10 College Budget Christmas Gifts

As many of us work hard to endure the burden of college loans and student debt, we often times find ourselves on a tight college budget. We struggle to find those extraordinary gifts the special people in our lives deserve, whether it’s family, friends, or significant others, for a price that we can afford. As the years go by, we tend to reduce our gift-giving expenses, but it’s important to know that that’s okay! People understand our positions, just as we should understand theirs. Here are ten Christmas gift ideas you can give people during this holiday season that are affordable and personable.

1) Bake their favorite snack!

Making a nice platter of Christmas cookies or arranging a goody bag of candies is always a fantastic idea! I mean, who doesn’t like sweets? They’ll eat them right away and maybe even share some with you! It’s always nice to receive a gift that took time and effort to create. We all know baked goods truly come from the heart. Plus, it’ll give you brownie points in your relationship with that person because knowing someone’s favorite food and then giving it to them will always win them over.

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2) Frame a picture!

Capturing memories in an image is an excellent way to spread joy and cheer! Print out a photo or multiple photos in places like CVS or Rite Aid. You can also have them sent to you through apps like Free Prints. You can buy a cheap frame in a dollar or grocery store, or go on Snap Fish and make a collage of photos, or use just one, to create a poster, a mug, a pillow case, or anything else! This is a cute, homey Christmas gift idea that emphasizes the importance of that person in your life through expressing the good times you’ve had.

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3) Movie night survival kit!

No, I don’t mean going and spending a fortune at Regal Cinemas, I mean picking up a cheap movie at FYE or even one that might be on sale at Best Buy, buying a bag of popcorn and/or candy, and wrapping them together! This is a nice, personal way of giving a gift to someone that you can share a movie night with, whether it means cuddling or drinking a glass of wine with the girls. Movies are a great way of getting someone to recognize the fact that you know their personality well, and they’ll definitely appreciate that!

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4) Mini makeup kit!

Create a cute little bundle of cosmetics in a mason jar or goody bag! Add a nail polish, nail file, eyeliner, face masks, mascara, or anything you want! This is a fun little way to give beauty products for cheap, making a little to-go kit of the necessities. Make sure you try to incorporate their favorite colors or products and top it off with a bow! This could make for a pleasant and personal spa day for a very low price.

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5) Cocoa on the go!

Another spectacular idea is cocoa on the go! Put hot chocolate mix and marshmallows in a mason jar or a coffee mug. Maybe throw in a candy cane for a bit of holiday cheer! It’s simple, easy, and cheap! A warming delight on the cold winter days, I don’t know anyone who’s happier than when they’re sipping down some hot chocolate. It’s relaxing and delicious all in one!

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6) Jewelry!

Best friend jewelry or correlating parts jewelry is honestly too cute. Something you wear around your wrist or neck that has meaning behind your relationships with your friends, siblings, or significant others is a great idea. Maybe get milk and cookie rings or half heart necklaces. Get creative and pick your own symbolic jewelry that could hint to a funny memory or a sentimental moment. Make it yours! It doesn’t have to be sterling silver. You can pick up anything for super cheap anywhere, like dollar stores or Walmart, so no worries!

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7) Fuzzy socks!

It’s the fad now. Plus, you can never go wrong with warm, fuzzy socks. Everyone has at least one pair, and they’re lying if they say they don’t. They can wear them around the cold house with the hard-wood floors, wear them outside and rock the socks and sandals, or slip them into any kind of shoe that doesn’t keep their foot warm! They’re a perfect gift idea for someone who enjoys a cozy and comfortable winter.

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8) Graphic t-shirts!

Everyone loves getting a t-shirt that has a design of their favorite brand, team, band, quote, or whatever it may be! You can find graphic t-shirts for extremely cheap in stores. I especially love Old Navy! Just look around and do some research. Find sales and you could walk out with five or more t-shirts for under $20! They’re great to have for normal shirts to wear as pajama tops or undershirts. Maybe you can even buy matching/corresponding shirts, similar to jewelry! Maybe even get an ugly Christmas sweater!

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9) Outerwear winter set!

From fuzzy ear muffs and insulated gloves to stylish scarves and winter hats, people love to bundle up around the holidays, and they’re always going to need something for playing in the snow (yes, college students play in the snow). You can buy sweet sets of outerwear, mixing and matching different colors and styles, keeping the pattern consistent, or choosing a theme! Pick and choose which items you’d like to incorporate; you don’t need them all! Places like 5 Below sell good quality items for $5 or less!

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10) Scent arrangement!

Buy that special person an arrangement of some of his or her favorite scents! From candles to air fresheners, car fresheners to hand soap, perfume to lip balm, or lotion to incents! Make their holiday smell like apple cinnamon, pine tree, pumpkin pie, or roasted marshmallow! Make a creative little bundle of goodies that freshen and brighten their day. You can get creative and arrange them on something that brings forth winter and the holiday spirit, like a sleigh! Everyone likes things that smell good, so this is always a great idea!

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It's important to know that you can always buy gifts for multiple people. If you have a large group of people to buy for, like your siblings and your parents or your roommates, you can always do joint gifts! This means buying things that everyone can use, like board games or blankets! You can also have multiple people buy one gift! Collaborate with your siblings and buy your parents a really nice gift while dividing the cost. There are so many simple ways to make Christmas gifts affordable and personal.

Although gift giving and receiving is a fun part of Christmas, it’s important to remember what Christmas is really about. It’s about love, happiness, and gratefulness. Spending time with your friends and family is what truly matters, not the price tag on a present! Take the time you are given during the holiday season to surround yourself with the people who matter to you most and appreciate their presence by showing kindness and compassion. Gifts are most certainly not everything - you and your loved ones are! 

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