Crushing the Christmas game: College edition

Mariah Southers

It seems as the Christmas season gets closer and closer, Christmas lists get longer and longer. We all want to buy a gift for every loved one in our lives, but sometimes being in college and not having money to spare gets in the way.

We came up with a list of five ways you can spread holiday cheer to family and friends, without having to sacrifice next semester’s tuition. These inexpensive presents can be given to friends, neighbors, coworkers, teachers — anyone.

  1. Looking for a gift that will satisfy the sweet tooth on your list? Or trying to figure out how to show your appreciation for a professor or friend in your dorm? Here’s an idea that can check multiple people off your list. Bake three different batches of cookies of different flavors and then divvy them up to make assorted cookie tins! You can give them out using decorative plates, bags or holiday tins, which can all be found pretty cheap at places like Dollar Tree, Hobby Lobby and Walmart. Cookies can be homemade or store bought, but there is nothing like a baked good to make someone feel loved. 
  2. Are you a crafty, DIY type of person? If so, then it is time to put your skills to work!Making a gift for someone is much more meaningful than a store-bought gift and by doing so you also save money — which sounds like the perfect gift idea! Whether calligraphy, painting, knitting or crocheting is your crafting jam, you can make a personalized gift for anyone in your life! Beanies, scarves, blankets, or personalized wall decor all make for perfect gifts. Most materials for these crafts can be found at craft stores like Hobby Lobby or Michael’s and are relatively cheap with coupons and deals. Get on Pinterest and get creative!
  3. If you’re looking for a retro way to show someone you care about them, burn them a CD to listen to in their car. This gift is perfect for a significant other or best friend because you can show them how well you know and appreciate their taste in music. You can buy blank CDs in bulk at any office supply store, Target or Walmart. You can make a different CD for different seasons, months or events in your loved one’s life. Get creative with it and design a cute CD case with a sweet note, picture or funny meme. This gift idea is super simple but can also be super sentimental and special.
  4. If you are wanting to give someone a gift right now, but just cannot swing it financially, then plan a “not now but soon” present. This is perfect if there is a future event you would love to go to with a significant other, but the budget just won’t allow it quite yet. You can plan a day out doing something fun: going to dinner, a concert, game or just spending the day with a friend, within the next month or so. It’s the perfect gift because it allows time to save money, gives the promise of quality time spent with a loved one and gives everyone something to look forward to. So plan the date, mark it on the calendar for a future day, and give your loved one a card explaining their “not now but soon” present. 
  5. If you would prefer to check off your Christmas list at a store or online, there is still a way to conquer the holidays without breaking the bank. It’s all about being aware of deals and holiday sales going on around you. Sign up to be on your favorite store’s email list and get updates constantly about what sales are going on. Check out the local newspaper, especially around the holidays, to fi nd ads for sales everywhere from Walmart to Target, Best Buy and stores in the mall. Keep up with your favorite stores and brands on social media for the latest retail steals for all of your Christmas needs. You can also utilize apps like RetailMeNot to find daily deals and coupon codes! In order to be the best Christmas elf in the game, you’ve got to strategize and plan to see where you can best spend your dollar.