Low-Cost Gift Guide

Happy Holidays!

Just because we’re all actively social distancing, does not mean we can’t show our loved ones we care about them with some low-cost sentimental gifts this coming holiday season!

Read on for some fun gift ideas!

1) Baking Mix In-a-Jar

The first gift idea is a baking mix in a jar! This can be a cookie, cake, or even a brownie mix, it’s all up to you! But make sure to only put the dry ingredients in the jar!

Steps to create this simple gift:

1) Find a jar

            Suggestion: A washed and de-labeled pasta sauce jar works!

2) Decorate outside of jar (optional)

3) Fill with measured out dry ingredients from your favorite baking recipe

Some possible dry ingredients:

    • Flour
    • Sugar
    • Baking powder
    • Baking soda
    • Chocolate Chips
    • Salt

Suggestion: Baking can be considered a science, so for best results, find recipes that use the one-bowl method! And for even better results, find a recipe that measures by weight and use a scale to weigh your ingredients!

4) Write out the full recipe on some fun stationery (include what is in the jar, the wet ingredients needed, and the method)

2) Favorite Poster in a Frame

Here is the perfect one for movie lovers or music enthusiasts!

Steps to create this simple gift:

1) Pick an image of the gift receiver’s favorite movie, band, meme, or create your own image

2) If you’d like to enlarge the image for printing, make sure to google how best to go about it, so to keep the image quality as crisp as possible!

Suggestion: To narrow down the choices for step 1 and to circumvent step 2, buy a premade poster

3) Buy a nice frame that fits the image

4) Put the printed image/poster in a frame

5) Decorate outside of the frame (optional)

Or if you’re feeling really adventurous, get your hands on some paint and let your artistic talents fly! Make sure to either frame it or spray a protectant over the surface of the material you’ve painted (e.g. canvas) before gifting!

3) Homemade stickers

In the same vein of artistic expression, why not gift some homemade stickers? All you need are some sticker sheets and a printer!

Steps to create this simple gift:

1) Buy sticker sheets/paper (should be sold at any office-supply store near you! If not, there’s always online sellers!)

Suggestion: If you can’t find sticker sheets, buy label paper! Make sure to keep the pre-cut lines of some label papers in mind while formatting your designs for print!

2) Create/Pick your designs

    • If drawn by hand, then scan into the computer

3) Resize, color edit as needed (optional)

4) Format onto one sheet

    • Take your digitized designs and put them all onto one page of either a word document or a page on an image editing software
    • Make sure the dimensions fit the paper you are using and if there are any pre-cut lines on the paper, that you aren’t cutting off your design
    • Keep in mind the margins! Most printers can’t print to the edge of the paper, so make sure to leave some space between the absolute edge and your designs!

5) Print

6) Cut-out using scissors or a fancy cutting machine (i.e. Cricut products)

4) Book Lover Package

The perfect fall treat – reading a book while sipping a hot beverage in fuzzy socks!

Steps to create this simple gift:

1) Choose your favorite book to recommend!

2) Choose a hot beverage mix (e.g. hot chocolate, coffee, tea, etc.)

3) Choose some fuzzy socks!

4) Choose a nice smelling candle!

5) Customize as you like! If you want to add in a small stuffed animal or some cute stationery, go ahead!

5) Put them in a bag or decorative box for easy delivery

Suggestion: Hit up your local dollar store and the bargain aisles of bookstores to find great deals on these items!

5) Amigurumi Beginner’s set

Amigurumi is the art of crocheting or knitting small plush animals!

Steps to create this simple gift:

1) Find an amigurumi pattern online with instructions and print it out

2) Buy the necessary materials

    • Crochet needle/knitting needles
    • Yarn
    • Cotton Stuffing

3) Put the pattern, instructions, and materials in a bag or decorative box for easy delivery

6) Personalized Item

Nothing says thoughtful and practical than a personalized mug, shirt, or bag!

Steps to create this simple gift:

1) Buy the item you will personalize

Suggestion: Check out your local dollar stores!

2) Use the correct art material for said item (e.g. if decorating a mug then make sure you are using paint pens that are both dishwasher-safe and are non-toxic)

3) Design!

4) Wait until everything dries and wrap it up, put it in a bag, or decorative box for easy delivery

Suggestion: For clothing items, craft stores sell transfer paper where once you print a design on them, you can iron them onto said clothing item for an easy personalized item!

7) Letter-Making Set

In this day and age, the art of letter writing has been lost amidst all the online hustle and bustle! So why not bring the art back with a fun letter-making set!

Steps to create this simple gift:

1) Buy some fun stationery or decorate your own!

2) Choose a decorative pen

3) Add in some stamps and envelopes

4) Customize as you wish (buy some stamps, stickers, or other fun decorative items)

5) Start the conversation by writing a letter to the gift receiver!

8) Around the World in Hot Sauce(s)

Hot sauce; a flavor canon! So why not explore the world through different types of hot sauces?

Steps to create this simple gift:

1) Google which country you’d like to visit through spice

2) Buy the ones you chose

Suggestion: If you can’t find mini versions, fill mini jars or containers with bits of hot sauce.

3) Write brief descriptions about each of the sauces and what they might pair well with

4) Put the sauces and descriptions into a bag or decorative box for easy delivery!

Suggestion: This gift can be done with varying BBQ sauces, hot sauces sorted by level of spice, or even with fire noodles!

9) Online Care Package

This is one that doesn’t require you to go to a store or to move from where you are! Customize to your heart’s desire!

Steps to create this simple gift:

1) Pick a fun baking recipe and write it into an email

2) List a couple of fun movies and some free video-streaming services, such as Criterion for UBC students

3) Write out instructions for a range of fun art projects (e.g. collages, origami, etc.)

4) Put a few links to fun videos, such as the Disneyland parade and the Vancouver Aquarium

5) Add some fun memes or photos of cute animals

6) Click ‘send’!

10) A Video Streaming Subscription

In times of online university, video streaming is almost a necessity. So why not give the gift of entertainment through an online subscription?

Steps to create this simple gift:

1) Buy however many months from a video streaming service

2) Send online to the gift receiver with a nice note

Suggestion: Order some snacks from food delivery services and set delivery to the front of the gift receiver’s house (or buy some snacks and deliver them yourself)!


Well, that’s it! Remember to add your own personal flair to these gift ideas!

Don’t forget to add in some self-care and movement activities over the holiday season, especially after those big holiday meals! You can check out our Instagram, @ubcrec, for quick movement breaks, and remember that even during the holiday season, the recommended amount of movement per week is 150 minutes!

Hope everyone has a fun and safe holiday season!