With the exciting approach of the holidays also comes the impending dent in all of our wallets. But, worry not, there are a number of ways to participate in the various gift exchanges with family, friends and the office throughout the holidays without breaking the bank.
While hunting for the perfect secret Santa gift and something for each family member, I have narrowed down the best strategies for holiday shopping on budget:
For the clothing lover: shop vintage
The good part of shopping second-hand is that it’s both inexpensive and sustainable. If you’re in a time crunch, shopping in person may be your best bet, but with a little more time, there are plenty of online second-hand stores whose quality you can trust. ThredUp is a great option for a wider price range, but for higher end pieces (maybe for a family member or close friend), check out The RealReal or Vestiaire Collective.
For the anonymous white elephant exchange: a festive but (slightly) generic gift basket
If you have ever been a part of a gift exchange where you’re unsure of who exactly will be receiving the gift, you’ve faced the challenge of finding something that everyone in the group would be happy with. For this option, I would check out the “$$ and under” category on various websites. Urban Outfitters lets you shop by price, with a $15 & Under section, with a great combination of gender-neutral options to create a cute gift basket.
When you just can’t find the right gift: a subscription
A few years ago, my grandmother gifted my dad with a New Yorker subscription, his favorite magazine, and to this day it’s his favorite gift he has received. With so much holiday shopping being done in a time crunch, there is too much pressure on finding the perfect gift-- something sentimental, funny or specific to a relationship. But honestly, what’s better than a gift that keeps delivering after the holidays are over? With the eclectic range of subscriptions, you can pick something specific to their interests without the difficulty of finding the right thing in a short amount of time. From magazines, to monthly gift boxes recommendations from Forbes of nearly any kind, there is something for everyone.
For college students particularly, holiday season tends to coincide with finals season-- the latter typically getting our attention. Consequently, we are left with a short amount of time and a smaller amount of funds. If these three categories fail, everyone still loves a homemade gift!
Sophia Westover is a junior at University of Wisconsin - Madison. She is currently working on BA in Journalism with an emphasis on Strategic Communication and a minor in Gender and Women's Studies.