Gift Giving: College Edition

Okay so. The Holidays are officially upon us. Finals are over, grades are in, winter break has commenced and you are now safely snuggled onto your couch at home eating your mom’s food and watching T.V. Now, while the scene I just described sounds quite heavenly, at some point during this euphoric, three week period, you are more than likely going to think to yourself, “Self, I should probably go get some Christmas presents.” Right away I can see the red flags going up for college kids all over America, since presents means shopping, and shopping means money. Well, have no fear comrades, there are plenty of ways to show some love this Holiday season without spending all that dough.
Number one rule of buying presents for your friends or even with your family is setting a spending budget right up front. My friends and I did a secret Santa this year and we decided $15-$20 was a good amount and it worked out great. So if you do decide to exchange with your friends, first decide on a spending amount that is appropriate (or, apprope as I like to say…sorry I have a prob with the abbreves…I’m working on it).
Beyond the obvious advice of shopping the sales at the store, I’d also encourage you to run a quick Google search for that store’s coupons before you buy anything. You’d be surprised what will come up. There are also a ton of really great apps that are awesome when you’re already out and about shopping and want a quick coupon. One that I recently installed is called Coupon Sherpa. It uses your phones GPS to track where you are and then provides you with a list of coupons from the stores closest to you. Very handy my friends, very handy indeed.
Another idea is to organize a white elephant or a secret Santa as I mentioned above. White elephant (wrapping up things found around your house that you have no use for anymore but someone else might find delightful) goes great at a winter party with all of your friends, and while secret Santa requires a bit more preparation, the surprise of who has your name is totally worth it and the whole thing is really fun.
Parents are a fairly easy group to gift.
Things they love:
Pictures- Have your friend take a cool picture of you, grab a frame from Target or Wal-Mart, throw a bow on it. Boom. You could also find some cool pictures of you and your siblings (if you have any) and use a cool site like to organize them into a cool and affordable photo book. Parents love photo books.

Your Time- I know making ‘coupons’ sounds very juvenile but honestly parents love spending time with you especially since you’re away at college now. Movie nights at home, coffee dates, you make them dinner, get creative. Oh yeah, they also love free labor. Keep that in mind too.
Your friends are a fairly manageable group to buy for as well. Nothing says Happy Holidays better than a twelve pack with a bow and a coupon to pizza hut (just kidding, what’s a twelve pack? I just don’t even know) Here’s a few other ideas of what to get your friends this Holiday season J

Things your friends love:
Swag- If you or your friends are anything like me, I literally cannot get enough swag (swag: t-shirts, hats, sweats, mugs, key chains etc.). Wait til your bookstore has a sale to shop and stock up on all of the free stuff offered to you throughout first semester and save for your friends. They will love you.
Pictures- Pictures, again coming in big for the win. I know especially girls, (but guys too!) love getting pictures from their friends reminding them of a great time they all had. Printing pictures is not very expensive and can be done at your local Walgreens, CVS or Wal-Mart. Pick out a cute frame and there you go.
Gift cards- One can never go wrong with giving a ten of fifteen dollar gift card to Starbucks, Target, or even a gas card. Personalize it by giving it with a homemade card or letter. Oh how your friends will swoon.
Have something to add? Let me hear it! I’m always looking for more ideas and I’m sure yours is just superb. Hit me back!