5 Affordable Christmas Presents Under $20 That Your Friends Will Love

5 Affordable Christmas Presents Under $20 That Your Friends Will Love

For the broke college student who wants to celebrate on a budget.

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'Tis the season for spending! If you love gifting on Christmas but don't love depleting your bank account, then you understand that the search for affordable presents can seem like an endless hunt for the perfect deal. Finding presents that are both inexpensive and useful is a goal that we all strive for on each shopping trip. After scrolling through the clearance section of your besties' favorite online stores, your efforts could leave you empty-handed when you remember that shipping is an additional cost.

Don't fret about splurging when you can buy everyone on your shopping list a present for under $20! Whether you and your friends are having a secret Santa gift exchange, or you are simply looking to purchase presents for your loved ones, these gift ideas are sure to please!

$16 Soap & Glory Bath Gift Set

Soap & Glory Pink Credibles Giftset | Ulta Beauty

Buy this item here.

If your friend is known for her perfectly curated collection of self-care products, then this is the gift for her! Not only is the packaging of these products unique to add to her display, the scent is one that she will want to use every day. This gift will give you the most "bang for your buck" because the products inside are quality items that make for a useful present.

$13.50 Bath & Body Works Warm Vanilla Sugar Gift Set

Warm Vanilla Sugar Dachshund Mini Gift Set | Bath & Body Works

Buy this item here.

When in doubt, play it safe and head to Bath and Bodyworks for a classic gift set that everyone will wish they had received! The wide variety of fragrances that are reasonably priced provide the best affordable gift options for your group of friends. Gifting these sets offer a personal touch to your present because you get to pick out the scents based on your friends' favorite aromas.

$12.99 Formula 10.0.06 Face Mask Collection

Formula 10.0.6 Divide & Conquer 6pc Multi Masking Sampler Kit | Ulta Beauty

Buy this item here.

At this point, nearly everyone and their mother has gotten hooked on weekly facials. Instead of spending tons of money on one tiny jar of a fancy mud mask, pick up this set from Ulta. This gift is a great option for your friends that are skin care junkies because there multiple formulas targeted for a variety of skin concerns. At just under $13, this gift is an affordable essential that will provide your friends with the greatest gift a girl could ask for: glowing skin!

$12.99 Swiss Miss Cookies & Cocoa Milk Chocolate Gift Set 

Swiss Miss® Cookies & Cocoa Milk Chocolate Gift Set

Buy this item here.

This is perfect for the picky friend that you have no idea what to buy for. No one can turn down a warm cup of cocoa and cookies on a chilly winter day! This gift is also great for all the foodies out there who can't imagine their ideal holiday season without their favorite sweets.

$15 Too Faced Christmas Cracker

Too Faced Online Only Christmas Cracker | Ulta Beauty

Buy this item here.

In addition to beautiful packaging that offers the element of surprise, this Too Faced duo will also provide your friend with some much-needed makeup essentials. No girl can have enough lip gloss and mascara, and this metallic shade makes for the perfect seasonal color to flaunt at holiday parties.

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Here's Why You Shouldn't Donate to The Salvation Army This Holiday Season (Or Ever)

No, I’m not a grinch or a scrooge. I’m just a member of the LGBT+ community that is tired of seeing my community suffer at the hands of organizations that are supposed to help us.
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The holiday season is upon us, bringing mall Santas, twinkling lights, and the well-known bell ringers with their red buckets stationed outside busy department stores. The Salvation Army is a mainstay in the memories of our childhood holidays. I remember a number of years where my parents would give each of my sisters and I a handful of change to put in the shiny red bucket as we walked into Wal-Mart to shop for our family Christmas dinner. On the surface, the Salvation Army is an organization with good intentions of helping the less fortunate, especially during the holiday season. However, a quick Google search exposes the organization’s discriminatory practices.

The Salvation Army is a Protestant Christian denomination and an international charitable organization. Their mission statement, as stated on their website, reads: “The Salvation Army, an international movement, is an evangelical part of the universal Christian Church. Its message is based on the Bible. Its ministry is motivated by the love of God. Its mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination.”

Despite their insistence of nondiscriminatory practices, however, there have been several instances of discrimination, specifically against members of the LGBT+ community. In July 2017, a Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Center in Brooklyn, New York, was found by the New York City Commission on Human Rights (NYCCHR) to be discriminating. Three other centers in New York City were also cited as being discriminatory. Violations within the four centers included refusing to accept transgender people as patients or tenants, assigning trans people rooms based on their sex assigned at birth instead of their lived gender identity, unwarranted physical examinations to determine if trans people are on hormone therapy or have had surgery, and segregating transgender patients into separate rooms. The NYCCHR had been tipped off about the mistreatment, and testers from the commission went to the cited centers and found clear evidence of the mistreatment. One of the clinics told the testers outright, “No, we don’t [accept transgender patients].” Another clinic’s representative said, “People with moving male parts would be housed with men.”

