By Michelle Adams
Let’s face it: we’re college students, and we’re pretty much broke – but this doesn’t mean we don’t care about our family, friends, and significant others. ‘Tis the season of giving, and the people in our lives deserve the best; how can we prepare meaningful gifts on a budget? By making them! DIY gifts can oftentimes be even more personal and special to the receiver, because they come straight from your heart. If you’re looking for simple, cheap do-it-yourself gift ideas for your loved ones, you’re in the right place.
Create a personalized coloring book. These can be funny for friends, and especially meaningful for younger siblings and cousins. Simply use a photo-editing application to create the, “sketch effect,” on your personal photos. You can also include online coloring sheets in your book to add easier and even comical pages. Simply print and bind your book, and include a few crayons, to make a unique and almost-free present.
- Try your hand at knitting or embroidering gifts. If you have always wanted to learn these skills, this is a prime time to learn! Create scarves, hats, or socks for your family and friends that reflect their interests by including favorite team or school colors (Go Hornets!). Supplies are generally cheap and can be used to create a number of gifts.
- Make your own “mixtape.” Does your best friend have a favorite singer or band? Do they always need music to play in the car? CD’s have not died out completely yet, so use this gift while it’s still relevant. You can use iTunes or Windows Media Player to burn playlists of your loved one’s favorite songs to discs – or better yet, record your own music to share. This is quick and easy to create several unique gifts. Don’t forget to write the track-list down!
Everything is instantly classier in a jar. You can create a myriad of gifts with simple jars: from candleholders to home décor to even a miniature spa treatment. You can create holiday-themed home décor by filling them with lights, ribbons, and trinkets to match the home theme. Alternatively, collect free samples from cosmetics departments into one to create a cheap gift for the woman in your life. The same concept can be applied to dollar-store items for an affordable, but all-around gift. Jars can also be decorated and used to house photos (it makes a cool rounded effect), candies, and pens or pencils. Stick a bow on the top and possibilities are endless with gifts in a jar.
- If you or your loved ones have a sweet tooth, you can bake or cook homemade food to share on Christmas Day. Hard candies, cookies, and cakes are simpler to make than you may think – check online for easy and cheap recipes!
BONUS TIP: Not artsy enough to do-it-yourself, but still want a personalized gift for your loved ones? Get it custom made! There are endless options of customizable gifts to find online, and many of these can even be ordered right from your dorm room! You can have a friend’s name or initials embroidered into a gym bag, a tumbler, or even a keychain. There are websites that will print your photos onto pillows, t-shirts, or necklaces. Gifts that are normally cheap, like pens and notebooks, can become special with a simple personalization. Be sure that the website you choose to use has a no-minimum purchasing policy before you buy, and utilize all the deals you can, by searching for promo codes, or creating an account with the store (a lot of times, you can get up to a 10% discount just for signing up).
Although money is tight for most college students, we can still give our families and friends the presents they deserve with affordable, but special, options that are customized, unique, and personal. Keep these gift ideas in mind to make an impression and save your wallet!
Not so crafty? Need a gift last-minute? Check out ‘Doah Staff Writer Mary Katherine Francisco’s “10 Things Under $10” article for more gift ideas.