By Hannah Manandhar Zwahlen, reporter

As the last Autumn leaves fall from the trees and the first snow falls, college students at PPCC are gearing up for the winter holidays with easy, fun, inexpensive DIY decorations and gifts that can be made using affordable items for this holiday season.

Tin Can Santa: The next time you use a can of beans or soup, don’t throw the tin away! Using acrylic paint that is less than $2 at Walmart, paint the can a light pink color. With cotton balls from your bathroom, you can glue those to the bottom half of the can to create a white, fluffy beard. Black acrylic paint can create Santa’s eyes. Finish it with a Dollar Store holiday hat on top of the can!

Reindeer Wine Glass: The holidays aren’t complete without reindeer! Pick up a wine glass from the dollar store and spray it with $5 brown glitter spray from Walmart. Let this sit upside down for 24 hours while you work on homework or holiday activities. Pipe cleaners can be used to make the reindeer’s antlers. Attach these antlers to the upside down wine glass at the base of the stem. Use a red pom-pom in the middle of the glass for a nose. Finish this cute decoration by attaching a bell to the antlers.

Popsicle Stick Snowflake: Popsicle sticks can also make great holiday decorations. All that is needed to make a snowflake wall hanging is popsicle sticks and hot glue! Start by creating an octagon center with the sticks. From there, the design of the snowflake is customizable to your personal style.

Hot Chocolate Ornament: Does your Christmas tree need a finishing touch, or are you looking for a fun stocking stuffer? Hot chocolate ornaments are a festive addition to your holiday celebrations. Using a plastic ball ornament, fill the ornament up with all the hot chocolate essentials: cocoa powder, holiday sprinkles, mini marshmallows, and crushed up peppermint! This creates an easy but delicious decoration or small gift.

Mod Podge Tile: Another cute polaroid-inspired gift idea can be made using old photos, .98 cent ceramic tiles from a home improvement store and Mod Podge, which costs around seven dollars at Wal-mart. Cut the photo until it is 3 ¾ inches wide and 3 ¼ inches high. Next, brush the Mod Podge on the back of the photo and place it on a tile. Make sure to leave a 1/4-inch border on the top and on the sides, with a ¾ inch border at the bottom if you want the polaroid effect. Let this dry for 30 minutes. After that, spread the Mod Podge over the photo and the borders of the tile and let that sit for an hour. Repeat this process three time and then seal the tile with a clear sealant. After 24 hours, you will have a picture-perfect gift!

Sharpie Art Mug: Another easy gift you can give to anyone in your life is a Sharpie art mug. Grab a white mug from the dollar store and a sharpie from your school supplies. Create a festive masterpiece, or something more personal on the plain mug. Let the mug sit for 24 hours; this will let the Sharpie completely dry. Then, bake your creation in the oven for 30 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Put the mug in the oven before the oven heats up and after it cools so the mug does not develop any cracks. You can use this technique on plates, tea pots, or any other white dishware.

Homemade Salsa:

If you want to be original this holiday season, give a tasty and creative gift in the form of homemade salsa in a festive mason jar.

Ingredients you will need: 1 can of whole tomatoes, drained

2 cans of diced tomatoes with green chilies

¼ cup of chopped onion

½ to 1 jalapeño, finely chopped

½ – ¾ cup (or to taste) of cilantro, finely chopped

1 ½ tablespoon of fresh lime juice

1 teaspoon of minced garlic

¼ teaspoon salt

Pinch of sugar

Dash of cumin

Put all these ingredients in a blender or food processor and combine until mixture reaches desired consistency.

Refrigerate salsa for an hour before placing in Mason jars. To decorate the mason jars, place festive ribbon around the lid with a bell attached, or a small holiday card.


Add your own twist to any of these holiday crafts and gifts to create original masterpieces for decorating your home or providing gifts this winter season.