DIY Holiday Gift Guide for the Broke College Student

The weather fluctuates between sixty and thirty degrees as winter sets in.  It is gift-giving season with the onset of the holidays.  Whether you missed the Black Friday deals, only have $3 in your wallet like Patrick Star, or just love crafting, this DIY gift guide is for you.  Put on the Polar Express and snuggle up with a warm cup of hot cocoa as you make these gifts.


This is a wonderful gift for a number of people in your life.  You can personalize the piece of artwork and create an intimate gift unattainable in box stores.  If you’re an avid artist, all this will take is time as you can use that blank canvas stowed behind your door.  Many art-obsessed creative minds hoard unused art supplies; this will clear your clutter and make a thoughtful present.

Decorated Letters

Paint or glue flowers and/or gemstones to a wooden letter to create a cute, thoughtful gift.  This is a great gift for bigs and littles in Greek organizations.  Just select your Greek letters!  Alternatively, decorate the recipient’s initials.


A scarf is an old classic—it works as a gift for almost anyone.  Amp up this present by making it by yourself.  If you already knit, this will clear out some of the yarn that you are guilty of stockpiling.  You may even have a project that is already started.



Making someone a mixtape used to be a huge romantic gesture.  Bring this back!  Alternatively, with the popularity of Spotify, customize a playlist for your significant other or a friend to listen to.

Baked Goods

This is simple, but sure to be a favorite among your friends and family.  Baked goods only require an hour or two of time and you may already have most of the ingredients that you need.  Who doesn’t love fudge or cookies around the holidays?

Inspiration Journal

Grab that unused journal sitting in your bottom desk drawer and give the gift of inspiration to someone.  Write prompts on every few pages such as: gratitude list, bucket list, favorite quotes, playlist, favorite memories, etc.

“Open When” Letters

A set of “open when” letters is a touching gift to anyone meaningful to you.  Instruct the recipient when to open each letter on the front of the envelop, such as “open when you miss me” and “open when you’ve accomplished something monumental.”

Photo Credit: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8