The fun little knocks on the door have begun as neighbors either come a-caroling or stop by to drop off fun little holiday gifts. It’s that time again to come up with something clever and new for neighbor gifts this year! In previous years I’ve gifted holiday movie nights with a clever printable and a Netflix code. I’ve dressed up a package of Twizzlers with a tag proclaiming “Twizz the Season.” And I’ve also given gift cards to the Festival of Lights, too.

Every year I love finding creative ideas to send warm holiday wishes to my neighbors, co-workers and friends. Well, time to dig through some great thoughts — everything from economical ideas for the entire neighborhood to a little more clever $10 gifts perfect for Secret Santas and teachers and even $20 or less ideas for white elephant gift exchanges. For more ideas, visit our Christmas board on Pinterest.

Neighbor gifts

If you love blanketing your entire neighborhood with sweet little gifts, there are many great ideas that cost very little, yet share that seasonal message of love and friendship. For instance, with a clever printable you can transform $1-$2 into super thoughtful gifts. For instance, you can fill Mason jars — large and small — with the key ingredients for a Christmas morning pancake breakfast. Fill the large jar with pancake mix and the small jar fill with homemade, flavored syrup.

Another great idea is to grab a bunch of bags of Chex mix or Muddy Buddies and attach a cute printable tag that says “Making a List, Chex it Twice.” Adorable and a clever play on words! A Dollar Store bottle of scented hand soap, sanitizer or lotion becomes even cuter with a ribbon and a printable tag with a saying like “We Wash You a Merry Christmas,” “We Soap You Have a Happy Holidays,” or even give some “Santa-Tizer for a Healthy New Year.”

Secret Santas

I love participating in fun workplace Secret Santa gifting projects, but I always struggle trying to find cute, clever, and low-cost, thoughtful little gifts to leave throughout the holiday season. A great mix of fun, $2 and $5 gifts is great if you have a five-day Secret Santa campaign, but you certainly need to end the week-long celebration with a fun reveal. So why not spend a bit more, around the $10 mark, on the finale.

One clever Secret Santa idea would be to center all the gifts around a theme. For instance, think about your co-worker who is a book lover. On the first day you could get them a thoughtful, personalized bookmark. Day two could be a pair of cozy socks and hot cocoa mix, perfect for curling up to read. Don’t forget the cute mug for that hot cocoa on day three. The next day could be a cozy, seasonal $5 blanket to snuggle up in. And then, for that final revealing gift, wrap up an Amazon gift card.

Gift exchanges

I LOVE gift exchanges, especially when they are white elephant-themed. Sure, you can always get the steal-worthy, typically chocolate-filled gifts, but there’s something to be said for the super clever gifts that no one would ever think of. Some of the favorite gifts I’ve given include a “Beer Belly” fanny pack filled with bottled craft sodas and I’ve even given an actual goldfish in a fishbowl. One family gift that was often regifted was an old, extremely heavy vintage typewriter. (I’m wishing I had that now!)

Sure, you can go online and buy some perfect white elephant gag gifts, but why not find some on your own. This holiday season you could regift last year’s ugly sweater. A beautiful adult coloring book is always a great gift, but what if it’s already all colored in? White elephant perfection! OK, maybe leave a few pages to color. For even more laughs, transform a giant tub of cheese puffs and spray cheese into a “DIY Spray Tan Kit.”

— Jennifer Durrant