You’re a college student, and you don’t have a lot of skrilla to spare. And now that it’s gift-giving season, you might be feeling a bigger pinch on your wallet than usual. After all, how are you supposed to afford next semester’s textbooks (hint: like this!) and nice, thoughtful gifts for your five best friends, four younger siblings, three awesome roommates, two loving parents, and your dear Aunt Partridgina Peartree? (Sorry not sorry for the terrible “12 Days of Christmas” joke.)
Of course, we here at CollegeXpress believe it’s the thought that counts, and though you don’t really need to give your friends and loved ones anything in particular, you can show you care with some of the free/cheap gifts and kind gestures below!
If you have access to a kitchen and the space to host people, make your gift to your closest buddies a low-key dinner party. It’s hard to go wrong (or expensive) with pasta for a crowd. Buzzfeed knows what’s up with these one-pan pasta dishes. Or you can all pitch in and make it a potluck holiday party.
Put your time gallivanting around Buzzfeed, reddit, FailBlog, and the like to good use by curating a collection of the funniest/weirdest/coolest stuff you can find. You can publish your findings, from GIF sets to blog posts, to a tumblr or Wordpress site, or you can even create your own Buzzfeed page. Give it a holiday theme or tailor it to the person. Does your significant other love a certain sports team (GO PATS!), book/movie franchise (GO HARRY POTTER!), or Web phenomenon (GO LIL BUB!)? You’re sure to find enough online fodder to keep them laughing until New Year’s Eve.
This is a good one for Mom and Dad or anyone else with a sentimental side. See if you can dig up a hand-drawn picture or note from your kindergarten-ish days—a list of “10 reasons why I love my mommy/daddy at Christmastime” would be suuuper clutch. Then find an inexpensive frame and boom. Adorable gift. Bonus points if you get an unfinished frame from a craft store and personalize it with your own artsy paint job. Which brings us to our next idea . . .
Arts and crafts
Do you knit or crochet? Or maybe you sketch or paint. What about just artfully writing your intended gift recipient’s favorite song/movie/book quote on a mug? Whatever your abilities, you can make simple homemade gifts sure to make your friends say “Aww!”
You saw this one coming, didn’t you. We know they’re corny, but they can also be the cute kind of corny—as long as you don’t dole out “Good for one free hug” coupons and call it a day. Instead, think about some of the more meaningful things you can offer: an afternoon spent hiking, just quality time between you and your BFF. A month of emptying the dishwasher for your roommate. Helping your little brother set up his first blog. An hour-long foot rub for . . . whoever you’re comfortable enough with to touch their feet. And you can get all crafty with your coupons too, whether it’s using your digital design or glue-and-glitter skills or both! (Or you can just use the template above, found here.)
No one really expects you to give cashmere sweaters as a student, so don’t stress. Instead, just enjoy the season and have fun celebrating the people in your life. Santa would be proud.