It's about that time of year that every college student loves and hates, gift giving season. It's not that we don't want to buy everyone we love lots of little things to make them smile… it's just we have $7 to our name and need $5 of that for Pete's margarita after our last final. So here, I present my gift to all of you, the beautiful knowledge of how to give gifts that don't break the bank but still make your friends and family feel special.
1. Slap a photo on it
Did you know, Walmart will put a photo on virtually anything? Like, anything. A mug for grandpa? Got it. Phone case for your sister? Hell yeah. A blanket with only one huge blown up picture of your face on it (true story) for your friend? You know it. These will cost anywhere from $5 to $20 but will be daily reminders of the memories you and that person share forever.
2. Experiences > objects
You could fork-up some money and take your friend to some meaningless amusement park, or you could plan a day that may seem like nothing to anyone else but mean the world to them. Make a scavenger hunt around their hometown or drive all over the city to each of their favorite food places. Make a day for them that shows you know them.
3. Draw them something
This one is time-consuming, but also one of my favorite options. Having someone create something with their own time and hands means more than any monetary value could. Make it special, not just pretty. The best part of this gift is that it is arguably the most personal thing you can give someone. It doesn't matter if the piece could be hung up in a museum or if my 2-year-old nephew could do better, it's completely about the heart put into it.
4. Join the nice list
Go out of your way to do something nice for them. I'm not saying clean the kitchen and call it a day; you're already being cheap, stop being lazy. I know this seems like a cop-out gift but hear me out. Picture this: you wake up Christmas morning and walk downstairs. You notice everything is spotless. You walk outside and see that the grill you've been meaning to set-up that's been sitting in the backyard for months is fully assembled. The food for the Christmas party you are having that night is all made or in the process of cooking. Your entire day is stress-free and your own. Doesn't sound too bad now, does it?
The most important thing about giving a gift is suiting it to the person you're giving it to, don't forget to take that into consideration. Even if you have an objectively great present, if you give it to someone it means nothing to, then it can be worse than not giving a gift at all. Everyone just wants to feel loved and heard in the holiday season. If you are going to go through the trouble of giving someone a gift, odds are they are worth the hassle. Let them know that. Sure, no one is upset about getting some cash. But, in the long run, those aren't the gifts we are going to remember.