Cheap and easy solutions for holiday gift giving
Evin Morrison, The Oklahoma Daily
If you’re like me, the sound of jingle bells and holiday carolers instills a little bit of fear in your heart — fear of holiday gift shopping. You’re no longer at the age where you can slap together a homemade card and papier-mâché a Coke bottle into a “vase” and call it a day. But, you’re also not at the age where you can make it rain and buy all your loved ones everything their hearts desire.
To help you out of this considerable pickle, I’ve put together a handy holiday gift guide that any college student will be able to afford. So sit back, relax, and let the stress-free holiday shopping begin.
For the parents
Sadly, in high school I was considerably richer than I am now. One Christmas about four or five years ago I was able to buy my parents a hefty gift card to their favorite steak restaurant. Now, I would barely be able to afford a gift card to McDonald’s.
Lesson No. 1: when short on funds, go the sentimental route. My parents and I went on a family vacation to Europe last summer, so I’ve decided to give them a large framed copy of one of the best photos. They were just talking the other weekend about how they need to frame some of the pictures, so I know this idea is golden. Printing photos now is really cheap, and you can get a really nice-looking frame from Hobby Lobby or Target for a pretty decent price.
Unlike me, if you have siblings it may be a good idea to go for the expensive present and split the cost rather than each doing individual presents.
For the siblings
As an only child, I’m obviously no help in this category, but I assume it goes something like this: if your sibling and your best friend forever are one and the same, go to the “for the best friend” section. If you wish your sibling’s hair would fall out, go to the “for everyone else” section.
For the best friend
I say “best friend” here because those are the only people I’m buying stuff for – any other friends get stuck in the “everyone else” category (see below). Best friends are actually super easy to get presents for. They get that you’re broke – because they are too – and they would honestly probably be thrilled with a festive 24-pack of ramen. However, if you want to get a bit more creative, see the list below.
• Mix CDs
o You probably have a stockpile of cool songs you keep telling your best friend he/she should listen to. This is the perfect time to finally burn a crap ton of CDs and bestow your musical genius upon those around you.
• All-expenses-paid friend date
o This may be a better hit with the female BFFs, but offer to take your best friend out to dinner/a movie/the bar/bowling/whatever, with you paying for everything. In all likelihood you probably owe him/her $30 anyway, so really you’re just paying back your debt.
o Spring for the nice bottle of wine, the non-sketchy looking liquor or the fancy imported beer. Add a Taco Bell gift card to this assortment and you will automatically be named Friend of the Year.
• Something from the sale aisle
o Go to Target/Walgreens/Walmart/literally anywhere and peruse the sale aisle. Sale aisles (for the most part) still have really good stuff and someone like your best friend will appreciate the kitschy combo of nail polish, some pens and a half-off can of soup.
• Something they actually want
o If you really want to go for the Friend of the Year award and you listen to your best friend when he/she talks, then go for something that you know is actually on your bestie’s Christmas list. It doesn’t get any easier than that.
For the significant other
Buying a gift for your significant other might be the most complicated present you have to deal with this holiday season – how long have you been dating, how much money should you spend, etc. all go into consideration. Just don’t over think it, stick to the basics, and you should be fine.
• For the guys
o Something sports/exercise-related is usually a hit. Get him tickets to a Thunder game, those new sneakers he was drooling over or a month’s worth of sessions with a private trainer (warning: this could easily backfire).
o Books/movies/music are usually a sure-fire hit too. Package together new editions of some of his favorite novels, buy those last seasons of Breaking Bad that he’s missing or offer to illegally download/buy CDs or records of all those just-released albums he’s been dying for.
o Get his favorite food/drinks. One year – I kid you not – I bought my boyfriend a pound of brisket for his birthday. He didn’t stop talking about it for weeks.
o If you’re really strapped for ideas, buy him a sweater and tell him you can’t wait for him to wear it because it’s “soooo soft.” Job done.
• For the girls
o Girls are so easy to buy stuff for I literally can’t even stand it. Two words for you: gift cards. However, make sure you explain the reasoning behind the gift card (a.k.a why you know she likes this place) or it will come off as an extremely impersonal present that you made your mom pick out. Hint: do NOT get her a gift card to her favorite cupcake place. She will hate you for the rest of the month, guaranteed.
o Tell her you have a surprise date planned. Take her to a nice restaurant somewhere in Oklahoma City, shut your mouth through that girly movie she’s been dying to see and then … wait for it … take her skating at the Devon Ice Rink at Myriad Botanical Gardens. I can’t even tell you how many points you’ll score with this move.
o Diamonds are a girl’s best friend … but a nice bracelet from Antique Garden or Lucca works just as well.
For everyone else
The poor slobs who fall into the “everyone else” category are just lucky that you’re even thinking of them this holiday season. These are the people to whom you divvy out the Christmas cookies, $5 Starbucks gift cards or, if you really like them, mini bottles of hooch. Tie a ribbon around it and that less-than-thought-out gift is instantly festive.