The winter holiday season is once again upon us and if you participate in some form of gift-giving, you may already be starting to feel the pressure. For those with small bank accounts but big hearts, this time of year can be frustrating as our means don’t necessarily line up with our desire to give. To try and help with some of that pressure, here is a list of five low-cost or homemade holiday gifts that can be tailored to almost anyone.
A little bit of effort and a personalized note or poem can go a long way. There are tons of holiday card designs on sites like Pinterest that are easy to recreate in a medium like watercolour, pencil crayons or even markers. If you don’t have art supplies on hand, you can typically find functional and affordable options at Dollar Store variations, Walmart and other grocery stores, or at your local college bookstore. MacEwan’s bookstore carries many of these supplies as well. Pair this with one of their favourite treats or another item from this list for a little something extra!
Cook for them
Show someone in your life that you value their time and company by preparing a nice sit-in meal for the two of you to catch up over. It doesn’t have to be over the top, just something you both enjoy. You could also go sweet rather than savoury and prepare a dessert that you could drop off or exchange and that will last them for days. Just remember to not let your hard work go to waste by following the dietary restrictions of who you’re cooking for.
Homemade coasters or wall hangings
With only a few items, including photos you already have on hand or have printed from a dry-ink printer, you can transfer the images onto blank coasters or any other small wood decor with a relatively simple process. If you don’t have a printer at home, inquire at your local library or any store that offers printing services. Also note that any text in your image will be reversed, so remember to flip it if that’s a concern.
1. The image you want to transfer
2. Mod Podge
3. Foam brush
4. A gift card (for smoothing bubbles)
5. Your coaster or other item.
First, cover the face of your image in a generous amount of Mod Podge, spreading it with the foam brush. Next, lay the image face down onto your coaster or any other wood piece you’d like to use. Use a small, firm-edged card — such as a bank card or gift card — to gently disperse any bubbles and ensure the image is flush with the wood. Wipe away any excess from the exposed wood edges with a damp cloth. Next, let them dry for 24 hours. Once they are dry, take a damp cloth and gently rub away the paper with circular motions. Be patient with this step, as you don’t want to rub too hard and remove your image. Finally, once your image is clear and the paper is gone, apply a thin layer of Mod Podge over the final product to seal it and you’re done!
If you have someone in your life you know could use a little love and a few kind words, consider making an affirmation jar for them. Grab any small container from a store within your budget and use paints, stickers, or markers to personalize it. Next, either type and print out or handwrite around 30 statements for them to randomly pick out when they are having a bad day. This could be as simple as a corny joke, something about them you appreciate, or a reminder they may need, like “treat yourself” or “keep your chin up.”
Make a new memory together
Whether you need a gift for a friend, family, or someone closer, consider trying a new experience together, ideally something within both your budgets. To make the memory last, bring a disposable film camera to capture it all and revisit the images together later. You could go for a coffee or a walk somewhere outside, have a painting night or at-home movie night, go thrifting, bake something together, or play boardgames.The options of what you can do to spend some quality time together are endless!