Your friend unexpectedly gives you a gift for the holidays, but you’ve gotten them nothing. You are officially the worst person in the world. We’ve all been there, so this season, why not one-up your overly-kind friends by having a supply of cheap yet great gifts to throw at them? Cut down on holiday stress by using these financially-savvy ideas.
1. Weird Stuff You Find At Thrift Stores
Contrary to popular belief, thrift stores like Goodwill are not just for hipsters and the homeless. You can actually find some pretty awesome stuff in these places – and usually for under $10. You may have to sift through things that seem better suited for your grandparents, but a nice set of wine glasses or a fruit bowl (or a small statue of a lion, found by yours truly) is a great gift for anyone. Even though some of these things are preowned, don’t let that deter you; after all, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.
2. Mixtapes Are Your Best Friends
For the price of one blank CD, you can make a really thoughtful gift for someone. Burn a playlist of your favorite songs for your friends, even make them really cheesy if you want (see: Queen’s “You’re My Best Friend”). What better way is there to convert your friends to your obviously superior musical taste? Pro-Tip: Make a mixtape for your crush or significant other with a bunch of (good) love songs and baby-making tracks. It’s a personal gift that says everything for you (just be careful about giving a CD with “I Will Always Love You” to someone you’ve just met…).
3. A Picture Worth A Thousand Words (give-or-take)
Here’s an easy one: print out your favorite picture of you and your friend and put it in a nice picture frame, which you can find online or at a general store for pretty cheap. You can make it as sweet or as silly as you want with the help of a computer (ex: alter the picture by drawing a handsome mustache on your friend’s face, regardless of gender). Just be aware of other objects in the background of whatever picture you choose (like your buddy’s crazy ex or certain bottles/cans if you’re underage).
4. Baked Goods!!!
Arguably the best presents ever, cookies and brownies and cakes (oh my!) will brighten up everyone’s holidays, and they’re really easy to make. Whether you’re a culinary genius or a walking fire hazard in the kitchen, you can make sweets for almost anyone (and if you REALLY can’t, you can get fresh-baked stuff at any grocery store for under $10). Just make sure to find out if your friend is vegan or only eats gluten-free stuff because things will get awkward quickly if you make them something they can’t eat.
5. The Most Boring Idea Ever: Gift Cards
Gift cards are impersonal and not very creative gifts, but they sure are useful. It’s basically like giving your friend cash, but you can make it a little more special by really thinking about the store you’ll get it from. Maybe your friend really likes books, music, a specific brand of clothes – just use what you know about them to choose. And if all else fails, get them a gift for the Emory bookstore or amazon.com because Lord knows we need all the help we can get when it comes to buying those textbooks.
— By Sonam Vashi