Christmas Gift Ideas for the Student Budget

It’s that time of year again… the towns are alight with Christmas decorations, Christmas music follows you everywhere you go and students nationwide are racking their brains for what they can get for their loved ones that suit their already depleted student budget. But panic no more, I have collected together a range of ideas hopefully with something to suit everyone! What’s more, many of these gifts are far more thoughtful than the usual Lynx gift set, so not only will you be saving pennies (leaving more to help scrape through second term am I right?), you’ll also be working your way onto your families nice list this year, which in my house may result in an extra pig in blanket, so what’s not to love?

If you can spare a little bit of time and have a sprinkling of patience there are many homemade options that cost nearly nothing! First may be simple but it’s a classic, a heartfelt homemade Christmas card with some nice words that you wouldn’t say day to day inside. Better still, it doesn’t have to be a work of art to make someone happy, the fact that you’ve taken the time and thought to make someone a card rather than take the easy road and buy a multipack has a lot to say for itself. One easy and personal option is to use photos of you and/or the receiver - stick them in a snow globe, on Santa’s sleigh, make them into a reindeer, the world is your Christmas oyster. This can be a funny option and a great idea for a gift for your siblings. For a more sophisticated option using glitter can be a really easy way to get really effective results, embrace the primary school kid in you by using a thin layer of PVA glue and whack on a generous helping of glitter (because let’s be honest, you can never have too much) and tip-off onto newspaper and Bob’s your uncle (well Bruce in my case but you know what I mean!). This is guaranteed to be a hit with the grandparents and may just stay on the mantelpiece all year round, that’s when you know you’ve really finessed it!

If you’re not into art but still fancy something homemade then why not try channelling your inner Mary Berry and try your hand at a baked gift? Cookies, truffles, jam, chutney, you name it and it’s sure to be a hit, especially if this is a gift for a fellow student, we will take anything we can get and home-cooked food is a luxury we can only dream of during term time! Once baked simply wrap with cellophane and add a ribbon and you’ll soon be filling in the Bake Off 2020 application. If you’ve left it to the last minute or are just a lazy so and so, another cute alternative is to fill a jar with the dry (please don’t crack an egg in there!) baking ingredients and print out a nice recipe – the perfect gift for a baking fanatic or anyone who would be sure to complain if you made them yourself. Whilst we are on the topic of jars they, and any other receptacles for that matter, can be filled with little inexpensive bits and bobs to make a lovely personal gift. For example, for the person that’s always on the go (perhaps a parent?) making an at-home spa kit would give them the perfect excuse to stop and have a self-care night. Pop in a facemask, hot chocolate sachet, some mini marshmallows and a bath bomb and you’ve given the gift of a pamper without having to take out a loan to pay for a spa day. Granted it doesn’t include the pool but a bath is nearly there right? The best thing about this option is that it can be tailored to literally anyone - a jar of anyone’s favourite things can’t possibly not be a winner in my book! If you want to make it extra Christmassy, why not make a mini stocking using a big Christmas sock (but please, for the health of the recipient, make it a clean one!) or make a big cracker out of card to fill.

If you’re like me and are creative and love undertaking a project aimed at one lucky person, here are a couple of gift ideas that will keep on giving throughout the Christmas period and will really show someone how much they mean to you. Making someone an advent calendar or a 12 days of Christmas calendar lets you give a little gift every day. One idea is to make a traditional picture calendar but put a different photo of you and that person behind each door with a little note or phrase to make them smile. If you fancy even more of a challenge then why not go for the 3D calendar which gives you the potential to also include chocolate, sweets or anything else that will fit! There are many ways you can do this, the last one I made I went for a board backing and cut holes in and created draws, used toilet roll tubes as a nook for sweets with tissue paper covering to rip through, doors with photos behind, a paper pocket with a costa gift card inside… the only limits are your imagination!

If you know someone who shares your music taste, why not go old school and make them a mixtape? This is especially good for parents who still listen to CDs in the car. A fun touch I like to do is to give the CD a funky new name and to put a tracklist on the back but rename the songs based on when or why they should listen to them, for example things like ‘a song to cheer you up’ or ‘these lyrics remind me of you!’ or ‘a classic banger I know you love’. This is such a thoughtful gift and one that the recipient can enjoy for years to come.

There are many other homemade options out there waiting to be tried such as candles, soaps, and Christmas tree decorations but if none of these DIY options tickle your pickle but you’re still on a tight budget then there is no shame in checking out charity shops for an absolute fab find. If you’re trying to find a gift for a book lover then there are so many steals to be had (not actually stealing of course, it’s Christmas and for charity people!) in the Oxfam bookshops, if you have similar taste, why not gift them your favourite book that you think they will also love? And if you’re super close and want to make it even more intimate you could even make little notes in it, bookmark your favourite pages, highlight the lines you like and add little diagrams for the perfect personal touch.

Hopefully this will have given you a few ideas or sparked some new ideas of your own! Getting crafty over Christmas is a great way to unwind from all the term time stress and remind the people in your life that although you’re wrapped up with Uni commitments you still have the time to give a personal gift that is guaranteed to make them smile. The fact that it didn’t break the bank is just a bonus in my eyes!


This article is part of our Festive themed week 2019. Happy holidays from Her Campus Bristol!