Secret Santa and white elephant holiday gift guide

With the holidays upon us, generosity is in the air and holiday shopping is on the rise. With organizational and family holiday parties ahead, secret Santa and white elephant gift exchanges are probably on the horizon. You may be wondering how exactly to gift like Santa, but on a budget. The good news is that gifts for these exchanges can be easily found – and on a college student’s budget. Here is a roundup of some of the best gifts on a budget, brought to you by Pinterest.

Gifts under $10

Festive and fuzzy socks: Fuzzy, Christmas-themed socks are on display at Walmart beginning in October, so finding them should not be too difficult. These socks make a great gift for men and women alike, and you can get creative with the style you choose. If you want to add a little something more, you could add nail polish as well. Pinterest users suggest tying a string around the socks with a note that says “for your mistletoes” to personalize the gift and make the holiday connection.

Movie night essentials: For this DIY, you’ll need Sprite, a bag of popcorn and a Redbox code. Yes, you can purchase a Redbox code to give to your secret Santa on that will allow them to punch in the code at any Redbox and rent a movie for free. To tie this gift together, Pinterest users suggest writing a note that says, “May your Christmas be merry and ‘sprite’ and your New Year be ‘popping.’”

Confidence booster: For this gift you’ll only need a few things: a lip balm of some kind, the candy of your choice, a small gift bag, a ribbon and a tag. This may be one of the easiest gifts of all. Pour some candy into the bag and put the lip balm inside. Then, simply write, “You’re the balm,” on your gift tag, attach it with the ribbon and your gift is complete.

Life decision guide: If you are into funny gag gifts, this might be the gift idea for you. For this gift, you’ll need a box, a rock, a piece of paper, scissors and a label. Decorate the outside of the box with the words “tools for making major life decisions” or “______’s decision-making guide” and place the items inside. Your literal rock, paper, scissors game is complete and ready to be gifted.

Gifts under $20

Cup of joy: If you have a little more to spend and are looking for a more personal gift, DIY-ing a “cup of joy” could be a great option. The cup portion can be any type of cup: a festive mug, a tumbler with a quote, a mason jar, the list goes on and on. The cup can be filled with any type of personal gift, but some of the suggestions on Pinterest are $5 coffee gift cards, lipstick or lip balm, hand sanitizer, scented lotion, candy, gum or mints and hot chocolate mix. This gift can be very creative or very last minute and will still be a hit.

De-stress kit: For this de-stress kit, you’ll need a calming lotion or body butter, a bath bomb or salt scrub, a candle and bubble wrap. Try to choose calming scents like lavender or eucalyptus for the body butter and a warm and cozy scent for the candle. For the bath bomb or salt scrub, try to find a scent that pairs well with the other items or fits with the holiday season. The bubble wrap is used in this gift as a bit of a joke, but your gift receiver may end up loving it because let’s be honest, who doesn’t love bubble wrap?

Caffeine basket: Coffee is something that most people can agree is necessary to get through the week. Some may even argue that they’d like a coffee IV to keep them going. This coffee gift basket is perfect for any caffeine lover on your list. To make this gift, you’ll need a basket, candy canes, coffee and a mug or cup. Depending on how your gift receiver makes their coffee, the coffee can be either a bag of grounds or a box of Keurig K-Cups. Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts and Publix, to name a few, have holiday blends that would fit perfectly in this basket. You can also find festive mugs at Starbucks, T.J. Maxx or Marshalls.

Santa jar: If all else fails, DIY-ing a Santa jar is always an option. For this DIY, all you’ll need is a mason jar, a black ribbon, a can tab, an empty toilet paper roll, red and green candy and cash. To make the gift jar look like Santa, take the tab and thread it through the ribbon, then glue the ribbon around the mason jar. Next, place the empty toilet paper roll in the mason jar as a barrier and place the cash inside. The last step is to fill the mason jar with red and green candy like M&M’s, Hershey kisses, or peppermints. This jar is great for any last-minute gift because it will still look very put together.

Though secret Santa and white elephant exchanges were meant to make lives easier, sometimes the tradition can be stressful. Take heart in the fact that your gift does not have to be extravagant and expensive. A simple, thoughtful gift never goes out of style, and you do not need to spend a lot of money to make a large impact this holiday season.

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