Sweet and Easy Holiday Gifts You Can Make in Your Dorm Room

Christmas shopping can be hard when you have limited money and time. Here are some fun DIY gift ideas students can make in the comfort of their dorm room.

It's that time of year again...almost. The weather's changing, finals and graduation are fast approaching, and you have to start thinking about what to get your friends and family for the holidays. What do you get the person who lives in a dorm room and has no room for anything? Or your picky younger sibling, or your grandmother who insists your visit is present enough (maybe listen to Grandma on that one)?When you have limited money and time, holiday shopping can be hard. Fortunately, there are a lot of easy DIY gift ideas you can make without professional crafting skills or a huge budget, even in the comfort of your dorm room.

Food and sweets

Who doesn't love food? One of the greatest joys of the season is the excuse to eat entirely too much sugar and not feel awful about yourself (it's all part of the celebration, right?). For the foodie in your life, or really anyone without dietary requirements or food allergies, making cookies or other desserts wrapped in pretty paper or packaging makes a great gift. Don't have much of a pantry and don't want to build one just for the holidays? Try easy, simple recipes with just three ingredients. If you want to get a little more creative, make your own mixes for things like cocoa, pancakes, cookies, or dips. Put them in a mason jar or glass ornament (or mix and match several) and you've got the perfect gift for your friend who has both a kitchen and blossoming culinary skills.

I always find myself drinking too much cocoa this time of year and thus experimenting with different things to mix in. If you have friends like me, make cocoa mix and buy your favorite add-ins, like peppermints, cinnamon, or peanut butter. Put them all in a box with a mug, adding other treats as desired (like cookies or candy canes). Decorate to your heart's content (more on decorating the mug below) and finish with a bow. If tea is more their style, try making festive tea bags in a mini Christmas tree.

Related: What Holiday Treat Should You Stress-Bake and Eat?

Recipe book

If you want to get a little more creative with your foodie gifts, find your favorite recipes from family, friends, or even Pinterest and compile them all in a recipe book. Decorate with colorful paper and handwritten notes, or create some pages on your computer with your favorite recipes and photographs; you can print it out at the library or send it as a digital file. It's the gift that keeps on giving all year long!

Arts and crafts

While food is a great gift, it's not for everyone. Using basic DIY skills can help you make some awesome handmade gifts for friends and family, with no kitchen required. If you're an artist yourself, even an amateur one, you could create art and give it as a gift. Put paint on canvas, draw their favorite fictional character, write a poem or use calligraphy—whatever you're good at, the recipient will appreciate it. Also, if you can sew, knit, crochet, cross-stitch, or something similar, you could create or customize any number of gift ideas: knit a scarf, customize a towel, make coasters, cross-stitch something they love...the sky is the limit.

Who doesn't need more blankets? Making a tie blanket is the perfect gift that's quick, easy, and personal—and it doesn't require any sewing skills. Or with even minor sewing skills, you can customize a tea towel or blanket, or you can use sharpies, paint pens, or whatever looks like fun from the craft aisle. If you don't want to sew, dollar-store mugs can be customized in any number of ways. You can also make custom bookmarks for the bookworm in your life. For the friend who needs a little pampering, try making a homemade sugar scrub.

Unique DIY gifts

If you can't get enough of awesome DIYs, try a personalized coupon book (this works best for friends and family you see often). Write out coupons like "Good for one free car ride" or a shoulder to cry on, girls' night in, coffee date, an hour of homework help, or whatever they might appreciate most. You can also make photo gifts from magnets to mouse pads to canvases on websites like Shutterfly, Snapfish, or Walgreens (look out for free shipping deals and coupon codes). Or if you have even basic graphic design skills, you can make it even more custom and design something yourself.

Related: The Broke Student’s Guide to Giving Holiday Gifts

The gift-giving season is just around the corner, so when the time comes to figure out how many people you're socially obligated to exchange gifts with this year, you can panic a little less with plenty of ideas for easy, inexpensive presents—and maybe even make something to keep for yourself.

Are you as excited for the holiday season as we are?? Get in the spirit with 5 Fun Ways to Get Ready for the Holidays as a College Student.

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About Emily Rogan

Emily Rogan is a student at Morehead State University, where she's studying Communications and Theater. When she's not in school, she is an actor, musician, singer, and writer.


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