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Thoughtful holiday gifts for less

Catherine Weiss | Staff Writer

As a much needed, if not heaven-sent, Christmas break is approaching and college students find themselves in a bind as to what, if any, gifts are inexpensive but still thoughtful enough to hand out to friends and professors alike.

After purchasing two new tires at $246.48 (a massive sum for a professional student), I found myself looking for some cheap ways to spread the cheer this holiday season. I’m lucky enough to be your gift-giving godmother as I present to you four magnificent and inexpensive gifts to give this Christmas.

Hand made monstrosities: My Bobba (great-grandmother, to all you guys) taught me how to crochet when I was a wee lass and in a pinch I’ve found that a crocheted or knitted scarf or hat is a great way to show a friend that you care.

Quick and easy cheat sheets online allow you to care in half the time. If you don’t know how to crochet or knit, it’s no big deal; there are books and websites that will get you stitching in no time and with yarn at a cheap $3 and needles at $2, you’ll have a handmade scarf or hat for under five bucks.

Another great idea which always puts my professors in a tickle is the handmade ornament. Snag up some empty ornaments at Hobby Lobby (six for $4), add some potpourri and delicately write with a fine point Sharpie and you have a personalized ornament to give to teachers.

If you’re really cheap, you can pick and dry pine needles and holly berries that probably grow around your dorm or apartment. Top that sucker off with some crafty ribbon and you’ve made the classiest cheap gift you can give to someone who might bump you up to a B.

Crafty cookies: No one can doubt holidays are a time for food, friends, food, family and food. Did I mention food? This Christmas season, try your hand at baked goods as gifts. No one can deny a well crafted cookie or cupcake, and, as long as you stay away from large bricks of fruit cake, you’re sure to please.

If you’re a real Betty Crocker, you can make the cookies and frostings from scratch, but in a pinch, break-away sugar cookies and tube frosting work just fine.

Be sure to get frosting that dries hard, so you aren’t stuck with a gooey mess, and tie each cookie up with ribbon in a little bag. A tag or card with a hand written sentiment is the icing on the cake (er…cookie).

Soapy Sensations: While watching Martha Stewart one evening, I was suddenly possessed with the soap making devil and wandered into Hobby Lobby determined to make my own soaps.

A $14.99 kit starts you off in the right direction with two kinds of glycerin, an idea booklet, dyes, molds and a scent bottle. Snag some small bags and get to cooking in your microwave and you’ll become a soap making diva in no time.

Each kit makes around 12 bars of standard soap and 20 bars of decorative soap. Using your imagination (and the Internet), the possibilities are endless.

Date night: For your closest group of friends who know of your financial woes, and probably feel the cash strain too, you can plan a fun day in or date night out. Kindergarten Day is a day where you can lounge around in footie pajamas, eat candy, color in coloring books and watch “The Beauty and the Beast” without anyone shooting a judging eye in your direction.

With a group of close friends, you can relive your elementary days with a cup of tomato soup and goldfish crackers while simultaneously letting your inner child run wild with bliss.

It doesn’t stop at Kindergarten Day, either; you can have “Glee” Day, “Sex and the City” Day and a Nail Polish Party. Titles don’t matter as long as you’re enjoying the company of your friends. If you’re busy until dusk, a night out might just be what you need.

For a relaxing environment and some good food, try Hookah 21 on University Avenue. Their orange dream will put you on cloud nine while you relax with friends surrounded by squishy ornamental pillows.

There’s soothing music and belly dancing on the weekends. Their french fries and baklava are the best in town, and with specials running almost every night, you’re sure to snag a sweet deal. TAS

About Aaliyah Mitchell

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