It’s Aunt and Uncle Scrooge
November 30, 2018 9:01 AM   Subscribe

We have 7 nieces and nephews and starting this year we are scaling back the amount of $$ we spend on Christmas gifts. They are 12, 10, 6, 6, 4, 4 and 1. I gave myself a $20 limit on each gift and managed to staywithin that limit but I want to fluff it out a little bit. Do you have any suggestions for incredibly cheap add-ons? Like, less than $5 each.
posted by pintapicasso to Grab Bag (30 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Nicer chocolate bars (Lindt, Toblerones, etc.) from the grocery store? You could grab a bunch of interesting flavours. Sometimes with Toblerones you can get them in multipacks even!
posted by machine at 9:06 AM on November 30, 2018 [8 favorites]

I always give the kids who are tweens/teens a few Lottery tickets. A scratch off or two or three. Not sure what to give the littlest ones.
posted by AugustWest at 9:07 AM on November 30, 2018 [11 favorites]

Glowsticks! (Dollar store) or you can get craft kits from Oriental trading for ornaments. Or to make the parents happy... Magic gloves (stretchy small gloves) for when they lose theirs and need an extra pair.
posted by typecloud at 9:07 AM on November 30, 2018 [1 favorite]

Stickers? Bottles of bubbles?
posted by telophase at 9:07 AM on November 30, 2018

Can't go wrong with some cookies! I suppose it depends on the kid, but lots I know in that age range are like, "These cookies are all for me! My parents didn't get them for me so they are MINE and I don't have to share. Yay!"
posted by frecklefaerie at 9:08 AM on November 30, 2018 [5 favorites]

I had a bunch of Lush bath bombs in fun shapes (like a robot) that my 5yo nephew discovered a couple years ago and managed to swindle me out of, and he reportedly enjoyed them. I think the mini bombs were right around $5, but you could of course get a different cheaper brand, or make your own. That would probably be appropriate for all but the youngest kid.
posted by catatethebird at 9:09 AM on November 30, 2018 [2 favorites]

+1 to bubbles

Bouncy balls. Cheap, universal, and more fun than most gifts. Maybe splurge for the $.50 kind instead of the $.05 kind, because we all know there's bouncy balls, and then there's bouncy balls.
Just have to worry about choking hazards for the little ones.
posted by matrixclown at 9:13 AM on November 30, 2018 [1 favorite]

Recent AskMe that may be of help!
posted by wellred at 9:24 AM on November 30, 2018

Cash. Crisp $1 bills. Or quarters! Dimes!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:33 AM on November 30, 2018 [5 favorites]

Box of sugary fun cereal!
posted by Ftsqg at 9:33 AM on November 30, 2018

For the little ones: Ikea has all kinds of soft toys and puppets and many are under $5. $4.99 gets a whole set of finger puppets, even. This has saved me frequently in the "children of my cousins" category on my gift list.

For the 12 and 10 year old - if they're arty/crafty, some spare supplies for their craft of choice. If they're literary: a small notebook and a fun pen. If they're sporty - some little thingy that they can use for their sport. You get the idea - think about what they each specifically like to do and investigate options there.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:37 AM on November 30, 2018 [3 favorites]

Get them each one of those giant Hershey/Cadbury/Toblerone bars. It will seem amazingly decadent to unwrap a Huge Bar of Chocolate and you will win Christmas.
posted by Flannery Culp at 9:48 AM on November 30, 2018 [1 favorite]

Buzz Magnets are another fun gift. You just need two, so this set could be split up among the older kids. They are just magnets that are shaped so that when you toss them together, they make a cool sound. As a kid I always liked gifts that did something.

I also ordered Bean Boozled as an activity for the kids to do on Christmas Eve which I think will be a hit.
posted by catatethebird at 9:54 AM on November 30, 2018

Whoopee cushions for the older kids.
posted by jointhedance at 10:11 AM on November 30, 2018

If you want to give them money, splurge and get them two dollar bills. Yes, they still exist. You can usually get them at the bank, though sometimes you have to come back a couple of times until they have them in stock.
posted by Winnie the Proust at 10:16 AM on November 30, 2018 [14 favorites]

Novelty chapsticks.
posted by vunder at 10:26 AM on November 30, 2018 [2 favorites]

My grandma always used wind-up toys as stocking stuffers, this was fun and easy and then we would get them all going at once.
posted by Lawn Beaver at 10:31 AM on November 30, 2018 [2 favorites]

Dollar Tree or Five Below party packs, with multiple toys in them? Anything labeled "party favors" would have several items in it, to be handed out.

