Once again, that time is approaching where we poor unfortunate students of Swansea must take on the gigantic challenge of Christmas shopping. I don’t know about most of you, but when I go Christmas shopping I am relentless. I enter that Christmas market in the frame of mind that I have a never-ending number of family and friends that I MUST purchase things for, or I will have to face the character-demoralising, heart crushing look of judgement that I get every year, and the voices start ringing in my head: ‘That’s not a very good present!’ or ‘Why did you spend more on him than me!’

But you know what? Actually, you don’t have to worry about all that. We are still, sad to say it, in the heart of that lovely thing we have all come to know as the recession and 2013 is officially the year for making things. So don’t waste your time cruising around Pound Land pretending to spend ‘a fortune’ on your loved ones (though you can do if that’s really your thing). Instead, why not get creative and make something?

One idea I have come to absolutely love, and have used time and time again, is making your own Christmas tree decorations. When I was little, I used to make little reindeer decorations for the tree (yes I was that poor), and all this involved was buying some clothes pegs (or stealing my mum’s) painting them with brown acrylic paint, buying some little red balls and googly eyes, and then using adhesive glue to stick the googly eyes to the centre of the clothes peg and the red ball beneath to make it look like a reindeer’s face. You have to make it so that the end of the clothes peg that would normally attach to the washing line would peg on to the tree to make it look like a reindeer with tall antlers. Yes, it may seem tacky but it is the cutest thing to behold upon the tree, and if you’ve got some really lovely friends that go for that kind of gooiness, they may even keep them for life and start a collection.

Clothes pin snowflake 2

                                                                                      Handmade decorations – simple but effective.

Another great idea to think about is making your own Christmas hamper. Last year I wanted to put my cooking skills to good use so, with the exception of some cider bought from Tesco, I decided to make a Christmas hamper that involved making: gingerbread cookies (or whatever cookies you fancy), an orange and fenugreek chutney sauce (with chutney in particular you can experiment with different flavours and foods), some cheese (if you’ve got the means to make cheese or just fancy buying some cheese from the supermarket and making some alterations by adding fruit or nuts), and even cooking utensils like a wooden spoon with the person’s name painted on it (but make sure you use a thin brush so that it’s actually legible!)

If you really don’t fancy making something, there are still some great bargains in the high-street shops around Christmas time. Need I remind you all of the marvellously affordable kingdom that is Primark? If you’re really in the Christmassy mood why not purchase a quaint and snuggly Primark Christmas jumper – with a variety of styles to choose from, ranging from £5 – £12? Failing that if there’s something in particular that you really HAVE to buy for your loved one, take a gander down the Amazon and Ebay avenues. There are so many fantastic deals, particularly on books and films, and many, despite being second hand, are in good condition (and your family and friends don’t need to know that it’s second hand). I recently purchased three second hand books from Amazon for under £10, which to me sounds like a bloody good deal!

mr darcy

Hipster  Mr. Darcy rocking the ironic Christmas jumper before it was cool

So why keel under the pressure and spend countless pennies where you don’t need to? Why not try either getting creative, or try hitting those bargain stores this Christmas?

By Naomi Dunn