As a college freshman, my monetary resources are limited. Yet I find that this year my holiday gift-giving list has doubled.
It’s not only that I have new people in my life whom I feel it necessary to recognize with a gift—roommate, significant other, mother of significant other.
I also feel, as I grow older, a responsibility to give gifts separately from my nuclear family. And so I need to find gifts for my grandparents as well as for my parents and siblings.
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It’s clichéd, but homemade gifts really are the best. They show that their receiver is worth your time as well as your money.
And—especially during finals season—your time can be a limited resource, as well.
One gift I made this year was a comic book. It’s a little rough around the edges—it consists of drawing paper hole-punched into a binder—but I know it will be appreciated because it’s evident that I put a lot of thought and time into its production. Comic books and strips are nice DIY gifts because you don’t need to be particularly talented to create quirky images. You only need to be imaginative and use plenty of color.
My mom let me know that what she wanted for Christmas was a decal for her car displaying the name of my college. College merchandise can be expensive, but bookstores generally hold sales around the holidays. If you pay attention to when your school’s merchandise goes on sale, you can find inexpensive and low-effort gifts for parents.
Donating to a good cause in honor of a loved one can be a really meaningful and thoughtful gift. Grandparents, especially—who often possess decades of “things” already—may appreciate the notion of a heartfelt letter explaining that a donation has been made in their honor, and in honor of their own generosity.
Putting thought and effort into your holiday gifts can save you money—something most college students have little of to spare.
If you plan ahead, you can find gifts on sale, create something meaningful (for free), or give a gift that helps those in need and recognizes the generosity of loved ones.