Giving gifts on a budget

Christmas Gifts for Budget

Now that finals are over, Christmas can finally be enjoyed.

What does your wallet say about your roommate gift exchange? Your family gift exchange? What about gifts for all your friends? If your finances are in the single digits, fret not.

This season, gift something special that comes from your hands and your heart. After all, our moms loved our awesome mother’s day gifts we made for them in school (right, mom?), so nothing can be worse than that. All you need is a little love and creativity.

If you don’t have an idea of what to give without going in the red, here are some gifts you can give this Christmas.

A beautiful picture

Let’s assume you are an amateur photographer. Everyone has access to a camera, so a nice family photo for your grandmother or a photo book full of your college adventures for your parents would do the trick (they already think you’re the most handsome/beautiful in this world, so don’t worry). Even if you’re not a photographer, you can easily collect many family photos from relatives and create a special album.


Giving food is a good idea, but it has to be special. Baking cookies, snickerdoodles or cupcakes are an option, but if you’re not good in the kitchen, you can buy the cookie dough and start from there. As always, the presentation is crucial, so give them cool shapes or decorate them with the receiver’s initials.

Decorated Candy

Who doesn’t like chocolate? With few exceptions, this sweet delicacy is an addiction for most human beings. There’s probably some left over from Halloween, so the trick here, again, is the presentation. Wrap chocolate bars and dress them up as the person’s favorite animal, object or even as a snowman! If you have assorted candy of different sizes, a Christmas-themed box or bag does the trick. Don’t know where to start? There’s a YouTube video for that.

The gift of time

Are cooking and creativity not your fortè? Don’t worry, you can always give your time. Make vouchers for your partner, friends, or family with things you can do for them. For example, you probably have friends who are already parents and need a babysitter, cousins or nephews who need help with homework, grandparents who want to go somewhere but nobody has time to take them. The key is to look for the needs and cover them in a creative way.


If none of these ideas sound good to you, you can always give away things you barely use. Giving away used things is a tricky business, but if done wisely, it can be the best gift. For example, I’m sure your best friend would love that awesome Dr. Seuss mug you don’t really use, the one he always desirably looks at whenever he comes to your dorm. It can be a book, a painting, a poster, a lamp, or even a piece of furniture. If the person who receives it has a personal connection to it, it could make them more excited than receiving a new gift.

There are many options when it comes to giving without spending money. It is very likely that the people who receive your handmade or re-gifted present will remember them for much longer than if you simply went to a store.


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