No Money? No Problems: DIY Holiday Gifts on a College-Student Budget

The prospect of shopping for Christmas gifts can be dismaying when your wallet is thin from skipping work to study, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a way to show friends you care! We delve into a world of cheap and holiday-sweet DIY gifts with little to no effort, but with 100 percent love and flair.

Personalized cookies
Supplies: Pillsbury Christmas cookies, cookie icing

Everyone loves a sweet snack during finals, and with Pillsbury cutout Christmas cookies, half the decorating is already done for you! These unbaked cookies cost under $5, and with a $3 icing kit, you have instant personalization. Spell out friends’ names or holiday phrases onto the cookies, and then place them in a baggie for a yummy present.

Personalized, DIY tree ornaments or stockings
Supplies: Christmas ball ornaments and/or stockings, puffy paint, markers

Penn State stockings and bulbs are for sale all over downtown, and with a little puffy paint, your friends can have a one-of-a-kind gift to hang in their dorms! You can also buy bulk holiday candy and fill the stockings with some delicious stuffers before gifting this holiday surprise!

Handmade, self-laminated snowflake cards
Supplies: Colorful paper, scissors, wax paper, iron, markers and card decorations

Christmas cards are cute, but why spend $3 on something when you can create a winter masterpiece from items you already own?

To start, fold your paper into an eight-fold snowflake pattern. Check out this slide show of how to do the easy fold.

Cut the snowflake into desired shape and open. Use the markers and decorations to adorn the paper portion of the snowflake. Make sure all decorations are flat on the snowflake — otherwise lamination will not be possible.

While decorations dry, heat the iron and tear off 2 sheets of wax paper — make each an inch larger than the snowflake on all sides. Lay the snowflake in the center of one wax sheet on a flat surface. Lay the second sheet of wax paper on top. Take a towel or piece of fabric and place it over the snowflake pile, careful not to move the wax paper. Then, lay the hot iron on the towel and iron gently, not pressing hard, for 5-10 minutes, being sure to get all corners and press out any air bubbles.

Remove towel and allow snowflake to cool. Once cool, cut off excess wax paper and voila! Laminated snowflake perfection.


Photos by Jennie Lichtenstein and Kaitlyn Knopp

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