Give gifts they’ll love on a budget

by Courtney Carlson, staff writer

Have a bit of a tight budget this year? Worrying about what to get your loved ones this holiday season? No problem! These gift ideas are both simple and affordable.

Santa’s Good Play list

You can never go wrong with a handpicked play-list as a gift. You can make CDs with your holiday favorites to give out to friends. To make it more personal, create a playlist or CD of songs that remind you of the recipient, or songs you both love. You can create a CD design or cover, too.

Coupons of Love

A personal coupon book is a great way to treat a friend or significant other for the holidays.

Scissors, markers, construction paper, string, and some creativity are needed. Fold the paper into fourths, then cut the paper along the lines. Now, make a cover and then decorate each coupon and add in favors.

For parents, favors could be a room cleaning, washing dishes, or driving a sibling home from sports practice for a week. Friends will love coupons for redeemable car rides, or a tray of cookies. For your special someone, coupons for movie day, or picnic lunches are sure to make them swoon.  Once you’re finished, you can hole-punch and tie them together with string.

Christmas in a Cup

One easy-to-make gift is to get a cute mug and fill it with goodies.

Hershey’s kisses, hot chocolate packets, M&M’s, or even a gift card- it’s really up to you.

When stuffing, make sure that the items all face in one direction, with the largest ones in back. If you have too much room in your mug, you can stuff it halfway with tissue paper.

When you’re finished adding the treats, place the mug on top of a sheet of clear gift-wrapping plastic. Gather the plastic at the top of the mug, and tie it off with a ribbon.

Etsy is the Best-y!

Etsy.com is a great place to find homemade treasures for reasonable prices. The site functions as an online marketplace for users to create and sell their own goods- from knitted scarves and beard-hats to jewelry, stuffed animals, or shoes.

A simple query will show a huge variety of quirky, fun, and festive items.

For any Harry Potter lover, the Azkaban Placard Necklace is a perfect gift! It looks as if it came straight from the movie, and it can be customized. It comes in a box already, so it’s as simple as wrapping the gift and watching the recipient’s face light up with a smile.

Fleece Navidad

A warm, customized blanket is a great gift that doesn’t require any sewing. It’s easy to make it a truly personalized gift by picking out a fun pattern and including the recipient’s name on the blanket. I would recommend making a blanket that has one side with a pattern and one side with a solid color that matches the color scheme. Iron-on letters can be found at Jo-ann’s Fabrics, as well as a wide variety of colors and patterns.

You will need 2 equal-sized pieces of fleece fabric (usually 1½-2½ square yards) and sharp scissors.

Step One: Align your two pieces of fleece on top of each other and pick a side to begin with.

Step Two: Make three inch cuts down the first side. Cuts should be about 1 inch apart, and go through both layers of fabric.

Step Three: Begin tying the strips of both layers of fabric together Pieces that were cut together are tied together.

Step Four: Repeat process on the next three sides.