D.I.Y. Gift Ideas Light Up Holiday Spirit

D.I.Y. snowglobes show heart on a budget.

D.I.Y. snowglobes show heart on a budget.


The time for gift-giving is almost upon us. Whether you are giving to multiple people or a single person, old or young, you want that gift to be special. There’s only one problem: You’re low on cash. What can you do to avoid being that person who gives bad gifts?

Ms. Joanna Alonso, an English teacher, suggested giving funny or corny gifts that you know the recipient will enjoy. And don’t overlook food as an option, she said. 

One example Ms. Alonso provided was a tub of her fiancé’s favorite popcorn that she gave him for Valentine’s Day. It had “Just poppin’ by to say there’s no one butter than you” written on it. Her fiancé laughed and smiled when he saw that, she said.

Jessica Meza ’20 said, “I made a cheesecake for my mother two years ago. She was surprised. She didn’t think I would do something that nice for her.”

Meza had to make the cheescake twice. She explained, “With the first cheesecake I made, I forgot to put gelatin in it. So when I took it out, it looked disturbing. It was chunky and had a grayish color.”  

With the second cheesecake she made, she remembered the gelatin. It still came out a little burnt, but it made her mother happy.

“She came in all stressed out,” Meza said, “but when I showed her the cheesecake, all the stress in her face just left.”

Jeanine Jourdain ’21 tries not to spend a lot of money on gifts, but does want to make sure she gives things people will actually use. “The value and use it may provide to a person is more important than how much it costs,” she said.

“The best gift that I’ve ever given is a record player that I gave to my sister,” Jourdain said. “I knew she liked to listen to music on vinyl, but she’d never had a platform to do it on. I gave her something that meant a lot to her and that I was sure she was going to use.”

Going the homemade route is a good option. 

“I made a calendar for my mother,” said Yesenia Williams ‘21. “It took me about a week.”

First, Williams opened a word document and made multiple charts. On each chart she put a picture and the dates of the month like a real calendar.  Then she chose a color theme. She styled out the calendar in pink, and for each month she put a reason why she loved her mother. 

Anna Kozina ’20 once received a homemade snow globe. “The first gift I have ever received other than from my family was a snow globe from my best friend, and I felt that my friend really put thought into it,” said Kozina. “Inside the snowglobe, there was a snowman and some fake snow.” 

To make a snow globe, you will need a mason jar, some decorations like fake snow or a figurine, waterproof glue, water, and glycerin. First, attach the figurine to the bottom of the mason jar lid. Make sure the figurine is standing upright. Fill the mason jar with water almost completely and add glycerin drops. Next, add in some fake snow to make it alive. (This step is optional.) Finally, using the waterproof glue, take the mason jar lid and glue it to make it secure. In just four steps, an affordable gift is made using a small number of simple materials. 

Gifts can also be used to commemorate memories. “I made a disc compact of memories,” said Tracy Ha ’21. A couple years ago, during middle school, Ha’s friend was moving a way. She decided to get a five dollar CD and put all of the pictures of them growing up together on it. The same could be done with a flash drive.

Tiffany Ng ’21 said, “In Elementary School, we decorated picture frames to give to our parents for Christmas. I used glitter, stickers, and painted the frame. [My parents] liked it.”

Ng said, “Each frame required five dollars for the picture frames and materials in general.”

No matter what, the most important thing about a gift is that it suits the recipient.

“I made a bath gel from scratch for my family,” said Savanna Clark ’21. “They liked the scent.” She said that materials only cost one to three dollars depending on how much gel she wanted to make and the size of the container at Dollar Tree. It only took her a few minutes. She described the gel as having a rocky texture.

Ellexia Oliver ’21 once knitted her mother a sweater. 

“She was surprised,” Oliver said, “because I don’t really take my time to do things, and it was something from the heart.” Since Oliver was an experienced knitter, it only took her one day and two balls of yarn from Michael’s. 

If you’re looking to keep it simple, some people would just like a card. In the digital era, physical cards are less and less common. Ms. Martha Vargas, a Spanish teacher, says that she likes cards because she thinks they’re thoughtful.

“It takes a lot to write something,” she said.

FeaturesCasey Levinson