Christmas Shopping on a Budget

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As university students, we don’t often have a lot of money to splurge on expensive Christmas gifts. During what is both the holiday season and our break between semesters, money is tight. Luckily, thanks to the internet and a few of these tips and tricks, you can be Christmas shopping your way to a happy, gift-giving holiday without breaking the bank.

First things first, there are tons of websites where you can buy items online for cheap. Of course, you will have to pay shipping, but on sites like Amazon, you aren’t charged for the weight of your package and if you spend a certain amount, shipping is often free.

For the weird, wacky, gadget-lover in your life, websites like “” are great. Another interesting site, “” can get very expensive very quickly. However, it does have a slider-bar so that you can search for items under $10-20 dollars…or cheaper! Google is another option, simply search “gifts under $__” (whatever your budget-per-person is, fill in the blank).

If you are doing most of your Christmas shopping online, try to keep it to one or two websites. Shipping will be cheaper (maybe free) that way, and you’ll be able to keep track of your purchases more easily.

Got a book-lover in the family? Forget the expensive books at Chapters Indigo. Skip the big-name bookstores and just go down to your local used bookstores to see what you can find. There are quite a few of these used bookstores in Saint John, including Reads United Book Exchange and Scheherazade Books & Music uptown, as well as the small book kiosk in the Saint John City Market from Dave Shoots Bookseller (also uptown).

Another great stop in the City Market is Canvas Pictures. Email them a photograph and size that you would like it to be, and they’ll put it on canvas for you. The prices go up depending on the size, but for a smaller gift, it’s something that’s both affordable and personal.

Sweets baskets are also an inexpensive gift option. Enjoy baking? Don’t enjoy baking, but you know it’s the only thing you can reasonably do for everyone? A couple batches of cookies in a gift-box, bag, jar, or basket makes a fun gift, so long as it’s sealed up and the sweets don’t dry out.

Lastly, if you feel you must get presents for all of your friends and coworkers (which I recommend not doing), suggest a Secret Santa instead. That way, everyone receives a gift but everyone only has to buy one. For extended family that you don’t really know, coworkers, professors, and acquaintances, I recommend just buying them a Christmas card, and leaving it at that.

Good luck on exams and have a Merry Christmas!

Emily is in her fourth year of Political Science. She loves studying and academics which follows into her research work. She's a stern black coffee drinker and is a proud Acadienne. When she's not working or doing school work, you can find Emily listening to 70s music on vinyl and watching Parks and Recreation. If you ask her about parliamentary institutions, she won't stop talking.