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The Student News Site of University of California - San Diego

The UCSD Guardian

The Student News Site of University of California - San Diego

The UCSD Guardian

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Gift Guide 2017


Haven’t yet started your holiday shopping? Have no fear! Lifestyle is here with a plethora of ideas of what to get your loved ones this season.

Gifting for the Un-Giftableby Natalie Duprey
Affordable Gift Giving Guide for College Students, by Jade Hookham
Gifts for the Old Soul, by Brittney Lu
Holiday Gift Ideas for Moms, by Samirah Martinez
Gifts for the Traveler, by Annika Olives
Gift Guide for Gym Enthusiasts, by Fred Grier
What to buy your fashion-forward friends, by Chelsea Santos

Gifting for the Un-Giftable, by Natalie Duprey

‘Tis the season! No matter how you celebrate, winter holidays always seem to bring joy, especially through gift giving. But sometimes getting a present for someone can be unexpectedly stressful. Whether it’s a new suitemate for secret santa or the UCSD Meme Facebook page’s white elephant, here are some ideas for a person you don’t know all that well.

To start, do some research about the person in question. Put those social media skills to the test, and look through their Instagram or Pinterest for ideas. This will allow you to get a really good idea of their personal style based on how they post and the types of pages they like. Once you have a general idea of what they like, you can start narrowing things down based on your budget and convenience.

At events like these, you are not expected to go over the top or out of your way to get an extravagant gift, especially if you don’t know the person all that well. But once you pick out a gift, be sure to put it in nice packaging. It seems obvious, but presenting a nicely wrapped present says a lot about how much you care. So be sure to check “gift wrapped” before you order off Amazon! Speaking of Amazon, ask the person being shopped for to send you their wishlist. If it’s anything like mine, it’s probably filled with random gifts they promised to treat themselves to.

In addition to these tips for narrowing down ideas, you can also build off these suggestions. With the person’s sense of style in mind, you can always apply it to small gifts such as mugs, crazy socks, pajama pants, laptop stickers, and phone cases. If you want, you can even get a premade gift basket, but be sure to check everything that’s included in it! (You might not want to get someone who is health-conscious an oversized cookie.)

Now you have all you need to get the perfect gift, time to go shopping!

Affordable Gift Giving Guide for College Students, by Jade Hookham

Let’s be honest here; as the holidays begin to creep up on us, there is a sense of panic that overwhelms the college student population. What do we get for our friends and family? And even more importantly, how can we afford it all? Well, fear not! I have listed below several fun and practical gifts that won’t break the bank, all in the name of Christmas shopping by students, for students.

Option one: techie stuff. For a practical and affordable gift, there’s nothing better than technology accessories. A new phone case, laptop case, keyboard cover, or new headphones would make any student feel a bit giddy. Amazon is especially good for picking up tech gifts, and you can use your student Amazon Prime account for shipping as well.

Option two: gift cards. These are especially good for food and clothes. People might say gift cards are impersonal, but I feel that there’s an unspoken agreement among college students that says we don’t care. Whether it’s for Baskin Robbins or Staples, there’s a gift card out there that will be appreciated by the person you’re shopping for.

Option three: interior decorations. Things like succulents, kitchen accessories, and throw pillows are small things that can add something extra to a room without causing you to go bankrupt. Even a cute mug can brighten up someone’s holidays if you put enough thought into it. A quick trip to somewhere like Target or Pottery Barn will give you plenty of options for this category. Though Pottery Barn is sometimes on the expensive side, there are tons of holiday deals to take advantage of on its website.

If you still need some methods to further minimize spending, have no fear! Secret Santa is a common tradition used to give cheap gifts among larger groups of people. But if you absolutely can’t spend any more money than necessary, just get crafty. Everyone loves a handwritten card filled with inside jokes or a scrapbook that contains your fondest memories. And even if you can’t get someone you love a gift for whatever reason, I’m sure that you can find some way to show your appreciation this holiday season!

Gifts for the Old Soul, by Brittney Lu

Unsure of what to get the friend who is 21 going on 80? Not to worry, Lifestyle’s in-house grandmother is here to share some ideas for what to get the old soul in your life.

A Cuppa Cheer

When the preferred bedtime is around 10 p.m. (or earlier), a good cup of tea is the perfect treat to help relax or revive. Treat this friend to some tea — loose leaf green, chamomile, Earl Grey, English breakfast or chai — with a quick Ralphs run or dining dollar dash. Supplement their steep with a mug or an infuser.

