Home Events + Community Your guide to a budget-friendly gifting season!

Your guide to a budget-friendly gifting season!

As gifting season rolls in, the time to be creative follows in close pursuit. With unemployment remaining above pre-pandemic levels, this holiday season may require some thrifty, thoughtful efforts. Not to worry! Below are gift ideas for a spending-conscious holiday season.

Words from the heart

Take it from me, a semi-professional writer: words mean a lot. Spending time to write a simple card, note or poem can lift someone’s spirits. A personal favorite of mine is to gift people acrostics. These lovely, silly poems are easy, but meaningful messages for those you cherish most.

Words carry great significance,  so another great way to open up is with a letter. Plainly telling someone how much you appreciate them and the value they add to your life is a fantastic and beautiful gift. Words when written upon paper can last as long as time itself. Letters, notes and poems are there for you against all odds; the words written never lose their meaning. 

During an isolating time, sending letters creates a connection between two souls in a special way. Words have a rare beauty and can add comfort in eras such as this. 

Not only can words be uplifting, but they are also powerful. With the holiday season making everyone extra lovey-dovey, now is the time to confess your feelings to that special someone. A poem, letter or note is a vintage way to do so. 

If pouring out your heart backfires for some reason, you did not receive this advice from me. 

Green thumbs galore

A popular, fruitful gift past is seed packets. The best part about buying someone seeds is your wallet goes unscathed. Both Dollar Tree and Walmart sell seeds and pots for reasonable prices, usually for under $5. 

With most of us still stuck inside, gifting plants is wonderful. COVID-19 has taken a lot of action out of day-to-day life, but a plant needs much care and attention. Caring for plants can bring purpose, so you are basically changing someone’s life by giving them seeds.  According to a scientific study in the Journal of Food, Agriculture and Environment, plants have great benefits for mental health. Watching a seed grow from a sapling to a sprout instills joy within one’s soul.  

Cake, cinnamon rolls and cookies, oh my!

For as long as I can remember, my mother has instilled a love of baking in me. Every year, my family gets together and bakes about 50 cookies and 30 batches of cinnamon rolls. Watching family and friends’ faces brighten when they receive their batch is the highlight of my year.

Baking can be a great way to spread holiday cheer this December. There are many opportunities to get creative with the process as well. For example, frosting in unique ways or getting the best use out of sprinkles. Spelling out silly messages or coloring white frosting with green, red, gold or blue sprinkles adds a layer of holiday cheer to the desserts. 

Target offers a selection of cake, brownie and cookie mixes for under two dollars. The flavors range from yellow to funfetti to red velvet. Giving someone you adore a plate of freshly baked, ooey gooey brownies is an instant satisfaction that no one can pass up. Take, for example, a mid day holiday picnic where you can enjoy said baked goods.   

Miscellaneous (mostly from Trader Joe’s)

The time has come for my love letter to Trader Joe’s. As a young twenty-something who has to feed herself, Trader Joe’s is often my sacred temple. Think of it as my church and choice of religion. I know the store inside and out and all the best products to gift from them. 

To my fellow 21-year-olds: looking to limit spending, but wanting to gift wine because you’re excited that you can finally purchase it? Trader Joe’s selection of Charles Shaw wine has you covered. With each bottle at $1.99 a pop, you have a variety of reds and whites to choose from. My personal favorite is the Shiraz. Basically, a wine bottle is the perfect stocking stuffer. If you’re looking for a bit of an upgrade, you can find solid wine options for under $10. Hats off to their Wahluke Slope Cabernet Sauvignon ($9.99).

If you are obsessed with their Everything but the Bagel Seasoning like most of us, then you’ll be overjoyed to hear that TJ’s is selling an assortment of spices in a cute box for a very affordable price. 

Looking to please your Italian side of the family that’s overly judgemental, well TJ’s sells very adorably and affordable Christmas panettone, they even have a gluten free option! 

The store sells packs of lip balms, moisturizes and candles for all under $10.00. 

When you are eventually running late to your socially-distanced holiday gathering, just pick up a bunch of baby’s breath ($2.99) and Charles Shaw Cabernet ($1.99) and you’ll be perfect. 

This holiday season, don’t spend all your hard earned money on gifts. Save what you can for rent and other essentials by gifting simply. Regardless of which holiday you celebrate in the upcoming month, the most important tidbit to remember is that it is the thought that counts most. Give and gift to bring light to others’ lives. Happy Holidays from Culturas!

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Sophia Ungaro
Sophia Rose Ungaro is Culturas resident writing intern. Ungaro hails from San Pedro, California. Growing up with a Navajo/Meztizo mother and a Sicilian father has given Ungaro a unique perspective on the world. In 2021 Ungaro will graduate from the University of Southern California with a B.A. in Journalism. Her beats are race, pop culture, and entertainment.
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