Forty days and forty nights till Christmas

Tiffany Cobb, The Vision Online Staff Writer 

Christmas is 40 days away. Let’s try that again. Christmas is only 40 days away. If there is one thing that doesn’t always sync up, it’s college student budgets and Christmas presents. Have no fear. Here at "The Vision" we’ve complied a quick list of perfect gifts you can make quickly, easily and affordably.

For the nature lover – a homemade terrarium.

To make your kit, first put about an inch of small stones in the bottom of a mason jar. You can buy pretty river rocks in the Wal-Mart fish section or just collect some stones outside. Pour a few tablespoons of activated charcoal into the jar as well. Activated charcoal is available in any pet store’s aquarium section. Next add some soil and some moss. Guess where you can find this? Outside, that’s right. Talk about cheap. If you want to get fancy, add a succulent such as the one pictured. You can find them outside or in a garden center, just don’t dig up your grandma’s garden.

Photo courtesy of bluebonnet blog

Photo courtesy of bluebonnet blog

For the foodie – spice rub/dip mix jars

6 teaspoons chili powder
1 1/2 tablespoons red pepper flakes
2 tablespoon dried minced onion
1 tablespoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons white sugar
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon Cajun spices
1/4 teaspoon pepper

 All of this can be found in your mother’s pantry or really cheaply in stores. Buy a jar of each and you can make a lot of gifts. This rub is amazing on everything.

Secondly, who doesn’t like ranch? You can pay several dollars for the mix at a store or you can make a huge batch of it for way less.
1 cup dried parsley, crushed
2 T dill weed
1/2 cup onion powder
1/2 cup garlic powder
1/2 cup Real Salt (or sea salt)
1/2 cup dry, minced onions

Either blend this into a powder if you like your dip smooth or leave as is for a chunky dip. Magical. To make ranch dip use 1 T. to 16 oz:  sour cream, mayo, yogurt (you decide how much of what) and thin with milk.

For the photographer – a scarf camera strap

Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

If you can sew (or if your grandma can) this is such a wonderful gift. Bonus points if you hang out with your grandma while she sews for you. Grandma’s love that.
Scarf – Wal-Mart has two for $5 right now
(2) split rings
(2) chain closures
Scissors, sewing machine OR needle/thread,
Scrap of leather
Draw your shape on the leather with a pen making sure the smallest point at the fold fits through the split ring. You'll be folding it over, so mirror one side to the other and trace it.
Cut the leather on the folded line.
Repeat to create two of these leather pieces.
Connect the chain closure to the split ring.
Slide the ring to the middle section of the leather.
Fold the end of the scarf in an accordion fold, small enough so that it fits into the leather.
Stick the leather to the scarf in place.
With your sewing machine, stitch around the edge of the leather (as indicated in the picture)
Make sure you have a special needle that works for leather. Otherwise, hand stitch it.This might be easier with pictures, so here’s a link to help you out. 

For the treat yo’self – green tea sugar scrub

1 1/2 cup of Sugar (in my opinion brown coarse sugar)
2tsp green tea powder
2 green tea bags
1 cup coconut oil
Mix it all up and shove it in a jar. Smooth skin city is your next destination.

Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

For the warm and comfy – tea cup candles

Find a teacup at a thrift store or a yard sale.
Tie a wick (check Hobby Lobby) to a skewer and drop the swing into a cup. The skewer keeps it from falling all the way in.
Pour in your wax melts (also found at Hobby Lobby)
Let harden and trim wick. Done.

Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

For the coffee junkie – decorated coffee mug and fillings.

Buy some white cups or mugs. You can find them in superstores, thrift stores, or dollar stores.
Pick a sharpie.
Start drawing.
Let it dry.
Bake it for 30 minutes at 425 degrees.
Fill this with your favorite coffee or hot chocolate and you have a gift that keeps on giving.

For the movie guru – movie night in a box

Get a box.
Stuff that movie with a $5 movie, boxes of candy, a package of popcorn and anything else you want. Close that box and stick a cute bow or ribbon. Wow your friends with how thoughtful you are to know they’re favorite candies.

For the crafter – crochet kit

Get a Frappuccino from Starbucks. Go ahead and get a venti. You know you’ll drink it. Once you’re on a caffeine rush, wash the cup and dry it well. Buy some pretty yarn and crochet needles (both can be found inexpensively at Wal-Mart or Hobby Lobby). Thread the end of the yarn through the hole in the lid and then place the needles so they look like straws. Adorable, I know.