Broke and stuck for Christmas gifts? Thoughtful, thrifty ideas abound

Broke and stuck for Christmas gifts? Thoughtful, thrifty ideas abound

As college students, scrambling to get last-minute gifts for the holidays can be a burden due to our lack of funds and time. Many students have no idea where to even begin when it comes to getting gifts for their loved ones.

The best way to shop for gifts for this time of year is to start buying in the summer months. However, let’s be honest, most of us are not thinking about Christmas or Hanukkah while we’re lying by the pool in 90-degree weather.

So what do us procrastinators do? Well, we go to the best resource we have in this modern age: the Internet. We are able to save a lot of time by pressing a few buttons and having everything shipped right to our doorstep. Web sites like have helpful tabs for gifts under 25 dollars that display plenty of gift possibilities.

And if you’re feeling crafty, don’t underestimate the power of a hot glue gun and dollar store items. One amazing idea is to print out a bunch of your favorite photos of you and your friends and put them in decorated picture frames to hand out to everyone. Although it’s simple and inexpensive, the gift is thoughtful.

Baking and knitting are two skills that never go out of style when it comes to the holiday season. No one in their right mind would turn down homemade baked goods as a gift. If you have a few extra hours on Christmas Eve, turn on some Christmas tunes and get your oven warmed up. Chocolate crinkles, pecan puffs, and gingerbread or sugar cutout cookies are always good choices for a thoughtful, edible gift. There is a wealth of recipes online – is a good place to start.

Also, if you have time and the skill, knitting hats, scarves and mittens for your loved ones is always a thoughtful and creative way to show them you care. is an excellent resource for patterns, projects, tips and even message groups. To get the basics down pat, check out YouTube for knitting tutorial videos, or head to A.C. Moore or JoAnn Fabrics for a basic “Learn Knitting” book (and of course, your yarn and needles).

Ideas are never in short supply, what with websites like, which has a ton of amazing homemade gift ideas collected from several other websites, including Martha Stewart’s. Homemade gifts are the most thoughtful and cherished gifts in most households; however, many of us are short on time as well as money, so making gifts might seem impractical.

Maybe you’re lucky enough to have a job that gives you free goods regularly. You can always save them and hand those out during the holidays.

“I’ve been saving the coffee beans that I get at work for the past nine weeks so that I can give them out as gifts,” said senior Nick D’Angelo, who works at Starbucks. He also suggested wrapping gifts in aluminum foil to save money. (Other, cuter ideas include take-out menus or newspaper.)

If you’re shopping for the person who has everything, then sometimes gift cards are the way to go. $5-10 at their favorite coffee place or bookstore would mean a lot to most people.

One very important factor in gift giving is knowing what the person you are buying for likes, so pay attention to them. Don’t hesitate to ask someone what they want or where they shop for certain items. If you get someone something they don’t care for, you’re wasting your own time and money. Shop – or craft, or bake – wisely.


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