Let’s just admit it now—it’s hard enough to find that perfect gift for our siblings, parents, friends and significant others (and still be in the positive in our bank accounts) without thinking about, well, everyone else.
We’re getting to the age at which not getting gifts for our aunts, cousins’ children and boyfriends’ parents is just unacceptable and rude. Do these people expect us to dish out hard cash for some extravagant gift? Not a chance—we’re college students after all, and it makes people feel dirty taking grocery money from a dependent school kid all for a foot massager. However, it really is the thought that counts, and there are plenty of gifts to give the people you haven’t really given much thought to until now.
Valley’s here to get you started with some creative and appropriate ideas that will crush it but won’t break the bank.
Cousin’s/Family Friend’s Child
You see this child occasionally and they know who you are but you don’t have the hug-me relationship quite yet.
Treasure Rocks: You may not have heard of these before, but they really are a fun and cheap project for gifts. With just coffee grounds, sand, salt, flour and water, you can create true rock look-alikes, but what makes them special is what you hide inside. The child will have a blast breaking the rocks open and discovering what treasures are inside. There are plenty of recipes for treasure rocks online, and some don’t even require sand or flour, but use baking soda and optional food coloring instead.
The child is a little older—old enough to want and use money.
Money Chocolate Box: This concept is easy and is still completely affordable for you. Empty a box of chocolates (we know where chocolates are going, am I right?) but keep the wrappers. Instead of chocolate, place folded dollar bills and coins in the wrappers.
We all have them (if you don’t you’re pretty lucky) but they still send you at least a card with some money.
Scarves, scarves and more scarves: You really can’t go wrong getting your aunts scarves—it’s cold outside, and giving them something to better their comfort will make you look incredibly thoughtful. Should we also mention that they are fairly inexpensive in stores downtown? Shops such as Dwellings, Mr. Charles and Access sell many of their scarves for under $20.
Mugs: Giving a mug as a gift is very fitting with an uncle. The exceptionally convenient part about mugs is that you can really personalize it to your uncle’s interests. He likes the Steelers? Get him a Steelers mug. He goes hunting? Get him a mug with a deer head on it. The better part is that mugs are incredibly inexpensive, yet still thoughtful if the personalization is used effectively.
So you just started dating a few months ago.
A Card and K-Cups: This is a great starter’s gift for his parents if you haven’t been involved that long. Make sure you ask him if his parents even have a Keurig or if either of them even drink coffee before you go ahead with the plan. If they don’t, hot cocoa mix or a box of tea bags will be just as cute. They’ll really appreciate your effort, especially since you haven’t been in their lives for that long.
You’ve been dating for over a year and you’ve even spent a long weekend or vacation with them.
Monogrammed Tile or Other Creative Décor Gifts: It’s time to get creative since you have known them for over a year now—and you’re getting somewhat serious with their son. A monogrammed tile would be the perfect gift they could hang somewhere for all to see—it’s a piece of them and decorative. Other gifts could include personalized coasters, a few of their favorite candles, or a detailed picture frame.
Finding gifts for extended family and friends can seem like a real puzzle, but all it takes is a little light research and some creativity. You won’t be going completely broke with these gifts, but more importantly, those people will feel that you’re appreciating them, and that’s all that matters anyway.
Photo by Sabine Clermont