Top 5 budget-friendly holiday gifts


Graphic Riya Mahanta

Happy Holidays! As part of our holiday coverage, Managing Editor Riya Mahanta and Online Editor Katherine Wu share five creative gift ideas that won’t break the bank.

Katherine Wu and Riya Mahanta

With the holiday season approaching, coming up with gift ideas can be tricky, especially since many of us are broke high school students. Fear not, as we fellow (broke) high schoolers are here to help. Here are five foolproof holiday gift ideas that won’t break the bank and are sure to impress your recipient. They’ll have no idea the gift was so cheap! 

#5: Plantable wish cards

This gift is for everyone who hopes to achieve their New Year’s Resolutions or needs a reminder of their goals in general. These plantable wish cards are a cute and wholesome gift to remind and encourage people of their goals by watching their planted goals “bloom.” All you have to do is write a wish or message to someone else on the card, plant the seeds and watch it grow. And don’t worry, the wildflowers are not invasive species so they are safe and beautiful to plant outside!

#4: “What I love about you” book

This gift is for all the sentimental people out there. Creating a small book full of compliments is sure to bring a smile to anyone’s face and deliver a memorable gift. You can get a physical book from Amazon with 50 prompts to fill out for $10, or make your own by using a small journal! This is perfect for anyone who you feel is underappreciated and would really benefit from all the love.

#3: Recipes in a jar

Do you have a bunch of mason jars lying around? Or does your recipient enjoy baking? Try making a recipe in a jar! This easy, photogenic, heartfelt and cheap gift idea uses objects you probably already have and requires only 10-15 minutes of prep work. All you have to do is place the dry ingredients of a recipe in a jar, without mixing them, so that they form layers. Then, attach a recipe card around the jar stating which additional ingredients the recipient needs to add and with baking instructions. You can start off with peanut butter brownies, cranberry chocolate chip cookies or create a jar using your own recipe! This gift not only requires little preparation on your part, it also gives the receiver a fun activity to do on a snow day and delicious treats!

#2: Record player air freshener

As students get older, many get their permits/licenses and are eager to drive to school. What better way to make the drive to school more bearable than with a car air freshener? Or better, with a car air freshener in the shape of a record player with your favorite album on it! At PD Artace, you can choose from so many designs, and there are even artist packs and customized records. The scent is also aromatherapy which means it can help you feel more relaxed and less stressed, something all high schoolers could benefit from. 

#1: Dollar Tree gift basket

Looking for a heartfelt gift that can be as cheap or as expensive as you want? Dollar Tree is your best bet! There are two locations near us, one in Westborough and one in Marlborough. The Westborough location is slightly bigger, but both stores have a wide assortment of items perfect for gift baskets. At $1.25 per item, grab a basket and arrange it with items you know your friend will like. Some of our favorites are candles, stuffed animals, fuzzy socks and candy, but sometimes you can find items like string lights or adorable mugs. This is our favorite gift on a budget due to how personalized it can be and how flexible the price is. 

We hope you enjoy these creative gifts that will save you money and are perfect for anyone! Gift giving around the holidays can be stressful, but ultimately what matters most is the sentiment behind your presents, not how much you spend.