Newswise — For some, the holiday season can lead to overspending or other financial struggles. This year, supply chain issues also are posing a threat to typical gift-giving practices; however, there are alternatives to traditional gifts.

Jennifer Friend, West Virginia University Extension Service Agriculture and Natural Resources agent, offers creative solutions to finding gifts at a low cost.


“One of the easiest alternatives to gift-giving for the whole family is taking in all of the fun that the holiday season brings. A simple drive through town at night can give you a great view of the lights at an extremely low cost, even if you decide to stop at the local coffee shop for hot chocolate. Going to the tree farm and selecting a Christmas tree can also be a fun activity for the whole family—plus, you’ll be supporting the local economy. Don’t forget about community activities like parades and tree lightings, too.”

“Do-it-yourself, or DIY, gifts are an easy low-cost option with a personal touch. Baked goods, hot chocolate mixes or layered cookie mixes are just a few ideas to consider. If you’re extra crafty, you can use cuttings from your fresh Christmas tree to make centerpieces, wreaths or garlands for decorating your home or as festive gifts. Not to mention, a homemade gift often holds extra meaning to the person receiving it.”

“Some low-cost gifts also can go toward an experience in the future. A handmade coupon book can be the gift that keeps on giving throughout the year. Whether it’s a coupon for a day drive to look at fall colors, a car wash in the summer or home-cooked dinner, the options are endless.”

“Even with the current supply chain issues, gift-giving doesn’t have to be extra expensive or difficult this season. You can make a gift yourself, enjoy events in your community or support local businesses to find low-cost gifts for friends and family.” — Jennifer Friend, Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension Agent, WVU Extension Service