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The Campanile

Holiday gift ideas for any budget


The season of gift giving is quickly approaching, and whether you have an abundance money saved up or little to spare, here are some thoughtful gift ideas to help you out.

Under $5 

Only have pocket change? No worries. The thoughtfulness of your gift can make up for its economic value. Instead of getting your friend a $5 gift card to a coffee shop, why not treat them to a cup in-person?

Whether it’s from Mayfield, Philz, Starbucks or Peet’s, nothing beats the cold weather like a piping hot drink. Coffee shops offer a cozy and warm ambience to catch up with friends at no extra charge! The recipient is sure to appreciate not only their free drink, but also your company.

If they are not much of a coffee or tea person, try making your own gift. Handmade gifts are often more personal and meaningful. A framed photograph is a simple “do it yourself” gift that requires minimal artistic skill and money.

First go out and buy yourself a frame — cheap options can be found at Walmart or at a secondhand store. Then, print out your favorite picture of you and the recipient to place in the frame. If you want to get a little more fancy, try making a collage of several different pictures.

Under $20

Now that you have more money, you can purchase some of the nicer things in life. Similar to treating your friend to coffee, try taking them out for a meal. The premise is more or less the same, but now you have more options! Plus, if you go to a cheaper restaurant, you may have enough money to treat them to a movie.

Are they an avid reader? Magazine or newspaper subscriptions may be the gift you’re looking for. It’s a gift that keeps on giving! Whenever they see that glossy cover on their doorstep, they’ll be thinking of you.

Alternatively, you could buy them a book.

A safe gift would be some sort of water bottle — everyone needs to get those eight cups a day! While Swell bottles are all the rage, they can get quite pricey. Look-alikes are easy to find and are just as aesthetically pleasing and functional as the real thing!

Another fail-proof option is a CamelBak water bottle, since they are drip resistant and easy to sip out of.

Over $50

If you’re willing to spend this much, he or she must be someone very special to you. Gift them the things they wouldn’t dream of splurging to buy on their own.

With nearly all ports disappearing from Apple products, get them Bluetooth headphones — the nice kind. Or buy them an Amazon Kindle — it’s lightweight, travel-friendly and has a great book-like display.

If you’re still looking for a gift that can be used together, purchase those concert tickets to see the artist that they always listen to. To be quite honest, you probably have something grand already planned if you’re spending this much, and it will be much appreciated.


Well, you done goofed, but just because your pockets are empty doesn’t mean you can’t give a thoughtful present. With finals ramping up next week, try giving your friends a hug or writing them a heartfelt note. Amidst all the consumerism, let’s not forget that friendship is priceless (but also completely free).

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