Friday Bargain Bin: Free or Almost-Free Gifts

No, we’re not giving away free gifts today, but here are a bunch of things you can “get” for people if you’ve run out of time or money and haven’t found presents yet. Actually, give these any time!

Pies are pretty cheap to make, like under $5 if you already have flour and butter in the house. Everyone knows a good pie crust is difficult, so not only will they appreciate the effort, they’ll forgive you if it’s not totally perfect. Hot tip: instead of scoring the pie with slashes, write a message to your friend in it like I did! (Admittedly, those are apple squares, but you get the idea.)

Master Class
You’ve got a special talent and you should share it. Give away a piano lesson or a baking lesson or a physics lesson or a scratching records lesson. Just write it in a nice card like “Please join me for an hour long instruction on cat massage. I’m very good at it and meow you will be too.”

A Foot Rub
Speaking of massage, foot rubs are easier to give than back rubs since you don’t need any fancy furniture. Also, they’re not as sexy so you could even give your mom this gift. Maybe you bring her a new, cushy pair of socks to wear for it?

A Poem
Write a poem that is an anagram of their name. Extra points if you make one of those watercolor things where each first letter is all fancy like you can get in Chinatowns across America. Oh, and extra extra points if you recite it to them without looking down at your notes.

Walking Tour
These are usually saved for out-of-town guests, but why? You know you have a favorite hood that you could show me around. Let’s spend an afternoon together! I’ll probably end up buying the glasses of wine at the end too because that is how all walking tours must end.

Power Point Presentation
Make your friend a cheesy Power Point Presentation about how wonderful they are.

Offer to sit your friend’s kids. The hitch with this present is that you have to say “yes” when they cash it in even if you already have plans on every Saturday night. Tell them you need a few days notice maybe? And look at it this way: this is the perfect opportunity to talk on the phone with your crush for hours.

A Makeover From Me to Edith, per her request.

Photos by Jaimie Duplass, AISPIX, nikkytok, Goygel-Sokol Dmitry, and Elnur, via Shutterstock.