Gift Giving on a Student Budget
Christmas is right around the corner, but as we all tighten our wallets, gift buying can become a lot more stressful than it should be. It’s okay to spend a little extra time or money on those we love, but with these great tips, you won’t break the bank this holiday season!
Related: Last-Minute Holiday Gifts
Recipes In A Jar
One of the easiest and cutest ways to get everyone on your list is with your favorite cookie, soup, or brownie recipe, a mason jar, and a few ribbons. This, my friends, is the gift of convenience. You simply measure out the dry ingredients and divide them amongst the jars, measuring along the way. Then write the wet ingredients and recipe instructions on a small notecard and affix to the jar with a decorative fabric ribbon.
There are tons of great recipes online, and we recommend things like cookies and brownies since they’re the most popular items for the holidays! (Another idea is to make cookie dough, place it in a small decorated ice cream carton – like a used Ben & Jerry’s container – and freeze it. Write baking instructions on the lid.)
In addition to cooking and preparing food, there are tons of do-it-yourself crafts you can make into thoughtful and beautiful gifts for friends and family. From quilts and potholders to sweater bags and button magnets, there are plenty of really cute gifts you can make yourself!
Related: A DIY Fall Wreath for Under $25
This one can be good for roommates, because they’ll probably appreciate it so much they won’t care that it is homemade. Just grab some cardstock and markers and make up different kids of coupons for household tasks – 1 Free Day/Week of No-Vacuuming/Bathroom Cleaning/Garbage Duty or 1 Free Homemade Dinner and Clean Up.
When a roommate doesn’t want to wash the dishes or take out the trash, you do it for them. Just remember that you have to actually make good on these coupons, no matter what! (This is also a fun idea for your significant other, but instead of making cleaning coupons, make coupons that are a little more exciting.)
Practical Gifts Basket
We’re talking toothpaste, socks, and shampoo. Even toilet paper, disposable plates, and school notebooks can go in the basket. You can make one for a friend, or if you have several friends living together, a full house-basket for them to share is great! They’ll appreciate that they won’t have to buy toilet paper and shampoo for another month!
Check out what kinds of toiletries and brands they like before stocking the basket. (You can also make a “girls’ night in” basket. Pack a basket full of cookie dough, a few bottles of cheap wine, chick flicks, nail polish, and old Cosmo magazines for fun.)
Special Date Night & Scavenger Hunt
For your significant other, you can plan a special date night or date day during the holiday season as your Christmas gift. Make it something fun and free — like a hike to a view and a packed picnic, or a night in with Christmas movies, hot chocolate, and homemade dinner.
You can incorporate things like a scavenger hunt beforehand, with rhyming riddles he or she has to solve to get to the next step! You can also set up a team scavenger hunt for friends and roommates, or if you have coupled-up friends, make a romantic one for them.
Combo packs are really nice because they tend to last a long time, and you can even shop in bulk at Costco, then make up little packs for all your friends. You can make a bouquet out of mini bottles of alcohol, bake or buy a bunch of different kinds of cookies and wrap them nicely, or even make natural body care gifts like lip balm and sugar scrubs for girlfriends.
You can also buy cheap gift packs. For example, Trader Joe’s sometimes have these cute chocolate passports with single-origin chocolate bars each from a different country. The chocolate is delicious and is sure to last several weeks.
Just remember — it’s not the price of the gift, it’s really the thought that counts!