Photo courtesy of ClipArt
Photo courtesy of ClipArt

How to buy holiday gifts on a tight budget

It’s the end of the semester, and your bank account can barely afford a cup of coffee from Starbucks. How’s a broke college kid supposed to get thoughtful presents for family and friends? Fear not! Use this holiday gift guide to find budget-friendly presents for everyone on your list — from your uncle Bob to your best friend.

Mom and Dad

It used to be cute when you gave your parents a card made out of wrapping paper and candy canes, but you might not pass statistics this semester, so a sloppy DIY gift isn’t going to cut it. Instead, get them some Demon Deacon gear to prepare them for the next Parents’ Weekend. Anything with the Wake Forest logo on it can get a little pricey, but if you spend a little bit of money at the college section in Target (because the Deacon Store is wildly overpriced), your parents will repay you next fall with a big shopping trip at Trader Joe’s. Do it for the cookie butter.


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If your grandma is anything like mine, she’ll love you no matter what, but that doesn’t mean you get to slack off when it comes to holiday presents. Your grandma probably doesn’t need anything — or if she does, it’s probably something expensive and practical, like a new washing machine. You’re a broke college kid; so go for a thoughtful present. You could give her a poinsettia and a handwritten letter, or maybe an ornament from the university or Winston-Salem. This is your chance to show her how much you love her, even when she squeezes your cheeks during dinner.

Uncle Bob

So you drew your Uncle Bob in this year’s Secret Santa gift exchange. Uncle Bob is a great guy, but he never has a Christmas list. Year after year, he never asks for anything. He says that he can just buy himself whatever he wants. But the rules of the family gift exchange are strict and unyielding; you must buy him a present. So get him a Hawaiian T-shirt, or maybe fishing lures, if he’s into that. Just remember this: whatever you get him, he’s obligated to at least pretend he likes it, because he didn’t ask for anything specific.

Your best friend

No matter where you are in your friendship — whether you’ve been best friends since childhood or since the beginning of this year — let this holiday gift reflect on some of your best memories together. Print a fun picture of the two of you goofing around, and put it in a picture frame. You can either find a picture frame with a wide border, where you can write a “Happy Holidays” note, or you can tuck your note in the frame behind the picture.

Your roommate

Depending on your living situation, you could either hate the mere sight of your roommate or you could be completely obsessed with him or her. If you’re not friends with your roommate, don’t bother getting him or her a present. You could give him or her a Pit swipe or an Old Gold if you’re feeling generous. If, however, you are friends with your roommate, get them a gift that says, “Thanks for not complaining about my snoring, and thanks for not sexiling me too often.” Find a poster or a flag to hang on the wall — something that both of you can enjoy and that will make your room feel more homey.


Maybe you and your sibling are really tight, or maybe your sibling is the worst person you’ve ever met — and you’ve met Donald Trump! Either way, bring home the nostalgia this holiday season with a classic childhood toy like a racing car track or remote control helicopters. Find something that you can play with for a day or two, and then accidentally wreck to pieces because you’re having so much fun. After all, it is the time of year to pretend like you enjoy your family’s company and just get along.

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