More Bang for Your Buck This Holiday

Lights aluminate the city streets. The living rooms are filled with tall, decorated trees. The best gifts must be given this time of year. This season hurts our wallets and our tellers tremble with fear, we know that the holiday time is here.

During the holiday season, is when the most business is made at retail stores and the time that most people spend more than they can actually afford. I decided to research gift ideas that one can make for a reasonable price. Many of these ideas were posted on a website,, where a user can reblog posts on numerous topics. I’ve listed a few ideas that may make your holiday shopping a bit more economical.

This first idea was given to me by Hayley Downing, a Chico State Junior. Hayley, like many college students, discovers crafty ways to make her friends’ presents without breaking her bank account.

“College is already expensive enough and although I do have a job, I still find ways to stretch any dollar I may have. During the holidays, I tend to overspend on my friends and family and end up in a little debt. This year I have decided to make Pinterest inspired gifts,” Downing said.

“This is one of my favorite gifts I have come across, and I would recommend making it for any girl friends or even for moms and aunts!”

DIY Recipe Book

Cooking is always a learning experience in college to most. Mommy and Daddy aren’t around anymore to make those beloved home cooked meals. Everyone loves a good home cooked meal so this is a perfect present for anyone in the family or friends. For college students like Hayley, this gift idea is not only useful to everyone, but a creative way to discover new recipes and try foods you wouldn’t normally try.

Supplies needed:

  • Three whole punch
  • Ribbon
  • Paper
  • Markers
  • Binder
Directions can be found on Eighteen 25's website at

These next few ideas came from various blog posts on Pinterest. I chose the projects my friends and I would most likely love to take part in and quick and easy gifts as well. I attempted to incorporate many versatile gifts that can be for men or women, children, and even elderly people as well.

Picture Frame Luminaries


These are an awesome gift idea for any member of the family. I was thinking of making this for my mother because she loves pictures around the house of my two brothers and I. My older brother and I are both away d living on our own in college so these can be a constant reminder of our love and appreciation.

Supplies Needed:

  • (4) 5 x 7 frames (Dollar Tree)
  • Gorilla Glue or other strong adhesive
  • 2 sheets of 8.5 x 11 Vellum
  • Home printer
  • Family photos
  • Square mirror (Dollar Tree)
  • Tea Light Candles
Directions can be found on Cheryl's That's what Che Said blog at

Pamper Yourself Gift Jar


Girls always need to pamper themselves, and these jars will ensure just that! My best friends are all stressed out over finals and these would be perfect to give to them. I know it’s a gift any girl would enjoy and of course, all the materials needed are within a reasonable price!

Supplies Needed:

  • Ball Jars (Ace Hardware)
  • Hand Sanitizer (Dollar Tree)
  • Nail Polish(Dollar Tree)
  • Shower Gel (Dollar Tree)
  • Washcloths (Target)
  • Lip Balm (Dollar Tree)
Directions can be found on the Frugal Girls website at

Painted Mugs

diy mug cover

A great gift for the on-the-go aunt or uncle who needs their everyday coffee in the morning. This DIY gift was made to ensure that the paint will not come off in the dishwasher so it is a permanent reminder of your love for whom this gift will be for.

Supplies needed:

  • Mug
  • Oil based paints
  • Stencils
  • Oven
Directions can be found on the Glued to My Crafts blog at

I had the opportunity to attend a craft lesson at Michael’s arts and crafts store. The project that day was snow globes in a jar. They were do it yourself, and kid-friendly as well. I got the opportunity to speak with one of the employees there about how customers come in and get creative on gifts during the holidays. I spoke briefly with Chico State junior, Victoria Ramirez, during her break and she has experienced numerous customer holiday experiences.

“The holiday is our busiest time and I try to be as helpful as I can when customers ask me for the cheapest ways to make a certain gift for their friends,” Ramirez said. “People show me tons and tons of DIY gifts each day, and I think it’s great we have the resources they need here and classes for them to attend and learn more as well.”

The class is about 10 to 15 people and they have a certain area where the crafts can be done. Signing up for these classes is very easy, you can go online or through the store. We had about two hours to complete the activity which was plenty of time. I enjoyed the friendly atmosphere of the Michael’s employees and the holiday music they were playing made the store feel very welcoming and warm.

“The crafts we choose for the classes are mostly do it yourself and trendy crafts, which are also between a $5 to $15 price range,” Ramirez said.

I was fortunate enough to have my friends come with me and we all enjoyed the bonding time we had before our stressful finals. I provided a similar activity and directions below for anyone who wants to try it out as well!

Snow Globe in a Jar

inexpensive gift for christmas

Supplies needed:

  • Jars {a good shape and size for your trees)
  • Bottle Brush Trees
  • Glue dots or hot glue
  • Faux snow
Directions can be found on the WhipperBerry blog at 

 About Michael’s Craft Classes

There are multiple opportunities to learn how to create new crafts at Michael’s. They provide numerous lessons and class times that work around any schedule. Attending these classes is a great way to spend quality times with your loved ones and exploring new talents you never knew you had! It is a great pastime for the holidays.

They’re courses are as follows:

Wilton® Cake Decorating

You don’t have to be a chef or even experienced in the kitchen to decorate a cake, cookie, cupcake or brownie. The Wilton Method of Cake Decorating will teach you the techniques for making treats that will amaze your friends and family.

Grumbacher® Art Painting and Drawing Classes

Learn basic acrylic painting techniques and create your own art piece featuring landscapes, florals, seascapes, still-life paintings and portraits. No painting experience required!


Complete a unique jewelry piece with the guidance of our qualified instructors. You’ll learn the latest trends, tricks and techniques for using the right tools, beads and findings that will bring your inspiration to life.
Book Your Class Now

Paper Crafting

Join the movement to take memories off your pages and into your life. Sharpen your paper crafting skills, play with ink or test your favorite tools. No matter what you love to paper-craft, you’ll find your class in our paper crafting classes.

CYC Discover™Knit and Crochet Classes

Whether you want to learn how to knit or crochet or already know the basics, Craft Yarn Council’s Discover Knit and Crochet class series offers something for everyone. Learn new skills by completing a fun and fashionable project with the guidance of our certified instructors.

Kids’ Club ®

Let your kids explore their creativity while you shop! Just $2 per child ages 3 and up. All supplies included.

Trend Classes

Be in-style and on-trend. Create what moves you in these special DIY classes focusing on the latest trends. Enroll now!

They make it easy for you to sign up for classes, with just one click on their website:


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