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Holiday Shopping For A UCLA Student: 4 Infallible Westwood Gift Card Ideas

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCLA chapter.

The holidays are nearly here, and you haven’t figured out a gift for the Bruin in your life. Maybe you’re an aunt or uncle bewildered by what college kids like nowadays. Or perhaps you’re a UCLA student yourself, and you’ve just run out of ideas for what to buy all five of your roommates (yes, Westwood rent is horrendous). Look no further! I’ve got a two-word solution for you: gift cards. While I know that gift cards have a bad rap for being last-minute “cop-out” gifts, I’m here to break down that stigma. College students need practical presents that won’t end up in the junk piles of shame next to our laundry baskets. If you want to bestow upon your Bruin a handy present that they will 100% make use of next quarter, here are four top-tier gift card ideas:

Trader Joe’s

You can never, ever, go wrong with a Trader Joe’s gift card. Think about it—we all need to pay for food, and grocery costs are skyrocketing. Even a $15 TJ’s card ensures that your gift recipient can stock up on a few tasty essentials for their dorm or apartment. Why TJ’s rather than the Westwood Whole Foods or Ralphs? TJ’s has a UCLA fandom unlike any of its competitors, thanks to its trendy seasonal treats and college-friendly prepared items. Take my word for it, your Bruin would relish the opportunity to peruse the TJ’s frozen aisle with the freedom of a gift card in hand. Just keep in mind that gift cards are only sold in stores!


Nope, this isn’t a typo; no need for bulky coats in L.A. Though not yet a household name for the general public, Duffl is a Bruin-founded phenomenon among college students. Through Duffl, students can order snacks, student essentials and personal care items then have a scooter-riding classmate deliver the goods to their doorstep within 10 minutes. Duffl doesn’t sell traditional gift cards but allows you to send money to another Duffl user, Venmo-style. Surprising a Bruin with a deposit to their Duffl account is such a quick and easy way to let them know that you care. I promise they’ll be singing your praises when they panic-order energy drinks during Winter Quarter midterms!

Insomnia Cookies

I know it’s controversial, but it needs to be said: Insomnia Cookies has dethroned Diddy Riese as Westwood’s best cookie spot. This newer bakery delivers warm cookies to dorms and apartments throughout the night. I’m a bit biased because Insomnia Cookies offers the vegan options that its rival lacks, but there’s a general consensus that ordering cookies from bed is better than waiting in Diddy Riese’s infamously long line. A gift card for Insomnia Cookies means that your Bruin could practically snap their fingers and have a gourmet dessert arrive at their late-night study group, immeasurably boosting morale. So, simply head over to the bakery’s website and select your card from a range of email and physical options!


Rounding out our foodie theme, SweetGreen is another staple, gift card-friendly Westwood eatery. There are several of these trendy restaurants near campus, each packed with UCLA students munching on customizable harvest bowls and furiously typing on our laptops. Though SweetGreen salads are the perfect blend of healthy and convenient, they’re also frustratingly expensive. Heartbreak rippled through my apartment when one of my roommates quit her SweetGreen job, and we all lost access to her employee discount. With the help of your generous gift card, your Bruin could splurge on these coveted, nourishing meals (and even splash out on premium toppings like avocado!). I have no doubt that this low-effort, high-reward gift would be greatly appreciated.

So, don’t panic if you’re suffering from a shopping mental block. You can order a gift card in the next two minutes and rest easy that the UCLA student on your gift list will be pleased with their present. These four options strike the perfect balance between allowing your giftee to buy what they actually need and showing that you took the time to consider college life in Westwood. If you want to think a bit outside of the box, feel free to browse the Westwood Village Business Directory to find some even more unique spots that offer gift cards! Happy gifting!

Kate is a third-year English major at UCLA, hailing from San Francisco. When she's not editing articles for Her Campus at UCLA, she enjoys getting lost in a good book and experimenting with vegan recipes.