Economical ways to create holiday traditions

By Rebecca Voorhees, Staff Writer

Although it is only November, the holiday season is quickly approaching. Some students are giddy with anticipation and Christmas spirit, while others will remain annoyed until after Thanksgiving. But when the time finally comes, people will wonder how they are supposed to afford gifts this year.

Just thinking about it makes some students turn as green as the Grinch. Shopping is not easy by any means, and it is even harder when one feels like they cannot buy a gifts their family or close friends deserve. Knowing that money is tight (especially for college students), a budget is important to stand by. Here are some fun and fiscal ideas to try out this season.

1. Secret Santa is the most predictable saver, yet, it is also the most practical. This works great for friend groups, clubs, and athletic teams. Get together with classmates and discuss an ideal budget. Usually $10-15 is reasonable enough to get something small that still has quality. Clothes like scarves, hats and even pajamas are really great and affordable items to buy. Take time to dig through the clearance bin filled with DVDs at Walmart. Grab a good book or music album. The possibilities are endless.

2. Do it yourself! DIYs are always a great option when trying to save money. Get creative and think outside the box. Fill Mason jars with tiny marshmallows and dress them up as snowmen. Make a photo album of all the fun times you shared with your family over the past year. Bake cookies shaped like reindeer, or turn old buttons into clever magnets. Save a few more bucks by wrapping gifts with old newspaper and colorful magazines. These gifts are sure to please because of all the preparation and effort put into them.

3. Let’s be honest- no one likes to get a pair of socks for Christmas, but what if there was a way to make this boring gesture more fun? Try out this modern twist on stocking stuffers. Buy a funky pair of socks and then fill them up with your friends’ favorite candy. If they happen not to have a sweet tooth, stuff the socks with nifty school supplies. That could be one less thing they have to worry about when the spring semester starts in January.

4. Ornaments make great sentimental gifts. They come in every shape, color, size and character. Buy a simple addition to the collection already on the tree, or start the tradition of getting a new ornament every year. These are very memorable, and can be a part of the holidays for a lifetime.

5. Maybe you are not so good at shopping. Sometimes you can only express how much you appreciate someone through words, and that’s okay. A simple card can have more value than any materialistic present. They are easy to purchase or make, and sending a message to let someone know you think about them is better than perfect (some hidden cash is pretty sweet, too).

Hopefully this list will encourage students to try something new and feel comfortable with purchasing gifts this family and friends should not necessitate spending every last cent. All in all, the cliché “it’s the thought that counts” really does possess significance.