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The holidays are here. Families across the nation are drawn together for good food, good memories and love of  friends and fellowship. It’s a time of gift giving, which for a student with a limited budget, can be stressful. The good news is you don’t have to break the bank. We, at The H.O.P.E. Scholarship, came up with a few cost effective gift options for students.

1. 4.0

A college education is an investment, and there’s no better feeling then making good on an investment. In exchange for those investing time and money in to your education spend the semester dedicated to your courses. Give your parents and family bragging rights by bringing home an exemplary transcript. Universities have the right idea ending the first semester in December a perfect gift just add a bow for a complete package. A 4.0 is the gift that keeps on giving.

2. College paraphernalia

College paraphernalia is a conversation starter. If your family is anything like ours, they’re looking for a reason to tell someone about their relative who’s an all-star student. When a family member wears a college emblazoned sweatshirt, it allows them to tell anyone who comments how proud they are of your achievements.

3. Handmade crafts

Have you considered picking up crocheting, knitting or jewelry making? Yarn can be found as low as $.99 a roll and for the bargain online shopper even cheaper.  Everyone needs a scarf or a blanket right? This is the perfect gift for the fashionista family member or the sports fans. Play with colors and patterns and show your loved ones that you value their interests.

4. Concert

I know what you’re thinking, concerts are not a budget friendly option, particularly if it’s a well known artist. Allow me to explain. Remember those episodes of the Cosby show where the family got together to do a choreographed, lip-synced performance for their grandparents. These episodes are by far the most memorable because they were creative and entertaining. Gather your siblings, cousins, nieces and nephews and put on a performance for the family. The perk of this idea is you can do it even if you don’t have the most harmonic singing voice.

5. Letter of appreciation

When was the last time you received a hand written letter? When was the last time you told someone how much of an impact they made in your life? The people we love are often the one’s we take for granted. We foolishly assume they know we love and appreciate them, and they may, but why not confirm it by putting it into writing. That’s right love letters are not exclusively for romantic couples.

6. Custom CD

We each have a playlist for our lives. Songs take us back to specific moments, memories and people. Consider the special moments you’ve shared with someone and make a CD that coincides with some of your favorite memories with them or simply a CD of their favorite songs.

7. Buy them a new book

Reading is fundamental and with the popularity of e-readers you can find great deals on printed books. Do a little snooping into your love ones favorite authors and search on Amazon. If you’re lucky you may be able to find the perfect book for under $5. If your love one has an e-reader you can also find several affordable digital books.

8. Gift cards

The perfect thing about gift cards is you can select the amount and getting a loved one a gift card to their favorite place shows you care enough to know what they like…you’ll probably score some brownie points with this one.

9. Designer gifts

Purchasing a high end item is not the most cost effective choice. For the student who has a bit more disposable income there are several websites to purchase a high end item at a good price. Check EbayThe OutnetBlueFly, and the sale section at department or designer stores.

10. Give H.O.P.E. for the Holidays

If you are looking for a meaningful gift for someone who loves education and understands that in these tough economic times we need to foster a generation of innovative minds, consider making a donation to the H.O.P.E. Scholarship Fund in honor of friends and family this year. Go to www.thehopescholarship.com to donate online.