Dear Truly Holiday Edition: Wait the holidays aren’t over yet: Celebrate the 12 Days of Christmas.

The wintertime holidays are upon us, so many of you may be doing some shopping soon (or did some on Black Friday already). As college students, gift shopping can be hard with a limited budget. One way to save money is make your own gifts. I bet now you are thinking “but Truly, I can’t knit or crochet and I am not crafty.” Well, yours truly went on the hub of all things DIY and Pinterest, and tested several gift ideas for you that are low on funds and difficulty, but high on fun.

The first gift idea is customized mugs. If you were to go in a store today and get a nice mug as a gift you would probably spend $5-$10. I made my mugs with $1 mugs from Dollar Tree and used sharpies I already had to write and draw on them. This can be a great gift for someone on your list who has a name that’s not usually available on named items in gift shops and such. I made one for a friend and put her favorite quote on it. You could also put a special greeting or memory. If you are not confident in your artistic skills you can also use a stencil like I did for a flower, just be sure that the stencil lays flat along the mug (I recommend taping it down). Once you are done with your design, put the mugs in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes and then you can finish off the gift with some tea or cocoa packets (Vancouver-based McStevens has a showroom where you can get free tastes and unique flavors of cocoa).

My next gift idea is coasters. I used a tile from the Habitat ReStore and made a collage of pictures from a magazine. You could also make a collage of pictures of you and your friend from over the years. Once I glued on my collage, I put a laminating sheet on top to make it smooth and prevent the pictures from getting ruined by condensation.

Another easy homemade gift is a cinnamon candle. Candles are a very popular gift but I think this one is a bit more unique. I bought cinnamon sticks in bulk at Winco and cut them to be the length of my candle. I then glued them onto the candle with Elmer’s glue.

You could also use a hot glue gun if you have one. This a good way to use candles that may have some nicks in the side but are still good candles, as you will be covering those imperfections up. You can finish the look by tying some ribbon or yarn around the middle of the candle.

If you like to bake, I suggest making peppermint sandwich cookies. If you have an Oreo cookie fan on your gift list, this will be perfect. Adapting a recipe from Taste of Home, I mixed one box of devil’s food cake mix, 2 eggs and 1/3 cup of oil, then formed it into balls and flattened with the bottom of a glass. They bake in a 350 degree oven for about 8 minutes. Then I took some canned frosting and mixed in about a tablespoon of peppermint extract. Assemble the cookies, put on a festive plate and you are good to go.

My final idea is for the parents and grandparents in your life. Are there some great pictures on Facebook of things you did over the past year that they haven’t seen because they don’t have Facebook or are not Facebook friends with you? Why not make them a simple scrapbook with some of those pictures. You can find picture paper at Dollar Tree, put the pages in page protectors and tie with ribbon. Now they will have pictures to brag about you that you like, so it is a win-win.

Happy Holidays!

Yours, Truly

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