Tips for getting perfect college Christmas presents

Take the stress out of gift-giving this holiday season with these helpful tips to make both you and your friends merry and bright.

If you’re searching for a way to purchase perfect Christmas presents for your friends without breaking the bank or going over the top, look no further — two MOVE columnists share their tips on making this gift-giving season easy and fun.

Columnist Katelynn McIlwain

1. Practical is the way to go No one knows your college friends’ needs better than you. For the most part, they’re doing most of the same things you are—going to class throughout the week, staying up late completing homework assignments and studying for that huge exam. Help them start out their spring semester right by choosing a planner that meets their aesthetic, a Starbucks gift card to keep the caffeine pumping, or some stress relief face masks to keep them cool and collected before those exam days. The struggle is real, but you can make the grind easier and maybe find something to treat yourself next semester in the process!

2. Gift cards, gift cards, gift cards I mentioned this above, but receiving a gift card is like someone handing you a wad of cash and telling you, “Here, now go and get yourself something nice.” I mean, maybe it’s not that glamorous or arguably cringy, but you see my point. Who doesn’t like free money to their favorite place? Sure, you may not know exactly what someone would like from a specific store, but there’s no need to feel ashamed—knowing their favorite store or restaurant is half the battle. Help your friends unapologetically enjoy what they love and pick up a fitting gift card at the store while you’re finishing up your Christmas shopping at Old Navy, Target or H&M.

3. Don’t be afraid to get sentimental You’ve probably spent the entire year making memories with your best friends and it’s always fun to take a trip down memory lane with a gift that comes from the heart. Use your talents to your advantage — write out a thoughtful list of why you appreciate them and put it against a decorative background. Give them a collage of pictures dated from January to December.

If you’re an artist, recreate a scene of your favorite memory with them on a canvas. A gift like this may even double as a nice decoration for their dorm or apartment. Get creative and show some love — your friend is bound to appreciate it and ultimately be reminded of why you are such great friends in the first place.

Columnist Sean Brynda

1. Picture Perfect If you really want to stand out in a crowd at parties, I recommend you give your friend a FujiFilm Instax Mini Camera ($50). You can usually find this camera at your local Best Buy or Target. This camera uses instant film and is a great way to look back on your college experience. Share some photos with your friends and they, too, will wish they had a camera to take pictures with their other friends. Instant film is a very gratifying way to share pictures with friends — you can even write captions on the bottom of each picture to remember what the occasion was for.

2. Rock Out When it comes to dorm life, students try to find a way to keep themselves occupied when not studying. Most students will spend time on their computers watching Netflix or playing games, but the most quintessential college tradition is playing music. Music is what shapes your college memories and music on the radio today plays for a mostly college-based audience. The best way to relax and share your tunes with your dorm-mates and friends is with the Anker Soundcore Speaker. This speaker releases top-of-the-line sound quality with no static and can play for 24-hours straight on a single charge. Plus, the Soundcore is much less expensive than JBL and Beats speakers — only $27.99 on Amazon.

3. Your Own Personal Assistant By the time students reach their sophomore year, most of them will move out of dorms and into apartments or their fraternity and sorority houses. After moving into one of the three places listed, life becomes a little harder to manage. Some people will forget which assignments they need to do and others may have to report to their part-time job to pay rent and student debt. Too many things can put you out of sync without a guide to help you along the way. The Google Home Mini could be the best way to get you on track once again. By setting reminders through the Mini, students are prone to stress out less. The personalized assistant can also help you out with your language problems if you are taking a foreign language class with its embedded Google Translate program. You can buy this through the Google Store, Best Buy, Target and Walmart ($29).

Edited by Siena DeBolt | sdebolt@themaneater.com

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