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Thoughtful Holiday Gifts on a Budget

The holidays are just around the corner, and with it most student’s bank balances have already begun crying at the costs of gift-giving. If your money reserves are as dry as mine, there is a need to be inventive with your gifts. Save where you can. But not to worry! I’ve got some gift ideas that can replace high price tags with time and effort.

Gift Basket

Put together an assortment of smaller gifts such as something from their favourite brand, their favorite flavours and scents, of an item they like, or anything you think they’ll find interesting into a basket! This might be pricier than other options on this list, but as long as your giftee doesn’t have luxurious tastes, it shouldn’t break the bank. A trip to Dollarama might be all you need!

Personal Coupon Booklet

With close friends and family, a curated booklet that gives them the opportunity to make use of your skills, free of complaint, can be very exciting! The promise to, for example, do a sibling’s chores x amount of times, easily negates any thoughts of you not spending money on their gift! As the saying goes, ‘time is money.’

Snack Bin

If the person you’re preparing a gift for has a love for snacks like me, they’d be elated to be gifted an assortment of their favorite sweets. Whether you give them the chance to try new snacks or give all their favorites, this gift is very budget friendly and can cost as low as $10. Make use of that leftover Halloween candy or buy large quantities if you plan on gifting a snack bin to more than one person!

Handmade Art

This gift idea is more for the artistically gifted, but if you aren’t, this idea is still possible for those you’re close to. Last year, I made a painting inspired by the Diet Pepsi logo for my mom because it’s been her favourite drink since she was a kid. This year, I plan to paint a wooden sign I got from Dollarama and parody the “Live, Laugh, Love” slogan for a close friend. Be creative, and don’t worry too much about perfection – in my experience, a handmade gift is cherished greatly no matter the quality.

Printed and Framed Photos

Nowadays, photos are usually seen on devices instead of on walls and furniture. A more sentimental friend or family member, maybe someone who enjoys polaroid pictures, would likely appreciate printed and framed photographs. These could be photos of themselves, of you two together, of larger groups, or anything you think they’d like. Plus, there are many different templating and framing options available that you can utilize creatively. Be aware, however, that this gift might not be adequate on its own. Think about pairing a small gift with it, such as a bag of their favorite candy or a stuffed animal that reminds you of them.

Scrounge and pick pennies where you can for the sake of your savings! As a fellow broke student, I wish you good luck and a happy upcoming holiday season.

Amy Cooper

York U '25

I am a second year at York University and am in my first year in the Film Media Arts BFA! I have special interests in fashion, theatre, psychology, and nature :)