Dec 11, 2020 | LIFE | By Abby Mercier | Illustration by Bibi Powers

With the holiday season comes baking, time with family, love, and often a depleted bank account. This year, the pandemic has hit us all in different ways: loved ones have been lost, jobs have been unstable, and the future still seems to be entirely unpredictable. So, this holiday season seems to warrant one thing for all — community.

Below are some ideas of holiday gifts for friends, roommates, coaches, professors, mentors, family, partners, or really anyone. The central goal of these gifts is to be both inexpensive and meaningful.

Beeswax Wraps: These are perfect for replacing saran wrap (or could be designed in the shape of a Ziploc); they’re sustainable, cute, and can be made in bulk.


  • Beeswax pellets
  • 100% cotton fabric (could buy from local fabric shop or re-use thrifted fabrics)
  • Baking sheet
  • Parchment paper
  • Scissors
  • Oven
  • Paint brush/old spatula (might get ruined so use something old)


  1. Preheat oven to about 325 degreesand line cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Cut desired size of fabric with sharp scissors (if you’re making a lot at once, constructing a cardboard stencil might be helpful).
  3. Place fabric of choice upside down (print facing cookie sheet) and sprinkle a couple of handfuls of beeswax pellets, evenly.
  4. Place cookie sheet in oven for about 3-5 minutes (check the first few times to get timing down).
  5. Use a paintbrush or old spatula to evenly spread the melted wax on the fabric.
  6. Hang hot fabric over edge of chair and allow to dry.

Beeswax Candles: I found that my beeswax pellets came in bulk, so making candles with the excess can be another great gift.


  • Beeswax pellets
  • Ceramic/glass container (a friend suggested finding old teacups at a thrift store or saving some materials from your week’s recycling bin)
  • Candle wicks with tabs
  • Coconut oil
  • Essential oils (optional)
  • Double broiler (or two different sized pots can work equally as well)


  1. Simmer water in your double broiler/double pot set up and allow beeswax pellets to melt.
  2. While allowing wax to melt, place your wicks in their jars by sticking the wick pad to the bottom of the jar (centered). If you’re feeling fancy, you could even try a three-wick candle and give Bath and Body Works a run for their money.
  3. Add essential oils and coconut oil into melted wax. Hold wick upright with some sort of clip and pour wax into jar.
  4. Allow candle to cool in a warmish environment so that the wax doesn’t crack.

“Adventure” or “Post 2020 Shenanigans” Journal: You can probably pick a better name for this than me, but you get the idea. Fun idea for friends/partners. Can make it as DIY or store-bought as your heart desires.


  • Journal (you could buy a cheap one or make one by tying some fun pieces of paper together with a cool string and putting a patterned piece of canvas or interesting reused material as the cover)
  • Markers/stickers/paint
  • Disposable camera (optional)


  1. Construct (or buy) your journal.
  2. Add a funky title to it with your choice of medium.

***If you or a friend (email me if you want to borrow one) has a wood burning tool, you could carve a title into an old leather journal and use that!

  • Style the journal to your liking, some ideas could be:
    • Make it a bucket list, with a picture as evidence of each completed experience.
    • A page(s) for each month’s activities.
    • A section for each friend/family member.

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread: I discovered this recipe a few years ago when I was desperate for sugar but had no eggs or butter — so yes, this is accidentally vegan and you would never be able to taste it (I’m not actually vegan so you can take my word for it!)


  • 1/3 c applesauce
  • 1 c white sugar
  • 1 ½ c flour
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1 t salt
  • 3 ripe bananas
  • 3 t vanilla extract
  • A LOT of dark chocolate chips


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Cream applesauce, sugar, and vanilla in small bowl.
  3. Mix together flour, baking soda, and salt. Slowly combine into wet bowl.
  4. Add mashed up bananas (the more liquefied the better).

Put in bread pan and bake for an hour.

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