The snow is falling, sweaters are out and Starbucks holiday beverages are back — the holiday season is officially upon us. In less than four weeks we will find ourselves waking up on Christmas morning in our pj’s to give and receive presents around the tree. This means it’s time to begin the search for presents to give, and as college students with limited budgets, DIY gifts might be the answer.
Juniors Lily Walter, Audrey Summers and freshman Kinsley Rushing all enjoy the value of a homemade gift.
“When I make DIY Christmas gifts I do it to share a little bit of myself with others,” Walter said. “For example, in Ecuador I shared a bit of my culture with my host family and friends.”
Summers and her friend, Hailey, have been giving each other DIY gifts since their freshman year of high school.
Throughout the years they have given each other many things, including repurposed thrift store items, picture collages, ornaments and more.
“My best friend and I are both creative people and we wanted our gifts to be something that we can look back on together and share,” Summers said. “I like to give thoughtful gifts because they are more personal — and fun because I like crafting.”
Provided is a small collection of gift ideas from Walter, Summers and Rushing. Use these ideas to create meaningful, inexpensive gifts for loved ones this holiday season!
Hot Chocolate in a Jar
Everyone loves to sit indoors with a warm mug of hot chocolate when it is cold outside, which is exactly why this gift is a perfect fit for almost anyone. Make hot chocolate mix in a jar by following the recipe as follows (yields about 2 cups of mix):
1 1/4 cups sugar (powdered or regular)
1 1/8 cups cocoa powder
1/2 tablespoon table salt
Mix together, put in a festive jar or bag and add a tag that states the directions — about one spoonful per mug. Place marshmallows and candy canes on top!
Do you have a tea lover on your list of people to shop for? If so, this homemade holiday tea gift idea is for you! Follow the instructions below to create a jar of tea perfect for any winter day (yields about 2 and 3/4 cups of mix):
20 ounces Tang powdered drink mix
1/3 cups Instant tea with lemon flavor
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/8 teaspoon ground cloves
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
Mix together, put in fun small mason jars with a ribbon and label with directions for use — heat up hot water and add about 1 spoonful to each mug.
Open When Cards
Open When cards are a sentimental gift, sure to touch anyone. Write letters for specific occasions and place them in envelopes with “open when…” written on the outside. An example of this would be an envelope that reads “Open when it is your first day of school,” with a note inside to that person on their first day of school.
This gift would be a great idea for a family member or close friend who you are not with all of the time. By giving a collection of letters to them at Christmas, you are providing them with a supply of kind words for the year. To execute this idea, write letters, label them “open when” and place them in a cute box or bag with directions of how often to open a letter.
A photo book is always a great idea to celebrate a friendship at Christmastime. First, find pictures of you and a friend that you love and print them out. Next, tape the pictures into a journal or a scrapbook.
There are many angles you could take with a photobook. You could tell the story of your friendship by placing photos in chronological order and adding some sweet words about how you met and how you appreciate the friendship. Another angle would be to put in the pictures and then caption them; this could include inside jokes, funny memories and more!
Essential Oil Lava Rock Bracelets
Lava rock bracelets are the perfect gift for anyone who loves essential oils! These bracelets soak up the essential oil and diffuse them throughout the day, making them a relaxing and useful addition to any day. This gift is a fun idea because each bracelet can be made very unique, and the materials to make them can be bought in bulk.
Purchase 1 mm elastic string and lava rock beads from your local craft store to make this gift. A single bracelet requires about 21 beads for women, or 24 beads for men. Rushing recommended that each bracelet have 16–18 lava rock beads, and about 5–7 spherical decorative beads (such as those with marble patterns or solid colors). String these beads on in any pattern you would like!
To use, apply essential oil by placing a small drop per bead. This gift could be accompanied by a small bottle of essential oil.
Any of the gifts above can be accompanied by your friend’s favorite candy bar and a sweet note. Have fun creating for those you love this month as we celebrate the joy and hope of the Christmas season.