One Christmas, fresh from losing my job and worried about money, I knitted my parents and brother cabled hot water bottle covers, and paired each with a store-brand hot water bottle. They remain the cheapest, best gifts I’ve ever given—my parents still use the bottles regularly to ease aches and pains and counter cold winters.
I made one for myself, too, and years later, rely on it as a combination adult-stuffed-animal/security blanket/chill fighter. (Now that our house is dogless, it’s also the next best thing to cuddling with a warm pet.) In other words—a hot water bottle, with a cute cover (the cover is important for not only maximum coziness, but also burn prevention—those things get hot) is the ultimate in thrifty-yet-thoughtful giving.