In my experience, little things that are passed down or hand-made can mean just as much if not more than some expensive gift. And the most important thing to remember when you get your first little is this: you can buy them all the gifts in the world, but what's most important is that you give them your time. A bunch of new shirts and tote bags are great and all, but the focus should be on bonding and making her feel welcome! That's why I think experiences are important along with the little gifts: go shopping, make your little dinner, bond over a TV show. Whatever it is, make her feel like she's a part of your life and not an obligation.
But since gifts are still definitely a part of the big-little experience, here are some suggestions for showing her you care without breaking the bank in the process.
Examples: painting a canvas with a favorite quote, buying wooden greek letters and painting on a cute design, making a paddle, etc.
In my chapter, we have the new members fill out info sheets with all of their favorite things listed on it, and then give that sheet to their bigs. This is helpful in getting to know them, and in getting them gifts that are specific to each girl. T shirts with letters are cute, but they aren't especially personal. Instead, if you know your little has had a tough week, order you guys her favorite kind of pizza and rent her favorite movie. This is a cheap, easy way to show you're paying attention to what she likes and really getting to know her.
|Is your little a Starbucks addict? Bring her coffee!|
A great way to do something sweet for your little without spending too much is to cook her her favorite food or bake her favorite dessert. You just need a few dollars for ingredients, and she's bound to be touched that you took time to make her something. It's the same idea as crafting- it's nice to know someone took time out of their busy schedule to make something just for you. And there are a ton of recipes out there for sorority specific snacks, so get creative!
|As an Alpha Gam, I'm biased toward acorn cookies|
Pass downs are a great resource for the budget-conscious big. When I was still a new member, my big passed down a simple pearl necklace to me that her big had given her. Your pass-down can be anything, from a shirt to a piece of jewelry to something as small as a cup or notebook. It doesn't cost you anything, but it's really meaningful if it ends up getting passed down through the generations of your big-little family.
|Me, Grand-little, and my Big|
I know I've been saying there are other more personal options than just buying licensed sorority clothes and gifts, but if creativity fails you, this kind of stuff is always a good option. Even if it isn't as personal as a handmade craft, new members always love getting anything with their new letters on it. Now that I'm a senior I have so much AGD stuff it could probably clothe a small town, but everyone starts out with just a shirt or two. Help your little start building her collection! You don't have to spend a ton, either. A lot of sites have great sales, and you can even buy a plain colored t-shirt and iron-on letters and make it yourself. Some of my favorite sites for sorority merch include: Etsy, Sassy Sorority, Get Some Greek, Greek Gear, and M and D Sorority Gifts.