Did the idea of reducing your holiday spending draw you to this list of free gifts for homesteaders? It can be overwhelming, I know. The culture we live in has created this expectation of giving—and buying—stuff all the time, at every turn.
No longer is it just birthdays, Christmas, and weddings—we’re now expected to bring things for bachelorette parties, showers, engagement parties, and gender reveals. The Easter bunny brings plastic baskets overflowing with plastic grass and plastic eggs. We send kids home with bags full of candy and trinkets just for attending a party. (Read more about our ethical Easter chocolate tradition.)
I love celebrations and, don’t get me wrong, I’m personally a fan of presents. Gifts are one of my main love languages, and I love bringing little things to people that made me think of them.
American spend nearly $1000 dollars on gifts every Christmas season. Nearly half of them are willing to go into debt to finish their Christmas shopping. This holiday has become the blazing example of a joyous occasion gone fully consumer. However, the items on this list can be used anywhere that gifts are a part of the celebration.
I understand the free gifts I’ve included do, in fact, have a cost—often that is time or a skill that has taken a great deal of effort to develop. Nonetheless, choosing to gift items from this list will not cost you in an immediate consumer purchase. Hopefully, those on your list will be thrilled to receive something that you have poured your time and energy into.
12 Free Gifts to Give This Season if You’re a Homesteader
Loan some gear
If you are anything like the homesteaders I know, you have been carefully building a personal collection of specialty gear that can help with a self-sufficient lifestyle. Many of these items are used less-frequently, but perhaps there is someone in your life that could benefit greatly from the single-use of an item you worked hard to acquire.
What sort of items do I mean? Chicken pluckers, smokers, dehydrators, construction tools, tractors/rototillers, wood splitters, chainsaws, pressure canners, meat grinders, cheese press, freeze dryers, etc.
Of course, safety could be an issue, and you will want to ensure that your valuable gear will be correctly handled. Before loaning out expensive, specialty gear make sure that the recipient is trustworthy and competent. You may even want to attend to the task while your item is on loan.
Plants, seeds, or starts
This may be obvious if you are a gardener, but plants and seeds can be pricey if you’re just starting out. Many plants can be propagated, or seeds that you save yourself can also make great free gifts.
I have often bought plant gifts at nurseries. However, propagated plants from your own garden are a free and effective option.
Consider giving herbs, house plants, or berry bushes. If you’re gifting seeds, document the variety and ensure that it they are open-pollinated or heirloom. Fruit trees, asparagus crowns, nut trees, or berry canes are can continue to give to the recipients for a lifetime.
You could even get creative, and gift logs that have been inoculated with mushroom spores or exotic house plants such as fig or kaffir lime.
A stay in a holiday rental
Admittedly, this suggestion requires that you have a specific asset at your disposal. Depending on the quality of your holiday rental, even local friends and family may appreciate receiving a staycation. If you already host others, you will be well versed on what makes a stay extra special.
Even if you don’t have an AirB&B on your property, a guest room could provide a welcome stay for out of town guests. Throw in some extras like a homemade breakfast and or hiking tour to make your visitor’s time extra memorable.
If these options aren’t on your list, a glamping experience might suit someone on your list. You’ll have to set up certain amenities, of course. Consider a mosquito net, fire pit, rustic food, and bathroom access. However, the starry sky is the limit.
Art, handicrafts, or other handmade items
Harnessing crafting skills of any sort provides a wonderful free-gift option. Homesteaders, in general, have developed an abundance of skills from soap making and creating herbal tinctures to quilting and woodworking. I have gifted my homemade toothpaste.
Granted, materials for these hobbies can be outrageously expensive. However, as a thrifty individual you may have tricks such as utilizing scraps, saving homegrown tallow, finding foraged items, etc.
Over the years I have received pot holders made from upcycled jeans, toques made with thrifted yard, handwoven rugs made from old sheets, ornaments from nature-found items, a leather hat made from scraps, and so much more.
Please tell me about something you’ve gifted or received! Let’s share ideas and tips.
Volunteer in their name
This is a way to give back using something you can easily access that is of unlimited value—your time.
