It’s December and it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas… Just kidding it’s looked like Christmas since you packed away your Halloween costume. But now it’s legitimately getting festive, and it’s time to start thinking about food, presents, parties and general jolitivities. Not to put a downer on this magical time of year, but for many the magic can quickly translate into a panic about the old purse strings. Having been a student for the past four years and still currently hunting/pleading for a job (magazine editors, hey), I thought I’d share a few gift ideas for maintaining a magical Christmas on a budget.
A photo in a frame. A classic thoughtful gift to a friend, parent, other half or relative. The dog would be less appreciative I feel. There are various online companies who do great offers on bulk prints: Photobox, Truprint, Asda or Costco (collect free in store). You could also make an album, or create a photobook digitally.
Afternoon tea. There are often good deals on voucher sites such as Groupon or Wowcher for afternoon tea or days out, and this is a lovely present which says ‘I want to spend time with you’ and will make the gift receiver feel all warm and fuzzy.
Bake up a storm. Find a couple of nice boxes and ribbon (Card Factory…Wilkinsons…) and bake a huge batch of mince pies or gingerbread biscuits to go in them. Baking in bulk usually keeps cost down, and again shows a lot of thought and effort.
A Christmassy Hamper. While you’re in Card Factory stock up on those ribbons, fluffy papery bits and gift boxes for your next gift: the home-made hamper. Ideal and low cost contents could include: chocolates or sweets (stock up on your 2 for 1’s), some of your home-baked goods, mini toiletries, a bottle of their favourite beer/cider or mini wines/spirits, a mini game or puzzle, nail polish, face masks, fluffy slipper socks, non-fluffy socks, or anything else personal to the person you can think of. Also throw in a few satsumas for added festive effect.
Secret Santa. For years my friends and I used to all buy each other presents and it just got a bit ridiculous. Now we stick to a Secret Santa with a limited spend. You can even do the draw online these days and it will email each person with their match. High tech.
A box of lovely messages for the year - to be opened on the on the first of every month. For someone in your life who is extra special, I think this box would be such a lovely thing to do. Inside your gift-box will be 12 envelopes, each of which contains a message about why you love them, a happy memory, or something for you both to do that month. Practically free of cost, and one of the most thoughtful gifts you could give. Unless they want a PlayStation, in which case I can’t help you.
At the end of the day, hopefully loved ones will embrace the true Tiny Tim spirit of Christmas and understand your situation. I hope this has been helpful, and have a great festive season :)