College students can give Christmas gifts without spending money.
College students are notoriously broke. Most don’t have jobs and those that do need the money to help pay for tuition and living expenses. This perpetual state of poverty doesn’t have to mean that you can’t give generously at Christmas. There is a vast selection of gifts that cost nothing (or close to nothing).
1. Brag: Normally, you are discouraged from bragging but its ok with parents. Wrap up your grades or an “A” paper. They miss being part of your day-to-day education and will be thrilled to be included. Reading a paper, whether they understand the subject or not, will make them proud. You can’t buy that.
2. Crop: If you like to scrapbook, make a page for a friend or loved one. Use materials you already have to save money. You can make a page showing your life at school for a younger sibling who misses you.
3. Write: Grandparents are always hard to buy for, whether you have money or not. Why not buy a nice card and then include a handwritten letter. Not a note, but a real letter. Grandparents everywhere love letters, especially from favorite grandchildren away at college. It doesn’t cost you anything to spend 20 minutes jotting down details of your week, a few childhood memories and a quick “I miss you.”
4. Bake: If you enjoy baking, head home and get in the kitchen. Fresh baked goods are always appreciated and do not cost much. The best part is that mom has most of the ingredients on hand already.
5. Watch: Children, that is. If you have older siblings with children, volunteer to babysit. It may seem hokey to you, but they will love the opportunity to get out of the house knowing they have a babysitter they can trust.
6. Record: Your friends are just as broke as you and do not expect a gift. You can, however, burn a CD of your favorite songs for them.
7. Read: When all else fails, hunt down cheap magazine subscriptions. Look for inserts in the magazines offering special pricing, search the internet for coupons and check eBay for deals. You can find magazine subscriptions for less than $10, sometimes as little as $7 for the year. Keep your eyes open. Everyone loves getting a brand new magazine to read each month and they’ll remember who gave it to them.
The key to remember is that no one expects you to buy them an expensive gift. They are just happy to see you and spend time with you. Don’t stress the gift; you don’t need to spend money at Christmas to make your family and friends happy.