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Gift-giving is quite the stressful endeavor, especially when you’re a broke college student with little time available. I always tell my loved ones not to bother getting me a gift, especially if they’re worried about cost. Personally, I’d be ecstatic if someone simply picked up a piece of metal off the ground, and gave it to me as a gift and told me they thought of me when they saw it. But in the case that you're looking for more than gems off the street, here’s a couple underrated ideas to get you started on your holiday gift fiasco.


1. Swords, daggers, and knives

Nothing drives away anxiety like walking around your house wielding an epic sword, and you’d be surprised at how cheap they can be. Some fully functional sharpened swords can be bought online for under $25. There are certainly much more expensive examples, and the worth thereof is debatable; it just depends on the quality and importance of gift giving to you personally. But, if you’re looking for something cheaper, a dagger is equally awesome. Honestly, if someone gave me a pretty dagger, I’d fall in love with them on the spot. If neither of these strikes your fancy, a knife is always a great option. It’s cheaper, and it’s literally never not useful. A cute knife (yes a knife can be cute) is a lovely gift, and you’d be surprised at how often they’ll use it, and they’ll think of you every time they do!

2. Multitools

In the same vein as knives, a multi-tool (or leatherman) is another invaluable tool for anyone. They’re convenient, cheap, long-lasting, and always good to have around. It’ll also increase the number of possible household projects tenfold, and, like a knife, it’s something the recipient will think of you every time they use.


3. Art/ hobby supplies

If you give an artist or hobbyist supplies that they’ve needed, you’ll be surprised at how thankful they’ll be.  These tools are usually rather expensive, and it’s almost impossible to find the correct supplies without spoiling the surprise, but it’s more than worth it.  Paints, colored pencils, canvases, welding rods, epoxy, and everything in between make excellent gifts. Artists run out of supplies faster than you’d expect!

4. Quality Time

All of these have been traditional material gifts, and those are always nice, but there’s always other, equally valuable things you can give your friends and loved ones. Spend time with them, pay attention to what they care about, do something that they’ve been procrastinating for/with them. Write a handwritten letter. Take pictures with them. Take them on a date to a cute place, or even send them cute memes that made you think of them. Due to our capitalist and individualistic culture, these might seem less valuable or important, but these gifts are the real ones that show love and affection.

Gift-giving doesn’t have to be difficult or painful, and it also doesn’t need to be a hunt for material gifts. Some people go all out, and some give a few meaningful gifts here and there, but as long as you put thought and effort into something, I’m sure your recipient will love it. And in this gift giving season, remember to give some gifts to yourself--especially after finals week. Take time to de-stress, and take care of yourself. Don’t feel obligated to make an effort for those that don’t do the same for you, in both gift-giving and in general life.


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Jacob Westwood is a senior at the University of Utah, who loves animals, the outdoors, and hands-on work.
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