How to Be a Great Gift Giver this Holiday Season: On your Poor College Kid Budget

It’s that time of year again. Winter break is coming up and with all that are the parties, friends, and family. And also presents. But you’re poor. Like all the 18 to 22 year olds who are pursuing a high level of education.

If you’re like me, the Holidays have literally snuck up and suddenly I need to make the very small number in my bank account stretch into several gifts while still keeping some left over for food. You know, when I have the time to eat.

I have compiled a list of inexpensive gifts that you can give to your family and friends. They are more on the Pinterest crafty side, but they work! And won’t make you even poorer than you already are.

1. Mason Jar of Love

This sounds weird, but this was a gift I received from my little sister over Big/Little Week last year. She painted a mason jar my favorite color (PINK) and tied a ribbon around it. On the top of the lid she wrote, “Reasons I love my Big.” And on the inside, were dozens of little sheets of paper with things she loved about me. It absolutely made my day. I go back read through them sometimes too. This gift isn’t a lot of money (less than 3 dollars to buy the mason jar), but really shows the receiver how much you care and love them. It’s like a snap cup full of warm fuzzy snaps for your friends!

2. Canvas

Now, this one may be a bit trickier, but if you love to paint, then paint a canvas for the one you love. I’m not good at pictures, but I love to find inspirational quotes/Bible verses and paint them on the canvas with my receiver’s favorite colors. It’s thoughtful and shows you spent a lot of time thinking about it. (Around 5-8 dollars depending on where you buy the canvas and paint usually runs around 2-5 dollars as well).

3. Letter and a Journal

If you have a friend who loves to write or journal all the time, nothing will make her happier than a journal. This gift can be done in one or two ways: either you can make a journal (I’ve never attempted so I won’t try to tell how to do this one. Check YouTube!) or buy an inexpensive journal and write them a letter. Whenever I give someone a journal, I write them a long letter telling them how much their friendship means to me. People love to get handwritten letters so writing one in a journal they can keep is priceless. (A journal runs anywhere from 5-10 dollars depending on what kind you buy and where.)

4. Paint a picture frame

This is sort of like the canvas idea, but on a smaller scale. Go to any craft store and buy a wooden frame. Paint the frame whatever color you like, maybe add some ribbon, stickers, write a cute message, etc. and put a picture of you and your friend in the frame. It’s much more personal than just handing someone a frame you bought that they still have to find a picture for. I love this gift idea! (A wooden picture frame is usually around 3-5 dollars depending on where you go.)

5. The ever-popular food gift

Now, I’m not talking about fruitcake (gross), but something much more delicious and sought after. Maybe cookies, cake, cupcakes, etc. in a cute little box the receiver can keep. Another great food idea is making a hot chocolate gift set. All you need for this one is some hot chocolate; a few marshmallows in a little plastic bag; maybe some chocolate, and put it in a mason jar, tied with a ribbon. This gift is adorable and sure to be used up immediately!

I hope these gift ideas have helped you. I’m sure your friends and family will love them! Happy Holidays everyone!