Holiday Gift Guide for Students on a Budget


Christmas is a time for cheer and joy… until you check your bank balance. Gifts for mom and dad, gifts for the siblings, gifts for the grandparents, gifts for the significant other. Being surrounded by family and friends is part of the Christmas allure. However, that means all the more presents to buy. As a college student, it can be hard dishing money out like that, especially when you want the best for those closest to you. Wanting to be helpful, we went around the office asking our staff one question: “What Christmas presents would you give when on a budget?” Here’s the collection of ideas gathered.

  • Baked Goods—Ever heard of the saying, “The way to a person’s heart is through their stomach”? Spread some Christmas cheer by making freshly baked pies, cakes, or cookies to fill your family and friends’ bellies. Estimated cost: $5 for one batch of cookies
  • Canned Goods—For the more advanced chefs, make a sauce (or even jam) and pack it up in a mason jar. Add a ribbon, and voila! You have a delicious present ready to give. Estimated cost: Less than $5 for a jar
  • Handmade Christmas Tree Ornaments—If your family is big on Christmas, get crafty and make personalized ornaments for every member of your family. Use Pinterest as a starting point. Estimated cost: Depends on the material used.
  • Painting/Poem/Story/Song—If you have the talent, why not write or draw for your family? A painting hung in the living room or a recorded song playing in the background is a simple way to make your family feel like you’re there with them even when you're back in college. Estimated cost: Free
  • Mug—Buy a mug and stuff it with packets of hot cocoa or tea. If you want to go the extra mile, try decorating the cup with the receiver's name or favorite quote. Estimated cost: $10 for the mug
  • Christian Bookstore Trinkets—If you are not quite crafty or a kitchen person, visit a Christian bookstore and browse around for knickknacks, especially those with encouraging Bible verses. Estimated cost: $3-10


  • Gift Basket—Buy a simple wicker basket, fill it up with the gift receiver’s favorite candy or chocolate, and you're good to go! You can even get creative and add handwritten notes or socks. Estimated cost: $3 for the basket

Honestly, these ideas are just drops in a huge bucket. There are countless ways to celebrate Christmas with the gift of giving without sacrificing your savings. Google it up! Use your God-given creativity. After all, what matters most is what comes from the heart.


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Southern Adventist University Admissions Story by Southern Adventist University Admissions Published: Last Edited:

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