This isn’t the first time the Salvation Army has discriminated specifically against transgender people. In 2014, a transgender woman from Paris, Texas fled her home due to death threats she received related to her gender identity. The police told her, “Being the way you are, you should expect that.” She went to Dallas and found emergency shelter at the Carr P. Collins Social Service Center, run by the Salvation Army. The emergency shelter allowed her to stay for 30 days. Towards the end of her 30-day stay, she began looking for other long-term shelter options. One option many of the other women staying in the shelter had recently entered was a two-year housing program also run by the Salvation Army. When the woman interviewed for the program, she was told she was disqualified for the program because she had not had gender reassignment surgery. The counselor for the program later claimed there was a waiting list, but it came out that two women who arrived at the emergency shelter after the transgender woman had already entered the program. The transgender woman filed a complaint with Dallas’s Fair Housing Office, which protects against discrimination on the basis of gender identity. She was able to find other housing through the Shared Housing Project, a project that aims to find transgender people with housing who are willing to support those without.

The Salvation Army’s Christian affiliation drives the organization’s statements and beliefs. The church has a page on its website dedicated to its decided stance on the LGBT+ community that seems to paint a nice picture. Their actions, however, tell a different story. There have been several accounts reporting the Salvation Army’s refusal of service to LGBT+ people unless they renounce their sexuality, end same-sex relationships, or, in some cases, attend services “open to all who confess Christ as Savior and who accept and abide by The Salvation Army’s doctrine and discipline.” The church claims it holds a “positive view of human sexuality,” but then clarifies that “sexual intimacy is understood as a gift of God to be enjoyed within the context of heterosexual marriage.” This belief extends to their staff, asking LGBT+ employees to renounce their beliefs and essentially their identity in order to align with the organization. The Salvation Army believes that “The theological belief regarding sexuality is that God has ordained marriage to be between one man and one woman and sexual activity is restricted to one’s spouse. Non-married individuals would therefore be celibate in the expression of their sexuality.” Essentially, gay people can’t get married. Unmarried people can’t have sex. Therefore, gay people are forbidden from being intimate with one another. This is unfair to ask of any employee, especially considering that one’s relationship status does not interfere with how well anyone can do their job.

If you are still looking to donate to a non-homophobic and transphobic organization this holiday season, here are some great pro-LGBT+ organizations with outreach similar to that of the Salvation Army:

  • Doctors Without Borders: medical and emergency relief
  • Habitat for Humanity: homelessness and housing
  • Local homeless shelters: search the National Coalition for the Homeless’ website for shelters near you!
  • Local food bank: find your local food bank through Feeding America here.
  • The Trevor Project: a leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBT+ young people ages 13-24.
Cover Image Credit: Ed Glen Today

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10 Reasons Why Having A Boyfriend Is Especially Awesome Around The Holidays

No better time of the year than Winter break to make all the memories with your honey freezing in the weather or sweating by the fireplace.

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A date for looking at Christmas lights is on the top of the list, for sure.

1. You have someone to do all of the activities with

He's like your built-in partner for everything. Wanna watch a movie? Take a nap? Need someone to help you clean your room? You've got your person.

2. You can steal his hoodies when its chilly outside

It doesn't even have to be cold for you to want to. Chances are its a size or two bigger than you need and his cologne is all over it.

3. Chances are he's more willing to drive in the snow than you are 

Guys typically have a little more of a heavy duty vehicle. If you've got a good man, he might even rescue you an hour away in a blizzard if you think you're tougher than the weather.

4. Christmas movie partner!!

Do I need to add more?

5. He can always keep you warm

Bear hugs. Cuddles. His trucks dual air 90 degree heat on your side. He'll find a way to keep you warm.

6. Your family holiday events partner

Multiple Thanksgivings and Christmas' are a breeze with your favorite person by your side. Plus, no one to ask you where your plus one is or why you're single.

7. Matching Christmas pajamas

I don't know about you, but my family has matching Christmas jammies every year. You can even get your favorite person in on them too for a cute insta picture.

8. Your errand running partner

He's your built-in Christmas shopping partner so you aren't bored standing in line forever or while you're still shopping and he can act as your place holder.

9. You aren't the only single one in your family on Christmas Eve anymore. 

It's awkward when all of your siblings are taking pictures with their others, but when you've found your person, you can do all the same things, including looking forward to your new year's kiss.

10. Making more memories

No better time of the year than Winter break to make all the memories with your honey freezing in the weather or sweating by the fireplace.

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