Planning Ahead: A Guide to Handmade Gift-Giving in College



Hello all! As Christmas break comes to a close, preparations for moving back in and starting classes might be the only thing most of us feel is worth thinking about. However, I’ve found that keeping busy with a side project can help balance out these stresses that often come with the end of a long break.

Over the past two years, I’ve developed a sort of tradition of spending my Christmas breaks creating secret handmade gift projects for my boyfriend. With the spring semester starting up in the middle of January, Valentine’s Day tends to creep up just a few quick weeks later- just as the semester is starting to pick up in workload, for that matter. By working on something over Christmas break, not only am I giving myself a fun project to take up all my newly freed time, but I’m also able to allow plenty of time to create a really great handmade gift that also brings a big surprise factor. Being at home also provides a lot more resources for the handmade route than there would be if you were attempting the same task in the confines of your dorm room.

With this particular occasion being more about the person you’re spending it with than how much you’re spending on their gift, I’ve found that handmade is a really thoughtful, personal gift option for Valentine’s Day. So with this in mind, here are a few gift-giving tips for planning ahead and going homemade over the break!


1.) What resources will be most easily accessible to you at home?

To me, one of the most fun parts of homemade gift-giving is seeing what you can create from resources you already have available at your fingertips. And on a college student’s budget, this is often the most practical part of it as well! Of course, if you think of the perfect project and still need to run out for a few supplies, that’s fine too!

2.) What gift will be the most thoughtful and practical?

Creating homemade versions of something your significant other has wanted or needed for a while can be even better than buying it. Not only have you been listening to them and thinking about what they would like, but you’ve also taken the time and effort to make it yourself. Now that’s true love!

3.) What will be most easily and discretely transported back to school?

What’s something that you’ll be able to fit in your bag to move back in? If you’re like me and you carpool to and from school with your significant other, what’s something that you’ll be able to pack away and keep secret? And perhaps the most important question, what’s something that you’ll be able to hide in your dorm room or apartment where your significant other wouldn’t come across it?


All rules and regulations aside, the most important part of homemade gift-giving is having fun and keeping your gift-recipient in mind. Enjoy the project, and above all, enjoy the unique experience of giving a handmade gift!


What are your standby do’s and don’ts of gift-giving in college?


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Claire Cavanaugh

Claire Cavanaugh

Claire is a rising junior at St. Michael's College, a small liberal arts school in Colchester, Vermont, where she studies Media Studies, Journalism, and Digital Arts. You can find her frequenting Smuggler's Notch Ski Resort and blogging for the St. Michael's College Founders Society. Back home in Newbury, Massachusetts, Claire is a lifegaurd at a local YWCA. She loves writing, photography, skiing, and exploring new places. Check out her St. Michael's blog ( as well as her Instagram (@claire_cavanaugh) to keep up on her college experience in Vermont!