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25 Holiday Gifts that Won’t Break the Bank

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Framingham chapter.

As college students, we all know that we’re not always swimming in cash—but that doesn’t have to prevent you from giving thoughtful gifts to your loved ones this holiday season. Well, I’ve compiled a list where you can find something for any of your gift recipients—and not go broke while doing it!

  1. Coffee mugs – If you have a coffee or tea drinker on your gift-giving list, this can be an easy gift. And with just a little bit of looking, you can find some really unique designs out there!
  2. Coaster sets – For the gift recipient that loves to entertain, a cute set of coasters can be the perfect addition to their dinner table.
  3. Neckties – You can find inexpensive neckties at most outlet stores. Most of the time, these stores carry overstock items from previous seasons with marked-down prices, so you can pinch pennies without scrimping on quality.
  4. Framed photos – This is a gift you can adapt to almost any family member, friend, or romantic partner. You can find inexpensive picture frames at most craft stores or department stores, and you can print photos for cheap at pharmacy photo kiosks.
  5. Colored pencil sets – For the child or artist in your life, you can find these easily at any craft store—and you can get a step up from Crayola quality for not that much more money.
  6. Headbands or scrunchies – You don’t have to spend a lot of money to find fun and creative hair accessories for any personality!
  7. Luggage tags – For the traveler on your gift list, colorful and unique luggage tags can be a perfect gift! They’ll remember you every time they travel, and it’ll help their suitcase stand out just a bit more easily at baggage claim.
  8. Bookends – These always look expensive if you buy them in a nice bookstore, but with a little DIY knowledge or some smart shopping, you can either decorate plain ones from a craft store or buy them for cheap if you look in the right places.
  9. Books – This is another gift that you can easily adapt to any personality. Whether it’s a puzzle book, cookbook, or just a fun fiction read, you can get a thought-provoking gift for anyone on your list!
  10. Fancy notebooks or journals – If you know someone who always has ideas or lists to scribble down, a nice notebook or journal can be the perfect gift. Check the stationary section of most stores, and you should be able to find just the right one!
  11. Decorative mouse pads – This is an ideal gift for any computer user! You can sometimes even find mall kiosks that will make custom mouse pads with a favorite photo or design.
  12. Winter accessories (hats, gloves, scarves, etc.) – You can find these at all major department stores, and these can be the perfect pieces to complete any cute winter outfit!
  13. Travel-sized lotion or fragrance sets – Whether you buy a pre-made set or assemble one yourself from inexpensive purse-sized lotion tubes, this can easily be a fun and useful gift!
  14. Scented candles – And I don’t mean Yankee Candles (those are a little pricey). But a nice scented candle is a cozy addition to a cold winter day—and there’s a myriad of less-expensive brands out there that smell just as nice!
  15. Coloring books – You could find cute cartoon coloring books for young children, or those fun new geometric adult coloring books that have been all the rage lately.
  16. Homemade treats – Cookies, brownies, peppermint bark, cupcakes, you name it! This is something you can easily make in large batches, and you can even spruce them up with frosting, sprinkles, or whatever else tickles your fancy.
  17. Decorative pot holders – You can find these at just about any home goods or department store—and if you include a small set of removable wall hooks (such as Command hooks) they can even be a fun decoration in your gift recipient’s kitchen.
  18. Coupon books – You can find these online (with actual retailer coupons) or you could make a fun homemade one for stuff like “good for one home-cooked meal.”
  19. Insulated travel mugs – For your gift recipient who’s always on the go, a good quality insulated travel mug can be an ideal gift. These have become so popular that you don’t even have to spend too much money to get a good one these days. You can even find them in all sorts of different colors and patterns as well!
  20. Pocket knives or wine openers – These are practical tools for any adult, and this is another gift that’s easy to personalize for a very reasonable price. Even if you know it’s something they already have, it’s always a good idea to have an extra.
  21. Personalized keychains – The options are endless with this one! The sheer variety of shapes, sizes, and personalization options make this an easy but thoughtful gift. You can personalize them with an anniversary, birthdate, first day in a new home, or any other important date.
  22. Stuffed animals – These are great for kids, but they can be fun for teens and adults, too! They’ll be a cute piece of nostalgia for a college student, or a fun and cozy decoration for a grown-up’s bookshelf.
  23. Pet accessories or toys – For your gift recipient with a beloved pet, a decorative collar or cute set of toys can be a thoughtful, fun, and inexpensive gift.
  24. Decorative wine or beer glasses – For the wine or beer lover on your gift list, this is a gift with many options! You can get fun patterns, silly messages, or even just a name and memorable date printed on one of these.
  25. Decorative pillowcases – Everyone needs extra pillowcases, so this can be another fun gift for any age level. They’re easy to find with all sorts of fun patterns or messages, and this is yet another gift that’s easy to have personalized.


So, rest assured—you can find a gift for anyone on your shopping list without making your wallet regret it. And remember: the thought really is what counts!


Have a wonderful holiday season!