I don’t know about you, but this year I’m in serious money-saving mode. As much as I’d love to go buy my biffies matching pairs of Alexander McQueen’s 10-inch Alien Heels (if you don’t know what these are, you obviously haven’t seen Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance video), college girls don’t have tons of moolah to buy the most fabulous gifts out there.
Besides, gifts are most meaningful when they require time and thought. And they’re even better when people know that you put blood, sweat and tears (and maybe even a little pee pee if looking through old pictures really makes you laugh) into them.
So if you’ve got tons of people to give to but not tons of money to do it, try some of these DIY gifts on for size. They’ll work for absolutely everyone on your list and you won’t have to drop serious cash or serious elbows at your neighborhood holiday sale.
1. Photo Collages
Photo collages are meaningful gifts that can be given to anyone – family, friends, boyfriends. Now, I don’t mean just some poster with photos erratically hacked with cheap scissors and doused in Elmer’s glue. Get a cigar box and some Mod-Podge (a specific glue excellent for collages) from a craft store, plan the arrangements of photos before you start cutting, and use a paintbrush to glue them down. Then paint a thin layer of Mod-Podge on top of the pictures, let it dry and – Voila! – you’ve got a super cute jewelry box full of your favorite pics and memories. You can even get some cute puff paint and embellish. Cheap, cute, and sure to impress! (This also works with frames, mirrors, boxes, or anything else that you’d wanna personalize!)
Not an artsy fartsy? Don’t worry! You can do it all online, too!
2. Cookie Mix in a Jar
If you’re known for your cookies (or even if you’re only known for tossing them…) this is a really great gift that people can’t help but love. Even better: it’s something you can make in huge batches and keep on tap all season in case you need a quick gift.
It’s cookies. Big, delicious cookies.
All you need is a jar (like for jelly) and some simple ingredients. Decorate the jar with ribbon, stickers, etc., then in the jar, layer 2 cups flour, ½ teaspoon baking soda, ½ teaspoon baking powder, a dash of salt, 1.25 cups granulated sugar, and 1 cup of chocolate chips. (You can throw in other fun ingredients like candy or nuts, too.) On a piece of paper, write the following directions: mix this up with 1 egg and 1 teaspoon vanilla! Shape into balls the size of walnuts, place on lightly greased baking sheets about two inches apart. Bake in a preheated 375° oven for 10 to 12 minutes. Enjoy! Yum.
Tie the paper onto the jar with a ribbon, throw in a box of Celestial Seasoning’s Sugar Cookie Sleigh Ride Tea and your giftee will want to marry you.
3. Bath Salts
Since you already have cute jars from making your adorable cookie mixes, why not make some bath salts, too? These are great for the family ladies in your life – mom, grandma, aunt – because no sane college girl would ever lay her body in those nasty dorm bathtubs. And bath salts encourage people to take time out to relax – something your mama definitely deserves! Plus, you don’t need much to make something totally impressive.
Get some Epsom Salt (enough to fill your jars), some food coloring, and your favorite perfume (or one of those perfumes you stare at but never actually put on…I, for one, have an obscene amount of perfume stockpiled in my bathroom and I KNOW I will never get through them all). Just mix the Epsom salt in a huge bowl with the food coloring and the perfume until the color is even, and spread the mix on a sheet of wax paper to dry. Once it’s dry, put it in the jar and wrap it up! Easy, right?
You can use the salt right away, but it’s even better if you let it sit for a week or two.
These gifts are not only super easy and cheap, but they show thoughtfulness and love. And that’s much better than any gift you can buy… except maybe for those Alexander McQueen Alien Shoes. Those are still pretty rad.