At the CUI we know it can be difficult to show all your loved friends and family that you care when on a student budget. Luckily, we’ve created this “CUI DIY Holiday Gift Guide” to make your dollar stretch this year. We’ve provided inexpensive and approachable DIY ideas to get the ball rolling. From holiday decorations to day trips, we’ve got all you need to please even the most difficult recipients on your “Good List.” Enjoy, and happy holidays from the CUI!
1. Your time
Chances are that if you’re completely broke, you at least have time to spare. Plan a special trip to a nearby park, or if you’re feeling extra adventurous, try visiting a national park. Make it cute: pack a picnic, and make a point to take photos. Check out this guide to get you started.
2. Upcycled books
You might never get around to reading your books from Introduction to Philosophy, so you might as well give them away to someone who might. Plus, you’ll look so sophisticated gifting Plato. Wrap up Aristotle in some nice newspaper (the New York Times has gorgeous full-page color advertisements this time of year), slap a bow on it, and call it a day. You’ve not only gotten out of a painful mind-expansion, but you’ve given a free gift.
3. Recycled art
Did you take an art class this semester? Wrap up your final project and give it to a family member. Since they’re your family, they can’t openly complain about it. Everything you create is beautiful, so go ahead, and bring out your inner Piet Mondrian this holiday.
4. A mixtape from the heart
Cost: $0.15-$0.25 per mixtape, free if you send a .zip file
Blank CDs cost pocket change (and uploading a .zip file to mediafire.com is free), but the music contained within could be priceless. It’s always a nice touch to add some ironic or throw-back tunes. Wrap the CD beautifully in a handmade card with a bow or some ribbon. For inspiration, check out local CU student Mike Washington’s blog, Live For The Funk, where you can download tunes for free.
5. Lavender eye pillow
These pillows provide an excellent gift for the post melt-down finals week. Why not also shop high quality pillows here! Dried lavender is available in bulk for super cheap at Vitamin Cottage in Boulder (CQ!). Simply sew together little pillows from repurposed or new fabric. Then fill the pillows with lavender and flax seeds. Source: Censational Girl.
6. Waterless snow globes
Cost: Less than $5
These waterless snow globes are adorable and easy to make. Save a few jars when you’re through with the jelly, or pasta sauce. Remove the label, then glue tiny decorated trees to the inside of the lids. Add some fake snow, screw on the lid, and you’ve got yourself a neat little holiday decoration. Source: Sweet Something Design.
We’re fans of homemade wreaths made out of yarn or felt balls because of their simplicity and nostalgic flare. Check out these DIY blogs for easy instructions on how to make delightful wreaths that’ll melt your mother’s heart.
A green, living gift is unique and gratifying, especially in the dead of winter. For this, pick up some tiny succulents from your local nursery, or McGuckin’s if you’re staying in Boulder. Dig up some dirt from your yard and to plant the succulents in. You can embellish the arrangement with colored mosses and trinkets. Terrariums can be made inside of jars, margarita glasses, fish bowls, or any other kind of glass containers you might have around. Make sure your recipient has somewhat of a green thumb. To be safe, include a care sheet. For tips, check out Apartment Therapy.
9. Infused vodka
Cost: Variable, depending on vodka choice
This is a nod to our favorite local vodka makers: 303 Vodka. Their pickle-infused vodka is amazing, and very simple to replicate. Try holiday-friendly flavors like vanilla bean or cinnamon. Simply put whatever flavor you want in plain vodka and refrigerate for a few days. Put the final product in a pretty container and wrap with a nice ribbon. Source: Real Simple.
10. Food, food, food
Nothing will delight your starving housemates like home-cooked treats. You could play it safe by getting chocolate shipped cookies, but nothing says “I love you and I wish you a very merry holiday” like homemade pizza. Mmmm. For inspiration, check out Country Living‘s guide to the best holiday foods.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Rebecca Bratburd at Rebecca.Bratburd@Colorado.edu.