Editor’s Pick:

  • NimaTea glass tea cup with infuser and bamboo lid (starting at $11.97, Amazon)
  • Silicone tea filter and diffuser, various shapes and sizes from a tea leaf to manatee (products starting at $6.25, Amazon)
  • Numi tea ($4.69, Ralphs)

A Season for Stationary

For bullet journaling, planning weekend nights in, handwriting letters, or setting reminders, some stationary helps keep an old soul in check of what’s to come by 2018. Because nothing satisfies like catching up with correspondents on a Friday night.

Editor’s Pick:

  • Rifle Paper Co. notebooks, planners or calendars (starting at $8, Amazon)
  • Muji gel ink ballpoint pens (packs starting at $5.85, Amazon)

Green Thumb Gifts

For those whose hobby is herbs, consider blessing this friend with a bit of green for their kitchen, dorm, or apartment. Redecorate an old egg carton or buy a small terracotta pot to plant seeds bought from The Home Depot as a temporary and portable garden. When they return the favor with some freshly grown basil, it’ll be the gift that keeps on giving.

Warm Wishes

Give a constant hug without the physical contact. Gift a blanket or a pair of fuzzy socks to warm the body and soul. Or perhaps gift a few knitting needles so they can stitch their own cozy companion. Throw in a candle or two to help cultivate the ultimate “I-don’t-want-to-go-out-because-Golden-Girls-is-on” atmosphere.

Editor’s Pick:

  • Serasoft blankets in assorted colors ($14.99, Bed Bath & Beyond)
  • Two-pack cozy socks ($7, Target)
  • Three-wick candles (starting at $5, Bath and Body Works)


Make every season soup season for this friend with a gift card to Souplantation, Panera Bread or Boudin Bakery. Extra points if you go with them at 4 p.m. for the early-bird special.

Holiday Gift Ideas for Moms, by Samirah Martinez

It is a universally acknowledged truth that moms are superheroes in disguise. This can make holiday shopping intimidating since you want to find the perfect present she will actually enjoy. Whether it is your mom, a mother figure in your life, or the mom of your friend group, here are a few options that are sure to “wow” the mom in your life.

Face Masks

This gift may seem like a simple choice, but a good face mask is perfect for the busy and selfless mom that rarely gives herself time to relax. This type of mom may not always go out of her way to buy something just for herself, so a self-care gift will undoubtedly be appreciated. Amazon has different sheet mask bundles that offer a variety of different solutions and formulas, but your mom’s favorite face mask can work, too.

Decorative Plants

Plants have the power to liven up a room during the holiday season. If your mom has a green thumb, a plant that is more involved, like a poinsettia that can be planted after the holidays, can be a great project. If your mom does not have a green thumb but loves plants anyway, Trader Joe’s has recently come out with air plants attached to Christmas ornaments, so a few of those low-maintenance plants would be a great alternative.

Warm Accessories

Fuzzy socks, scarves, gloves, beanies, blankets — anything goes if it is warm! Most people would appreciate any of these accessories in the next coming weeks. However, selecting these accessories from your mom’s favorite store or brand can make this gift choice extra thoughtful.

Something homemade

Any mom will appreciate the extra effort in a handmade gift. A cute idea would be to decorate a white picture frame with red stripes — these can be made with markers, paint, glitter, or even ribbons. For even more holiday cheer, consider gluing on fake holly at the corners. Then, insert a holiday photo of you and your mom. If something crafty does not sound too appealing, a homemade holiday meal would also be appreciated. Making your mom’s favorite meal or warm dessert on a cold winter day can be just as crafty and original!

Something Else

Every mom is different and will want different things this holiday season. While these are just some basic suggestions, you know your mom best, and you can choose whatever gift will make her the happiest!

Gifts for the Traveler, by Annika Olives

Wonder what to get the wanderer? Here are a few gift ideas for that traveling soul.

Polaroid Camera

There’s nothing like the instant gratification that comes from holding a picture as soon as you’ve taken it. Fujifilm is probably the most popular brand with cameras that cost around $50 and come in a variety of colors. Or, if your friend already has one, consider buying them some film ($15).


A sturdy backpack is an adventurer’s best friend. If you don’t want to put money down on a Fjallraven ($80), Herschel Supply Co. backpacks ($45) are on the more affordable end and just as trendy.

