5 Last Minute Christmas Gift Ideas That Won’t Cost You A Cent

Christmas is just around the corner and most people I know have started turning their home into Christmas wonderland with their Christmas lights and decorations, baubles, tinsels and all. But if you’re like me, frantically busy trying to get everything done before the end of the year, it may feel less Christmas-y than it is craaazzyyy. If you haven’t bought your Christmas gifts yet, or if you are looking for something different this Christmas, you’re going to love this post. I’ve got some Christmas gift ideas that are not only great for last-minute gifts, but also won’t cost you a penny! But first, let me tell you how I feel about Christmas.


Growing up, Christmas was more of a religious event than a family tradition. There was no family Christmas lunch or dinner. We celebrated at church. We stopped putting up Christmas trees when I was eight and began celebrating Christmas very simplistically. I didn’t care. The best part about Christmas was that I didn’t have to go to school and I got to spend time with my parents, especially my dad. My dad runs his own business and doesn’t believe in silly things like having a holiday, so Christmas is one of the few days when he’s able (or forced to, I’m not sure) to take a few days off and spend time with us. The fact my birthday is on Christmas’s Eve makes the experience quite unique as well.

I believe Christmas is a very special time. It’s an occasion that passes in the blink of an eye if you don’t slow down and appreciate every second of it. I see people going nuts at the shops trying to get their Christmas shopping done at the last minute instead of enjoying the holiday season. Why would you do that to yourself?

kaboompics.com_Glamour Christmas Tree Ball

My approach to Christmas is quite simple. It’s less about the present than it is about having the opportunity to spend time with your loved ones: time to listen and sing Christmas carols; and time to pray, reflect, and appreciate the fact that you’re still here on this earth for yet another Christmas.

So here are my 5 Last Minute Christmas gift ideas that won’t cost you a cent, to help you enjoy this Christmas with less stress and more meaning. With just a bit of extra creativity, you can make Christmas a little bit special this year.

Christmas gift ideas

1. Make something with what you already have

Stop and look around you: old antique books, old prints, pretty jars, cake mixes, old empty CDs from the 90’s, those origami papers that have bee sitting for years in your drawer. Think of what can you make with the things you have available. Here’re some ideas:

  • Make a Christmas playlist either on a CD or on a USB
  • Make home made treats (cookies, cakes, chocolate, etc) with ingredients you already have at hand
  • Make art pieces like decorated jars, bowls, plates, etc.
  • Make a personalised cookbook with printed free online recipes
  • Make a photo book or photo collage

2. Re-gift old presents

Remember when you told yourself last year that you’re going to sell those unwanted presents on eBay one day? Yeah, it’s probably not going to happen. Save yourself the hassle and just re-gift it. You’ll save money from buying presents and the headache of putting stuff online and only getting pennies for it. To you, it could just another unwanted gift but to someone else, it could be what they’ve always wanted for Christmas.

On that note, you should also consider giving your ‘I’ll fit into that one day’ dress/pants/fill the blank to someone who can actually fit into it right now. It’ll make more room for new clothes you can buy when that day eventually comes.

3. Give a gift of time

I believe time is the most precious gift you can give to someone, especially to people close to you: your partner, your parents, children, or perhaps, your employees. Give them time off from their daily chores so they can enjoy themselves. Let your kids play till dawn, let your parents go out for bingo night, let your husband or wife have some personal time. Imagine telling them, “Sweetie, I’ll pick up all the housework, today you just go have fun”. How lovely would that sound?

4. Give an experience

It’s free, and yet it could be the best gift you could give someone. Use your God-given talent and give them an experience they’ll remember for years to come. Here’re some ideas:

  • Write a poem about them
  • Sing a song
  • Dance
  • Present a play, a video or a slideshow

You can do this live or even record yourself performing on video. Share it around and watch people smile.


5. Give an act of service

Last but not least, an impressive gift doesn’t need to be a big expensive gift, or even one that costs money at all. An act of service could be the loveliest, most impressive and heartfelt gift you can give. It could be something small, something simple, and something that won’t cost you a dime. You can also tie it in with the gift of time. Write up your own voucher on a fancy paper (or your business card) with the particular service you wish to give. Put it in a nice envelope or inside your Christmas card. Here are some fun ideas on what type of services you could offer:

  • Give a massage. Even if you not so great at it. It would be a pretty impressive gift for someone who enjoys a bit of shoulder rub.
  • Cook something. Give the house chef a break and treat them with a breakfast or a dinner. Everyone has one dish they’re good at. This could be your time to shine in the kitchen.
  • Mind their furry babies. This could be the best gift for people with pets, especially if they intend to go away on holiday and need someone to look after Rover. You may also enjoy having some furry company around.
  • Clean something. Sounds horrible at first but it can actually be fun. The key is to aim small. Perhaps it’s the car, the laundry, the kitchen, or the dusty old trophies or paintings. Something small that you wouldn’t mind doing, and which would mean something to the recipient.

