The holidays are a time of joy, festivities, cheer, and presents. The first three don’t require much besides a cheerful disposition and a few Christmas carols, but the idea of gift giving can strike fear into the heart of broke college students everywhere.
Don’t fret: there are still ways to gift your friends, teachers, and family without breaking the bank in the process.
If you’ve got an hour or two and a few dollars to spare, you might choose to make your gifts this year. Making your own presents tends to be cheaper for you, and provide a little extra love and care put into a gift.
- Quotable Mug: With a mug from the dollar store and a few pretty Sharpie markers, you’ll soon have a gift fit for calming coffee sessions. Pick out a favorite quote or design and get busy! Let the Sharpie marks dry over night. Then bake the mug at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, and voila! A new mug that’s safe to wash and drink from, personalized from you. Find directions here.
- Handmade bath soak or body scrub: Everyone needs a little relaxation around finals time. With a handmade bath soak, you can give a friend the gift of relaxation. Most of the recipes are as simple as sugar and a little bit of essential oil. Find a cute jar to put it in and you are set!
- Cookies in a jar: Everyone loves a cookie, especially when the weather outside turns frightful. Select a cookie mix, and add in favorite add-ons like M&Ms, Reeses Pieces, marshmallow bits, chocolate chips, or something a little more zany like sprinkles.
- Starry candle holder: If you have friends with a new house or apartment, this pretty candle holder is the perfect item to light up long winter nights. This gift requires only a jar, glue, pebbles, a candle, and your imagination.
Spend Some Time
- Your favorite recipe: Give someone a gift they’ll never forget by making your favorite recipe for them, and including the recipe so they can recreate the dish. This works great for favorite desserts like cookies, bars, cakes, or pies; or for large-dish recipes like soups or casseroles. At this busy time of year, having a meal taken care of can go a long way.
- Go out on the town: Giving the gift of your time can be exactly what a good friend needs. Pay for a date out to the movies or to dinner, or whatever other activity you both enjoy. Then disconnect from your phones and relish time spent together.
- 100 Reasons Why: Sometimes, it’s good to get a reminder of why you’re special. Make a flip book, poster, or diagram of 100 reasons you love someone, or admire them, or think they’re a wonderful person. Add your personal touches.
It’s the Little Things
- Snuggly Toes: For some reason, a good pair of socks can go a long way to brightening people’s day. Grab a fuzzy pair for a gift–extra points if they’re holiday themed. For female friends, you might up the ante by including a bottle of nail polish for festive feet.
- Head over heels: Everyone loses their favorite hat just when they need it. Give the gift of warmth by investing in a fuzzy, fun hat.
- Mix it up: Give the gift of music and make your friend a personalized play list or mixed CD. This gift might seem “so 2007,” but everyone needs something to listen to while studying or driving, especially if the songs are picked out just for them.
- Finals survival kit: Possibly the best gift a student can receive during these stressful last weeks. Include food, cozy slippers, something to drink, a magazine for those study breaks, and a note reminding them that they do good work.
Remember that the real meaning behind the gift is more important than the presents we receive. A heart-felt note to someone you care for about what they mean to you can do more than a thoughtless gift ever could. Don’t stress about the money. Instead, enjoy your final weeks on campus with your friends, soaking in the holiday cheer.