Elise Stiemsma — Staff Writer
‘Tis the season! It’s time for gift giving, but not all of us are good gift-givers. This can be a stressful season for those of us who just are out of ideas. I’m here to help with a handful of simple suggestions. My all-time best gifts are the ones that are homemade, useful, and thoughtful. If a gift fits in all of these categories you’ve got a great gift. Particularly as a college student, it can be difficult to find inexpensive gifts for parents, siblings, and friends. It can also be difficult to find something that fits the more difficult gift receivers, but these are a few of my tried-and-true recommendations for gifts.
My first recommendation? A drink mix. Every year I make my dad a Mexican mocha mix, but for our non-coffee drinker friends a simple hot cocoa mix is equally as timeless. These are simple enough to find a recipe for (a quick Pinterest search brings forward excellent results), but they also can be made in bigger batches to be given to multiple people. My favorite mix (a hot coffee drink) is simple enough with just cocoa powder, sugar, cinnamon, instant coffee, allspice, and cayenne pepper.
Another tried and true gift is a themed box, which involves both creativity and can be adapted for the gift receiver. This is a gift where you choose a basket, shoe box, or other creative container and pack it full of various smaller gifts. In the past I have made a box with all pink objects (pink starburst, a pink facemask, pink slime, etc.), a box of winter themed items (hot cocoa, a scarf, fake snow, etc.), or a book reader box (handmade bookmarks, new books, blue light glasses, etc.).
If you’ve got time on your hands to learn a hobby and want to de-stress from exams, I recommend making a scarf or hat for Christmas. This is another great gift, especially if it is homemade. Living in the Midwest, one can never have too many scarves or hats on hand. Once you get the hang of crocheting, knitting, or sewing, you will have your mom smiling from ear to ear (“you made this?”).
Lastly, a gift card to one of their favorite places. Although some would argue gift cards are a sort of cop out, I think that a thoughtful gift card can be a lovely gift. Give your parents a gift card to a restaurant near home so they can have a nice night out, give your little brother a gift card to the movie theater so he can check out the newest Marvel release, or your bestie a Nordstrom rack gift card to pick up some new fits.