Cheap Christmas present ideas for your uni flatmates
friends play fighting while unpacking presents.

Cheap Christmas Present Ideas For Your Uni Flatmates

Jasmyne Jeffery November 8, 2022

Christmas is very quickly creeping up and your student finance is very quickly running out. It can be an expensive time of year; particularly with a whole new bunch of people to buy for. But don’t fret. We have some cheap Christmas present ideas for your uni flatmates.

Before university, you might not have had to buy many presents. Even better, your parents might have just written your name on all the family presents, requiring no effort from you whatsoever. Result!

But now you’ve moved out and dealing with Christmas on your own, and that means buying your own presents too. Of course, you’re going to prioritise your family and other loved ones back home, but now you’ve got flatmates as well. If you live in halls, that might mean another five people (at least) to take into consideration. And that’s not counting all the friends you’ve made on your course.

Finding that line

Undoubtedly you and your uni flatmates have bonded over a cleaning routine, nights out and finding the best local takeaway. But remember you have only known them a couple of months. That being said, getting them nothing might seem a little harsh, particularly if they’ve gifted you something.

The line between wanting to give a Christmas present and not wanting to go into your overdraft is one that must be trodden carefully. You don’t want to go all out and set yourself a reputation for buying lavish presents for the rest of your time at university.

Plus, you don’t want to have bought everyone presents just to get nothing back. It’s the unspoken rule of Christmas that you ‘didn’t expect anything!’ but we all know it hurts a little when you’ve made the effort and got diddly squat in return.

Have a Christmas conversation

Fetch some mince pies, a hot chocolate (with whipped cream and marshmallows of course) and organise a festive flatmate chat. Get all your Christmas grievances out in the open and honestly discuss what the expectations are going to be.

Remember, some may have more or less money than you, and some might not even celebrate Christmas at all.

Before anyone buys any presents, have a proper sit-down and get a feel for the festive air so that no one ends up disappointed.

Cheap Christmas Present Ideas For Your Uni Flatmates

Just because a Christmas present is cheap, doesn’t mean that no thought has been put into it. There are loads of ways to gift your uni flatmates a Christmas present without breaking the bank. The best idea? Get everyone a stocking.

Individual stockings

You’re probably thinking that getting everybody a stocking goes against everything we’ve just said. But hold your reindeer, just a second. This would be something to talk about with your flatmates in that initial festive discussion. Everybody in your flat gets a stocking (just of medium size, not one of the humongous ones) and everybody else contributes to filling it.

When I’ve done this in the past, my friends and I set a £10 limit per stocking. So, depending on how many people are in your flat, you might only spend a few pounds per person. Everybody gets the fun of opening a stocking, but there’s no pressure to spend loads. We didn’t label any presents from who they were from either, so the receiver didn’t know what individuals spent on them.

The one crucial thing is to plan what you’re getting somebody with the others. Although we all love a Terry’s Chocolate Orange, a whole stocking full of them might be a bit much!

An outing instead of a Christmas present

Something that is more and more common is buying a loved one an experience or a gift voucher to spend the day doing something they really enjoy. This really could be anything from a trip to a theme park, wine tasting or canoeing. Gifts like this are a little different but show that you’re really in touch with that person’s interest and you’re not just picking up some fluffy socks.

Of course, you can’t buy an experience for everyone in your university flat, but you could do something together. You’ve still only known each other a few months, so it could be a great way to form those lifelong bonds or to tease out someone’s secret competitive streak. Simply pop £10 or so each into a pot and assess what you could do with that budget. The tricky thing is finding something that you all want to do. However, if your budget allows, you could always do more than one thing. It’s really up to you and your flatmates.

The ideas could be as simple as going to the cinema, going on a night out or having a nice meal all together. You could go bowling, ice skating or take a collective pottery class. The options really are limitless.

A Cheap Christmas present for the flat

Instead of buying everyone an individual present, you could all buy something for everyone to use or to improve your flat. This doesn’t have to be something that the whole flat gets involved in, but it could be if you wanted it to. You could even allocate certain rooms to people to make it more interesting.

It doesn’t have to be expensive and could purely be practical, or a little more flamboyant if you want to add some funky decor. It’s as easy as some fairy lights, some plant children, picture frames, blankets or more. It really is anything you want it to be. Your flatmates will still appreciate the thought and it’s something to be used all year round.

A Festive Bake

No, not the one from Greggs (although it could be if that’s your flatmates’ vibe) but a homemade bake for everyone to enjoy. Now Bake Off is finishing for the year, you can use your inspiration from this series to bake some cakes or cookies as a tasty treat.

Depending on what you want to make, the ingredients shouldn’t cost a lot. Plus, you could always make way more than you need (as always when baking!) and freeze the leftovers to enjoy later on in the year.

Gingerbread men decorated with sprinkles and icing

If you want to make it really fun, you could make something that could be individually decorated by everyone. Grab some coloured icing, hundreds and thousands and whack on some Shakin’ Stevens. Now, you’ve got a festive bonding experience where you can take all of the credit.

Just remember that, as it was your idea, you might have to do the washing up…

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Jasmyne Jeffery is a full-time Entertainment and News Writer on university-themed website Freshered and HITC, and joined the company having previously worked in a freelance role. She attended the University of South Wales where she was also a student blogger and graduated in 2022 with a first-class honours degree in English and Creative Writing. Now, she puts her creativity to use reviewing university bars, Love Island episodes and the latest apps any 18-25-year-old is using.