Life's Like That: Some thrifty ideas for Christmas

The time has come to begin comprising your X-mas list, finish up your semester and head home. For many of us this is a highly anticipated and well deserved trip, for others this time of year brings new stresses and anxieties.

For me the stress stems from what I like to call the “Starving Student Syndrome,” which simply translated means lack of money and in this case feeling the anxiety of going home empty-handed as a result because I know my family has gathered many great gifts for me. Now do not misunderstand me, I realize the holiday is about reconnecting with those you love and expressing appreciation for them and the things as Canadians we are so fortunate to have. The appreciation of the holidays, however, doesn't make me feel any better whenever I think about going home empty- handed. That being said, I have taken it upon myself to search for gifts that are great but non-expensive, and because I'm nice I'm willing to share some of my idea's. So read up and maybe you'll find something that works for you.

Let's start off with some great ideas for mom like a Conair FM18 Deep Tissue Foot Massager. This can be found in most malls that have stores that are similar to Sears and The Bay. The price tag, $28.22, should fit most budgets.

If foot massagers are not your mom's thing and you're more strapped for cash than you thought, it's ok, I have you covered. Try something like building a memory book. Purchase a photo album or scrap book and fill it with your favourite memories to give mom this holiday season. You can include all of your favourite times along with a small summary of what happened. This way you can show mom how much the time you spend with her means to you. Now I understand that this might be kind of hard considering quite a bit of you are away from home. No worries though, just grab small things to symbolize an event like cutting a small piece of towel and placing it in the book and writing about that trip to the beach. Do you see where I'm going with this?

Next on my list for mom is a box of love. You will need an inexpensive unique container such as a basket, flowerpot, or vase found at pretty much anywhere. Next look around your home, outside, or dollar store for items that remind you of your mom. Depending on the size of your container fill it with items that are unique and homemade and add a poem or two. A few homemade ideas are dried flowers from the garden (or dollar store), a favourite photo, your mom's favourite saying handwritten on a beautiful piece of paper, or a homemade CD of mom's favourite music. Place your unique items in the container and present to your mom as a way of saying “These things are what makes you unique.”

Let's move on to dad. If once again you're strapped for cash, try something dad would never think you'd do (well, my dad would never guess in a million years I'd be willing to do this). Put together a car cleaning coupon book. You will need a small, inexpensive memo book from the dollar store, bookstore, or wherever. Old magazines or pictures off the Internet, a pen or marker, scissors and glue. Simply cut out pictures of cars, cleaning products, towels, or air fresheners. Glue one picture to each page and write a little note stating that this coupon entitles your Dad to a free car cleaning. Specify interior, exterior, windows, vacuuming, or write the word total.

Another thing you can do if your dad's a golfer or into any sport that uses a ball is make him a “golf ball dog” as a paper weight, paired with some items surrounding that sport. So if dad's a golfer maybe you'd buy him a couple of non costly accessories, or a gift certificate at the pro shop in your home town. If dad's a baseball, soccer or lacrosse fan, just paint the “golf ball dog” to match that sport and repeat the idea mentioned above. Go to this website if you'd like to know how to make the dog. I don't know about your dad but mine is pretty easy going, has a great sense of humour and would be into something simple like this.

Are you still stuck on what you should do for grandma and grandpa. Don't worry, once again I have you covered. If you live close to them or go home regularly try comprising a coupon book fro them. Put things in it like shoveling the driveway, vacuuming or anything that you know they would really appreciate not having to do themselves.

For grandma specifically, do something for her she may not think to do for herself (if you have the money) get her a gift card for a haircut, day at the spa or to get her nails done. For grandpa, think of something he likes to do. Does he have any hobbies? Centre your gift around that, or maybe he needs a new shirt. In general “acknowledgement of needs” gifts are great, from neck massagers to special pillows to nicely scented potpourri kits can add that extra special feel and make a great gift.

The last hurdle I can think some of us may face is a gift for the boyfriend's or girlfriend's parents. Don't panic, I have a couple quick and easy ideas. First if you've been invited to a family gathering of your significant others, grab a meat and cheese plate, or a fruit plate to add to the table as a nice gesture. If your sweetie's parents are the kind who at the end of the day like to sit back and relax, pick up a nice bottle of wine. However if you're going to do this make sure you ask your sweetie if they drink wine and talk to someone at the liquor or wine store to help you pick out the best.

Well I hope these ideas help you out this season and take the stress of breaking the bank out of your mind.

Editorial opinions or comments expressed in this online edition of Interrobang newspaper reflect the views of the writer and are not those of the Interrobang or the Fanshawe Student Union. The Interrobang is published weekly by the Fanshawe Student Union at 1001 Fanshawe College Blvd., P.O. Box 7005, London, Ontario, N5Y 5R6 and distributed through the Fanshawe College community. Letters to the editor are welcome. All letters are subject to editing and should be emailed. All letters must be accompanied by contact information. Letters can also be submitted online by clicking here.