Friday was my last day of classes for my last fall college semester ever. In true senior year fashion, I skipped my last lecture it to go Christmas shopping. Disclaimer: I urge no student to follow in my example.
As children, it was always so easy for us to compile a massive wish list of toys or things we wanted. But as an adult, the list is suddenly empty or very short. Logically, it seems strange. Shouldn’t we want more things as we grow older? But if we think about it, at this age we start dividing items into things we need and things we want. We also start learning that we don’t necessarily need the things we want, as they often clutter our spaces and minds. So when friends and family ask us what we want, we often don’t know how to answer, partially because we don’t know if we actually want the extra item and partially because the things we do want (a nice car, a house, a great job, a significant other) are not things that people can afford or possibly give us without some sort of magical power.
With an empty list of my own and best friends who are making my life just as difficult with their empty lists, I’ve compiled a little gift-giving guide* for this holiday season to help us all out for all different budgets and price ranges.
*Click on the text for links to some websites where you can find these items!
FOR THE GYM RAT FRIEND
We all have one, right? Lately, I’ve been trying to be a little gym rat myself as everyone else’s cuffing season proved to single me that it was time to start my cutting season. Here are a few things that have helped my gym rats and I throughout our workouts:
- CamelBak water bottle: $15-22
Most guys I know already own a blender bottle for their pre-workouts and protein shakes. But for those who just need a better water bottle, there is the option of getting a CamelBak. If you’ve never seen a CamelBak water bottle before, these water bottles have mouthpieces that serve as straws or only release water if you apply pressure to the mouthpiece or bottle. Not only does CamelBak’s technology prevent you from spilling water all down your shirt mid-workout, their products come in an array of designs, colors, and sizes. If your gym rat friend is also a sorority girl, you can even get them personalized with monograms of their name and/or sorority letters on many different websites for around $25-30 total!
- Phone/ID Running Armband: ~$10-13 If your friend loves his or her cardio workouts and long outdoor runs, this is the perfect gift! It can hold your phone, cards, ID, and even a key. The velcro band is adjustable and can fit arm sizes from Victoria’s Secret Angel to a bodybuilder.
- Yoga accessories: $9-70
For the yogi that loves to namastay-fit, there are many different things you can get her such as yoga blocks, a bag for her yoga mat, straps, or yoga towels. If you’re feeling generous, there’s always the option to get her a nice mat or some of her favorite yoga apparel from Lululemon, Athleta, or other brands. Around the holiday season, you can often find great deals in-stores and online.
- Wireless earphones: $30-199
When on the elliptical or treadmill, my worst nightmare happened once when I watched my earphone cord get tangled on something, causing me to fall face first onto the machine. After upgrading to the iPhone 7, I decided to just go all the way and get wireless earphones to avoid a catastrophe like that from repeating itself. Depending on your budget, you can find an array of great earphones. I splurged and purchased the Jaybird Freedom in white and gold and have never turned back since. Not only is the sound quality fantastic, you can control the EQ using their app. You can also wear the earphone over the ear or using their sweat-proof little wing to hook it into the crevice of your ear, preventing it from slipping during workouts. Other great picks are the Beats Powerbeats2 that hook over the ear and the Roam Ropes earphones that wear like a necklace.
FOR THE BOUGIE FRIEND
This is the friend that is always extra, always doing the absolute most. Gotta love them, but my gosh are they difficult to shop for! If your bougie friend is a stickler for name brands, my tip to you is as simple as this: Get them something (affordable) from their favorite brands, like a keychain for their keys/purse or accessories. If everything is ridiculously over-priced, find a dupe of it or hunt online and at outlet stores/websites for sales. If all else fails, there are always mini versions of things! Here are a few items you can get in sets and travel sizes for them to try out so they can decide if the items are worth the splurge:
- Candles: Jo Malone, Diptyque, etc.
- Perfumes: almost all brands have a rollerball size or set
- Any interior decor item that screams “I AM SO EXTRA LOOK AT ME OMG”: wall decor, mirrored trays, intricately designed candle holders, fluffy pillows, coffee table books that they would love, a statement jewelry holder similar to ones in fancy jewelry stores (Target has ones in gold), almost anything from Anthropologie’s home section, firefly lights
- Wine glasses/shot glasses that are uniquely shaped or engraved: who takes a normal shot when you can take a shot out of a mini mason jar or a mini teacup?!
- Glass decanter: nothing says you’re a bougie connoisseur like a decanter for your wine
- Sunglasses or hats that have a lot of character to their shapes and styles
FOR THE FRIEND THAT NEEDS TO GET HIS/HER SHIT TOGETHER
Whether this is you or a friend of yours, it’s never a bad idea to get things to help a person get organized!
- Planner: $10-30+ iCals are great, until you accidentally delete them. Sometimes, it’s better to have a physical planner as well. Luckily, there is one for every personality. Whether it’s a simple Moleskin from Target or planner from Paper Source, a floral Kate Spade design, a busy Lilly Pulitzer print, or a leather monogram, the link above gives you some ideas and places to order one.
- iRing: $20 We all lose our phones. We all drop our phones. We all try to prop our phones up to watch something as we are inhaling (sloppily) a burger or sandwich of some sort. Solution: iRing. They no longer have an excuse to not text you back because they lost their phone or dropped it and cracked the screen.
