It’s such a relief when the Christmas hols roll around. Ignoring the fact that you have just as much work to over the festive break as you do the rest of the year, it’s such a nice feeling to know that you have a bit of time ahead of you eating, drinking and being merry back with the family. At least you get to revise in front of a roaring fire with Gluhwein and carols playing in the background. It beats the library (where I currently am on a Friday night!). But we students are generally penniless and it’s no fun being skint at Christmas with all the inevitable boozy nights out to negotiate. Not to mention New Year’s Eve, when all the prices triple and you suddenly have to buy a ticket to get into your local pub. Then there’s Christmas shopping. You can’t just not buy pressies for your family while they generously hand over the ones they’ve got you. So, for those you who have unfortunately left things up until the last minute – here are a few ideas for cheap, ethical gifts to help you negotiate the pricey festive season.
…or jam, or chocolates, for that matter. Chutney is probably cheapest, though, as all you need is a splash of vinegar and a few veggies. A spice or two is good. Chances are you probably have these kicking around at home anyway and you’ll need to use stuff up before you go away for the holidays. Here is a super easy recipe to get you started but really, you can use pretty much anything. You can even re-use all those empty jars stacked up in your kitchen that you keep forgetting to take down to the recycling!
It’s available in a lot of high street shops and supermarkets but take a look at their website. It’s super yummy, comes in pretty wrapping and is Fairtrade. Most people ought to be happy with just a bar of one of their numerous flavour combos, and they’re only a few pounds. They have Christmassy sets, drinking chocolate and even Hanukkah gifts.
Make a yummy body scrub
This is another almost free, homemade gift that won’t take long to prepare. Have a look at this good-enough-eat lemon version. It beats the one you get in the shops with all sorts of chemicals added, not to mention a hefty price tag for a teeny tiny tub. All you need otherwise is a few jars or tubs. These are PET plastic which should be recyclable. Otherwise, make sure they are reused.
There are loads of vintage fayres around as well as vintage shops, charity shops and online stores. Lou Lou’s is a great one and they happen all around the country. But a quick internet search will bring up tonnes. Oxfam started a vintage line a few years ago so if you buy a piece from there you’ll be helping people as well! Isn’t that what Christmas is all about? Vintage is great because it’s often cheaper, it has a history and a story of its own and it’s a form of recycling!
Why not sponsor an animal in need on behalf of someone? It can cost as little as a few pounds a month and it does well at the same time. Again, all in the spirit of Christmas! Try Charity Gifts or Guide Dogs. Your friend or loved one will get updates (or pupdates, in GD’s case!) through the post so they can see how their furry friend is getting on. It’s adorable. A great one for kids, too. Just make sure they don’t think they’re actually getting a puppy!