Portable Charger

Not the most exciting present but a necessary one nonetheless. Portable phone chargers can be found for as little as $6, while laptop chargers go for around $50.

Flight Cozies

Plane seats are often cramped and uncomfortable. Get them something to make the flight smoother, like a neck pillow ($25), blanket ($20), or eye mask ($6).

Passport Cover

Accessorize this necessary travel document — depending on the design, these can cost anywhere from $5-30. Etsy also offers some options for personalizing the design with your friend’s name or interests.

Gift Guide for Gym Enthusiasts,  by Fred Grier 

Another year abruptly coming to an end can only mean one thing it’s Christmas season. Aside from the beautifully decorated homes, hot-chocolate-drinking weather, and joyful Christmas music, this is the time where you can get overwhelmed trying to find the perfect gift. Choosing a gift that shows effort and uniqueness can be difficult. In the past I would often wait until the last minute to go gift searching, resulting in strain that could have been easily prevented if I started ahead of time. Life would be so much easier if we were able to walk into a store and find exactly what we need. Unfortunately, we are not always that lucky, so I composed a gift guide to help. Below you will find a guide geared toward gym enthusiasts because we all know someone special in our lives who appreciates fitness and wants to start off the new year healthier than the last. Happy shopping!

Hydro Flask: $30

Whether you are gift shopping for your great-grandma or nephew, one can not go wrong with a Hydro Flask. Taking the world by storm this year, it’s currently one of the most-demanded water bottles on the market. Its durability and insulation allow people to stay hydrated throughout the day and never in need to buy another bottle. You can purchase these at the UC San Diego Bookstore, Amazon, or any of the markets on campus.

Gym Wear: $50-70

No fitness fanatic can have too many gym clothes. Most people wait to buy new attire until their everyday wears can’t last another day making gym apparel an excellent gift choice. Due to the wide selection of different brands, it is easy to find great deals online or the local outlets, which will prevent you from overextending your budget. I recommend shopping at local stores like Ross Dress for Less, Marshalls, and Target.

Fitness Watch: $50, $100, $200

Want to gift that special someone a gift they’ll use and wear every chance they get? Fitness watches will do just that. Depending on your budget, you can find smartwatches that track calories, steps, and so much more. Recommended brands include Fitbit, Apple Watch, and Samsung. You can find these items available in stores like Macy’s, Target, and Apple.

Gym Bag: $40

Nothing is more annoying than having to carry all your belongings to each machine in the gym. A gym bag not only acts as a great solution for this, but many people might be in need of a stylish workout bag. They will thank you later for finally being able to throw out their old tote bag. Check your local sports store or Amazon to find the ideal bag.

Yoga mat: $20

Know someone who is tired of borrowing mats at the gym or practices meditation? Gift them a yoga mat to help make their lives easier. Its affordability and versatility make it an essential for any fitness lover. You can find yoga mats at most department stores and Amazon.

What to buy your fashion-forward friends, by Chelsea Santos

It’s safe to say that the archetype of that one friend who changes their outfit at least twice a day  exists. They love dressing up and are masters of the art of “flexing” their outfits 24/7. What’s better than giving them a gift this holiday season that’ll help them keep their ‘fit game strong?

For the streetwear-obsessed

Belt bags are a great option. Not only are they unisex, but they go with just about any outfit and aren’t too pricey, either. Or, get creative and DIY them their own hoodie using a plain one you can pick up at Target — add patches, iron-ons, and other embellishments to personalize an otherwise simple gift.

For the niche hipster

If they wear glasses, get them a new pair at Zenni Optical, where frames, complete with prescription lenses, start as low as $8. Thrift them a vintage tee from their favorite artist. The thrift store is your best friend. (And so is Urban Outfitters.)

For the skater

Camo pants are the thing of 2017 and will definitely continue into 2018. Skate shoes. The absolute sickest graphic T-shirt you can find on the Zumiez website. Thrift a windbreaker or a work jacket. Get creative — try thrifting something their style, and putting your own DIY twist on it.

For the athlete

Nike dri-fits and Adidas track pants are always appreciated. Be careful, though, some people are loyal to one specific brand. Unique pieces can be found at stores like Ross Dress for Less, Marshalls, and TJ Maxx, which are gold mines for designer items at lower prices.

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