How to Have a Great Ho-Ho-Ho When You Owe-Owe-Owe!
December 2, 2013

Black Friday is past and Cyber Monday is rapidly drawing to a close. If you didn’t score any bargain-priced goods to gift your friends and family and your budget is tight (or non-existent), you may already be in a panic. But fear not, for we bring you humble tidings of great joy. Yes, it is possible to cobble together holiday gifts that your loved ones will appreciate without breaking the bank. And for those that owe student loans, the bank may already be bruised, battered or even shattered, so this can be critically important.

Here are 12 ideas – one for each day of Christmas or eight for each crazy night of Hanukkah with four spares – for affordable holiday giving on even the slimmest of budgets:

#1 Tech Support

If you have parents, grandparents or friends that are technically inept, you can offer your services to hook up DVD players, get their printer up and running or set up their WiFi on the Wii or other device. Every time they can properly use their device over the coming year, they will think fondly of you…

#2 Assembly Services

Far too many things come with “some assembly required” and if you shop at Ikea it seems like it’s “a ridiculous amount of assembly mandated.” Offer to put together the bike or bookcase and save those closest to you the hassle of dealing with all the screws and hexkeys. Tell them to kick back with some eggnog and let you do the dirty work…

Offer post-Christmas assembly services

Help your loved ones deal with Ikea is a great gift idea.
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#3 Cooking

Holiday get-togethers are all about the food and for the cook, this means that they often don’t get to spend time with the family because they’re stuck in the kitchen. Pitch in and give your mom, girlfriend or other loved one a hand so they can have a less hectic holiday. They will love you for it…

#4 Cleaning

When friends and family descend, whoever is hosting the get-together will want the house to be spotless. Grab the toilet brush and get to work and we guarantee you’ll be the hero of the holiday, and that’s a good feeling that will last far longer than a Chia Duck Dynasty head…

#5 Organizing

After the holidays, when everything is unwrapped and closets and storage areas need to be reorganized to make room for the new loot, this is where you can make life better for those you care about. Who wouldn’t be thrilled to have their garage decluttered like on an episode of hoarders? The gift of neatness is always a thrill to receive…

#6 Fluff and Fold

As with cooking and cleaning, with an army of guests comes dirty towels, dishcloths, sheets and socks. Wash, fluff, fold, hang and put away every scrap of dirty laundry during your visit and you’ll be declared the best gift giver of all time. Who wouldn’t be thrilled to have a personal launderer? This truly is a “Tide”-ing of great joy…

Airport rides can be a great holiday gift offering

Even Santa may need a ride now and then.
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#7 Chauffeur Services

Are your friends and family expecting out of town visitors? If any are flying in, volunteer your services to pick up and drop off at the airport. The sacrifice of hours of your time will be a sanity-saver for those who don’t have to fight the holiday traffic and endure the post-flight complaints of arriving passengers…

#8 Photo Presentations

Gone are the days when a picture needs to be printed to be treasured. Put together a photo montage and install it on your mom, or GF’s or brother’s or sister’s laptop (even aunts or uncles) or smart TV so they can treasure your smiling face year-round. Old family photos, funny snaps or pics of Xmas through the years will all be welcome…

Manis and pedis are great holiday gift services

Homemade pedicures can be great for guys too!
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#9 Mani/Pedis

It’s hard to find time to get to the salon during the holidays so why not offer up the ladies in your life a manicure or pedicure while they’re relaxing on the sofa? Getting pampered on your own couch is a real treat. You may even be able to talk your dear old dad into getting a “man”-icure if he doesn’t have to go to the nail salon…

#10 Back and Foot Rubs

Okay, so maybe your dad won’t want you buffing his nails, but he won’t turn down a good neck or foot rub. Break out the scented lotion (or unscented for your hairy-footed uncle) and rub away those corns and calluses. For the moms that are on their feet cooking all day, give them a soak and a tootsie rub as a treat…

Host a movie night as a gift

Even a Seth Rogen movie marathon can be a holiday treat.
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#11 Movie Night

No, don’t go out – that will cost a fortune and theaters are jam-packed at the holidays. Instead, let your loved one pick out something you wouldn’t ordinarily watch. Whether it’s Star Trek, a rom-com or (shudder) a Seth Rogen marathon, hit Redbox to score movies on the cheap and grab microwave popcorn and some chocolate and shout “action”!

#12 Crafts

If you’re crafty, you can whip up some cool stuff for your loved ones on the cheap, but even if you’re not so crafty, even something horrible but obviously homemade can warm the heart of those you care about. Before you start handing out macaroni glitter necklaces, though, consider the other suggestions that may provide more benefits to your giftee…

No matter how much you owe-owe-owe, you can still enjoy a great ho-ho-ho if you think about the experience rather than a tangible item. As Great Britain’s esteemed philosopher Jessie J says, “It’s not about the money, money, money… forget about the price tag.” also wants to make sure your holiday is a great one. Share this link to request that your loved ones help you pay off your student loans in lieu of reindeer sweaters and other stuff you really don’t need.’s new gifting program rocks! Also be sure to sign up for our free student loan management tool to get a grip on your debt. Read our blog for awesome repayment tips and news tidbits. And be sure browse our Student Loan Help Center for guides and info on all things student loan related!