Holiday Gift Ideas that Won’t Break the (College) Bank   

The holiday season is “the most wonderful time of the year” across the campus community. Among these wonderful times is delicious food, themed events, quality time with loved ones, and a much-needed break from classes. However, one aspect of the holidays can often be a source of stress for many: gift-giving. It seems that every year the task of buying gifts is more overwhelming than the last, and the expectation to top last year looms large. Here are a few fun and creative suggestions for gift-giving that won’t overwhelm your bank account.   


Flex Dollars:   

It might sound crazy, but for those of you with a large amount of Flex Dollars left at the end of the semester, you can use them to create gift baskets for your family and friends! Starbucks is an excellent option for this, with small gifts and packages of their most popular brews. Better yet, grab a mug from Starbucks and fill it with someone’s favorite candy or snack from the selection at the Market for a personal snack package. Using the money that would have been spent in a hurry at the end of the semester can transform into a stocking-stuffer with ease!  


UCO Apparel and Accessories:   

The UCO Bookstore is constantly on sale during the lead up to the holiday season, plus there is always a sale rack with great discounts on last season’s biggest hits. Give a sweatshirt or a t-shirt to a family member to have them repping the bronze and blue, or gift mom and dad with a UCO Parents decal to share their proud Broncho parent status. The Bookstore is also a great spot for stocking stuffers like face masks, phone chargers, PopSockets, or other small items. To keep up to date with the latest promotions, sign up on the UCO Bookstore website, or check your UCO email.   


Photo Album:   

Today, printed photos may seem vintage in comparison to a curated Instagram account. What may seem an exercise in duplication will be appreciated by family members who love nostalgia. Photo albums are a creative way to let your family members see your life in college and are a great way to document your adventures. Consider going around campus with friends for a photo op or snap a photo during a new weekly tradition you’ve made with roommates. Want to make it more personal to the person receiving the album? Find street signs or buildings that share names and snap a photo to show you’re thinking of them too!  


DIY Craft Project:  

Have an art class that left you with leftover supplies? Take some time to make something with your own hands to showcase your crafty talents! The library is a great resource for crafting, with the Innovation Studio conveniently located on the first floor. The Cricut lets you make fun stickers, iron-on decals, and custom shapes for cards and posters. Bring your supplies to use in the printer or use some of the supplies available in the space. A library staff member is always available to help point you in the right direction. Just make sure you have your student ID!  


Share a Personal Success:  

Look around your room at the piles of paperwork you’ve accumulated. Is there a poem you created in English Composition? What about a picture drawn in Intro to Drawing? A song composed in Music Theory I? What may seem like a successful grade for you is a unique gift for a loved one. Consider framing it and gifting it to family and friends who will consider it a priceless work of art for years to come.   


Donating in Their Name:   

Can’t puzzle out what to get your loved one? Consider donating in their name! The UCO Central Pantry is always accepting non-perishable donations, and there are some great charity organizations around town that would gladly take your donations. Create a fun card with a picture and information about where the donation went to give to the loved one. Take it one step further and organize for your family to volunteer together at a local charity and use the memories of helping others as the gift that keeps on giving.  


No matter what gift you decide to give or how much it cost, the holiday season is a time to reflect on all the positive things in your life. Everyone’s story is different, and the holiday season brings many mixed emotions along with it. Knowing that this season in your life is difficult, both emotionally and financially, make the choice to not stress about presents and, instead, be present. You are not alone this holiday season, and Housing and Residential Engagement’s gift to you every day is a continued sense of community and a built-in support system.   

Good luck with your finals and Happy Holidays, Bronchos.