Each of us has something special and unique we can give in the spirit of Christmas. Be creative, be brave, be fun. What will you give this Christmas?

Vegan Cinnamon Scrolls With Chai Spice

Sometimes, there’s nothing I want more than a freshly baked vegan cinnamon scrolls.

Vegan cinnamon scrolls

This recipe was a result of one of my spurs of the moment ideas. It was inspired by cinnamon scrolls recipe from The Joy of Vegan Baking by Collen Patrick Goudreau, which, I must say, is a must-have for anyone who loves baking.

Vegan Cinnamon Scrolls

So I was enjoying my second last cinnamon scroll I made a few days earlier over a cup of chai tea. It was soft and tender and it tasted so good and ‘matched’  the Rainbow chai tea I was having. Suddenly an idea came to me. Why not combine the two flavours together? It will be sweet, mildly spicy and nutty. Wouldn’t that be nice?

And just like that, these babies were born.

Vegan Cinnamon Scrolls With Chai Spice

Why I love these Vegan Cinnamon Scrolls:

They’re sweet, mildly spiced, comforting and, best of all, they smell amazing…

Chai spices are known for it’s health benefits, antioxidants and phytochemicals with cancer-prevention properties. It also tastes delicious. Though these scrolls don’t score high on the nutritional scale, it is significantly lower in sugar compare to your regular scrolls (especially if you include the icing glaze on top). Mashed banana is added in the dough mix, which makes the dough mildly sweet. As a result, you don’t need a lot of sugar for the filling and you won’t even miss the glaze. It’s has a delicate spicy taste and did I say it smells amazing?

Vegan Cinnamon Scrolls With Chai Spice 


Yeast Mixture

  • 1 cup non dairy milk
  • 1/2 cup non-dairy butter
    1 teaspoon raw sugar
  •  4 teaspoons of instant dry yeast

Chai Spiced Nut Filling

  • 1/4 cup brown sugar (packed)
  • 1/2 cup walnuts (you can also use other nuts or mixed nuts)I’m 
  • 1/4 cup non-dairy butter (I use Nuttelex)
  • Chai spice:
    • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
    • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
    • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
    • 1 tsp ground cardamom
    • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon

Dough mix

  • 5 cups plain flour (separate 1 cup aside)
  • 2 medium ripe banana, mashed
  • 3 tsp egg replacer powder
  • 6 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt

Step 1. Proof the yeast

  1.  Combine the milk, butter and sugar in a bowl. Warm the mixture in the microwave for 30 seconds on in a small pot on the stove. The mixture shouldn’t be too hot to put your finger in.
  2. Add the dry yeast into the mixture. Set aside for 10 minutes. You should see foam and bubbles forming on top of the yeast mixture. If not, your yeast may be too old and no longer active in which case, you’ll need get a fresh yeast pack.

Step 2. Prepare your dough

  1. Whip together the egg replacer powder with the water using a fork until it’s thick and creamy.
  2. Using Cuisine Companion with chopping blade: Add 4 cups of flour into CC. Add the yeast mixture and press P2 pastry setting.
  3. Check after 1 minute. If the mixture is too sticky, add more flour 1 tablespoon at a time using the 1 cup of flour you set aside.
  4. Let the program continues until it completes the proofing stage.

Step 3. Prepare the Chai Spiced Nut filling

  1. Prepare CC with chopping blade. Finely chop the walnuts or process in CC into rough crumbs. Speed 5, 15 seconds
  2. Add the remaining ingredients and mix. Speed 5, 5 second.

Step 4. Make the scrolls

  1. Once the dough has risen, fold it out onto a lightly dusted surface and spread out the dough with a rolling pin into a big giant rectangle until the dough is about a ¼ of an inch thick.
  2. Spread the filling around the whole dough. Carefully roll the dough into a log and pinch the edge to seal. Slice into 8 equal pieces.
  3. Leave for another 30 minutes to 1 hour to rise slightly.
  4. Arrange the pieces on a greased baking pan and then pop them in the oven
  5. Bake on 190 degrees Celsius (375 Fahrenheit) for 25-30 min.


  • You can knead the dough using an electric mixer if you don’t own a cuisine companion. You can also knead the dough by hand if you don’t own an electric mixer.
  • You can also use 2 tablespoon of chai tea mix (the one with dried herbs and spices, not powder) to replace the chai spice ingredients. Ground before using.

Vegan Cinnamon Scrolls With Chai Spice

Did you make this recipe?

Please let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and/or share a picture on Instagram with the hashtag #littlegreenhabits. I’d love to hear from you.