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Cute and Cheap Christmas Gift Ideas

As college students, we generally don’t have tons of money, so as badly as we might want to go all-out with expensive presents for our deserving friends and family, that is just not a possibility. However, there are still perfectly good gift options out there to express our love and appreciation that’ll be sure to satisfy anyone! Personally, I prefer to receive a bunch of little gifts rather than one big one. With this list of ideas, you can pick out multiple items to compile together that are cute and won’t break the bank.

Gift cards

You might think gift cards are way too basic and thoughtless, but trust me on this one. It’s a lot better to give a gift card than risk getting something your friend/relative might not like. For example, you might know someone who’s a total bookworm, but you know nothing about books at all. A gift card to a bookstore would provide the recipient with the freedom of choice and eliminates the risk of you unknowingly choosing a boring classic or a book they’ve already read. The same thing applies to video games, music, clothes, etc.

Sheet masks

Who doesn’t love skin care? Sheet masks make great stocking stuffers and help to enhance any skin care routine. You can pick different ones based on the person you’re gifting them to. They’re also easy to find because they’re in basically every store.


Pair this with some sheet masks and you’ve got a whole self-care gift set. Candles are universally appreciated because they’re practical. Lighting a candle in the winter creates a cozy, relaxing atmosphere that’s fitting for the holidays. Plus there’s a wide range of scents you can choose from: vanilla, lavender, cinnamon and much more!

Cute socks

I don’t know how many times I’ve had my friends put their ice-cold feet on top of me, telling me to feel how cold their feet are. Everyone gets cold in winter, so a pair of socks to warm up that friend who’s always freezing is a great idea. You can even get matching socks and twin with them.


For the frequent coffee or tea drinker, a mug is the perfect present. You can seriously never have too many mugs.

Framed photo

You’re not going to want to just give a plain, empty frame. Instead, this can be made super personal because you have to go through photo after photo to find the one that perfectly encapsulates your relationship with the person you’re gifting the framed picture to.


Chances are, if they have hair past their shoulders, scrunchies are a need. Scrunchies are also great stocking stuffers and are better than regular hair ties because they can have fancy patterns and don’t crimp your hair.

These basic but useful gift ideas are cute, affordable, and puts you in the spirit of Christmas!

Emily is a junior and majoring in English at Michigan State University.
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