6 Holiday Gift Ideas on a Student Budget!

So, let’s be real here.

College runs us totally dry of money what with the hefty textbooks and crafty materials for those big projects. Even buying ink to print all those essays start to add up! By the end of the semester we open our wallets to find barely anything besides dust.

But the holidays are coming up, a time that’s especially known as a “season of giving” and although it seems like none of us have anything left to give, I’m here to say that college doesn’t have to stop you from getting in the spirit this winter!

People seem to forget that the gifts you make yourself are often the most impressive, especially when they look so good that people assume you just bought it!

Here are some really creative, easy, and most importantly, affordable gifts or even holiday decoration ideas you can do this year for yourself, to create for family or even to impress your secret santa!

1. Peppermint Candy Cane Bath Salts (Brought to you by TheLetter4.com)

Perfect inexpensive gift that looks so pretty and is perfect for a mom or friend who’s in the mood for a spa treatment!

All you need is just a few simple ingredients

Epsom Salts

table/sea salt
peppermint oil (can be bought or homemade)
food coloring (optional)

Just take

1 1/2 cups of epsom salt

1/2 cup regular salt

3-5 drops of peppermint oil

and mix them together! For that holiday touch separate mixture into equal halves. Set one half aside and add about 5 drops of red or green to the other half (you could even separate into 3 equal halves to use all 3 colors.) Then layer it all in a really cute jar for a homey feel. The layering can be done as if you were making one of those colored sand crafts. Then layer it in a jar/container. Fill it to the top and then make sure to twist on the jar cap real tight! To finish off, wrap a cute ribbon around the cap!

Click here to see more!

2. Christmas Tree

Who says all Christmas trees have to be actual trees? Can’t afford to go out and get a large spruce? Big deal. The green and leafy ones are a thing of the past! This new way to make a Christmas tree is modern, creative, totally doable and totally affordable!

Just take pieces of wood and layer them from longest to shortest in a short of pyramid shape. You can hold up these sticks with just pins underneath for support and put them against the wall. Then string some lights around it, pin some ornaments into the wood and you have a perfectly cute Christmas tree! Or better yet just take slabs of wood from your local home depot and nail or glue them together! Give it to a friend or keep it for yourself as an awesome decoration! Remember, the wood pieces can be as big as you want them to be!

3. Snow Globe  (Brought to you by Anthropologie.com)

This is so easy, so festive and can get as personal as you want to be! To make a snow globe, all you need is a jar of any size that you want and take a tiny christmas tree, snow flake ornament, menorah or even a small dinosaur figurine if you’re in the mood for something a little more epic and glue it to the inside cap to your jar! Or if you want said dinosaur figurine or snowflake to move around…then don’t!

Then just add fake snow! You can get some at Target for about $1.50!  Other ideas include crumpling up bit of foam into tiny pieces, shredded paper bits, glitter etc.

Next, add water and there you have it! A snow globe! Perfect for any friend, boyfriend/girlfriend or family member!

If you did however, decide you wanted to glue your tiny tree, snowflake or dinosaur to the cap, then just after you add water, twist on the jar cap super tight and turn it upside down! Like in the picture above!

Click here for more info!

4.  Peppermint Bark (Brought to you by TheCrunchyChicken.com)

Know someone who’s in the mood for a delicious treat this winter? Look super impressive and skilled by making these chocolatety treats for any holiday party or potluck!

You’ll need:
16 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
12 ounces high quality white chocolate, chopped
6 candy canes, coarsely crushed (about 6 ounces)
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract

all ingredients you can get cheaply at your local supermarket!

“Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper or foil.

Melt bittersweet chocolate in double boiler until it is melted and smooth. Stir in peppermint extract. Cool to barely lukewarm, about 5 minutes. Pour bittersweet chocolate mixture onto cookie sheet. Using a spatula, spread the chocolate so that it is about 1/4 inch thick. Chill for about 15 minutes or until it is set.

Meanwhile, melt the white chocolate in a double boiler until it is melted and smooth. Cool until it is barely lukewarm (about 5 minutes). Pour the white chocolate onto the cooled bittersweet chocolate, using a spatula to spread out the chocolate to cover the first layer evenly.

Immediately sprinkle top layer with crushed candy canes. Let it sit for about 10 minutes and then chill just until firm, about 20 minutes. It can be broken apart or cut into rectangles. Store in an airtight container in a cool place or freeze. Allow it to come to room temperature before serving.

You can pack the bark in glass jars that are decorated with red ribbon and candy canes for that extra holiday feel!”

Click here for more info!

5.  Felt Ball Ornaments (Brought to you by PurlBee.com)

With this cute gift idea all you need are three simple things:

Felt, scissors, needle, thread… or forget the needle and thread and you could probably just use glue!

“To make an assortment of 1 1/2-inch and 2 1/2-inch ball ornaments. You can make 6 large ornaments, or 12 small ornaments, or an assortment of 4 small and 3 large ornaments.

The small and large ornaments are made in the exact same manner. Then cut 8 small or large templates from the felt.

Press each of the circles in half and be sure to make a nice crease down their centers! Then it’s time for the sewing.”

To get the specific directions, click here.

6.  Candle Holder…or really an anything holder!

Super easy and makes for a lovely gift! Just take any flat candle holder or any kind of plastic or glass bowl or jar that you have lying around, any craft adhesive and some twigs you can find anywhere outside. You can pretty much use any kind of natural shrub of your choosing! You can even buy some cinnamon sticks and use those too! Perfect for this time of year and they would smell delicious!

This gift can be used to hold candles as well as a small plant, candy or even your car keys! Refer to this site for more!

Do feel enlightened now? Inspired? Jolly? Merry? Or maybe these ideas just got you in the mood for the holidays which is always a good thing!

Either way, this all goes to show that regardless of the money in your pocket, you can always make something amazing with just a little imagination! So start imagining!

Remember: A little DIY project can make a big impression! See more craft ideas on our Pinterest!

Happy Holidays and Happy Crafting!

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Nina Reichenberg, a junior at Syracuse University spent her first two years in the Communications Design Program but is now currently working towards a degree in Computer Art & Animation. Whilst at school, Nina spends most of her time animating, watching films, and working as a design intern at SYR BAZAAR.com. Outside of SU, she enjoys traveling, singing, dancing, spending time outside and collecting thimbles.

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