It's the Greatest time of Year! It's also one of the most expensive times of the year. A time of joy and family fellowship... but also a time for your wallet to scream and cry from the abuse you will be giving it. I hear you fellow college students.
You want to give your family and friends gifts because you know it's the season of giving, but your wallet isn't on the same page as you. I'm here to help you out. Here are some gifts that you can afford, that will still warm hearts.
DIY doesn't have to be the cheesy macaroni picture you used to make, it can be beautiful and cost-effective. And the best part is you don't have to be some kind of artist. The gifts you can make can range from simple, Sharpie Mugs to difficult, hand knit scarfs and hats. There are so many things you can make I'm going to make a sub-list of three things I personally know are cute to give out.
1. Sharpie Mugs - Go to the dollar store and buy 1 dollar mugs and then go to Wal-Mart and buy oil-based Sharpies for like 3 dollars. You can write Happy Holidays on a bunch of them or you can customize your messages. If you want to get fancy, you can draw a design. Put the mug in the oven to let it "bake" for about an hour. Let the mug dry overnight. Check it the next day to make sure it has officially dried. If not, throw it make in the oven and let it "bake" again. Make sure you buy a mug that can be put in the oven.
2. Mason Jar Recipes - You can get a few mason jars from a craft store and choose a recipe such as a soup, put all the dry ingredients inside of the mason jar and tie a bow around it. Then print out the recipe and attach it to the jar.
3. Scarfs and Sweaters - if you knit or crochet, the craft store has yarn, have at it!
2. Dollar Store
The Dollar Store is you friend everyone. Especially Dollar Tree, I mean everything is a literal dollar. And they actually have nice things there. They have something for everyone on your list and you definitely won't break the bank.
3. Baked Goods
Who doesn't love sweets? You can bake a bunch of cookie, brownies, or cupcakes and pass those out at Christmas. Head on over to the dollar store to buy the ingredients and some cute gift bags or boxes and Voila!
4. A Thoughtful Card
This may seem like nothing, but sometimes people cherish what you say more than some expensive gift. A card comes more from the heart than an electronic or a box of chocolates. Choose this option only if you're going to write something heartfelt. This is a great gift for older relatives that don't expect a gift from you. You can write them thanking them for all they do and showing your appreciation for having them in your life. You can buy one large box of cards for no more than 5 dollars
5. Clean your room or entire house
This is especially for your parents. It shows that you've heard them the other 364 days of the year when they've asked that you clean up for once. Or maybe your room is clean, and you tidy up around the house... if that's the case, you can rake the leaves or shovel the snow. You can fix something if you're handy. Or you can...
This can be your parent, boyfriend/girlfriend, siblings, roommate. Make them a breakfast of there favorite foods or the foods you know how to make. Or even spend a little on a McDonald's breakfast and put it on a plate. Breakfast in bed is a sweet way to pamper a person and let them feel special. If you can't cook, maybe don't choose this one though... or again McDonald's.
7. Coupon Book
This is so cheesy, but I'm assuming you are desperate and that's why you're reading this. Or you're my friend... Either way, coupons books are pretty elementary. But that doesn't mean they should be frowned upon. They can also be great gifts for people. Fill it with things like "Owed, One Home-Cooked Meal" "Owed, Movie night with Pizza; my treat, you pick a movie" "Owed, One Day of Chores" "Owed, No need for Uber, I'll Drive you there" "Owed, My Netflix Password."
Choose one of these or fill in your own according to what you know the person would like. You can make them pretty or they can be simple, but the gifts you are offering will last longer than just December 25th. It's literally the gift that keeps on giving.
So there you have it, folks. Just 7 of the many easy and cost-effective gifts you can give out this Christmas. It is important for me to say, that though gifts are nice, they are not the most important thing about this holiday. Whether you celebrate for religious reasons or not, Christmas should never be centered around what you can or can't afford or what you do or don't get. It should be about giving, not just of gifts but of time, love, and joy. Time, love, and joy also happen to be incredible gifts that don't cost anything and everyone will love. Happy Holidays everyone.
Food For Thought: If you want another way to give this season, try donating old toys or new toys to organizations for children who would otherwise not receive a gift. Or volunteer at a soup kitchen or nursing home. Don't be consumed by the capitalist spirit and forget the true meaning of the holiday.