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Beyond the stocking: unconventional, meaningful gifts for your 20-something friends

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Washington chapter.

With the holiday season quickly approaching, this has several implications: Amazon orders and last minute impersonal gift cards. This year, my goal is to spend more time on presents rather than clicking “order” over and over again for things that my friends won’t even use. And since we are at these weird ages of 19/20/21, shopping is extremely challenging and time-consuming. Here is a list of experiences, activities, and other actually enjoyable gifts that your recipients will love – and will make a lasting impression on them.

  • Spotify playlist – if you know this person well, ask each of their friends/family for a song that reminds them of the individual
  • Spotify subscription – for your Apple music friend
  • Homemade “Thank You” cards – I am not the most artistic, but if you can whip out some colorful cards, this is perfect. You might get one in return!
  • Scrapbooks – for the besties
  • Denim apron – Secret Santa, White elephant, everyone needs an apron – use your old pair of jeans
  • Your favorite mason jar cookie recipe – this is ideal in batches!
  • Vinyl used album from a local record store 
  • Massage gift certificate – Dearest reader, I would like this. Thank you, Maggie.
  • Concert tickets to their favorite artist! Price dependent.
  • Knitted ornaments.  Better yet if their initial is ironed on too.
  • Homemade candles – as long as this individual is not in the dorms
  • A cooking lesson – this could be so cool.
  • Plants
  • A Trader Joe’s gift card – the only gift card idea on the list but my partisan self is a stronger believer that everyone could use Dark Chocolate PB Cups
  • Thrifted glassware (variety of colors) 
  • Reservations to their favorite restaurant 
  • Framed photos 
  • Tickets to any sporting event; bonus points if it’s for the Golden State Warriors
  • Sampling of your favorite teas
  • An entire day itinerary – farmer’s market and brunch, ice skating and coffee, any kind of outing
  • Essential oils 
  • Online magazine subscription or any streaming service
  • Merchandise from their favorite small business

This list is clearly not comprehensive of the multitude of gifts you can offer your loved ones. Each can be made sustainably and actually can have meaning if utilized correctly. And, while finding the perfect present can be one of the most stressful parts of the holidays, I hope you find something that inspires you on this list. And, I hope you have a marvelous holiday season, surrounded by those you love and filled with joy, sweet treats, and “All I Want For Christmas is You” by Mariah Carey.

Maggie is a junior at the University of Washington from San Francisco, California. She is majoring in Public Health - Global Health, and doubling minoring in Data Science and Nutrition. Maggie is a tour guide for UW and the social media coordinator for the Food Pantry. She is super excited to continuing on this project as a writer for Her Campus this year, and be able to share her writing pieces with other like-minded women!