Holiday Gift Guide: 6 Affordable & Thoughtful DIY Ideas

As we head into finals, the holidays begin to slowly approach. The holiday season is traditionally marked with gift exchanges with friends and family, but it can be the most difficult task to figure out what to get your favorite people. Because of all the shopping festivities and the growing commercialization of this season, the pressure is on to purchase the perfect gifts for everyone you know. Sometimes the best way to show someone you’re thinking of them is to make their gift yourself! This holiday season, show someone you care about that you’re thinking of them with more than just another store-bought sweater. Here are several fun, cheap and easy DIY gift ideas for everyone from your mom and your grandma to your best friend and your significant other:

person walking inside building near glass

1. A Homemade Candle

Everyone loves giving candles as presents, but they can be expensive when purchasing from a store. Try making one yourself with a personalized scent, and decorate the jar for your best friend or your mom! Start by melting wax on the stove while adhering the wick to whatever container you have decided to use - usually with super glue or you can use the melted wax to attach it to the container.  Add your desired fragrance to your melted wax and mix it in. Then let the wax cool a little before pouring it into your container (make sure your wick doesn’t get lost!). Then let your candle cool and harden before handing it to your loved one.  

candles near green plants

2. A Scrapbook or Photo Album

Have you been on a lot of fun adventures with your roommates this year? Make a scrapbook to commemorate the moments you've shared with them! You can download an app on your phone to have your photos printed and sent to you cheaply (some even print them out already in a book!), use an online site or even go to Walmart, CVS or Walgreens to print them in person. Target always has cute stickers to decorate your favorite memories as well!

flatlay photography of stuffs on white surface

3. Decorated Photo Frames

A framed picture is always a nice and thoughtful gift for your grandparents.  Take it one step further and upgrade that $5 frame from Target with stickers, glitter or paint to make it your own!

4. A Memory Box or Jar

For that special someone in your life, you may have already started working on this gift even if you don’t know it!  Besides photos of you and your loved one, you can also save ticket stubs and souvenirs that remind you of dates or special occasions, and that can show your significant other that you were thinking of them.

person holding two white tickets

5. Appreciation Letters and Notes

If you haven’t saved mementos of your outings with your friends, significant other or family members, you can still offer them a box or jar showing them how much you care about them. Instead of souvenirs and photographs, you can include little notes that explain what you love or appreciate about the person you’re giving the gift to. You can also write about memories you share or funny moments that they’ll never let you live down.

purple flowers on paper

6. "Open When" Letters

We’ve all seen the fancy "open when" letters on Twitter and Instagram. Long distance relationships can be rough, and these letters can make you feel a little closer to your significant other this holiday season. Along with each letter, you can attach a small present inside that fits the theme of the note, like instant coffee for when they’re tired or a candy bar for when they’re hungry. "Open When" letters written ahead of time will show your long distance sweetheart that you thought about them and that you’re thinking ahead. When they open them in the future, they’ll be reminded of how much you care.

Hopefully you can make something special for your loved ones this holiday season and ditch the stress for excitement.