the Christmas tree up but I’m holding out for the first week of December even though I’m all for the 12 days of Christmas and then taking it down again.

She, on the other hand, likes to decorate EVERYTHING and has all sorts of holiday knickknacks to kit the dining-room and living-room with.

I’m not sure if we will Snow spray the windows this year because it’s a mess to clean and our little guy has this thing about running his fingers through the designs messing them anyways.

Our Christmas shopping has begun but how this Christmas pans out will be another story. I wish it was going to be Merry and I pray it will be but this year will be hard.

That’s all for now friends.

Chat to you in two weeks’ time!


Finance Canada Read of the Week

This week Loblaws rolled out the new convenience for grocery shoppers which is self-checkout scanning using your smartphone and an app designed for the process.

We have hand-held devices in the UK that are popular but I’m not sure how well this will go over in Canada.

I find that the more stores make the customer do the work the more they want to see lowered prices. I’m not going to work more to pay more is what I’ve heard over and over especially with the self-checkout scanners.

To use the new tech, customers need an internet connection and to download the PC Express app onto their phones. Then, shoppers can use the app to scan the barcodes on items before they place them into their shopping carts.

When it comes to produce items such as fruits or vegetables, which are priced on weight, participating stores will provide digital scales.

Personally, with proper planning and knowing your prices you should already have a running total of how much your grocery shop is going to cost you so there are no surprises.

For now, I’ll stick to traditional cashiers and on occasion, I will use the self-scanner but as a person with no cell-phone, I just don’t see the need for me to get one just yet, if ever.

Frugal Recipe


For the remainder of the year, the recipes will be all holiday based around cookies, bars, cakes, and side-dishes for Christmas Day.

The Happy Brown House has this super easy Christmas cookie idea using Oreo cookies, Peppermint Bark Oreo Cookies.

How easy is this and the kids will love them!

You don’t need a recipe for these as you can imagine they are pretty straight-forward.

What I do like are the options of how to decorate the cookies simply and the expense aspect.

Not everyone is a baker but many of us are decorators!

  • 1 bag of Oreos
  • 1 bag white chocolate chips
  • Crushed candy canes

Mr.CBB’s Motivational Corner

The Best High In This Life Is To Do Something Special For Someone Else Who Doesn't Expect It!

Saturday Search Term Giggles

Every week I get tens of thousands of people who visit Canadian Budget Binder because they searched online and found my blog. (SIC) means I’ve copied the text exactly and it has spelling errors.

Most times funny, Sometimes serious.

  • How to make money in Ontario– I’m not even going to state the obvious.
  • Homemade SandWITCHES– Perhaps you mean’t Sandwiches haha! Easy to mess this one up though, I’ve done it.
  • Are people likely to steal Christmas decorations?– Don’t let them win. Frost your house for Christmas
  • Code 33 Scanning Code of Practice– Sounds like something you’d hear on C.H.I.P.S  (that’s a 70’s early 80’s television sitcom)

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Hey…if you see any mistakes let me know. I’m not an editor just a guy who likes to write and yes I make mistakes.

Note: Some posts on CBB may be paid and written by me and is of my opinion of a product/service that I’ve tried and used before.

Please read my privacy policy and disclaimer.

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