- Cell phone cardholder/wallet case: $6-25
These are life savors…as long as you don’t lose your phone! You can order plain, patterned, or personalized cardholders for your friend’s phone OR find a case that includes a wallet. Bonus points for you if it also includes a mirror!
- literally any clear drawer, bin, or rack from Muji or The Container Store
FOR THE FRIEND ALWAYS ON THE GO
For the friends who are often traveling for work, there are a few essentials they must always have that can be purchased at any price range starting at $10 from stores like Rite Aid, Target, TJ Maxx/Marshall’s to department stores, boutiques, and name brand shops.
- Toiletry set: Find sets that have travel size bottles to fill up with shampoo and conditioner as well as body soap or lotion.
- Travel size perfume/cologne: Whether this is getting them rollerballs or bottles and diffusers that lets them transport a bit of their favorite scents with them to their destinations, everyone needs one!
- Eye mask: zZzZzZz…
- Neck pillow: Nothing is worse than a neck cramp and drool stains down your white collared shirt before you get off the plane and speed towards a client meeting!
- Laptop case
- Wireless mouse
- Keyboard/case for iPads
- Mini comb or mirror
- Makeup/toiletry bag
FOR THE FASHIONISTA FRIEND
Sometimes, it’s difficult to get clothes or shoes for your favorite fashionista because it’s hard to tell whether the item’s style and cut will fit your friend properly. While you can take the risk and purchase it anyways, there are other meaningful gifts your friends would love:
- Books about fashion/by designers (these are just a few)
- 1000 Dresses: The Fashion Design Resource
- The Little Dictionary of Fashion by Christian Dior
- All in Good Taste by Kate Spade
- Smithsonian’s Fashion: The Definitive History of Costume and Style
- Fashion: A History from the 18th to the 20th Century by Kyoto Costume Institute
- Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty
Shoes: A Celebration of Pumps, Sandals, Slippers & More
- Limited edition accessories from their favorite designer (budget allowing)
- Fashion-themed coloring book for de-stressing
- Fashion-themed hanging or desk calendar
- Sewing/designing necessities: measuring tape, on-the-go sewing kit, etc.
- Jewelry making set: sometimes, the tools in this set help fix jewelry as well!
FOR THE BEAUTY GURU FRIEND
Beauty gurus are some of the easiest friends to shop for. Almost anything newly released, internet-famous, or in a palette will satisfy their cravings. Unless you know what specific product they want and can afford it, I would steer away from skincare or hair care products as everyone’s skin and hair type require different types of attention. These products are often more expensive as well.
In my previous post about Black Friday shopping, I mentioned Sephora, Ulta, and department stores being hot spots for holiday gift sets. Those sets are only continuing to pour out during the December shopping season! Here are a few of my favorites this year:
- The Perfect Bite Set: $25
- Tarte’s Tartiest Pro-to-Go Amazonian Clay Palette: $23
- Smashbox’s Try-It Kit of Bestsellers: $22
- Elizabeth and James Find Your Nirvana Rollerball Set: $28
- Nest Eau de Parfum Collection Coffret: $36
- Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance Palette: $42
- Urban Decay Full Spectrum Palette: $55
- Sephora Favorites Perfume Sampler: $65 with a voucher for 1 full-size perfume
FOR THE ~ARSTY~ FRIEND
Artsy-fartsy friends fall into many categories. Some are more into fine art, others applied art. Some are more into photography, others into working with materials like wood. During the holiday seasons these stores often have sales, as well as Michael’s or Blick Art Supplies. If your friend needs a new paint palette, some new brushes, or any specific supply, feel free to do some digging at an art store. If you know your friend might have a project coming up, blank canvases or new sketchpads are always a great idea! But, be sure you are getting them the right items they need, as the wrong item can be a total waste. If you have a friend who is on the more amateur or beginner level, here are some other ideas:
- Liquitex Acrylic Paint Set-24: prices varies $20-30
- Polaroid film in different colors or in bulk: $15-40
- Fujifilm Instax Mini 8 Polaroid camera: $61-90
- Fujifilm Instax Share Smartphone Printer (prints photos onto Polaroid film): $165+
- Strathmore sketchbooks, drawing pads, watercolor paper books, etc.: $6+
FOR THE PICKY FRIEND
Honestly, the picky friend rather pick out his/her own present. If you have a friend that is very particular about everything he/she buys, your safest bet is choosing something that is uniform all around OR to ask the friend to give you a few things on his/her wish list (this type of friend usually has one) so you can pick something off of there. Unless you come across something you know 100% is right up their alley, don’t take any risks!
FOR THE FRIEND THAT HAS EVERYTHING
On behalf of all of us, f*ck you.
I am totally kidding. If you have friends that has everything, the best thing you can do is to ask them if there is something they are running out of that you can help replace or something they are going to need in the future if they are graduating or moving. It is better to get a good gift that can be used than one that collects dust in the corner.
There you have it! My mini guide to holiday shopping this season. For those of you heading into finals week, I wish you the best of luck. I know I’ll need it. And for all of us, I wish us the happiest of the holiday season. May the odds of finding (and receiving) the perfect gifts (and grades) be ever in our favor! Bonne chance, mes chéries.