Affordable, Last-Minute Holiday Gifts Kids With ADHD Will Love

Photo: Yuganov Konstantin /
teen girl opening a gift

The holiday season is a time for giving and receiving, but a gift doesn’t have to be an item you buy or expensive to be special.

Low-cost gifts can be more unique and warm the heart as no store-bought item can. That’s because these gifts require a little extra thought, creativity, and time.

If you’re looking for something unique and heartwarming to give to a relative, neighbor, teacher, or friend, here are several ideas to make the holidays more enjoyable and fulfilling. Gifts for adults and kids with ADHD can seem challenging, but many of these ideas are easy and cost nothing or are extremely affordable. 

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Holiday giving that matters

It’s safe to say many of us are being more careful with spending these days. But just because we’re being more cautious doesn’t mean gift-giving should be limited.

It does mean it’s time to think outside the box and come up with exciting and creative ideas about what and how we give.

Instead of shopping at retail stores, see if you can provide experiences, repurpose, or even regift items you never used but others would enjoy.

Taking a no-or low-cost approach to gift-giving is easier on the pocketbook and more eco-friendly. That’s what I call a win-win strategy!

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Low-cost gift ideas for kids with ADHD

Have you ever noticed how kids with and without ADHD tend to be more interested in the box a toy arrived in than the toy itself? 

It’s a reasonably common phenomenon parents chuckle about, but there’s a lot to this. A big box is exciting because it’s a blank slate, and kids with ADHD can use their active imaginations to transform it into anything they want — a race car, a play house, a cozy reading spot, or a Lego table.

That’s not to say standard gifts like sports equipment, music, games, or puzzles are bad. But a gift that excites a youngster’s imagination and provides an opportunity for connecting with people in their lives is truly special.

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Here are some low-cost ideas

  • Set up a backyard scavenger hunt
  • Go sledding or ice skating
  • Set up a sleepover or movie night at home
  • Compile a playlist of favorite songs
  • Put together a book of baby pictures and memories
  • Put together a box of their favorite or unusual snacks
  • Set aside an afternoon for baking, crafting, or doing another fun activity together

Remember to teach your child or teen with ADHD the importance of giving and helping others. 

Compile a list of people they would like to do something nice for — teachers, neighbors, friends, and family members. See if your child or teen would like to make holiday cards for people on the list or bake them some homemade cookies.

Volunteering over the holidays may not be feasible, but a neighbor or older relative would always appreciate a visit, a warm meal, or even a phone call.

Show your kids the importance of doing for others during the holidays so they find meaning in giving and receiving.

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Low-cost gift ideas for adults with ADHD

As an adult with ADHD, you can capitalize on your unique skills and talents to create unique gifts or share experiences with friends and family. Musicians can compose a piece of music, artists can paint or sculpt something, and bakers can whip up batches of sweet treats. Remember that the holidays are about spending time with people you care about and sharing warm experiences together. The most meaningful gifts come from the heart and show the recipient you care.

Here are some low-cost gift options that warm the heart

  • Framing a favorite photo
  • Compiling family recipes
  • Knitting, building or crafting something
  • Writing a song, poem, or story
  • Recording a video message
  • Cooking a meal for someone
  • Offer yourself up to babysit and give tired parents a night off

See if you can encourage your family to make gifts for each other out of found objects or thrifted items. 

Get creative and have fun with this. Or challenge your friends to volunteer together or help in some additional capacity within your community instead of exchanging gifts.

Remember, the best gifts are not the ones with the expensive price tag but ones that express caring, gratitude, and affection.

So whatever you choose to give this holiday season, try to make it meaningful, creative, and full of love.

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Sharon Saline is a psychologist, published author, and expert in ADHD, anxiety, and mental health. She shares over 30 years of experience with her clients through teaching workshops and lectures and in her books.