Ah, February. The month when the weather warms up, classes pick up and the seasons of Valentine’s and Easter quickly approach.
Wallets may still be recovering from the Christmas season, but cheap, heartfelt gifts exist. Some of these “do it yourself” gifts involve a little more effort than others, but they are simple crafts that loved ones are sure to enjoy.
Photos and memories
Original photos hold many memories for people, and with today’s technology, they are easily accessible to all. If you have photos of you and your sweetheart, or you and your friends, consider printing these off at a local kiosk at places like Walmart or CVS and framing them. Cheap frames can be found at Walmart for $2-3 each. If you choose to frame them, then on the outside of the frame print the date, occasion or memory that is pictured within.
If being photogenic isn’t your strong suit, consider a simple print or hand design on cardstock. One of my favorite ideas is to frame a section of a map from a place you’ve been together – maps of any state can be found at local rest areas or online to print and then script a memory from that trip or the name of the location over the map.
If there’s a coffee or tea lover in your life, hand-decorated sharpie mugs are an easy and classic DIY project to warm their hearts and their hands. You will need an oil-based paint sharpie and a coffee mug, usually $1-2, depending on how plain it is and where you get it from. Walmart or Target tend to be the easiest options. Draw your design on the outside of the mug, let it dry and then bake in it the oven for 30 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. These mugs can be reused and are durable enough to toss in the dishwasher, though hand washing is preferred.
Everyone loves cookies. If you’re looking for a quick gift to hand off between classes, bake the cookies the night before and stack them up in a Mason jar – less than $3 for a sleeve at Walmart. Tie some loose hemp string or a cute bow around the metal top or glass middle of the jar, add a name tag and a cute note – now you have a simple and baked-with-love Valentine’s day gift.
If you’re looking for a quick and easy date idea and you’re not keen on making reservations for Hamilton’s or Acre, opt instead for a movie night in. Before you get excited about just browsing Netflix together, put a little thought into it first. Choose the movie, pick up a bag of popcorn and the person’s favorite candy. You can even go for an inexpensive bottle of wine to make the night seem a little more special.
If you don’t have the time to spend together on Valentine’s Day, succulents are great little additions to any area. If your sweetheart’s apartment needs a little green, but you don’t have much green to spend, consider purchasing them one of these small and easy-to-care-for friends. Blooming Colors at College and South Donahue has a plethora of succulents to choose from in their greenhouse, often less than $5. While you’re there, pick up a small pot for the plant and decorate it with an original design or write a sweet message on the outside of the pot.
Sometimes it can be difficult to decide on the right gift for the men in your life, so below are a few ideas that can keep them happy without handing them some food that will disappear in a matter of minutes.
If your guy carries a wallet, but it’s rather plain, consider using metal stamps to imprint his name, initials or favorite quote in it. This may take a little stealth on your part, but it can easily be done. If he needs a new one, grab an inexpensive but durable one from TJ Maxx or Target and give him a new gift with a little personalization.
Finally, if you have an active reader in your life, consider the genres they like to immerse themselves in and go pick up a book that’s recommended in the same genre. Wrap the book in brown paper, and provide a vague but intriguing description on the outside. These are called blind-dates with a book, and you can pick up several books from the local Goodwill or Mission Thrift to please your sweetheart and to keep them entertained throughout the month of February. Pair this with one of the DIY sharpie mugs and a few packets of their favorite tea, and you have a book-lovers box for under $10.