Illustration by Shani Berenholz

Great and affordable presents for parents

By Mackenzie Bath

As a college student, my personal budget is pretty much nonexistent. As the holidays approach, we’re faced with the daunting task of finding gifts for our loved ones. That raises the question: What on earth do I get my parents?

My parents have given me so much over the years and it feels wrong to only get them one small thing. Unfortunately, most of my money is what they’ve given me for my food. Instead of breaking the bank for gifts, I looked for alternatives. I’ve found some things that I think are some great presents to give those who raised us.

In my opinion, the best present we can give is ourselves. Showing your parents how much you love and appreciate them is more valuable than any gift you can give.

I think it’s time to go back to some of the classic kid gifts that I gave when I was little and had no concept of money. Since I’m not home very much, my parents value the time we spend together. That’s why “coupons” for things are a great and creative idea.

All I have to do is print out or write out little coupons that are good for things like doing their laundry, giving them a foot rub, playing a board game with them, making them dinner, doing the grocery shopping for them, cleaning the kitchen or cleaning up after the holidays. I know my parents love stuff like that and it costs me literally nothing.

It may seem silly and a bit juvenile, but it’s important to show my parents that I care and that I understand the importance of doing nice things for other people, especially in the spirit of the holidays. Another little trick I’ve picked up is making gifts out of things we already own. I know how that sounds, but just hear me out. Parents, at least mine, eat up nostalgic presents.

I went through our garage and found old books, games, toys and pictures that have sentimental meaning. You can make collages of old pictures, put together a binder of childhood artwork you once made, or construct a box of trinkets, crafts and other memories. I like to write a heartfelt letter to go with it and I have an easy, no cost present that will warm my parents’ hearts. It’s a reminder of how much I love them and all the wonderful times we’ve shared. It’s also nice to include in those letters your hopes for future meaningful things you’ll do together.

Speaking of pictures, there are many websites that create personalized presents with custom pictures. My favorite is Shutterfly, which is where I’ve been getting gifts for my mom for many years. They can do mugs, mouse pads, ornaments, notepads and basically anything else you can think of. The best part is that they always have some sort of sale or coupon you can find easily. Really, the best present I can give my parents is to remind them how much I appreciate them, something that I simply can’t do when I’m far away from home at LC.

While I’m away at school, my time is divided into four main categories: sleep, work, stress and Netflix. At home, I do things a little differently. Waking up early and having breakfast with my family shows them that I care. Instead of spending time alone, I see what my family is doing, and make sure to join them in activities. It seems like such a small thing, to just be with my family during the break, but it goes a very long way.

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