Budget friendly cheer:  learn art of affordable gift-giving

By Halcyon Orvendal

The air is getting colder and the lattes are getting mintier, so you know what that means: ‘Tis the season of good tidings and cheer. To many of us, that means gifts. You love your friends and family, and want to show them you care, but picking the right thing can be difficult.

With all the late night paper writing and exam-cramming finals the season has in store, allow me to try and ease this stressor. Here is The Mossy Log’s guide to holiday gift giving on your college budget.

Gifts for your LC friends

With just a week and change left in the semester, time is ticking to get gifts to your friends before going home from break. 

A new playlist is a great option for a meaningful gift that is free to make. Step it up a notch by handwriting the tracklist with notes connecting songs to memories from your friendship. 

You could also give them the gift of future plans. Make an itinerary for a fun day they can cash in next semester. Plan out some fun places around Portland to visit, complete with all the details to get the most out of the day. Get creative combining the Pio schedule and TriMet routes; it takes a while to get the hang of, but you can get almost anywhere in the city once you do. As an act of service gal myself, these kinds of gestures are extremely thoughtful and sweet, and a little creativity can go a long way toward making a gift extra meaningful.

For those gifters who are artistically inclined, a small craft can be quick and cheap, while still making for a thoughtful gift. Try searching for a YouTube tutorial for “crochet lighter holder.” Little projects like these are a great way to use up the end of a skein of yarn you have left over from a bigger project, and you can find lots of variations. Choose between a keychain, necklace or crossbody version, and get fancy with design choices like mushrooms and animals.Gifts for your friends from home

Though you might not call as much as you would like, your friends back home are still some of your very best, and they deserve a gift to match.

Put together a photo album of your favorite memories together. Deep cuts are encouraged; the further back you go, the better. You can put these together into a handmade book with some construction paper and ribbon, or use them to cover a cardboard box and fill it with some smaller goodies. The IT department’s Resource Lab is a great place to get high-quality prints, as well as use up all those print credits you have left over.

Matching friendship bracelets, whether woven or beaded, are easy to make and are a cute way to maintain your connection from afar. If you have a larger group of friends, this can be especially fun (and will make for a great photo that your moms will love).

Gifts for your situationship

Dude, I have no idea either. Maybe gum? That might send the wrong message. Boxed cake mix. Did they say something about needing new shoelaces? Cash is probably the move.

Gifts for your family

If you have siblings, the younger/older distinction is important here. Any younger siblings that still live at home would probably love to spend the day with you, so make some time for them when you get home and go to some of your favorite spots, just you guys. If they have turned 18 since you left home, you are obligated to take them to get their first tattoo. Those are the rules. I don’t make them, sorry.

Your older siblings are basically full adults, so a popsicle stick picture frame should be more than enough. 

For me, parents are the trickiest. Your parents probably have one hobby you know about, likely World War II history or gardening or something like that. A book is always great, especially if you have time to get it at Powell’s and leave the bookmark in—give them a little bit of Portland so they feel a part of your life.

If there is something around the house that has been bothering them for a while, see if you can figure out how to fix it. That kind of thing can end up being really simple, and surprising them with a fix or even just the research stage is a considerate and free way to show them you care. Replacing a lightbulb, taking their car for an oil change or helping set up holiday decorations can ease their stress and mean more than just bubble bath or dark chocolate.

Gifts for me

For the spunky Jewish girl journalist in your life, finding the right thing can be difficult. She might seem tough to please, but she really does appreciate the gesture. Here are some ideas to get you started:

CDs are always good. She probably would really enjoy some press-on nails, and if you buy her yarn she will definitely make you something with it. She also really needs a new wallet for her keychain, and she can never have enough earrings. 

Oh, did I say me? I must have mistyped that.

Wrapping your gifts

Once you have finished skimming through this week’s issue, go ahead and wrap your gifts in The Mossy Log, no offense taken. You do it, I do it, it is recyclable-chic and it is better than leaving the paper to dissolve in the rain in front of JR Howard until January. Remember: If you use more than three pieces of tape to wrap a present, you are doing it wrong.

Good luck, and happy holidays from all of us at The Mossy Log.

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