Cheap and thoughtful Christmas present ideas

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In the final countdown to Christmas there is always going to be that mad dash to sort out your present list and stay within your budget. If you, like me, are one of those who leave everything until the last minute and are saving your pennies for an epic New Year's Eve then here are a few simple and cheap but thoughtful gifts that won’t leave you broke:

1) Photo collage
This is a lovely and personal idea for your oldest and closest friends to capture all your best memories together. For the simple version grab a hanging photo gallery with separate photo pockets which you can pick up from Asda, Amazon or Wilko for under £10 and just pop your favorite photos in. If you want to go that extra step get a large corkboard, cover it with colored card or wallpaper and create a collage complete with photos, gig tickets, letters you’ve written to each other or postcards and, for an added bonus, you don’t even need to wrap it – just hang it on their wall.

2) Baked treats
Baking is a fun and relaxing way to get into the Christmas spirit and to put your creativity and culinary skills to the test. Choose a family recipe or get inspiration from easy and free online recipes such as Sorted food. Pick your favorite festive recipe from gingerbread men to Christmas cupcakes to mince pies. Get all your friends together in your student accommodation so you can all pitch in and make it more fun. Divide up the labour but don’t get carried away and keep an eye on the hob and the microwave – nothing ruins Christmas baking like a smoke alarm and a fire drill!

3) Stocking
Everyone loves a good stocking with little treats and knick-knacks so it’s a simple and cheap way to give a Christmas treat. You can buy a stocking at poundland or a Christmas market stall and fill to the top with sweets, chocolates, soaps and smellies. This is great if you’ve got a lot of people to give gifts for as you can buy a few boxes of chocolates, some mini shower gels and bath salts and divide them up between all of the stockings.

4) Personalised gadget case
For your tech-savvy friend or partner who’s always on the go, a personalised phone case with a special photo or a picture of their favorite painting is a simple way to remind them of you. Head to your nearest Kodak store or order online from Photobox, choose from a range of smartphone and tablet cases and decide whether you want to create a photo collage or just one special photo (£15-25 depending on the gadget).

5) Knitted winter warmers
If you fancy learning a new fun but practical skill this winter then why not give knitting a go? Proven to improve dexterity and co-ordination as well as being a real crowd-pleaser, wrap up a simple scarf that you can proudly say that you knitted yourself. A knitting starter kit from Cath Kidston on eBay is only £10 but it is the gift that keeps on giving as you can make different colors or different patterns for everyone and show how much time and effort you’ve put into their gift.

I hope that one of these ideas will please your friends or family, I'm off to sort out my presents now... good luck!

Liberty Living provides student accommodation in 19 university cities across the UK, including student accommodation in Liverpool, student accommodation in London, student accommodation in Newcastle plus many more.

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