There’s a reason that the words “broke” and “college student” seem to go together like peanut butter and jelly. The vast majority of college students live off meal swipes and loan refunds without much to spare, so when the holidays roll around, they aren’t equipped to accommodate so much expected spending. Still, many people enjoy giving thoughtful gifts and want to make that happen even on a small (or nonexistent) budget. If that sounds like something you’re interested in, keep reading for cheap and easy ideas.
Crafty Photo Ideas
What better gift to give than the gift of tangible memories? Photo albums can be DIY if you don’t have much cash – you can get photos printed for somewhere around 15 cents each on sites like Shutterfly and Snapfish, and do the rest by hand with some glue, construction paper, ribbons, et cetera. If you have a small amount of cash, these sites often allow you to make calendars, mugs, magnets, and more with personalized photos. Take it a step further and have some of their Instagram pictures printed to look like Polaroids on sites like Printstagram and Foxgram.
Everybody loves Food
Food is the one gift that you can’t go wrong with. Everyone likes it! If you tailor it specifically to your recipient’s taste, you might even get some brownie points (no pun intended). You could bake them their favorite dessert – but if you want to do something really presentable, try ordering mason jars off Amazon and trying one of these:
- Hot chocolate mix, for someone who likes to cozy up
- Banana bread mix, for a sweet snack
- Spicy pickled green beans, for something savory, low calorie, and great for a cocktail
- Bean soup mix for any health nuts in your family
Game Night Gift
Can’t afford to buy a unique gift for every family member? How about buying a board game and getting everyone together for a family night! You could put yourself in charge of making fancy hors d’oeuvres and taking pictures, then sending out to the family later. Since you’re away at school, your family will probably enjoy having the opportunity for everyone to [willingly] get together.
If anyone in your family loves to read, gift them a book that you love and think they’ll love to. Go through it and highlight your favorite parts and leave them little notes throughout. It’s extremely personal and shows you wanted to put thought and time into getting your recipient a special gift.
It’s totally kosher to bank off someone else’s gift idea. Is your mom getting an iPhone for your younger brother? Get him a pair of headphones or a case to go with it. Do you know that your girlfriend is getting a new pajama set? Buy her some slippers or a sleeping mask. This way, you know you’re getting your recipient something they’ll use!