The holiday season! An exciting time of year filled with festive foods and time with your family and friends. But this time of year is also accompanied by a lot of stress, the majority of this stress revolving around money. The expectations of gift giving weighs on all of us this time of year. Fortunately, gift giving can be done in a meaningful way without breaking the bank.
- Self-made Photo Album: While this option isn’t entirely cost free, it’s very cost effective; to print images from a place like CVS or Walgreen’s can cost anywhere from 20¢ to 30¢. Even if you print out 10 of your favorite images for someone special, paste them onto some construction paper and tie them together with some ribbon, it would make a very special memory book.
- No Sew Flannel Blankets: This is an option I make for at least one person every year. This project can be super simple and super cost effective if you buy the materials at the right time. This project requires two pieces of fleece or flannel material that you cut and tie together to make a warm fuzzy blanket, perfect for anyone. Typically art supply stores like Joann Fabrics have incredible sales around the holidays. During this time, you can get material for as low as $4 per yard. With video tutorials available online, and the low cost of material, this can be a quick, easy gift for anyone on your list.
- Hot Chocolate Jars: This time of year is perfect for getting cozy by the fire with a nice mug of hot chocolate, I mean, who doesn’t love being cozy? To make something like this, all you would need is a packet of hot chocolate mix, some marshmallows, a small jar, and maybe just a candy cane and some twine. The total cost of this present would be about $20, but it would yield as many as 10 individual jars, ultimately making it a very efficient present for a relatively low cost.
- Homemade Cookies: People love receiving baked goods, especially fellow college kids who rarely get anything homemade while away for school. One batch of cookies can be turned into gifts for several different people. Simply take a few of the cookies (this can be substituted with any sort of baked goods), wrap them in plastic wrap or a festive plastic bag, and tie it up with some ribbon and you have the perfect gift for people of all ages.
- Handwritten Letter: This may be the simplest of all the options, but it can also be the most meaningful. There’s so much emotion that can be conveyed in a handwritten letter, and I can promise you that if it’s not something you do often, the recipient of this gift is going to be incredibly grateful, no matter how cheesy it sounds. Write a letter to your mother, your father, your siblings, your grandparents, even your significant other. I cherish every handwritten letter I have received and I’m sure other people will as well.
The last thing you want during the holidays is to worry about money. The holidays are meant for love and cheer, not stress and worrying. With slight changes to the conventional gift giving ideas, the process can be a lot more fun for everyone involved.