The holidays are the perfect time to show your friends and loved ones how much you appreciate them—but unless you're working with a big budget, it's not exactly easy to buy tons of different gifts. Luckily, there are plenty of free and inexpensive ways to appreciate your friends — and bonus: you can do these year-round too, and for other special occasions like birthdays.
Write them letters
An easy—and basically free, if you already have stationary you can use—way to show your friends you care during the holidays? Write letters to your friends, and make sure they're actually personal. Reference inside jokes and fun memories, and don't be afraid to get a little sentimental.
Make them a playlist
Maybe physical mixtapes aren't much of a thing anymore (although it'd be even cooler if you made one instead if they have a way to listen to it) but playlists are definitely still in the running. It takes a little bit of time to put one together, but it won't cost you anything and it's totally thoughtful—fill it with songs that remind you of your friend, and they'll love it.
DIY something personal
When in doubt, DIY. You don't have to have a lot of money in your holiday gift budget to give a sweet gift, just find a project that you like and try to personalize it to your friends. If you need inspiration, check out our roundup of holiday gift ideas, or this list of 100+ DIY gifts from POPSUGAR.
Cook a meal together
Rather than exchange gifts, you can do something fun and spend quality time together by planning to cook a meal with your friends instead—you can do it potluck style if you want to have a bunch of people in on it, or for a smaller group, invite everyone over to cook together.
Bake their favorite cookies
If cooking is your style but hosting a meal isn't quite doable, spend a day baking cookies, then set up care packages for your friends—you can deliver them right to their door, or mail them for long-distance friends.
Make a photo album
It takes some time to create, but a photo album or a scrapbook is a thoughtful gift that will also show off all your memories together. Pick out favorite photos of you and your friend together, and anything else that's special (think concert tickets and movie stubs) and put them together in an album.