You can give cheap gifts, without appearing cheap! You just need to set aside some time and really brain storm what your friends, family or whoever it is you are giving a gift to, is likely to enjoy.

Everyone is feeling the effects of the economy this year, and it was always so easy to run off to the big box store, and whip out your well worn credit card for a gift. Didn't even have to give it much thought, and could pretty well leave it up until the day before, right?

Well, this year, maybe your credit card is in "maxed out" phase, or you just don't want to overuse it this year. But you still want to get gifts for this Christmas, but don't want to buy cheap gifts, that really look and feel like cheap gifts right?

The following ideas, are for more personalized gifts. Gifts you would give to someone you feel you know well. These work, and are usually appreciated, especially for the thought you put into it.

1. I am a big fan of ebooks. If you know what your recipient likes, then you can search the internet, sites such as clickbank have ebooks, and may other sites do as well. Just type your keywords or title into the google search and stick ebook on the end, and you should have lots to choose from.

Purchase your ebook. You could get craft oriented books, such as knitting, crochet, patterns, sewing, scrapbooking and more. There are many crafter type ebooks out there written by people who actually show you how to create that particular craft.

You can get great recipe ebooks, how to books and more.. All kinds of ebooks on the internet now, even for the tiniest niche or idea.

Once you get your ebook, you can download it and take it to a local printer, and have the ebook put into printed form. Purchase a nice spiral for the spine, and good quality paper for the front and back, and a plastic cover. You can also totally personalize the front page of your ebook with copies of pictures, or something you have written. This makes a very personalized gift, for not a lot of money.

There are many ebooks out there for a couple of dollars. I purchased one and spent more on the printing then I did on the book, but it turned out very well. It was still under 10 dollars when I was done. This was a cheap gift, and yet my friend still uses it and loves it.

2. Create gift certificates on your computer, or by hand for chores you can do for your gift recipient. Such as wash their car, wax the car, clean their house, watch the kids while they go out shopping for a couple of hours, anything. Just make sure you do it. But don't just give them this certificate, actually make a date, and write it on the calendar, that way they know you are actually serious. Rather than waiting for a call from them when it is not convenient for you, and then you look silly.

Give them the gift certificate, grab their calendar, and say, "when is this good for you".. Then you have both agreed on a time and day, and they will be looking forward to it!

My sister, always said she preferred gifts of babysitting over anything material. It gave her time to get out on her own and unwind. So, depending on who you are giving this gift too, it may just be worth its weight in gold. Just think of things you could do, you know they would appreciate, and stick to it.

This is a great cheap gift. It is actually free on your part, other than the paper you printed it on! But means the world to the gift recipient. Especially if you push for a date and time. If you really are low on funds, but have some time to spare for them, then really consider this as a great cheap gift, that does not appear cheap.

3. Offer to make dinner at their house one night. If you are really hard up, tell them you will make dinner with what ever they have left in their cabinets. Or if you can swing a few ingredients, bring them and make dinner. Pasta dishes can be created for not too much investment.. (spaghetti and sauce and a stick of bread). Tell them they have to sit down, while you make them dinner.

My kids did this while they were in college. They were broke, and were trying to think of a gift to give us. We told them not to worry about it, to save their money, but they came up with the idea of making dinner for us. I got out of the kitchen, and let them go to it. We really enjoyed it, and their company as they ate dinner with us. It was simple, but I didn't have to do it, and they did the dishes as well.! It was the perfect gift, that I have never forgotten.

When it comes to cheap gifts, you have to look at your budget, and be realistic. You don't have to buy big box store style gifts with your beat up credit card, to still give nice gifts. You just have to take the time, and stop and really think about what your friend, family or whoever you give gifts to, could really use right now. It might not be another box of something that will end up in the garage, and in the garage sales in the spring.

The above ideas have worked well in our family, and even though some are doing financially better than others, we still do gifts like this. Money doesn't buy time, and when you offer to do something for someone as a gift, and really mean it, then it may be a cheap gift (on your wallet) but by no means do you look cheap.