One year I brought a pack of stick on fake mustaches that I found at the Dollar Tree and the kids at that holiday party had a blast with them.

Five Below also tends to have cosmetics gift sets with multiple little nail polishes or lip glosses which could be divided up and added to larger presents.
posted by a fiendish thingy at 10:37 AM on November 30, 2018 [1 favorite]

I'd just go to the dollar store and look around rather than run around trying to find specific items. I always give my grandniece and grandnephew handmade clothing for their birthdays, but given that their birthdays are in the summer and the clothing tends to be fall and winter items that they won't be able to wear for a few months and having to wait a few months to use the gift is such a let down for a child, I always throw in some dollar store items, and though they like the clothes they always seem much more into the trinkets. They get so much fun out of the simplest little things. This past summer I gave my grandniece Cauliflower a dress and matching purse I'd sewn for her as well as a dollar store sketch book and box of 50 pencil crayons, and a booklet on kids' crafts. My grandnephew Bug got a wool sweater I'd designed and knitted for him, two activity/colouring books and a box of crayons, and a whoopee cushion. Guess, out of all those items, what went over big.

That's right, the whoopee cushion. Bug, who is five, sat his little butt down on it ten times or so in a row and each time he and Cauliflower laughed uproariously over the noise it made and it was basically the Funniest Thing Ever. Then they went running off to go prank people with it, leaving me to pick up the rest of the gifts and put them back in their respective gift bags. I bet it wasn't safe to sit down in their house for at least a month.
posted by orange swan at 10:45 AM on November 30, 2018 [3 favorites]

Assorted Pez dispensers are always fun.
posted by Etrigan at 11:17 AM on November 30, 2018 [2 favorites]

Finger Monsters!!! (also finger puppets in general, stuff from Archie McPhee in general)
posted by wowenthusiast at 11:30 AM on November 30, 2018

Stickers! Check etsy - puffy animals and cute food for the little ones, more sophisticated or planner for older, lots of sellers with Korean/Japanese lines which are great. Also pipsticks have huge oversized puffy stickers on stock.

Nth that oversized candy goes over well for all (I have a son,4, and five nephews 8 - 15).

(On etsy you should be able to get something for everyone from one seller and save shipping, I just ordered from MyKawaiiCrate they have a ton of stock)
posted by jrobin276 at 12:28 PM on November 30, 2018

Fill your own Christmas crackers-- I have filled my own from this company and they leave a generous amount of space in there for little toys. I would get a couple sets and then hit a dollar store or Party City for weird little toys and such to go inside. If you have extra budget, just folding up a $5 bill in there for the non-toddlers would probably be a hit.
posted by blnkfrnk at 1:34 PM on November 30, 2018

Something they can use up - crafty stuff, bubbles, bath foam - whatever. Just nothing that stays around.
posted by Omnomnom at 3:06 PM on November 30, 2018

A set of 60+++ markers for each? The older kids can have their own set that is off limits to the littler so. The littles can have their own "grown up" sets. Not sure about the 1 yo- bath crayons?
posted by sarajane at 3:14 PM on November 30, 2018

Younger ones love to have their own flashlights!
posted by mightshould at 3:19 PM on November 30, 2018 [2 favorites]

The always-popular two dollar gift at my house is these little plastic shafts with a plastic propeller attached. You spin them and they fly ... well, if you do it right. Even pretty little kids (around 2 1/2 to 3) enjoy them and the ten-year-olds like them too. Plus they're fragile enough that by next Christmas they'll all be destroyed!
posted by Gilgamesh's Chauffeur at 6:58 PM on November 30, 2018

Temporary tattoos. I gave them to my 2-year-old nephew for Easter last year in place of candy and he loved them. I stock up whenever I see them at the dollar store or at 5 Below.
posted by Constance Mirabella at 8:25 AM on December 1, 2018 [1 favorite]

Stick-on googly eyes. My niece seemed to enjoy the package full of 'em I got her on a whim one year.
posted by booth at 11:08 AM on December 7, 2018

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