Holidays on a budget: Inexpensive gift ideas for college students

Katrina Sanville, Arts Editor

The holiday season is in full swing, and though trees may be trimmed, the Menorahs have been lit and plenty of festive cheer can be found, more than likely there’s a few people on every shopper’s list that still need gifts. No matter if you’re a frugal college student trying to make a few dollars stretch amongst a group of people, have a bit of money to spare on gifts or need a bit of inspiration for your own wishlist, hopefully a few of these ideas can be of use to you.

Though Hanukkah just ended, many other holidays have celebrations that are fast approaching. Beyond holidays, those with December—and even January—birthdays will also need gifts beyond the ones they receive for the winter celebrations. So, no matter the situation, there will most likely be someone in need of a gift.

For the foodie in your life, the possibilities are nearly endless. If you’re halfway decent in the kitchen, baked goods in bulk are nearly always a showstopper. Whether it’s brownies, (or blondies, depending on your preference!) cookies, fudge or bark, with a few ingredients and even a cute inexpensive tin, the receiver of this gift is sure to be overjoyed.

However, if cooking isn’t your strong suit, there are plenty of gift ideas to please the cooking connoisseur in your life. Using just some index cards and markers, you can give them a whole stack of recipe cards. Though they may already have their favorite recipes memorized, as well as some family ones, recipe cards are still a great way to pass down recipes from generation to generation, as well as looking nice along the way. If art isn’t your best skill either, there are plenty of routes to still give the culinary fan in your life a nice gift. A coffee mug from Target or Walmart will cost you a couple dollars, and with that mug you can fill it with a gift card to the receiver’s favorite restaurant or coffee shop; some coffee, tea or hot chocolate; and, of course, some sweets and snacks.

Beyond the chef in your life, Etsy is a great place to look for gifts for almost anyone. Merchandise for musicians and TV shows can be expensive, however Etsy sellers offer unique pieces featuring everything from posters to clothes to keychains and jewelry. However, make sure you are aware of any undercover names to avoid copyright—such as Harry Potter-y merch for “Harry Potter” or Taylor Swift-ie merch for Taylor Swift. Most of the time these names mean the exact same thing, it’s simply that Etsy sellers are small shops rather than a big business that can buy the rights to use the name “Harry Potter” and all its assets.

Etsy also has a ton of great gift options for those who like the natural, outdoors-y lifestyle. Whether its crystals and crystal jewelry, tote bags, jewelry, sweaters, mugs or homemade soap, Etsy offers a collection of unique pieces for this style at a fairly inexpensive price. Amazon also offers gifts such as salt lamps and tapestries if you’re on a time crunch, in addition to having a gift for just about everyone on your list!

Almost everyone loves a handmade gift if you have the skills—and time—to make something with your own sweat and love! Plenty of websites have lists of one or two hour crochet, knitting or sewing patterns, ranging anywhere from hats and mittens to potholders and mug warmers. With just a couple hours and a trip to the craft store, you can make something your receiver will cherish for years to come.

If all else fails, a gift card is a sure-fire gift. At the end of the day, it’s the thought with the gift that matters, so make the most of what you can. Happy holidays!