‘Tis the season

Try cheaper, homemade gifts for the holidays

With the holidays approaching, time is running out to get gifts for those we love.

Sometimes getting gifts can be daunting because of prices or thinking of good ideas. But gift giving should be something that gives us joy, as we do something special for our friends and family, and sometimes the most meaningful gifts don’t have to be the most expensive.

Here are some creative homemade gift ideas that will be sure to put a smile on the receiver’s face and put some extra cash in your wallet. After all, we are college kids.

Homemade frame with
pictures: This can be a great gift idea for families or significant others. What kind of mother wouldn’t want a frame with pictures of her kids or a classic family photo? It’s guaranteed your girlfriend would gush at a collage of you and her.

Buy a basic frame at a craft store and paint it, or decorate it in some manner. Then go searching for your favorite pictures to fill it with. Another idea along the same lines is to make a scrapbook, or even fill a cute photo album with memorable photos.

Mixed CD: Put together a CD of songs you think the person would really appreciate or enjoy. There aren’t many people I can think of that don’t love music. Decorate the CD cover, or if it’s for a significant other, type poignant lines that remind them of you or that you think they’ll find meaningful.

Baked good mixes in a jar: This one’s great for friends or non-immediate family. Look online for a delicious cookie or bar recipe and layer the ingredients in a jar. Put ribbon around the lid and a cute holiday tag with cooking directions. Who doesn’t love baked goods around the holidays?

Assorted hot chocolates and a mug: Buy a cute mug, or paint or decorate one if you’re extra creative, and fill it with delicious assorted flavors of hot chocolate. Add in a peppermint stick or other chocolate candies.

No-sew fleece blanket: Buy two pieces of three-yard fleece from a craft store. Pin them on top of each other and cut slits along the sides. Tie each flap that is on top of each other together. It’s an extremely easy project and sure to keep its recipient cozy through the winter.

And don’t think this gift is girly. You can make one for your dad, brother, or boyfriend with their favorite sports team colors, preferably crimson and gold. You’ll see them snuggling up in it.

Decorate a candle, or make your own: This one’s geared more toward the ladies, but the moms and grandmas are especially bound to love it. Buy a deliciously scented candle and attach fun holiday things, such as peppermint sticks or candy canes. Or, buy a candle and melt it down in another container, such as a teacup or flowerpot, or any other cute holder that you can decorate or make your own.

Personal gift certificates: These can work for anything and anyone. For your mom, offer a “certificate” for a coffee date on you. Give your dad a coupon for you to make him his favorite dessert or take him to a movie. It’s better than a normal gift certificate because you get to spend time with that person.

If your parents have young kids or you have a sibling with children, give them a certificate for a free night of babysitting so they can enjoy themselves. Give a boyfriend or a girlfriend a “coupon book” for a homemade dinner, a back massage, or any other nice thing you can do for them.

Encouraging quote boxes: Find or decorate a box and fill it with inspirational quotes for that person to read. Put enough in for them to have one each month, each week, or just so they can reach in when they need some encouragement.

If the person is spiritual, fill it will verses. If it’s for a boyfriend or girlfriend, write down something you love about them or a special memory you have together. If it’s for a parent, make cards that convey things you appreciate about them or ways they’ve impacted your life.

Giving gifts doesn’t have to break the bank. With a little cash and creativity, you can make Christmas special for anyone in your life. n