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Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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Last-minute gifts to help you avoid the ‘naughty list’ this holiday season

Illustration by Shveta Shah
The Daily’s compiled a list of accessible yet thoughtful last-minute gifts for college students with a limited budget and time.

Last-minute gifts are a common problem for college students whose finals eat into the typical holiday shopping period. Between caffeine-fueled spurts of essay writing and (hopefully) showering, there’s simply no time to surf the web for the perfect gifts for your hometown bestie, mom, dad, sister or whoever else made the cut. So, to avoid the naughty list, I’ve compiled a list of truly last-minute gifts (none of this Amazon overnighting business) to keep holiday spirits merry and bright.

Gifts you can ‘do yourself’:

Nothing screams “I put in effort” or perhaps, “I ran out of time to shop” than some classic DIY gifting. Not much money is needed for these gifts, just creativity, a crayon or two and some elbow grease.

  • For your mom (or your mom friend): DIY a nice homemade card to give them something they can hang on to for a while. This gift costs nothing but a few colored pencils and your time (depending on how crafty you are). To add some extra oomph, curate a nice bouquet of flowers (my secret tip is wrapping them in paper and some twine for that elevated, definitely-not-last-minute look). Bonus points if you can get a cute vase they can reuse. Price: depends on how artsy you get.
  • For the most sentimental person you know : Place an order at your local CVS and get your favorite photo of the two of you printed on some nice glossy paper. Slap it in a cute frame and call it a gift. Price: ~$7 for the photo depending on size and quantity, ~$6 for a cheap frame

For the dependable people in your life:

We all have that person who shows up for us no matter the circumstances — whether it’s your best friend or your mom. And, what says consistency more than a monthly subscription? For these gifts, no last-minute shopping runs are necessary. Place the order from the comfort of your own bed and let the Postal Service do the heavy lifting for you. 

  • For the consistent college caffeine addict in your life: Emma Chamberlain’s Chamberlain Coffee has a customizable subscription. Choose from her signature matcha, coffee or chai blends and set your own arrival frequency and quantity. Price: $15 – $40 per tin or bag.
  • For the friend you consistently catch sniffing candles in the home aisle at Target: Brooklyn Candle Studio has a Candle of the Month Club subscription. Set the arrival frequency at every one, two or three months and wait for a seasonal candle to show up at your friend’s door. Price: $35 per candle. 

Cozy gifts to warm up their winter: 

Depending on where you’re from, the holiday season can be brutally cold, and for those of us in Evanston, these Winter Quarter months are going to put us through the wringer. Here are some gifts for the people enduring these chilly months indoors. 

  • For your sib from another crib: You all have that one friend: the elf to your shelf, the North to your Pole, the egg to your nog. You get the gist. Give the gift of obnoxiousness and buy yourself and your soul sibling a pair of matching PJs. Matching sets are so in right now, so not only will you be helping the recipient beat the winter weather, but you’ll be doing it on trend, too. Hop on over to Target and peruse their selection — they never miss. Price: $40+ for you and your friend’s pajamas.
  • For the friend who always has room for a sweet treat: (See Gifts you can ‘do yourself”) Nothing says warm and cozy like hot cocoa. For this gift, pick up a cute mug at the store and stuff it with all the necessary hot cocoa-making fixings. Add in some hot cocoa powder or one of those fancy melty hot cocoa balls, some nice marshmallows, and, of course, top it all off with a candy cane for optimal sipping. If you’re feeling extra warm and bright, throw in a pair of fuzzy socks for while they enjoy your gift. Price: $15+ for mug and hot cocoa ingredients.

Of course, you could always claim college student status and explain to your mom that you didn’t get her a gift this year because you were too busy studying for your (insert class that will make your parents wonder why they’re paying for you to go to school) final … But why would you do that when you’ve got this guide right here? Happy gifting!

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @TabithaParent12

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