Happy Hassle-Free Holidays!

Although gift giving is not my top personal love language, I love giving gifts. It’s great to receive, but it gives me more joy knowing I’m giving a gift to someone and it’s something they will actually enjoy, use, or love. They say it’s the thought that counts. If you do it right, it’s good graces for you.

However, we get stuck on the biggest question of the season:

What do I get this person?!

You want to make it thoughtful enough that it shows you value the time and memories that you have spent together, but enough that your wallet has room for others and yourself (Let’s be real, it’s treat yo self season).

Here’s a few ideas to get your ball rolling when you’re out shopping today for Black Friday and snagging the holiday deals. They’re thoughtful, creative, and within reason for your budget. Good luck!
1. No-Sew Blankets – I love these so much. I made a couple for my friends and family on their birthdays and I’m definitely going to make them for Christmas. These blankets would always come in handy during times when temperatures were freezing. They especially came in handy when I gifted them to people who would do culture nights: when you’re out in the cold for hours trying to do rehearsal, the blanket comes in clutch. You would just go to any local fabric store (preferably Joann’s if you have one in your area) and pick out two fleece fabrics. Make sure you get at least five to six feet of each one depending on the person you’re giving it to and a pair of really good scissors. If you can’t decide on a fabric, there’s always pre-cut bundles that have paired patterns already and come in varying sizes. All you have to do are cut the edges in even strips, and tie them together.

2. Scrapbooks – I recently got a scrapbook as a graduation gift from my friends and let me tell ya, I love it. I look back at it all the time to remind me of the good times during college, something to smile back on. In addition to the photos and messages inserted already, I added letters, notes, messages, and ticket stubs that are related to photos. Michaels is the best place to get started. You can get the fancy large scrapbook that you can just start adding photos, or make one of your own with some ribbon, stickers, and good quality paper. This is definitely something that they will keep and cherish for a very long time.

3. Food Pack – If your loved ones are going through the struggle of food or even in college and need snacks for the new semester, this is for you. For me personally, I love receiving snacks in gift bundles. They help me get through my exams and are foods that I can just take on the go when I can’t get in line at Panda Express for another $6 or $7 meal. In college if you’re involved in Greek life or part of an organization that has a big/little or mentor/mentee program, think about all the times that you have created a box for your new mentee or little that was just filled with their favorite snacks. Or better yet, think of the time that you were so stressed over something like an exam or an event, and your friend brought you a bag of your favorite foods. These go a long way, and they say the way to your heart, is through your stomach. Thanks to you, they’ll never go hungry!

4. For The Long Run: Netflix, Spotify, or Hulu – These may seem like super unconventional gifts, but hey, this is actually pretty smart. A few years back, I was so jealous of other people with Netflix accounts. When you’re in college or just have a busy lifestyle, you can’t always tune in to cable to catch the next episode of Gossip Girl at 5:30 PM, eastern time. I would always ask others if I could borrow their account to watch something that I had to watch later after it aired on television. Because of this, my partner at the time bought me a Netflix subscription for Christmas. I still use it to this day. At some point, I shared with him my Spotify account and put him on my family plan. We aren’t together anymore, but we’re still good friends and still use each other’s accounts to this day and it is, hands down, the best monthly investment for both of us.

5. Self-Care Package – I can say that everyone needs a little self-care this holiday season, especially when we all have such busy lives and taking care of our mental health is a big thing. This is a little similar to the food pack, but instead it has the necessities in there, and is especially good for the traveling soul. These packages have small, relatively cheap items, but it will usually be themed or with a purpose. For example, let’s say you have a friend who’s an expecting mother. You would include stuff in the package not just for the baby, but for the mom. You would put scented candles, bath bombs, ear plugs, a sleeping mask, hot tea packs, and more de-stressing items when the mom needs some time away to re-charge. Or let’s say you have a friend who loves to travel. They’re always running out of essentials to take on the plane and on their trip. So in this package you’ll include everything in the travel size section at Target: foldable toothbrush, floss, mini shampoo, hair ties, mini deodorant, and maybe even a nice travel bag to put it all together.

If you can’t think of places to go for your shopping in general, here are some places that you might want to start if you’re thinking of any of these gifts or just not wanting to hit the malls during this season.

  1. Target: There is nothing you cannot find there. If it’s not there, it’s probably on the online store.
  2. Michaels: Time to get crafty up in this. You can make scrapbooks of your best memories of 2018 together or that you shared with them.  jewelry, tie dye shirts, knit them something, or just buy a really nice frame and print a really nice picture. Michaels will sometimes have the section right in the front for seasonal gift items. One time I walked in and I came out with a jar for drink making. You can fill that with alcohol or mixed drink stuff you get at the supermarket. Sometimes they’ll have sections for in-expensive stuff like mugs, bath bombs, home decor, and more.
  3. The Dollar Store: They say it’s quality over quantity, and sometimes the cheapest stuff is always the best for your wallet and the best for the best. They’ll have little containers, frames, snacks, quality home-items, and more. My favorite cheap store isn’t necessarily a Dollar Store, but if you have never ever heard of Daiso, now you know! They have a lot of Asian snacks and drinks, cute stationary, simple home items, and more.
  4. The Supermarket: Here is the best place to compile baked goods. I love when people would give me jars with cookie making mix as a gift. Getting the ingredients already knocks out five people you know who love baking. You can even compile a box of their favorite sweets to satisfy their sweet tooth or their favorite snacks if they’re in college.
  5. Joann’s: The last place that holds my heart. If you’re feeling EXTRA crafty and want to make something for your loved ones that lasts a long time, Joann’s is the place to go. I have made blankets and pillows of all shapes and sizes for myself and for loved ones, and they still use them to this day.

Happy Holiday shopping everyone! Be safe out there. Don’t yell at any workers (especially those in retail) and don’t trample on anyone just trying to get something for their loved one just like you.


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