Last minute gift ideas under $20

Danielle Tranter, Reporter

Since the holidays are going to look drastically different than years past, our loved ones deserve something extra special this season. With the thousands of online tutorials and millions of ideas in the world, any project is possible with a little bit of effort and a lot of love.

The following DIY gift guide consists of projects that a novice crafter could recreate for someone they love. Many of these ideas cost under $10, and can be customized with personal details and heartfelt notes that would warm anyone’s heart during this extra cold holiday season.

Embroider almost anything

Supplies: embroidery loop, needle, thread, your choice of fabric
Price: Under $10 (depending on what you embroider)
Sweatshirts, masks, socks, wall decor, anything is customizable when you learn to embroider. It looks more difficult than it is; simply sketch out the design onto the fabric and trace it with your needle. Flowers and stars are the easiest shapes to begin learning with, and the internet’s fast range of tutorials can help with the rest of your ideas.


Decorate a photo frame

Danielle Tranter

Supplies: blank frame, paint, printed photo
Price: Under $5
Not only is a picture worth a thousand words, but photos of togetherness bring a smile to anyone’s face these days. Print out a photo of you and your bud, paint the frame to match their aesthetic, and remind them of great memories











Make a custom playlist

Danielle Tranter

Supplies: Spotify or Apple Music account
Price: Free
Remember back in the day when your boo would make you a mixed tape? Me neither, but this modern take is the perfect gift for any music lover. Pick songs that reflect their personality, your relationship, or songs you want them to hear. Customize the cover image for a personal touch.










Make a friendship bracelet

Supplies: Colorful thread, beads (if you’d like)
Price: Under $5
While it may seem childish, friendship bracelets are quarantine’s most chic accessory. They’re a constant reminder that somebody cared enough to tediously knot a bunch of strings together. Kits and individual thread can be found at almost any craft store.






Tie-dye something cozy

Supplies: White hoodie, tie-dye, rubber bands
Price: Under $20
A trend made popular on TikTok earlier this year, tie-dye cozy wear is the perfect present for any Millenial or Gen-Z stuck in bed all day. Pick out their favorite color(s), scrunch up the fabric and get dying. Check out TikTok for specific design ideas, but don’t take it too seriously. There’s no perfect science to tie-dye, so just have fun with it. TikTok






Decorate a mug

Supplies: Plain ceramic mug, acrylic or epoxy paint/markers
Price: Under $15
Perfect for coffee and tea lovers, a custom mug would warm anybody’s heart. Decorate it however you think they’d like it: monogram it, splatter paint on it, cover it in flowers or swirly designs, write a pun — whatever you’re capable of.


Homemade candle

Supplies: any container, candle wax, wick, glue, essential oils
Price: Under $10
Crafting comes easy with this DIY. Simply melt the wax in boiling water, glue the wick to the middle of the container’s bottom, evenly pour in the melted wax with a few drops of essential oil and wait a few hours for it to harden.

Build a mini terrarium

Supplies: glass container, potting soil, rocks, sand, one to two succulents
Cost: Under $20
Houseplants make great company for people while in quarantine, but those without a green thumb know how difficult it is to keep them alive. Creating a mini terrarium by layering the sand, rocks and soil underneath a succulent in any glass jar is simple and will add a breath of fresh air to your loved one’s home.










A hot cocoa kit
Supplies: mug, powdered cocoa mix, mini marshmallows, peppermint bark
Price: Under $10
Using any mug, possibly the one made earlier, simply stuff the cup with a few unopened cocoa powder packets, some mini marshmallows and some sort of peppermint candy to include that classic winter taste.

Tie Blanket

Supplies: 2 large pieces of fleece fabric, scissors
A soccer mom staple, anybody can make this cozy DIY. Layer the two pieces of fleece evenly on top of one another, and cut two inch-long slits along the edges, creating what resemble tassels. Then, tie strips from the top and bottom fleece together all along the edges until the fabrics successfully become one.

Paint a tote bag

Danielle Tranter

Supplies: plain canvas tote bag, paint
Price: Under $5
Designed with love, a hand-painted tote bag is a cute and easy gift idea. It’s perfect for anyone hauling groceries, carrying school supplies, or in need of more purse space.











Write a recipe book

Supplies: recipes, thin ribbon, paper, markers
Price: Under $5
How many family recipes are buried in the junk drawer or on a secret Pinterest board, uncooked? Share the secrets with the ones you love so they can add their love to the pot.







Design a custom journal

Supplies: notebook, and perhaps stickers, markers, washi tape
Price: Under $5
Since we’re stuck inside, lots of people have taken to journaling to remember everything going on. Customize the cover with stickers, doodles, funky designs, whatever you can think of that would inspire them to write more. Personalize it with a note inside reminding them of how much you love them.