As university students, the art of gift-giving has to be carefully crafted to ensure that both our bank accounts and the recipients are satisfied. You don’t need to break the bank to give a gift that shows affection, though — with budgeting and considerable thought, your present can mean more than just a price tag.
Whether the occasion is a holiday such as Valentine’s Day, a birthday celebration or you just want to give a gift for the sake of it, the most important key to is to make sure that your recipient sees value in what they are receiving. This value could be sentimental, practical or both, but it’s important to keep this in mind when choosing the perfect present.
Think about who your recipient is. Consider their interests and tastes and remember that this is someone you have a personal connection with. The ideal present would signify a definitive aspect of your relationship — think about inside jokes or moments over which you’ve bonded. Aim for a present that can reflect these important aspects of your special connection.
Presents such as a bottle of wine or a bouquet of flowers can be cheap and require only a quick trip to the store. However, these are only temporary gifts and are not likely to be remembered or cherished in the long run.
Consider something that will be more worthwhile and meaningful. For example, if you spend an afternoon at a thrift store such as Village Green or Value Village, you can find unique items such as knick-knacks, books, records or quirky articles of clothing.
As another option, a house plant such as a succulent, hibiscus or bonsai tree — all fairly low maintenance plants — are thoughtful gifts that can liven up any space. Some of these plants can be on the more expensive side, but there are cheaper alternatives. Bonus points for shopping local — try one of the mini flowering cacti from Bill’s House of Flowers that can be as cheap as $10 each.
Gift giving can also provide a creative outlet for you to utilize your talents. Not only is making your own gifts financially friendly, it’s also helpful in alleviating stress in the midst of midterms, papers and assignments.
Hobbies such as knitting, pottery, painting, scrapbooking or other do-it-yourself projects can keep your hands busy while filling up the hearts of your gift recipients. Whether you’re a master at your craft or you consider yourself a rookie, you can take this opportunity to branch out in pursuing your creative interests.
Even if you don’t have a creative disposition, many gifts can be easily made with minimal hassle. Websites such as Pinterest have easy and affordable gift ideas for every taste. For example, mason jar gifts are highly versatile and practical. Google “baking jars” or “gifts-in-a-jar” for cost-friendly options that can be geared towards the recipient’s interests.
While we are sometimes inclined to resort to a box of chocolates, taking an extra step and making a delectable treat yourself, such as chocolate-covered strawberries, doesn’t require extensive culinary knowledge. If you do have an aptitude for cooking though, you can make take-home goodies like a batch of cookies, or host a dinner night with a heartfelt edge by trying to cook your recipient’s favourite dish.
Gifts don’t necessarily need to be material goods. Taking someone out to a local show at Amigos can cost around $20 for both of you, or taking a yoga class can even be free if you’re trying it out for your first time — and experiences can be more definitive and memorable in the long run.
If you consider these factors before purchasing a gift, you will benefit your wallet while expressing to your recipient how much you care. When you take time to go out of your way and put considerable thought into a present, it’s no longer the gift alone that makes its mark.
Photo: J.C. Balicanta Narag