How to Not Fail: Holiday Gift Giving

During the holidays, one tends to get stressed and overwhelmed. The pressures of the end of the semester loom over us, and schoolwork piles up as teachers try to make up for the “lost” few weeks of school. In all of this flurry of schoolwork and yearning for break to just arrive already, one forgets about something very important: GIVING PEOPLE PRESENTS.

Below are some tips and DIYs to help you out if you are clueless, stressed, or both.

1: As simple as it sounds, looking in cheap stores frequently is a very useful and easy way to stay on top of the whole gift giving process. If you are out buying stuff, check in dollar stores, dollar sections, and other discount stores. You never know, maybe you will find the perfect gift for someone on your list.

2: If you keep to a theme, the gift will look more thought out, and in some cases, more expensive. This can be very helpful if you are short on time because you can just look for something in the theme instead of questioning what to buy. A theme can be something as simple as a color, or something “cozy.”

3: If you do have time, DIYs are also a good option. Materials are usually pretty cheap (good news for us broke high school students), and you can make many of the same gifts and customize them just enough that they seem different than all the others. Furthermore, they are very personal. Some relatively easy DIYs are below:

Candy

What You Need:

  • A bag of white chocolate or melting candies
  • Food coloring
  • Toothpicks
  • Non stick cooking spray
  • Sprinkles (optional)
  • Flavoring (optional)

Instructions:

First, melt your chocolate/candies in the microwave according to the packaging. (Typically, this would require you to melt the candy for thirty seconds, stir, and repeat until completely melted). Next, if you want, add flavoring and stir.

Then, pour the chocolate into a greased pan. Working quickly, dollop some food coloring randomly around the chocolate and swirl it with the toothpick. Don’t be afraid to randomly swirl; that’s what creates the prettiest patterns. Optionally, add some sprinkles on top. Finally, pop your mixture into the fridge until it has completely hardened. After it is hard, take it out of the pan (this is easily done by flipping the pan upside down; this is where the cooking spray comes in handy). Then randomly break it into small pieces. Voila, you’re done!

Glass Ornaments

What You Need:

  • Glass ornaments
  • Paint
  • Pencil or toothpick
  • Glitter
  • Paint pens (optional)

Instructions:

*These instructions should not be followed all that carefully; because they’re so easy, you will eventually get the hang of it and may want to switch things up.*

For the marbled ornaments:

First and foremost, it is important to take the top off. To do that, all you have to do is pull on it. Then, squeeze a generous amount of each paint color you want to use inside. Next, use a pencil/toothpick to swirl the paint around and mix up the colors. Lastly, tilt the orb around so that the paint coats the entire inside, and put the top back on. Tada, a finished ornament in a few minutes.

For the glitter ornaments:

This works best if you make a paper funnel, so go ahead and make one first. Then, all you do is put the funnel over the opening of the ornament ( I hope you figured out you had to take the top off) and pour glitter inside. Put the top back on and you’re done, unless you want to doodle on the outside, which can be done with paint and a paintbrush or paint pens.

Body Scrub

What You Need:

  • Sugar
  • Coconut oil
  • Essential oil (optional)
  • Alternatively: Use salt and olive oil

Instructions:

Mix equal parts sugar and coconut oil in a bowl until evenly combined. Mix in a few drops of essential oil. Then, put it into a container.

Clay Ornaments and Sculptures

What You Need:

  • Air dry clay (it is inexpensive and you do not need to bake it)
  • Paint
  • Clear nail polish (optional)

Instructions:

For the rainbow ornaments

Take some clay and roll it out into a large cylinder. Then, press it down so that it is flattened and about ½ an inch thick. Shape the clay and smooth it out to your liking, then set it away to dry. Once dry, paint it whatever colors you want. After the paint dries, add a coat of clear nail polish. This will help seal in the paint and give it a glossy finish.

For the cactus

Roll out some clay into a large cylinder. Then, flatten it out a little, but not that much. To make the arms, pinch out a little bit of clay from the sides and shape it. Then, to make it stand, add some clay around the bottom to form a flat base. Let dry and repeat the steps from the rainbow ornament.

For the bowl

Get a cylindrical object. Then mold some clay around one end of this object. Carefully remove the clay, making sure to keep the general bowl shape. Then smooth out any imperfections and let dry. After it is done drying, paint it according to the other instructions above. Optional: Use the swirl method and blob some paint inside of the bowl, then use a toothpick or pencil to swirl it around.

Gift Jars

What You Need:

  • A jar
  • Strips of paper
  • A writing utensil
  • Optional: string
  • Optional: glitter

Instructions:

Write things on the paper that the receiver of the gift will appreciate. This may include quotes, compliments, memories, IOUs, or other things. Be creative. Then, put the strips of paper inside of the jar. Optional: add glitter inside and tie string around the top.

Have a Happy Holidays, whatever holiday you are celebrating!

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