Cheap and Creative Present Ideas for Students
- Student Tips
It’s that time of year again! Gift-giving! Fear not—you don’t have to break the bank to shop for everyone on your list. Let’s take a closer look at some fun, meaningful gifts that don’t cost much money, but pack a lot of bang for the buck. All it takes is a little bit of planning, a touch of creativity, and lots of holiday spirit. Everyone on your list—and your wallet—will thank you.
1. Knit bracelet
Simple, gender-neutral, and fun to make, a jersey-knit bracelet is a thoughtful touch to give to anyone on your list. All you need is a few strips of jersey knit cotton, a pair of scissors, and your fingers.
Looking for a few strips of jersey knit cotton? Go through some old (clean) t-shirts and cut them up. Turning your favorite old t-shirts into gifts for people you love is even better.
Make one—and give one. You may find yourself making a bunch, because they’re fun and relaxing to make, especially after a tough semester.
2. Tea wreath
Is there a tea-fanatic on your list? Make a tea wreath. Fun, easy, and very affordable, all you need are a few different varieties of tea, and some clothespins—you can decorate those, too, if you’d like.
Perfect for entertaining, colorful, and inspiring, a tea wreath will delight any tea drinker—and it will brighten up any kitchen.
3. Personalized playlist
They used to be called “mixtapes” because you’d record a group of your favorite songs on a cassette tape, made a fun, personalized cover, and gave it to a friend. You can also burn a CD of songs that mean something to you and the recipient. Even better? Build a playlist for easy download.
What’s really fun? In the playlist, you can write a phrase or two that explains why it’s there.
Make a person feel loved and share the gift of music.
4. Etched wooden cutting boards
While not the easiest DIY gift, they pack a punch.
You can purchase inexpensive wooden cutting boards from Amazon with a wood burner, and etch drawings and words into them.
If you have a little time, a lot of creativity, and a willingness to try new things, an etched wooden cutting board certainly makes a memorable gift.
5. DIY notebook
Yes, you heard us. Make a book for someone who’s always writing something down. There are lots of variations on this, but this one from Brit + Co makes it easy.
It takes a bit of time and thought, but it doesn’t cost much and the pay off is grand. All you need is printer paper, cardstock, embroidery floss (or dental floss), a box cutter, a needle, an awl, and a straight edge. You can also download fun covers—or make your own.
If there’s a writer or sketch artist in your life who needs a fun notebook, make one.
6. Mason jar sewing kit
We all have a friend who loves to sew. What better gift than a mason jar sewing kit?
We recommend making a small one that can fit in a bag or a backpack for ease of transportation. You’ll need a small, clean mason jar, fabric, a glue gun, stuffing, a pencil, and scissors—and then any small sewing supplies that your recipient might need. Buttons, needles, thread, tape, and mini-scossors come to mind.
Have fun and happy sewing.
7. Cup sleeves
If you know someone who always has a cup of coffee on the go, or their travel mug isn’t well-insulated, then you know that they need cup sleeves.
Lucky for you, they’re easy to make. You can make them reversible, not reversible, with buttons with Velcro, skinny, or wide.
You’ll need to download a coffee cup sleeve pattern. Other than that, you need to be able to follow directions and have fun.
Easy-to-make, fun to use, and incredibly versatile, cup sleeves will make any coffee or tea drinker very happy.
8. Instagram cards
When all else fails, Instagram may just save you.
Yes, you can turn Instagram photos into greeting cards.
Personalize each one with treasured moments—and use an online printing service to make your cards. You might spend a bit more money here if you make individual cards for each person—or save money by making multiple copies of the same card.
We hope you found something to do or make—or at least that you feel more inspired and hopeful about this year’s gift giving.
And if these creative gift ideas inspire more than generosity, find out more about studying creative arts.
Alyssa Walker is a freelance writer, educator, and nonprofit consultant. She lives in the White Mountains of New Hampshire with her family.