Christmas Gifts on a College Budget

By Sam Keeler | December 5, 2016 5:28pm
by Sam Keeler / The Beacon

It’s that time of year when your Facebook page is flooded with pictures of secret santas and cheesy Christmas parties. But why try to fight the Christmas FOMO when you can just embrace it?

Check out a few of the best Christmas presents that you can buy on an end-of-the-semester-almost-empty-bank-account college budget!

The Target dollar section

This place saves lives. It makes it possible to put together an entire gift package with minimal effort and minimal spending. Another potential highlight of the dollar section might be the gift wrapping itself. Very cute and very worth that one dollar. As always, you can also find a festive assortment of trinkets, decorations, candles and candy.


If you have time to think ahead and order your gifts online, this is probably the smartest option. You can find anything you can think of on Amazon for way cheaper than you’d find it anywhere else. A great example of this is these facemasks. Why spend $10 for four of these (on sale) at Urban Outfitters when you can buy a pack of 11 for $10 on Amazon?

The Dollar Store

It’s like the Target dollar section but way bigger, slightly less cute and a lot closer to campus. There is a great dollar store conveniently located on Lombard. You can easily put together a fantastic little gift basket of things fit for any kind of friend. They even have a surplus of holiday decorations if you still need to decorate your dorm room.


Goodwill can really be a hit or a miss; however, with the right amount of dedication, you can find the perfect gift at Goodwill. If you are feeling crafty, buy a mug or teacup for one dollar, then go to a nursery or even New Seasons and pick up a succulent for $2.50 and—Voilà!—you have the most adorable gift of the season!

Fred Meyer, Trader Joe’s or really anywhere you can purchase cooking ingredients

Putting together a “cookie in a jar” is a great present because it’s cute and it’s food. And who doesn't love food? It’s easy. Buy a mason jar and some cookie ingredients, put the packaged ingredients inside the jar, slap a cute little recipe on it and you’re good to go! If you are feeling especially lazy, you can just go to Trader Joe's and buy a premade one.

T.J. Maxx, Marshalls, Ross, and HomeGoods

If you are looking for something that is still new and seems like it probably costs more than it did, these are the stores to visit. You can find last season Michael Kors wallets for under 20 bucks and coats that look like they belong on a display mannequin in Nordstrom for a low cost. If your friends aren’t interested in the more grandiose lifestyle, you can also find some cute pajamas or cheesy holiday cards to spice up your gift.