How to be a budget-savvy santa

These gifts are among the many that can be made from inexpensive materials right at home.
Priscilla Valdez '15

These gifts are among the many that can be made from inexpensive materials right at home. Priscilla Valdez ’15

With the holiday season in full swing, some Christmas shoppers find themselves short on cash but still yearning to give great presents to friends and family. Between gifts for Secret Santa exchanges and family holiday parties, these do-it-yourself ideas are sure to inspire holiday creativity and also save money. 
“I love giving to all of my friends around Christmas but always end up spending so much money,” Convent of the Sacred Heart junior Katrina Rodriguez said. “Last Christmas I used some really easy do-it-yourself ideas for my family and they loved it because I had put so much more time and thought into it.”
One of these festive crafts is the ‘Sharpie mug,’ which is suitable for nearly any age group, and adds a personal touch to the gift.  This tutorial on ‘Sharpie mugs,’ courtesy of livingwellspendingless.com, is one of many available online. Cut out the initial of the gift-receiver’s name in paper and press it onto the mug while adding colorful dots around the outline. Simply bake the mug in an oven set to 360 degrees for half an hour, and the gift is ready to be wrapped. 
With only a few oil-based Sharpie markers, each valued at around $4 each, and a plain ceramic mug priced from $3 to $8, anyone can make this unique and personalized present.

These gifts are among the many that can be made from inexpensive materials right at home. Priscilla Valdez '15
These gifts are among the many that can be made from inexpensive materials right at home.
Priscilla Valdez ’15

Another homemade accessory that is luxurious without excessive cost is a handmade sugar scrub. These scrubs can be crafted in lemon or vanilla scents and require only natural ingredients and small glass jars, all totaling to around $8.
According to wellnessmama.comfor the lemon scrub, mix together 2.5 cups of white sugar, one cup of olive oil, and four tablespoons of lemon juice. For the vanilla brown sugar scrub, combine one cup of white sugar and one of brown sugar, 3/4 cup of olive oil, and two teaspoons of vanilla.
Once the lavish concoction has attained a grainy texture, it is ready to be portioned into separate jars and given to friends in dire need of at-home pampering. The jars can be wrapped in green and red ribbons for a more festive feel.
Lastly, top off these gifts with a bag of sweet treats. Use a simple but scrumptious snack, like these chocolate covered pretzels, and wrap bundles in small burlap sacks. Tie up the snack bags with holiday-themed ribbons, and finish holiday shopping in one swoop.
While many students tend to get caught up in Black Friday mega-deals and blowout holiday sales, homemade gifts will be a nice surprise for friends, and will be worth more than the fancy merchandise picked up at the mall. 
– Priscilla Valdez, Co-Arts & Entertainment Editor