Christmas on a College Budget

Christmas on a College Budget

Unique Gift Ideas for Everyone on Your List

Christmas on a College BudgetNow that the annual Thanksgiving madness has come to an end, Christmas is just around the corner. As college students, most of us are short on time and money to shop for everyone on our lists.

Alyssa Gray, first-year student, said, “I do in fact tend to make most of my gifts, not only because I am on a college budget, but because I believe that it means more to make a gift instead of buying one.”

One past present included sneakers that were painted and personalized.

Everyone has that one person on their Christmas list that seems to stump them. There may be no knowledge of their hobbies, no new ideas, or no help from the gift receiver.

Gray said, “For me, it’s definitely Dad. Every year he says he wants ‘nothing’ and I am quite honestly beginning to run out of various socks, ties, and sports memorabilia to give him.”

It’s easy to run out of gift ideas for parents after so many years of Christmas shopping. But the first thing to remember about parents is that they take pride in their kids. Which means, students, get them a college sweatshirt or maybe a mug with the name of the University on it. These are original and easily accessible. This also supports the idea of Bonnie Spain, journalist for Rapid City Journal, that shoppers should buy locally as much as possible rather than online.

The second thing to remember about parents is that “do it yourself” gifts are the most sentimental family artifacts. If you can knit, make scarves and hats; if not, you can never go wrong with decorated photos. Find a nice frame for a family photo, or make a scrapbook. Grandparents adore these gifts as well.

If you do plan on making gifts yourself, there are many stores which sell the needed components. “Since I make most of my gifts I usually go to Barnes and Noble or Michael’s for supplies,” said Gray.

Sales can be found on the websites of many stores or shopping websites such as One is more likely to find better deals online than in stores. Beware, however, of factors such as timing and condition of the gifts you order.

“Just be prepared for any complications that might accompany the convenience,” said Gray.

Spain suggests some tips to help Christmas shoppers. She advises that everyone make a list of who to buy for and their budget and keep it with them at all times. She also says that researching ideas and sales ahead of time.

Jewelry and scented body lotions or sprays cannot fail when it comes to gifts for girls. Bath and Body Works often have excellent holiday sales to fit the college student budget.

Gift cards are always an option, but can sometimes be an insult around Christmas. They don’t require much time or thought, which may be easy on the buyer, but a little disappointing to the receiver.

“Even though they are an easy gift that anyone could use, they just scream last-minute-gift to me,” said Gray. However, it does depend on who you are buying for. Some people prefer gift cards over hand wrapped gifts.

For those acquaintances who you can’t afford to buy for, candy and baked goods is the way to go. If you have access to a kitchen, homemade cookies, cakes, brownies, and breads are always a well received gift. Maybe it’s for the neighbors across the street or your friends across the hall, but whoever it’s for will most likely appreciate the goodies. “Who doesn’t like cookies and candy? I prefer them to the gift cards!” said Gray.

One last option for Christmas shopping as a full-time student is a practice that has been saving people money for years: secret Santa. Get a group together, put everyone’s name in a hat, and each person draws one name. They then buy this person, and only this person, a gift. Everyone will buy and receive a Christmas gift without worrying about shopping for everyone or leaving anyone out.

Lastly, do not stress over finding the perfect gift for friends and family as defined by TV and radio advertisements. As Spain said, “In reality, you are the only one who can determine what the perfect gifts are for loved ones on your gift list.”