Just as we thought all the stress from Final Exams was over, say hello to the next source of stress: Holiday Shopping/finding gifts for everyone. Of course this shouldn’t be considered hard but the thing is we all can aggressively relate to this picture:
And, well unfortunately we’re just a little too old for the “hand-made card” to still work. But never fear! The trick to giving someone a gift that feels like a million bucks but really only cost you $5, is the meaning behind it. This is especially true for family and really close friends.
“Oh! Wait! But what if my family and friends are materialistic robots?” ---Well, in that case there’s not much to be done about that, but because that is HIGHLY unlikely to be the case, let’s have a look at 10 easy and meaningful gifts that almost anyone can pull off!
This is hands down, the safest and probably the most guaranteed way to hit the feels when it comes to gifts. To really make this a home run gift, one that will make your parents brag about, adding a special personal touch is key. This “special touch” could be a fancy frame, a collage, or anything really. Just something that shows them how much you love them and how fun they really are. You’d be surprised at the cute and low priced frames that Target/Hobby Lobby/Outlet shops (Bealls/Ross) carries. Also, don't be afraid to get creative! It's hard to go wrong here!
2. Mix Tape
This may seem a little funny at first, but really it’s a thoughtful way to show someone you think about them, especially if they’re music lovers! For whoever it is find a bunch of songs that you both enjoy, as well as songs that you think they will love based on their personality. Make a playlist and to go the extra mile, burn these songs on a disc so they can listen to it in the car or on their computer. You can find blank music CD-Rs at your local office supply store. Or if you’re like me and have those super old ipod shuffle/nano hanging around unused, clean it out and put the playlist on there and gift that! It’s a great way to tell someone you think about them. Perhaps also include a pair of headphones if they don't have any themselves. Perhaps for Grandpa, make him a CD with all of his old favorite songs and gift it with an easy to use walkman and a pair of over headphones! You could even write on the player itself something like "Love you lots! Your favorite tunes from your favorite person"!
3. College/School Spirit Gear
If you’re a first time university student, this is a great gift for the family. When I first came back from university for break, my parents were gifted Florida Gator gear. The possibilities are endless here, ranging from a “University of (where ever) Parent” T-shirt to a Key Chain or a Colored Tie for Dad. The Main point is to make them feel warm and fuzzy whenever they see it, because it’ll be associated with you. **This has the possibility of being expensive! So pay attention if you’re on a strict budget; however it’s a quick fix if money isn’t the problem and you’re just short on time**
4. Book of "___-isms"
Head down to your school supply store or drugstore and find yourself a nice small little journal. Inside, write down all of the funny quotes/actions/things that this person did (ex: for a friend named Steve, a book of Steve-isms!). Keep them sweet and light-hearted! It’ll be a good way for this person to have a laugh and feel how much you appreciate them. If you can’t fill the entire book, no worries! Include a nice little pen with the gift and tell them that the rest of the book is so we can continue to record their legacy!
5. Box of memories
This might take a little more digging around your brain (and the house) to create. But essentially, it is a box of things that you and your mom/dad/friend have shared (whether it be experiences, inside jokes, or whatever). So for example, if you and your bestie became friends over a cup of coffee one day, stick a dollar store coffee mug in the box with a note reading something along the lines of “remember when we became friends over coffee” and then fill it with a candy that the two of you love; or maybe if your grandmother had taught you how to knit, put in one of your first knitting projects with a note saying something “Remember when you taught me how to knit?”; or maybe you and dad had a great day playing golf a while ago, toss a golf ball in there with something like “Best round of golf with Dad, 12/12/12” written on a note or the ball itself. Or even fill it with memories from a great road trip you had with your sibling! It doesn’t have to be massive, it just has to make them feel super happy that they get to be your parent/friend!
6. Slide show/iMovie
Super similar to the Traditional picture idea, but this is a good one if you want to do a lot or tell a story maybe. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so perhaps that means a slide show or iMovie equals millions and millions of words! The nice thing about this is putting music to pictures. It’s like seeing the emotion and then hearing it at the same time, really bringing out the beauty. Perhaps a tribute to your parents, pictures of you and the family having a good time, pictures of you and your bestie having a great time, the possibilities are endless! Again, if you want to go the extra mile, stick it on a CD so they can pop it in the DVD player at holiday dinner (or especially if your parents/friends are super technology impaired—like mine). Or even put it on a thumb drive and attach a key chain to that so they can carry it wherever and look at it whenever their hearts desire.
7. Decorate Wine Glasses
For the crafty-artsy folk! Purchase a set of clear wine glasses (or champagne, or whatever your heart desires) as well as some glass paint (careful to make sure you’re getting quality paint, read the label!). Places like Bed Bath & Beyond, Ikea, Walmart, and Target sell plain glasses for under $4 and glass paint shouldn’t cost you more than $10. Mark up these glasses with pretty designs, dip the bases in nice colors, or even personalize them if you please! Gift them to family or friends, they’ll be sure to love them.
8. Make your own Music/Song/Poem
This is also something that can take a while. But if you’re in the mind to do it, I say go for it! Nothing says “Hey! You’re important to me and I want to show it!” like writing a song, or a poem for someone you care about. For example, if you happen to write a poem, you can record it using your phone and then perhaps add some soft background music to give it that “official” sense, then stick it on a CD or voice recorder or flash drive with a copy of the poem itself. It also doesn’t have to be a musical/poetic thing. It can be as simple as telling someone what you mean to them, but add in the recording of yourself reading it to really make it special. A beautiful gift for anyone.
9. Save the Home Videos!
Take those super old VCR home videos and copy them onto DVDs so that your family can enjoy them no matter the technological advances! **This could also be very expensive! It takes a special converter to change the VCR to DVD format (these machines cost around $150). You could also purchase special software to get the job done at your local tech shop/office store. Or you could take your movies to Walmart or Walgreens and they will transfer them for you, but it costs roughly $24 per tape. That being said, If you have a buddy who has one of those VCR to DVD converters, definitely persuade them with holiday cookies to let you rent/borrow their machine for a day or two.**
10. Handmade Jewelry
This not only a cheaper way to do the “Pandora Bracelet” gift, but also much more meaningful. Unless you have a bunch of jewelry stuff laying around at home, it also might take a trip to Michael's or your local craft store. Essentially, think things/happy memories of the person you are gifting to, and try to turn those thoughts into beads/charms. For example, I would add a blue bead representing the fact that my mom first introduced me to the water; then maybe a fish because she taught me how to fish, then something Blue and Orange for my University colors, then maybe a star charm because of our shared love for astrology, and then a moon because we always say "love you to the moon and back". There is no way to go wrong with something like this. These craft stores also carry beautiful charms and necklace chains, where you only need to worry about one thing. Be sure to find a small box or bag to wrap it up! Also, include a paper inside that lists out all the meanings to the charm/bead choices so they can save it forever.
Remember! The most important part about this time of year is not how much money you spent on a gift or even the brand name associated with it. It's all about the thought and the meaning behind the gifts. When it all comes down to it, we're all happy that we get to be together, and these gifts serve as reminders of how lucky we are to have each other.
Did this article give you some ideas for holiday gifts? Share this article with your friends so they can worry less during the holiday season!