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Sensational gifts for not so much money

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There are a few pitfalls that can be easily avoided. The gift absolutely cannot be used, unless it's supposed to be.

"I've heard of a guy who gave a girlfriend an old bathrobe that his previous girlfriend had used. That's just bad. Then again, I love antique books, so if they're used it's OK," says Athay. Additionally, a regift can't be inappropriate or useless, and if there's any chance the person will find out they're being regifted, you should tell them upfront that their gift is a hand-me-down, but you knew it would be perfect for them.

8 frugal but highly respectable gifts
The following are the eight frugal, but highly respectable, gifts.

Frugal but highly respectable gifts:

Framed picture: Nothing says "Happy Holidays" like giving your best friend a framed and autographed picture of yourself. To lessen the weirdness quotient, make it a picture of you and the recipient from some pleasant time past.

"Write something on the picture about your time together. It makes it very, very personal," says Athay.

Recipe book: Are you constantly being asked for your secret recipes? If you have a pantry full of recipes handed down through the years or just culled from hundreds of magazines, cookbooks and the Internet, put them in book form, suggests Athay. It can be as simple or ornate as you want, plus you could get all fancy with the packaging, such as wrapping it with dish towels and then tying up the package with a ribbon and finishing it off with some utensils such as a nice whisk or a really great vegetable peeler.

Homemade doggy bag: Make your own canine gift basket with homemade biscuits, a bag of treats and a couple of soft toys. Wrap it up in an official dog blanket and tie the whole thing together with some string or ribbon through a brand new clicker. You can never have too many clickers, or toys for that matter.

Herb garden starter kit: The pre-made kits will generally set you back about $10. If you know what you're doing, you could put one together yourself with some pots, soil and seeds; maybe even throw together in some personalized how-to instructions. Make it as simple or complicated as you like.

Personalized gifts: Did you know that you can put a picture of just about anything on anything? OK, not really anything but a lot of stuff. Would Uncle Bert like a cap with a picture of his dog? Get it for him from as long as you have the picture on your hard drive. Alternatively, you could make your own iron-ons lickety-split with an ink-jet printer and iron-on ink-jet printer paper.

Edibles: If you know someone with a sweet tooth, give him or her a box full of his favorite candy. Bake some cookies or brownies and package them in a nice tin or colorful plastic wrap. One fun idea for wrapping is to take a canister that housed potato chips in a previous life and clean it out. Decorate the outside by pasting on paper, macaroni, buttons, stickers -- whatever you can think of. Stack some cookies on the inside, stick a bow on top and voila.

Rain check: Two things everyone needs at some point: an umbrella and flashlight. Highly mobile, they come in mighty handy when stowed in a glove compartment or purse. Buy them in small enough sizes that they can go anywhere and you'll be well thought of when they're used.

Donate to charity: Chances are a local animal rescue or food bank could use $10 or $20 more than your friends and family need more stuff. Especially when giving to adults -- kids may not be as philanthropic -- but hey, there's always an exception. In the end, the charity benefits and no one can accuse you of being cheap; it's a win-win situation.'s corrections policy -- Updated: Dec. 17, 2007
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