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The holiday season looms ever closer. You have papers due, finals to prepare for, and… gifts to buy. If you are productive and ready, you have bought gifts throughout the year. These gifts are sitting in the back of a closet, just waiting to be wrapped. Stress free, you can now focus on school or work.

You are not productive and ready. You are reading this article.

So what will you buy for your parents, siblings, friends, etc? Worry not! I have constructed a gift-giving guide for your perusing pleasure. I will start with some simple gift ideas, then provide a list of questions to help your own brainstorming.

Simple Gift Ideas

  • Movie-in-a-box: Grab one or two movies, some microwavable popcorn, and a few boxes of candy. Add in some fuzzy socks for a nice home-viewing.

  • Gift Cards: I think people tend to avoid gift cards because they feel impersonal. This is a fair assessment, but this gift can be useful. It is practical, easily transportable, and reduces buyer’s remorse. Also, if you know that someone is saving up for an item or starting a collection, a gift card can help contribute.

  • A Game Night Kit: Puzzles, board games, card games, etc. Buy a fun game, and make sure your recipient knows that you’d enjoy working on it together later.

  • The Scented/Spa Gift: Grab some candles, bath bombs, scrubs, or face masks. Just put together something relaxing and fun. Maybe add in a CD with relaxing music.

Guiding Questions for the More Personal Gifts

  • What is your recipient interested in? Do they like books? Sports? An obscure television show?

  • Is there a big event coming up in their lives? Are they studying abroad? Getting married? Getting a new job?

  • What is their major? Their occupation?

  • Do you have any inside jokes?

  • Does your recipient need anything practical?

  • Do they have any hobbies?

Are You Considering a Homemade Gift? Great! Those are often very meaningful and touching. Just make sure:

  • Do you have the time to complete your project?

  • Does the gift fit your budget?

My Last Piece of Advice: I love giving gifts, but I hate shopping for them because I tend to overthink and overcomplicate. Don’t get caught up on trying to find the “perfect” gift. Presents can be meaningful and fun, but try not to let them become a stressor. Ultimately, you are just trying to convey, “I am thankful for you. You are meaningful to me. I got this for you because I thought it would make you happy.”

I am a sophomore at Gustavus Adolphus College, majoring in English. I enjoy reading, listening to music, and spending time with family and friends.
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