5 Free Gift Ideas for Folklore Lovers

December 15, 2020

Tis the season to buy presents!
Fa la la la la, la la la la!
Till we all just feel like peasants!
Fa la la la la, la la la la!

Ok, despite our Grinchy little song, we actually love buying presents. And getting presents. We both love the thrill of finding the exact perfect thing for our people and seeing their faces light up as they unwrap it.

Brittany is orderly, meticulous, and laser-focused. She keeps lists and stalks items for months in advance, waiting for them to go on sale. Her gift-giving prowess is almost supernatural. 

Sara aspires to Brittany’s greatness, but she admits with resignation that she’s the chaotic good of present givers. Her presents are usually really early or really late… and if they’re early, then she immediately brandishes the present in the giftee’s face and asks them if they want to wait or to just open it now!!! Because she apparently has the gifting finesse of a 5-year-old. 

But sometimes, money is really tight. Or sometimes, it seems like the person you want to gift already has everything under the sun. What on earth can you get them that they’ll really like?!

We got you.

Our love of gifting extends way beyond buying. We love creating gifts, too! And we’re going to tell you some of our very favorite ideas for free and low-cost gifts for lovers of folklore.

Don’t get scared. We’re not going to tell you how to make 20-step DIY kitchen surface cleaners. ( ← an actual example from a blog post we stumbled across last week. No.) 

Our suggestions are all things that we’ve actually done. This isn’t aspirational. It’s real stuff that you can do and that our people have absolutely loved in the past. These gifts can be for significant others, but they certainly don’t have to be! We’ve used these for friends, family, and relationships of all kinds. And honestly? This year, we think you should give at least one of these to yourself, because 2020!  

Make your person their favorite dish

Making Christmas cookies has been a tradition for a long time, and we’d never knock them. They’re delicious. But if you’re an enthusiastic cook or baker and you’d like to do something a little more personal, try recreating your giftee’s favorite dish. 

If you want to really lean into seasonal nostalgia, ask your person what their favorite childhood holiday dish was, and try to make that! Or raid old family cookbooks, look for the place where the spine is cracked from being held open so many times, and choose the recipe on that page! 

Obviously, this gift works best for people who live with you or who are local (you can drop off your gift on their doorstep if they’re outside your bubble!) but you can also mail the Chocolate-Covered Pretzels of Nostalgia to far-flung friends and family members.

Make a recording

This is one of our favorites!! It’s completely free, super personal and individualized, and it really shows how much you care. If you’re feeling fancy, you can download Audacity, which is free, open-source audio software. (If Sara can do it, you can do it, we promise!) You can also use your phone or your computer to make a short voice or video recording. 

As for what to record, it depends on the person! Read their favorite fairy tale or share your favorite memory of them. Read them a story they read to you as a child or the funniest story you’ve heard this year or a chapter of their favorite book. 

The biggest pitfall to this one is overthinking it. Don’t! Just pick something you know they’ll like, hit record, and off you go. Also remember that it’s ok to stumble or make a mistake – just keep going! It doesn’t have to be perfect to totally make someone’s day!

Give your person a poem

There are a couple of different ways to do this. If you’re already a confident poet, fabulous! Write your person a poem on some pretty paper, tie it up with a ribbon, and stick it in the mail. 

If the idea of writing your own poetry makes you want to die but your person loves poetry, we’ve got you covered, too! Pick out 5 poems that remind you of your person. If you don’t know where to begin, some of our favorite poets are Edna St. Vincent Millay, Theodora Goss, Catherynne Valente, John Keats, and Rumi. Present them with your little mini collection of poetry that describes them. (Seriously, what’s more flattering than that?!)

If you want to step up your game even more, you can prettify your poetry using software like Canva (which has a free version!) and present them with a beautifully designed PDF or print.

Make a Spotify playlist

It’s the new mixtape! And it can be done completely for free, without having to even visit the post office.

Choose a theme (Solstice, Yule, Christmas, etc.) and pick your favorite songs. Create a mood, or have fun with juxtaposing different styles!

Or, and this is our recommendation, try to make a musical biography for your person. (Yes, we both have playlist biographies – we are that nerdy.) Choose songs that remind you of when you met them or times that you’ve spent together or songs that are significant to your relationship. Songs that you think should be played when they walk into a room. Seriously, this can be SO much fun, and we know your person will love it.

If you need playlist inspiration, check out some of our Carterhaugh playlists HERE!

Make a tribute to their favorite fairy tale or story

This idea is less about the medium that you use, so it’s both the most vague and the most flexible. But we’ve both done it to great effect!

Are you crafty? Is there a particular way you like to express yourself creatively? Use your person’s story as inspiration to make a thing! If it helps, you can start with the fairy tale’s visual shorthand: think, a rose for Beauty and the Beast, a gingerbread house for Hansel and Gretel, a spinning wheel for Sleeping Beauty. 

Knit them a scarf using colors that suggest the story, or create a piece of embroidery. Draw a picture, write a poem, make a candle, create a guided meditation, make a collage or diorama. Whatever your creative thing is, do it, using the fairy tale as your anchor. 

We hope these ideas bring some cheer to your holiday season! Let us know if you try any of them out or share some of your other favorite free folklore-y gift ideas in the comments!


  1. Furze

    I love these ideas, thank you! I made a Spotify playlist for my sister’s 21st, which was supposed to be one song from each year that she’d been alive, but I got very carried away 😂 It was a lot of fun, though, and I think she loved it!

  2. Juli Anna

    This is a GREAT list. I try really hard to be good at gifting, but it does not come naturally to me (I envy your abilities, Brittany!). I’m always scouring lists like this for genuinely interesting ideas, but most of them are just complete consumerist bunk. These are such sweet and versatile ideas! Thank you!

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