5 Great Ideas for Gift-Giving on a Collegiette Budget

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So the semester has come to a close and you have a wealth of time on your hands. Seriously, what
are you going to do? Stress about finishing your Christmas list. On a budget. A college budget. 
Thankfully, HCND's got you covered. Here are some ideas for how to make the most of
the gift-giving season:
1. Photo product gifts
Make a photo product to give to a family member or friend. Thanks to the age of
digital cameras this is the easiest present idea and yet one of the most thoughtful. 
Calendar for grandparents with photos of all the children and grandchildren and
reminder dates of birthdays/anniversaries.
Large photo collage for your friends (8x11 or 11x14 are good sizes)
Framed photos of you and your family for your parents.
Framed quotes (in the spirit of Pinterest) for your friends and
siblings. They look infinitely better on photo paper and it's a nice way to send
some happiness.
Helpful hints:
If you’re feeling really creative try cutting a frame out of cardboard and
decorating it with paint or write memories on the frame with sharpies. Glue
a magnet to the back (those free ones you get from pizza places are great
for this) of the frame and you have a great present to be displayed on the
kitchen refrigerator.
2. Ugly Christmas Clothes Madness
It's the greatest.
Sweaters: Wash and gift an ugly Christmas sweater: perfect for any college-aged student.
You could even buy enough for the whole family and take a tacky sweater photo
(that's something to get framed! Even usable for next year's family Christmas
Hand-me-downs: If you find a clothing item that's not wearable (too small, has a hole in it, just too
ugly), cut and sew it into a homemade stocking. This is a great gift and packaging
idea – you can "stuff the stocking" (get it?) with a bunch of smaller items given
as gifts to your loved one. This is a great way to give stocking stuffers to people
whose stockings you can't actually stuff on Christmas Eve because you don't live
with them.
3. Homemade Ornaments
-Have a cardboard lying around? (Think those boxes from your online shopping
purchases)-- print out templates for the shape you want (star, reindeer, Christmas
tree, or even letters! You could even do an Irish themed one with a shamrock) cut
out the shape on computer paper and trace it on the cardboard.
Helpful hints:
1. Cut out your shape and paint it if you happen to have paint at home or use
some of your cheaper nail polish (actually creates a nice varnish look).
2. Even if you have just one color to paint with you can always decorate with
black or multicolored sharpies.
3. Pinch a hole in the cardboard when the paint's dry and slide ribbon or string
through it. If you don't have that try a paper clip (the best alternative to
store bought ornament hangers)
4. Buy inexpensive plain ornament balls and decorate them with sharpies (metallic
colors are best). Write messages, doodle, make them year-specified, etc.
5. Print out photos in black and white, “Modge Podge” them cardboard to create a
memento ornament.
4. Mason Jar Gifts
Make a mason jar a pretty gift. Perfect for used spaghetti sauce jars (or any kind
of jar – rinse, reuse, recycle!)
Shadow-box jar: Fill the jar with mementos. Paint the lid a different color
(doesn’t have to be Christmas themed). A new take on the shadow box. This is
perfect for someone to put on their dresser or desk at school, as it doesn’t have to
be hung up. Get creative with how you fill it!
 Pen or Pencil Holder/Vase for fake flowers: Paint decorations on the insides
(polka dots, letters, words, patterns etc) and once that's dry apply another layer of
contrasting paint color. Now you have a great, practical decoration!
5. Photo garland
“Modge Podge” clothespins with scrapbook paper and glue them to a piece of
long, ribbon. Gift with some photos. Great for college-aged loved ones to use in
the dorm room to hang up without damaging walls.

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About The Author

A senior English and American Studies double major at the University of Notre Dame, Katie is passionate about media, education, and public history.