Blogmas: 10 Holiday Gifts Under $30

Hello, I am a broke college student and I need to maximize my budget to find the perfect gifts for all my favorite people. Needless to say, I love the holidays and spending time with friends and fam. Even though it’s not the reason for the season or whatever, I love buying gifts and shopping for people, or maybe I just like shopping in general?

So, I really needed my money to stretch this holiday season because the longer you stay in college, the more amazing people you meet and the more holiday parties you get invited to! So luckily for you, I already stressed about making my small budget stretch and found some pretty awesome gifts in stores and got some inspiration from the many hours I spend on Pinterest [thanks for 6k by the way]!



If you are at all interested in clever and cute ways to spoil all the important people in your life without maxing out the credit cards and single handedly rejuvenating the economy, keep reading!

Treat Yo’ Self Basket- $5-$20

So, I don’t actually think this is an actual thing yet, but it kind of represents me in a gift so I figured I would just give you an example of one that I’m making! I always find the cutest colorful baskets from Dollar Tree, so that’s easy and then I fill it with all the things a gal [or guy] would want on a pampering day! Things like face masks [2 for 5 at some Targets], nail polish, chocolate, a classic RomCom, Starbucks gift card, candles, etc. can make for a super cute and fun gift!


DIY Glitter Wooden Letter $5-6

If you’ve been following our blog for a while now, you probably recognize this idea from one of my very first blog posts ever. The Glitter Wooden Letter is literally my go to DIY craft gift; it is so stinking cute and can be customizable for literally anyone. Here’s my original post. It’s essential that you take advantage of craft store discounts and check all your craft bins before shopping to save some cash! Michael’s has some golden coupons at this time of year

Crew Camp Socks- $16.50  I got some for $5/each!

Why is it that every holiday, we are probably going to receive new socks, underwear, and pajamas? Again, I don’t really mind, but is this a cultural tradition that has been passed down in American homes? You can contribute to the boot sock craze and pick up various pairs of the J. Crew camp socks especially when they have some of their online sales! These are some of the most comfortable socks and the perfect addition to your Bean Boot looks.


Character Gift Cards! $7-10

A lot of people simply love getting gift cards and that’s A okay. But, you can make this even more fun by adding some decorative DIY touches. I’d love to make some paper snowmen or cut out reindeer tags and add some glitter! These are cute ways to make a gift card seem more personal and less like cold hard cash. You could also mix this with the sweet treat idea and make marshmallow snowman and attach the gift card! You can also attach a cute hand written message to the back for even more personalization!

Customized Photo Book $20

This is perfect for moms, best friends, etc. You can order these online from Shutterfly. [Keep your eyes open for that holiday free shipping deal] I’d include all the special pictures of the two of you from birthday parties to graduation to summer vacations! This would be a lot of fun for you to reminisce while going through old photos and for the person to laugh at all the embarrassing old photos of the two of you. A+ for sentiment if you ask me.

Monogrammed Blanket Scarf ~ $15

Honestly, monogrammed trinkets are the perfect easy going gifts. If there is anything that your gift recipient has been looking for, you can add a personal touch with a monogram! My personal favorites are necklaces, scarves, and long sleeve T’s. Technically, these items are usually over $20 bucks, but most sites will have major sales for the holidays and there will be a bunch of pop up shops that will monogram things for a couple bucks. Everyone loves a good blanket scarf, so I say go for it!

Subscription Service Gift Cards $5-20

College students love Spotify, Netflix, Hulu, and HBO Go. How cool would it be to save us a couple dollars a month and pay for a couple months for one of these services! Twenty dollars can cover Spotify for at least 4 months and 2 months of Netflix will give us enough time to binge watch all of The Office. No shame.


Mantra Band- $25

Not going to lie, I really want one of these for myself. You can get a variety of uplifting messages that I think all college students could really benefit from. Personal favorite: Inspire. You can choose Silver, Gold, or Rose Gold; and the design is so simple that it could be a simple everyday bracelet!


Sweet Treats- $20 makes a ton!

I love baking, as you probably know because this literally began as a baking blog. TBT. You can make some basic sugar cookies and spend a Saturday decorating them and wrap them up in cute, festive bags for a super easy gift! These are perfect for people like me who want to spread holiday cheer to literally everyone including groups of people you see approximately once per week for less than an hour.

You can also add in a candy cane, reindeer poop, and Hershey kiss cookies for some added pizazz. These are guaranteed to make anyone smile!

Cute Planner $20-25

Whether you’re trying to send a message to your extremely unorganized roommate or sending love to a friend who is missing #plannerpeace [according to my mom this is a real thing], you can buy a super cute planner! The Happy Planner line has the most affordable and cutest available planners. You can find two sizes within this price range and sticker sets to match. Overall, I think this would be a great way to help someone start the new year off right!


A photo posted by Alecia (@aleciaplans) on

I hope this was helpful and gave you some ideas for gifts for this holiday season! Some of these can be thoughtful or simply quench the sweet tooth. I’ll probably end up using several of these ideas for some of my friends. Be sure to send pictures of your DIY gifts on Twitter or Instagram and tag us {@theswirlblog} using our hashtag #ASwirlHoliday. Happy Holiday Shopping!


  • I don’t know what it is, but I just love cabin socks!
    xo, Syd

    • Cabin socks are literally the best! I was so happy that I was able to pick up a few more pairs for more than half the price!
      xo, G

  • Great ideas! I love the DIY projects because you can tell a lot of effort was put into those. I love customizing gifts to make them unique to the individual receiving them 🙂

    Mads Maybe

    • Yes girl! I absolutely love anything with pictures, paint, or glitter! It’s a great way to get crafty and let people know that you care. love it!
      xo, G