Make your friends, family smile with $15 or less

In our digital world, thought counts but so does your budget



Provide an opportunity for your friends to demolish wrapping paper like they have always dreamed of. They can release anger before they express gratitude.

MAGGIE QUINLAN, Evergreen reporter

For the most part, we college students aren’t exactly rollin’ in cash. But since snow has already fallen and the giving spirit strikes hot this time of year, there’s a lot you can do with a $10.

“I love getting expensive gifts,” freshman zoology major Briana Surfus said. “But those aren’t always the best gifts because they aren’t meaningful.”

While you’re downloading these gift ideas to your brain, keep in mind the two things that really count here: the thought and the packaging.

Give the gift of total carnage this Christmas. Make something pretty so your loved one can rip it to shreds. Every red-blooded American child dreams of waking up on Christmas morning and absolutely decimating some chic packaging.

First things first, hit the Dollar Tree on Grand Avenue. Buy some multicolor gift tissue so you will have plenty for several gifts. Do not, I repeat, do not forego the bow.

But with that out of the way, what will your beautiful wrapping ritual uncover? Here are five great gift ideas for $15 or less.

Tea Time Bundle

Get a big fat mug of your choice. In that mug, place a box of tea. Adorn with crumpled up festive tissue paper for fun.

“Tea is no small gift,” freshman nursing major Gabby Cardenas said. “If you’re giving me the gift of warmth, then darling, you’re an angel.”

For an upgrade, slip a tube or bear of honey into the mug and tie the mug and box of tea together. To top it off? A festive bow — on the tea box, on the honey. It doesn’t matter. Bow that b-tch up so they can destroy it.

The Rainy Day Kit

There are so many inexpensive pacifying products to choose from: face masks, lip balm, bath bombs, essential oils, socks, a box of brownie mix, a joint or lotion specifically for feet.

Pick a few pleasant self-care items, wrap them individually to create maximum destruction opportunities and slip them all into a festive gift bag. Remember — the goal is to let them go “shredder-mode” on that beautiful wrapping paper.

The Totem Pendant

This idea best suits the broke-yet-considerate boyfriend archetype, but it works for anybody. The lady in your life wants a piece of jewelry close to heart she can wear day and night.

“I’m sentimental,” Cardenas said. “The thing I love most about a gift is its story, especially when the story is significant to the two people.”

Etsy offers a sterling silver pendant version of every animal to ever grace the face of the Earth and for cheap too. I’ve searched for the wackiest of the wacky creatures and haven’t been let down. Want a platypus or a snail? They have both.

Sterling silver or stainless steel won’t discolor her skin and works for everyday wear.

If your special friend has a favorite animal, or even a favorite animal to joke about, you know what to do. If animals aren’t her thing, maybe a snowflake is, or an evergreen, or a mountain. Etsy has it all.

You can filter your search for “under $25.” There will be options a-plenty. A lot of these sellers have adorable packaging for their jewelry anyway, but wrap that in your sweet dollar store tissue and unwrapping catharsis is on the horizon.

Upgraded Letter

If you put some thought into a really kind, really honest, handwritten letter or poem for a friend, it means a lot. In our world of texts, we rarely receive handwritten messages from our loved ones. Surfus said one of her favorite gifts ever was a poem from her sister.

“It made me cry for so long,” Surfus said. “And it was the last gift I opened which made all the other gifts not even matter.”

You can enhance your message with a photo, stickers, drawings or a map of a meaningful area. An envelope offers privacy, but for a glitzier gift you can lay all your pieces out, glue them down and pop the whole project into a frame.

You can get a super cheap frame from the dollar store. For a little more style, Ross and Marshall’s in the Palouse Mall in Moscow both have a variety of discounted picture frames.

Best Gift of All: Time Together

Cardenas and Surfus both said quality time would be their ideal gift. Surfus said going out to dinner, a movie or anything that get friends together and celebrating would satisfy her the most.

“College gets so stressful and lonely and overwhelming that all I want is to feel like I have people there by my side,” Surfus said. “I don’t need a gift. I just want their time and love.”

Although just talking, driving, walking and eating are always great, Moscow has great options to make your quality time a little fancier. On Thursday evenings you can enjoy a cozy night listening to live jazz players at Bucer’s Coffeehouse & Pub or get groovy with the Swing Devils of the Palouse.

For a mix of minors and people 21 and over, you can try the new Lumberyard Foodhall along the South Fork of the Palouse River in downtown Pullman.

Cardenas agreed a night on the town would be much more meaningful than any object.

“Tangible items are just things, and in the end it’s the people that matter,” Cardenas said. “I’m happiest spending time with those I love or loving others by giving them my time.”