Deciding what Christmas gift to give to those closest to you can be challenging enough, but to make things worse, it becomes even harder after you realize that your budget for presents isn’t as expansive as you might like. Though it may seem daunting at first, making Christmas gifts for the loved ones on your list can be an inexpensive and especially thoughtful way to celebrate the holiday.
The trick behind homemade gifts is to consider the personality and style of each recipient beforehand. This will (hopefully) give you a few ideas to start with. It’s simple to find tons of great homemade gift ideas through Pinterest, but I’ve listed six classics below. These are gifts I’ve personally received or given in the past that were cherished in either case.
Parents or grandparents, in my experience, always appreciate a new framed picture of their children and/or grandchildren. Getting my brother to pose for a photo is generally impossible, but this is one tradition he participates in because it makes his grandma happy.
One year, my best friend made fleece tie blankets for me and another friend. These blankets are easy to make, and the finished product is extremely warm and cuddly; it’s still my favorite blanket. Fleece can be a little pricy, though, so try to find it on sale if you plan to make this gift. Get two pieces of the same size (two or three yards for each side makes a nice-sized blanket) and cut evenly spaced strips on all of the edges. Tie one strip from each piece of fleece together around the edges of the entire blanket (this part can take a while, but at least there is no sewing required) and it’s ready.
Another gift idea for friends or family members is to knit or crochet them a warm, fuzzy scarf. Pick out yarn in their favorite colors and look up directions online or on Youtube if you don’t know how. Getting started is pretty simple, the supplies don’t cost much and Christmas is the perfect time to give a gift of extra warmth as the weather turns even colder.
Cookie or soup mix-in-a-jar is another great idea — perfect for those who are kitchen-challenged or maybe as a Secret Santa present for a coworker you don’t know very well. Take a favorite cookie or soup recipe and layer the ingredients in a Mason jar and screw the lid on tight. Place a label on it with the cooking or baking instructions and tie a ribbon around the top. Making several of these at once is both cost-effective and timesaving.
If you’re comfortable in the kitchen, you might also consider making a salsa, soup or sauce from scratch and canning it to give as a gift for family members. My dad is extremely hard to shop for, but I know he’ll love (and use!) the spicy marinara sauce I made for him this year.
Finally, one gift that doesn’t cost anything at all is that of your time or services. Print or draw up coupons good for what your family or friends most want from you. You might give a “free dish-cleaning service” coupon to your roommate, where you agree to do his or her dishes for a week. You could give your grandma a coupon she can redeem at any time to have you come over and help her clean out her basement. Have a friend who’s bothering you to show them how to play guitar or tune up their bike? Make a coupon for that! Tailored to whatever special talents you might have, these coupons can be tucked into a Christmas card containing a letter detailing how much the receiver means to you to make an especially thoughtful and heartwarming gift.
All in all, there are many ways for college students to make and give great gifts to their family and friends without maxing out their credit cards or taking on more loans. So make this holiday season one of true giving and bust out your scissors and creative skills!
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