Students thinking outside the box for holiday gifts

Instead of joining the crowds of shoppers at the mall, some St. Thomas students have decided to take a more creative approach to holiday gift giving.

“I wanted to give something special to my parents so that when they see it, they think of me,” senior Lori Mowry said. “Giving something that you have carefully thought of, designed and crafted is a gift that will always be more appreciated and remembered.”

<p>Lori Mowry took these pictures for her alphabet photography gift to her parents. (Provided by Lori Mowry)</p>
Lori Mowry took these pictures for her alphabet photography gift to her parents. (Provided by Lori Mowry)

Mowry is giving her parents alphabet photography that will spell out their last name.

“I took photographs of everyday objects that resembled letters of my last name,” she said.

Mowry took a picture of the St. Thomas arches to represent the first letter in her last name.

“All the things I took pictures of also had a meaning behind them,” she said. “I chose the St. Thomas arches because it represents a part of my life.”

She also photographed the letter ‘W’ in the McNeely building, which is symbolic because she is a business major.

Homemade gifts encourage creativity

Junior Morgan Ekstrand said homemade gifts are more personal and allow her to be creative.

“I was invited to a Christmas party and the theme was bring your own ornament,” Ekstrand said. “I made a star for the top of the tree.”

She made a three-dimensional star out of wire by cutting, twisting and twirling the wire into the shape of a star. She then strung Christmas lights through it.

“My family’s tree topper is a star that is also made out of wire, so this gave me the idea of a wire star strung with lights,” she said.

She also made ornaments out of wire for her roommates. She shaped and twisted the wire to form the letters of their first names. She then strung ribbon through the letters and hung them on the Christmas tree.

“I had to buy one roll of wire for about $5 to $6, and I was able to make 10 gifts with it,” she said. “It was very inexpensive.”

Finding cheaper gifts

Sophomore Larissa Peyton said her family is buying all of their gifts from infomercials.

“Gifts are expensive,” she said. “They can be cheaper on television.”

It was her grandmother’s idea to buy gifts from infomercials, Peyton said.

“My grandmother wanted a ShamWow last year and didn’t get it,” she said. “So this year my family is doing [an] ‘As Seen On TV’ Christmas.”

Other unique gifts

Junior Allie Metzler said she is giving the gift of time to her mom.

“Time spent with the family is more important to my mom, who says she already has everything she needs,” Metzler said.

Metzler’s family will spend time with each other while they organize their storage space, she said.

“My mom has a large storage space in the basement of our house,” she said. “It’s really disorganized, and it bothers her that it’s that way.”

To help her mom, Metzler is designing an organization plan for the storage room.

“For Christmas, I would like to write up a detailed plan of organization, including drafts of how the space could be organized, a schedule for completing the task and plans for how we can sell, give away or throw away things we don’t need,” she said.

Senior Betsy Hupp said she bought her boyfriend something unique for Christmas because he can buy traditional gifts, such as shirts, ties and movies, for himself.

“I got [my boyfriend] a starter kit for a home-brewing system for his birthday,” Hupp said. “For Christmas, I am buying him the ingredients to make the beer.”

It is a special Christmas gift because he can use it as a hobby for his whole life, she said.

Senior Anthony Gerten is giving his mother a Mimosa pudica plant, which is a plant that moves rapidly when touched. He said his gift is special because he grew it from a seed and started growing it in October.

“I’m kind of a plant guru, and when I found out about this plant, I ordered a packet of seeds,” Gerten said. “I thought it would be a cool and bizarre thing to give my mother.”

He wanted to give the plant to his mother because he likes to receive strange gifts.

“I figured since I always ask for something strange, and my family members have always obliged, I figured I would show my appreciation by returning the favor,” he said.

Rebekah Frank can be reached at