If you choose to gift some volunteer time, choose a cause that is close to the recipient’s heart. Perhaps they are involved with a refugee committee, or are committed to animal welfare. If they have been touched by cancer consider working at a fundraiser, or spending time at a trash clean-up if your friend is eco-minded. You could check Volunteer Match to see if there’s something in your area.
Numerous organizations and good causes are always looking for volunteers. It will be a heart-warming way to show your friend or family member how much you care, by giving to something they care about.
Sharing family recipes is a very meaningful gift that can become a treasured part of someone’s life. You could simply take the time to write out a dish you have perfected and are known for. Recipe cards can be included in any note for any occasion.
For an especially important gift, bring things up a notch or two by creating a recipe book. You could source recipes from various family members. You could illustrate, photograph, or bind the book yourself. This suggestion can encompass the most simple to the most elaborate of gifts.
Free gifts from online listings
Less personal, perhaps, but watching online listings can land you plenty of free items. If you know the wish list of those you’re shopping for, you could luck out by finding it free.
You can check the free section on sites such as Kijiji or Craigslist. However, I have always found the best luck on Facebook groups. You can browse the marketplace, or look for your local freebie community. In many areas it is called “Buy Nothing,” and people will post the items they have to give away. You can also try searching for groups the name of your town/area and the word “free.”
I suggest that you avoid gifting free food or hygienic items, especially if you’re not planning to disclose your source. However, I have found everything from stoves to cast iron pans to boots on our free site. It never hurts to check.
dried or preserved goods
This may seem like an obvious option if you preserve food, but these value added items are specialty treats for many people.
Yes, you spent countless hours growing the food, harvesting the food, canning/dehydrating the food—that is why it can be so expensive to buy the equivalent at a local market or fair. Elderberry syrup, for example, costs a very pretty penny.
Therefore, if you know someone who will truly enjoy and appreciate the fruits of your labor, preserves make fabulous shelf-stable additions to any gift basket large or small.
Likewise, food items that you grew and harvested yourself, or value added, can be a coveted gift for many on your list. We grow gallons of honey a year; while it takes financial investment and many hot hours of work to bring the honey to harvest, we enjoy having a stock of jars for our own enjoyment, and to share with others.
Of course, perishable items, such as meat and cheese, can’t be wrapped up and left under a tree. But that doesn’t mean that they won’t be appreciated if you show up on Christmas morning, or at birthday celebration, with some packets of bacon or handcrafted feta. There aren’t many people who wouldn’t appreciate that.
(Note: make sure you know the individual or family well enough to be aware of any dietary preferences or requirements… That last thing you want is all your hard work to be tossed away, or to endanger others.)
Have you set foot in a grocery store lately?
Hello inflation. I can hardly stand to look at the prices of the staples we buy. It certainly makes me glad we already grow a good portion of our food.
If you know someone who depends on fast packaged meals, they would almost certainly benefit from having some lovingly homecooked and packaged in your own kitchen.
Even if your recipient cooks on their own, a hearty freezer casserole/pizza/soup is not something to sneeze at. My mother-in-law gave us Tupperwares of frozen meals when my middle son was born, and I will never forget the blessing these free gifts were.
Share a skill
Finally, what is something you have become proficient at that saves money for your family? It may even be something you do professionally that you could use as one of your free gifts.
Some ideas? Cutting hair, taking photoshoots, renovating, landscaping, childcare, maintenance tasks, editing text, cleaning/organizing an area, mending, collecting firewood… The list that could fit here really is endless. Think about your life from an outside perspective—most likely something that is commonplace for you would be an incredible help to someone else.
Teach a skill
This goes hand-in-hand with the suggestion above, but offering lessons or a class on something you have mastered can be a shared experience and also practical advantage to someone else.
Skills such as foraging, canning, sewing, aspects of gardening, or cooking can all be easily taught. The sky, again, is the limit—I have given hands-on classes on cloth diapers for beginners to many friends.
Hopefully you’ve found some unique ideas for free gifts from this list. Are there any that you think you’ll use this year? Let me know, and feel free to share this list if there is something you would like to receive from others. Maybe we can, slowly, make a change in the culture of gifting.