Yeah, been there.
Bath salts…epsom salts, fragrance (just spritz in whatever you have), a few drops of liquid food coloring that seems to go along with the fragrance, plus some glycerin or other unscented oil if you can afford it. Put it in a pretty bottle or jar. If you put it in a metal cannister, line it with plastic, maybe a ziplock bag, so the salt doesn’t corrode the metal. If you don’t have any pretty bottles, you can decorate a plain one with rub-on decals or stickers. You can protect the decals with a coat of clear nail polish. You can use a bath fluff as a bow for the package.
Clear glass ornaments, which are found in craft stores like Michaels. You want the ones where you can take the tops off. Stuff them with things like colored lace, mylar foil, plus some glitter or foil confetti. I’ve also used milkweed fluff inside them. (If you have some old glass ornaments you can usually get the paint out of them by adding a little water and epsom salts and shaking, but there’s a high breakage rate when I’ve done this.) Sometimes you can also find ornament display holders, which hold one or two ornaments so they can be put on a shelf, and these are pretty cheap.
For unbreakable ornaments (for people who have pets or little kids), there are paper mache balls and stars. There are also lots of little trinket boxes made of paper mache. These are generally very cheap. I keep a tube of acrylic paint (bright blue works well for me) and a sponge brush and paint paper mache stuff, usually 2 coats, inside & out for the boxes, then while the final coat is still wet I add in a sprinkle of iridescent glitter. I have lots of foil confetti, and I use clear nail polish and a pair of tweezers to glue foil confetti stars on.
Places like Goodwill can be your friend. You may be able to find stuff that’s used but in a nice way, things like vintage rock t-shirts, antique cups & saucers, and quality leather goods.
One thing I plan to try this year but haven’t experimented with much is magnets. You can find packages of button magnets fairly easily, and I’m working on finding things to glue onto them, like giant rhinestones and the like.
Oh, and once I came across lots of plain white t-shirts (for some reason WalGreens often has them) and I bought some liquid fabric paint and took an old toothbrush and splatter painted them. (Note: Red will look like a nosebleed.) I also once came across t-shirts the same week my husband found a bunch of tyedye kits at a yard sale, but that was a once in a lifetime thing. (And a very cheap, colorful Christmas.) You can do socks to match.
One thing I thought would be cheap but wasn’t were blank calendars with home printer copies of pictures…I had $50 in rewards from Discover for Staples, so hey, essentially free ink…Except I didn’t know until I got them that it was actually 2 $25gift checks which had to be used on separate purchases, which completely killed the discount you get for buying color and B&W together.
So, haunt craft stores & craft aisles, look in places like Goodwill, go to the library and look at magazines like Martha Stewart, and you’ll probably find something that works for you. Good luck!