Life&Style writer Josie Hart explains how to gift on a student budget
It’s the most wonderful time of the year, but also one of the most expensive for a student. Along with Christmas parties, balls and fairs, presents can make a major dent in your student loan. But the cost of gift giving shouldn’t prevent you from spreading festive joy this Christmas. There are plenty of ways to give presents and show your appreciation to your nearest and dearest without breaking the bank.
For a Friend
Often it’s the really personal or funny gifts that draw on a private joke that are the best to receive. You could get a friend something that would remind them of a funny experience you shared or something they mentioned in passing that they love. It will flatter them and even take them by surprise that you remembered and thought to get them something so personal to them or your friendship. A shared experience is also a great but also affordable gift. It’s a good idea to plan it well so it doesn’t seem like a last minute idea you came up with because you forgot to buy a present. For example, you could buy your friend a ticket to your favourite club night so you can have a night out together or you could plan a picnic to one of their favourite spots and bring all their favourite foods. You could even get creative and make them an itinerary of a day you can spend together doing all of their favourite things!
For a Family Member
A DIY gift is always a good go-to for a budget friendly Christmas present for a family member. Even if it turns out a bit ‘authentic’, they’ll appreciate the thought and time you put into making them a gift from scratch. Make sure it’s tailored towards their interests or something currently relevant to them to add an extra personal touch. Think about what they’ve mentioned they’re in need of at the moment and see if you could make it using what you’ve got or with minimal spending on materials. For the whole family, to keep with the festive spirit, you could make a batch of homemade mince pies and divide them between each family member as an extra tasty gift on top of the personal present you’ve made them. You can’t go wrong with mince pies!
For your Flat/House Mates
Although it’s a classic idea, a Secret Santa is a great way to make sure you have all your flat/house mates covered in terms of present giving. Each person picks another person’s name out of a hat then you are responsible for anonymously buying a gift for the person you’ve randomly selected. Ensure that you’ve set a budget you all think is manageable, so everyone gets out what they put in. As long as you don’t ruin it by revealing who you’re buying a gift for, it’s a good system to make sure everyone has given and received gifts for the season and is great fun trying to figure out who your ‘Secret Santa’ is.
It’s important to remember that giving presents isn’t about how much money you’ve spent or how luxurious the present is. As the saying goes, ‘it’s the thought that counts’. But it really is just about showing someone you care and showing them that you’ve put time and effort into doing so. With Christmas less than a month away, you’d better get planning!