Being short on funds should not diminish the season of giving
If you are a student and living on a limited budget, you may find it hard to afford gifts for friends and other loved ones during the holiday season. You probably want to give meaningful gifts, but the price tag may simply be too high. If this describes you, then try this advice for making a less expensive but more meaningful holiday season.
1. Do a white elephant gift exchange with your friends
White elephant gift exchanges are a whole lot of fun and don’t cost anything at all. Instead of buying new gifts for your group of friends, invite everyone to get together one evening for a white elephant gift exchange. First, agree that no one is going to buy a new gift. Next, each person chooses something from home and wraps it up for the get-together. That night, put all the gifts on one table. When it’s the first person’s turn, he or she chooses a gift and opens it. Next, the second person opens a gift. The second person can either keep their gift, or “steal” the first person’s gift. The same goes for all the remaining people, with the option of stealing anyone’s gift if you don’t like the one you’ve picked. After everyone has had a chance, the person who went first gets the option to steal someone else’s gift. By the end, everyone has a gift and, more importantly, everyone has enjoyed a lot of laughs.
2. Suggest Secret Santa for your family
If you have dozens of nieces and nephews to shop for, why not suggest a Secret Santa exchange? With Secret Santa, each family member picks a name out of a hat, along with a wish list. They purchase a gift from the wish list for that person. When the holiday arrives, each person will receive their gift and find out who their Secret Santa was.
3. Try homemade gifts
Homemade gifts can be very inexpensive, and many times they are more heartfelt and meaningful than a store-bought gift. Pinterest is full of low-cost gift ideas. Some ideas include:
- Give homemade holiday cookies, wrapped nicely in decorative cookie boxes
- Decorate an inexpensive picture frame and include a photo of you and the recipient
- Buy inexpensive ornaments and decorate them yourself
- Use pre-made wreath forms to create wreaths for your friends and family
- Include the ingredients for chocolate chip cookies in a mason jar, all ready to be mixed up
- If you have children, frame one of their art projects and give to a grandparent
4. Make it about togetherness
Spending time with friends and family members is more important than giving them a gift. If you don’t have the money to spend on gifts, just explain that you are on a limited budget, and you’d rather spend time with them. Suggest meeting at a coffee shop, taking a walk to look at the holiday lights, or coming over to watch a holiday-themed movie.
5. Do a volunteer event together
Having experiences together can be more meaningful and memorable than exchanging gifts. Explain to your friends that this year, you are trying to get into the spirit of giving by doing volunteer work instead of giving gifts. Call a nearby soup kitchen or food bank, and see if you can arrange a time to attend their packing events. Invite your friends to join you, and make it a regular annual event! You will be surprised how gratifying it is to be part of a giving activity with your friends.
We hope these 5 ideas have started your wheels turning on good ideas for celebrating the holidays on a budget. Remember, the holidays are not meant to be about commercialism. They are meant to be about family, friends, and loved ones. When you look at it that way, you see that sometimes the best things in life are free!