Holiday Gift Guide
Now I am against ruining any type of book, but making a “secret hollow book” is too interesting to pass up. First, find an old book at a place like Value Village. Make sure it’s still in one piece and a hardcover. Glue all the pages together (yes, every single page) with white glue, or any glue that isn’t a glue stick you used in elementary school. Once it’s dry, use an X-Acto knife to hollow out the center of the book, hence the title “Secret Hollow Book”. The secret part comes when you give it to the recipient. They can store whatever their little heart desires inside under the pretense they just have a regular book sitting on their desk. This shouldn’t cost you more than the book, which could by anywhere from $10-$20, depending on what kind of book you find.
Another creative idea would be to give a personalized mirror this Christmas. You start out with a mirror, obviously, which you can pick up relatively cheap at the Dollar Store or, again, Value Village. If you luck out there, try searching the web for places. Once you have the mirrors (they usually come in packs of four), find a font you like and print the word or phrase you want on the mirror. Make sure you print it large enough to make on contact paper – that’s the stuff you used to make place mats in Kindergarten, and it can be found at Michaels, but you’d have to be willing to spend around $20 for that alone. If that is too much work or not in your ideal price range, search for a marker that will stay on a mirror and write the message yourself in your best handwriting. As long as it’s personal, the receiver will love it.
Something you can never have too much of is stationary sets. Everyone needs a quick card they can pull out when an unexpected event pops up, so why not make your friends or family their own stationary sets? You start out by getting some old magazines that you wouldn’t mind cutting up. Once you get those, find a pattern for how to make an envelope online and construct as many as you need. After that, go out and find the most appealing stationary paper for the lowest price – the Dollar Store is a good place to start. If it needs a little more, find an address book at the same place and add a pen to finish it off. This will likely cost you $20, but takes a little more work when it comes to constructing envelopes by hand.
Now if you’re going for something that’s cheap and requires hardly any effort, at least when it comes to making them, try offering your experience/services to someone. Think of the skills you have and the people in your life. Could Granny use your experience with the World Wide Web? Does your little brother or sister need a trip to the mall for shopping and/or an afternoon movie? Sometimes the simplest things are the ones that mean the most. Do some brainstorming. I’m sure you have something to offer.
There’s nothing better for Christmas than the gift of music, right? That’s why I’m going to teach you how to make a guitar on the cheap! In order to do this, you’re going to need: a box, four or five paint stirrers, some super glue, some eye screws, an empty pen casing, and a set of guitar strings.
Start by cutting the ends off of all but one of the paint sticks. Then, glue them sumbitches together. The flat bit that you didn’t cut off will be the guitar head, which you will screw the eye hooks into. Next, super glue the shit out of the base of the neck, and stick it to the box.
Cut the pen casing vertically in half. These will act as both your bridge and nut. Super glue the nut to the base of the neck, and the bridge down towards the bottom of the box.
Poke holes in the box underneath the bridge. String the guitar strings into the box, making sure that the tiny weights at the bottom of the strings fit the holes under the bridge. Wind the ends of the guitar strings around the eye hooks at the top. Voila! You have a guitar that costs about $20.
When you’re inevitably excommunicated from your family for attempting to pass this off a as gift, save up your money, and buy a Squire.
Everyone loves getting booze for Christmas. Why spend the holidays sober with your family when you could be drunk? Now, booze can be expensive, but recently I heard an ad on the radio that said 20 cans of Pilsner were only $30. Now, I’m quite aware that this gift exceeds the budget by $10, so the only logical thing to do is drink $10 worth of beer yourself and give the rest as a gift. That way, you’re drunk and the recipient of the gift is still happy because alcohol is the way into everyone’s heart, or pants. Everyone wins.
It’s the holiday season. People are out and about spending cash, buying their friends and family members gifts of all shapes and sizes. From $100 toys, to $500 electronics. It is the season of consumerism. Forget about spending hundreds on gifts this year. At the end of the day, the greatest gift of all is good company, and no amount of money can buy that. This holiday season, get together with the people you care about – those that truly make you happy – and just enjoy being in each others’ company. No, it’s not called being cheap, it’s called creating priceless moments. Have a potluck, cook supper together, enjoy a cup of hot cocoa. Whatever you do, just do it together.
Come Christmas, I always remember how being a little kid meant macaroni glued to construction paper with some glitter was the best gift I could give. I remember this, because I’m twenty, and it’s still my go to. Well, not macaroni and glitter, but cheap ass crafty things. Have you been on Pinterest? DIY shit is cool right now, and I am crafty as fuck. And you can be, too, for essentially the cost of macaroni and glitter! My favourite cheap ass go-to gift is an iphone sleeve. Here’s some easy instructions for you non-crafty folk: Step One: Buy a piece of felt. Step Two: Find some thread and needle in your kitchen or something. No thread and needle? Get yourself together. Step Three: Sew the felt into a pocket. The more amateur your stitches, the more “cute” and “original”. Step Four: Give your stupid piece of felt to a friend with a note that reads, ‘I made this just for you’ and have them think you’re both creative and thoughtful, with minimal effort and cost expenditure. Two birds. Total cost: Three bucks, tops. Total time: Dependent on your level of incompetence.
Most of us have a handyperson in our family. Whether they're a tinkerer or a full on mechanist, it's the little hand tools that always get lost or break first. These things are cheap, and nothing says "I love you" like a new set of Robertson screwdrivers. Don't over think it; buy a nice claw hammer or a crowbar instead of a ratchet set. They already have a ratchet set, but your uncle came over one day and borrowed the crowbar and it never came back. Hand tools never go out of style. Shovels, hammers, a nice variety of sandpapers are the gift that keep on giving.
Everyone loves music. The best part is that there’s fantastic music happening right here. Julia McDougall just put out a fantastic new EP, and Andy Shauf also just released a new full length which is great as well. You get to support local artists, and you get to give someone music that they’re bound to like. It’s pretty much impossible to outright hate either of these recordings, and you can pick up both for $20 off of their bandcamp pages.
Christmas is becoming far too commercialized in my eyes. That being said, homemade gifts are generally best. But, let’s be perfectly honest. As students, the last thing we have time for around Christmas is making some sort of craft for friends and family. For those of us who don’t have the time, or are just not at all crafty (like me), hit up the dollar store. They have changed so much over the past few years, and really do have a lot of decent merchandise. The best part? You can put together the entire gift in that one store, and likely for under $20. For the cook in the family, how about a basket of kitchen utensils and accessories? They even have kids DVD’s, candy, tools, candles, pretty much everything you can think of. And, they also have the baskets, gift bags, cards, ribbon, and anything else you might need to make your ultra-cheap purchase look like a million bucks. Just don’t forget to take the price tags off. Happy shopping!
Photo courtesy ketuvketubah.com