Photo: Unsplash

The season of giving, whether we like it or not, often comes with a hefty price tag as we splash out on lavish presents – some of which end up collecting dust or even being (gasp!) regifted – for our nearest and dearest. But it is certainly possible to give meaningful gifts without breaking the bank, especially if you think outside the box. Here’s our advice on how to do just that.


Get sentimental

Photo: Shutterstock

Drawing on shared memories is a surefire way to tug at the heartstrings of your loved ones, especially during the Christmas season, when people tend to reflect on their relationships.

Get crafty and put together a memory book or box filled with photographs, mementos like concert or movie ticket stubs, and other souvenirs from the time you’ve spent together. If you like, you can even add handwritten notes about specific memories or occasions. While it admittedly takes a bit of forethought, we think this great, low-cost gift is perfect for showing someone just how much you treasure them.

Get it: Stores like Spotlight (, Art Friend ( and PaperMarket ( have everything you need to get started.


Help them remember


In the same vein, a journal for them to jot down their own memories makes for a good gift as well. And never mind if they’re not prolific writers – this gorgeous five-year journal, for instance, requires a commitment of just one line a day from the user.

The payoff is immense: Looking back on previous years’ entries as time goes by is a real trip and a good reminder to be grateful for the good in life. Who needs Facebook Memories anyway?

Get it: $30.07 from Books Kinokuniya, or online from Amazon.


Gift experiences

Photo: Klook

Nobody really needs that photo frame or coffee mug, do they? Tickets to events or attractions that the receiver is interested in will likely be much better received. Check out websites like Klook, which offers discounted goodies from museum entrance tickets to city tours and a wide-ranging selection of other experiences, to get the best deal possible.

Even better – purchase for two people and turn the gift into a bonding experience the pair of you can share and look back fondly on for a long time to come. Psst! From now until 31 Dec, you can save up to $70 when you enter discount codes. For more information, visit

Get it: Check out Klook ( for ideas.


Harness your talents

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Sometimes the best gift is the one that’s right under your nose. Do you have a way with words? Are you a photography whiz? Or have a knack for baking? Turn your talent into the perfect present.

Write a song, poem or short story dedicated to your loved one, draw their portrait or frame one of their favourite photographs that you’ve taken. Foodies will doubtlessly enjoy homemade sweet treats like brownies or cookies. It’s not cheap – it’s thoughtful. Trust us.

Get it: All you, baby.


Keep it simple

Photo: Sephora

Gift cards and vouchers are always a safe bet, and if budget is an issue, it definitely helps that you get to determine how much you want to spend on these. A word to the wise, though: Rather than just bulk-buying a bunch of mall vouchers and gifting them to friends and family members indiscriminately, you might do well to consider your giftees beforehand.

New parents, for example, might appreciate credit for a food-delivery service that they can make use of when they’re too shattered from watching baby to cook dinner, while your make-up-obsessed girlfriend (you know she’s picky with her beauty products!) would jump at the chance of another trip to Sephora. 

Get it: Retailers like Zalora, Sephora or retail giant Robinsons all offer vouchers or gift cards for purchase online.