Holiday Gifts on a Budget


Lila Caminiti

Peppermint bark is a homemade gift that you can give to those you love this holiday season!

Lila Caminiti, Clubs Editor, Junior

As the holidays approach, many students struggle to find inexpensive gifts that show how much they care for those they love. While it may seem that every worthwhile gift comes with a huge price tag, there are many affordable ways to show your appreciation for friends and family. Whether they are holiday-themed or simply a useful present, there are many heartfelt gift ideas that are also cost effective.

For starters, a gift doesn’t need to be store-bought to hold a deep meaning to both the giver and receiver of the present. For instance, a homemade scented candle is an easy way to bring holiday cheer to a close friend or family member. You can start by choosing a vessel, such as a mason jar. Fill the jar with soy wax flakes, ensuring that you have enough flakes to fill your jar twice. Then, melt the flakes using a double broiler, stirring with a wooden dowel until the wax is completely liquefied. While allowing the wax to cool to around 100 degrees Fahrenheit, fasten a candle wick to the bottom of your jar using a glue dot, and prepare your essential oils of choice. Next, pour the cool wax into the jar, wrapping the wick around a wooden dowel to ensure that it remains vertical throughout solidification. Lastly, decorate your jar, using holiday ribbons and/or lace to make it look merry!

There are also many non-holiday related gift ideas that are simple and fun for year round use. A homemade picture frame can hold a beautiful photo, having both aesthetic and emotional significance. It’s easy to make, too – unfinished wood frames are available at most craft stores. Using paint, beads, and whatever else you choose, it’s easy to jazz up a frame to create a useful, heartfelt gift.

Lastly, there’s always the simple option of baking a holiday treat. Gingerbread or Christmas sugar cookies are classic options, but if you want to spice things up, try making peppermint bark, a classic holiday treat that takes only a few minutes to prepare. Who doesn’t love peppermint during the holidays? You can start by heating up chocolate candy melts over a double broiler or in the microwave. Then, crush some peppermints and Oreos and spread the chocolate onto a sheet of wax paper, sprinkle the crushed toppings, and place the pan on a refrigerated, flat surface for 15-20 minutes. Break the bark into small pieces and place it into a decorated mason jar for a fun and cheery holiday gift!

While many students are quick to dismiss DIY gifts as childish, homemade gifts are both heartfelt, simple, and a perfect way to show your appreciation for someone this holiday season. It is also less expensive than going out to buy every person in your life an expensive gift. Bring out your creative side this holiday season! Happy crafting!