With the stress of finals and the semester coming to a close, the joy of the upcoming holidays can quickly become overshadowed.
For a few of us, the holidays mean engaging in a therapeutic outlet that helps to diffuse all academic stress, like shopping for Christmas or any other respective holiday.
Buying gifts for friends and family is never easy, especially when your budget resembles Scrooge’s idea of a “Christmas bonus.”
Personally, I enjoy giving and receiving gifts of the homemade variety for two reasons. First, they possess a level of personalization that can’t be bought from a department store. And secondly, it’s an inexpensive and easy way to show someone you care.
Here are a few gift ideas for everyone in your life.
Party host/hostess: Plan on heading to a lot of holiday parties this year. Fearing that showing up empty-handed will make you look like a smooch? No problem.
The easiest gift to bring for a host/hostess requires only one important characteristic: edibility. For those of you whose talents severely lack in the kitchen, have no worries. The following ideas are quick, easy and don’t require going near a stove.
Try packaging your own personalized jar of hot chocolate mix. Recipes for the dry mix can be found all over the Internet and generally revolve around the same basic ingredients: cocoa mix, dry milk powder and powdered creamer. I also found a few that like to throw in a touch of cinnamon or nutmeg, marshmallows and chocolate chips.
Find an inexpensive jar to package the mixture in, tie some holiday bows and ribbons around it and bam, homemade hot cocoa mix, just add hot water.
Bringing hot chocolate mix opposed to a bottle of wine will show the host of the party that you decided to take a step outside the box, accompanied by a comforting and nostalgic feel. Plus, hot cocoa is yummy.
For other easy recipes try going to Familyfun.go.com.
Friends/Family: Anyone with a decent photo editing program and a printer can come up with the perfect gift for a close friend or family member. I believe that these ideas work well for both men and women.
For a friend, find the oldest possible picture of the two of you together and a more recent one. Then digitally fuse the pictures together to show the progression of your friendship.
You can even find other pictures that remind you of inside jokes, or of good times, and throw them into the picture. The point is to give your friend a reminder of how much your friendship means to you.
Top it off by placing the picture in an appropriate frame, or a plain one that can be easily embellished to your liking.
For a family member, the above idea also works, only this time fuse a baby picture with a current one of you. Let’s face it, family members, especially the older ones enjoy pictures of relatives.
Got siblings? No problem. The more the merrier, right?
Looking for more ideas for friends and family try Budget101.com
Significant other: I think the most important part in finding the perfect gift for a significant other is deciding ahead of time on a set budget. Nothing is worse than over-spending or under-spending for a gift.
This is where the idea of homemade gifts comes into play. In these times of recession and economic hardships, everyone is looking for a way to get what they want now, but pay for it later.
Enter the ever-so-popular “Christmas coupons.” But instead of giving out dinners, movies, and other expensive outings, try things that revolve around simple activities you enjoy.
A “watching one entire sporting event on television together” coupon or “one hour of deep conversation” coupon are both ways to give each other a gift without resorting to your wallet.
Christmas is a time for giving, and even the smallest gift can make anyone smile. It doesn’t matter how much you spend, it only matters how much thought is put into a gift that makes it special.