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The holiday season is officially underway. Christmas has always been my favorite time of the year with everyone buzzing around like worker bees decorating, planning, cooking and shopping. But finding a unique gift that sends the right message is often nerve-racking. Black Friday and Cyber Monday have come to an end, but some sales are still going. If you’re anything like me, picking the perfect gift isn’t an easy task, especially for someone special. It takes me weeks of searching, debating, researching, and comparing different gifts.

This year is my second Christmas with my boyfriend, and the first year seemed too easy. We got each other small personal gifts to let each other know “I know you, I know what you like, and I like that about you.” But this year as our relationship has developed and we’ve jumped big hurdles in our relationship, that doesn’t seem like quite enough this year. So what gifts convey the message “I am grateful for you and the way you love me?”

personalized gifts

Did you know you can put a picture on practically anything? Many shops on Etsy and even Amazon allow you to upload your own photos and have them pressed on sweatshirts, tapestries, blankets and socks. As a small, inexpensive gift, it will be sure to put a smile on your lover’s face.

care packages

My boyfriend happens to attend a different college than I do, and one of the best gifts I can recommend to long-distance couples is a care package. A surprise package arrives at their dorm filled with their favorite snacks, socks, gift cards and personal messages. It can be used to let your loved one know you were thinking about them from afar — bonus points if you make it Christmas themed.

homemade art projects

For those ladies who were blessed with the creative gene, this one’s for you. There is no better gift than one made by you: a piece of art, a song, a collage, a story, a music playlist — anything original to you. This is one that just might bring your significant other to tears. Using your talent to show how you feel about them is one of the sweetest things a person can do.

matching sneakers

We’ve all seen those adorable VSCO pictures of the couple with matching Nike shoes. A new pair of shoes is sure to be at the top of anyone’s Christmas list, while this adds a little more sentimental value. However, nice shoes are a more expensive option.

Room decor

Room or dorm decor is perfect for college students. Gifts like wall calendars, tapestries, posters, LED lights, disco balls or light projectors are all options. Decor is a great way to leave a little piece of your heart in your lover’s room.

nerf guns

This is for all the ladies whose dates are secretly kids at heart. Nothing is better than finding Nerf guns and foam bullets wrapped under the tree. Plan a surprise war — with boundaries — and turn it into a date. Similarly, you can try paintball, water and laser guns. Indulge your childlike desires and have fun with each other, because there is truly no better gift than that.

As you search for the perfect gift this year, just remember it’s truly the thought that counts. Imagine you’re in their shoes and just want to feel loved and appreciated this season — it is not meant to be a stressful time. It should be a fun time for you to reflect on the memories you two have shared and then find the perfect gift that says “thank you.” So save that holiday anxiety for the family reunion, and happy shopping.

Caroline Reed

Virginia Tech '24

Caroline is a freshman majoring in Fashion Merchandising and Design at Virginia Tech. Caroline is so excited to be apart of such a fun group of girls! She loves to write, paint, read, or anything else that requires some creativity and imagination. She loves to go for runs and the occasional hike. She enjoys watching and playing almost all sports, although volleyball is a favorite.
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