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Cheap and Easy DIY Holiday Gifts for the Family

With the holidays rapidly approaching, I know many of my fellow college students are scrambling to find a gift for every member of their family while still keeping a tight budget. For most of us, our only option is to DIY our gifts and hope they don’t turn out looking too homemade. I am going to share my “secret” DIY recipes for easy gifts that are sure to bring a smile to your family’s faces. 

For this first one, all you have to do is take a leftover wine bottle and put some battery-powered string lights inside. If you’re feeling a little fancy, you can even take some paint and write something cute like “love” or “family” on the front. While yes, this is an extraordinarily simple craft, I have found that as long as you write a lengthy and thoughtful card, people don’t really care. I have given this to my grandparents before, and they loved it, so hopefully you’ll have some luck as well.

This next DIY only applies to those of us living in the colder parts of the world, but if you happen to live in an area where there are a lot of pine cones around, I encourage you to embrace your inner hunter/gatherer and go collecting some of them. What I like to do is take some Modge Podge and roughly paint some parts of the pine cone with it, so it looks like they have just tussled around in some snow. Then, I simply dip them into either silver or red glitter and voila you have some beautiful decorations! Again, my artistic skills is severely limited, so this counts as a craft for me. In order to finish off the gift, I recommend you place them in a basket filled with some filler paper with some ribbon around it. You can even sprinkle a little bit of cinnamon onto it if you want the gift to have a pleasant aroma. 

This last craft may be the easiest of them all. Simply all you have to do is take a glass pitcher, mug, or cup and fill it with pasta. Honestly, you can use almost any shape as long as it’s bite-sized and not long like spaghetti. Personally, I like to use penne. Then what I do is get a pretty artificial flower and place it in the middle of the glass. You may have to trim the flower a bit to get it to look nice, and you will have to use pliers for this since they usually have wires embedded in the stem. Of course, this gift is overwhelmingly modest, but hopefully your family is as easy to please as mine. Again, just tack on a beautifully-written card and you are good to go! 

I would say these DIYs are some of the easiest that I’ve come up with, so I hope that you don’t find them intimidating by any means – I promise they are not. Good luck with your gift-giving this year and happy holidays! 

Leela Rajeev

Stony Brook '22

Hello, I love writing and watching Netflix!
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