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12 Christmas Gifts That Won’t Break a Bank… And a Partridge in a Pear Tree

Christmas gift ideas for students

Students always have mile-long gift lists and meager budgets, so an old adage about “thought that counts” is relevant as ever. Still, there are only so many low-budget gifts that look great and aren’t useless – what if you have run out of ideas and ways to make people feel special and give you a smile when they tear off that gift wrap? Not to worry! Your favorite paper writing service will be Santa’s helper for you. Check out this list for ideas and tips on making even a cliché gift touching and thoughtful.

Mini Speaker

For a music lover, a speaker will always be handy. Tiny portable Bluetooth ones may not give the audiophile-level of sound. Still, they do improve rather flat smartphone-emitted noise, to say nothing about being louder. Plus, they are compact, practical, and can be carried around. They also come in various designs: sleek to cute to flashy. There are retro-radio replicas, neon-glowing party things, fabric-decorated minimalistic cubes, hamburgers, pug-shaped amplifiers, and whatnot – all within the $20 limit. There is even a water-proof wall-attachable model for those who sing their heart out in the shower. By the way, how much are those? Asking for a friend.

Scratch-Off Posters

This gift will look nice on the dorm room wall and give the recipient something to do for a long time. It’s practically a very long quest game. If your friend has a collector streak to them, definitely go for a scratch-off poster. The actual content is so varied that you can find anything for everyone. World map for globe trotters, books bucket list for avid readers, dates to go on, football teams, fish to catch, board games to play, albums to listen to, cocktails, coffee, and even cheese (I kid you not) to taste. Still, probably 100 Movies Bucket List is the most realistic scratch-off poster in times of pandemic. By the way, there is even an After Quarantine Bucket List, so you can send it as a gift to someone whom you cannot visit because of the travel restrictions.

A Board Game/Card Game

Speaking of board games, they make an excellent gift for a child in every one of us. Yet, now they are surging in popularity and relevance. We have had enough online activities cooped up in our homes or dorm rooms during the quarantine. Now we want to have fun the old-fashioned way – face to face. And what the best way to do it than to gather up and play a round or two. For the naughty one on your list, get a new edition of Cards Against Humanity. For a nice one, there is a family-friendly but equally funny version, Kids Against Maturity, or classics like Jenga, Trouble, or Risk.

Personalized Elf/Santa Hats

If you have a big crowd of friends and want everyone to receive a matching gift, which at the same time feels personal, I have a simple solution for you. Buy a bunch of elf hats and create a unique design for each one. Amanda Flickinger, a teacher each year facing the challenge of inventing gifts for the entire class of students, has a tip for you: “Use glitter puff paints to write their names. The kids freak out. They love them so much and don’t want to take them off!” Oh, and add a candy cane to each hat. Come holiday season, we all become kids at heart, so you can use this for your dorm party just as well. Festive mood and great photos guaranteed!

Cosmetic Ice Roller

Face rollers are in vogue on Instagram. If you know someone who is into beauty trends, this will positively make them happy. The rollers come in various shapes and sizes – from new-age-y rose quartz crystals to high-tech contraptions with ergonomic handles and detachable heads. They say this thing is great for puffy morning eyes – and that’s definitely an issue a sleep-deprived night owl has attending morning classes. Absolutely not speaking from personal experience.

Survival Card Wallet Multi-Tool

According to expert preppers, a multi-tool is an absolute must. Of course, robust and versatile models will set you behind $100 and more. Still, according to survivalist E.J. “Skullcrusher” Snyder, “There are many types to choose from to meet your needs and budget.” One of the more affordable options is a survival card that fits snuggly into a wallet or a cardholder. This little thing will be a thoughtful and caring gift for believers in the imminent zombie apocalypse. Plus, they will be able to have it always on their person, just in case.

Tea Lights

A cute and cozy addition to any home or dorm room, these little pieces can be surprisingly inventive in their shapes, colors, and even scents. That’s why they can be thoughtfully chosen to reflect your recipient’s taste and character. For a gardener on your gift list, pick succulent-shaped tea lights. For aroma enthusiasts – a scented set. For those into yoga and meditation – chakra set in seven colors for the right mood and ambiance. There are crystal tea lights with herbs and flowers for a witch in your life; candy-shaped sweet-scented for a foodie; flower-shaped and glitter-infused for an Insta-girl… The list goes on and on. Or, you can just pick a holiday-themed set to make sure they have some seasonal decorations

Handwriting Bracelet

Customized jewelry spelling a wearer’s name or the name of someone dear to them is always a great gift to your friend or lover. Yet, some sellers on Etsy have taken customization one step further. Now you can not only pick any phrase meaningful for you both but also make it in your own handwriting! This sentimental and unique piece of jewelry will make a perfect heartwarming gift for your mom, BFF, or significant other – and won’t break the bank!

Personalized Coffee Cup

You can’t go wrong with this practical and lovely gift for an eco-aware coffee lover. A reusable to-go cup can be made unique with foil designs, inscriptions, and prints of all shapes – either DIY or professionally customized. Add a portable, reusable drinking straw for a perfect combo. There are telescopic sticks that come with pocket-sized protective cases and a brush for cleaning to keep things hygienic.

Customized Coasters

Know a neat freak who hates cups circles? They will love this! Are you the one? In that case, give a set to your roommate. Anyway, coasters are a nice touch to interior design, giving it a finished and homely feel. What makes them great as a Christmas gift is their customizability! Print photos on them, so each in your little company will have their own coaster for parties, DIY a decoupage design, or get an upcycled record coaster set to make your friend’s digs hipper.

Screen Magnifier

What can be better than a phone stand that sets your hands free and lets you watch videos while having your lunch? A stand that turns your smartphone into a 12’’ screen! Students’ eyes are always tired with all the books and study notes. This nifty magnifier stand will allow them to relax. Plus, it prevents the tech neck. It’s also foldable, so whoever the lucky recipient is, they will be able to carry it with them to lectures, the library, or on field trips.

Heating Pad

Well, this one might sound unexciting, like something you would give your grandma. Yet this gift says, “I want you to stay warm even when I’m not there to bring you some cocoa.” It really shows love. And it goes in various designs – sensible to whimsical, so you can pick the one that goes best with the personality and style of the recipient. Even if heating is always perfect where they live (btw, tell me where it is – I’ll move!) and you don’t need this thing to warm bed sheets for you, it has so many applications! Soothing cramps, easing aches and pains (injuries to migraines), helping with sore muscles (for athletes out there), keeping your adopted kittens warm! Come to think of it, take two – you might want to have one as well.

See? Picking a gift that is practical, affordable, and brings joy isn’t an either/or situation. All you need is to give it some time to brainstorm and sift through the plentiful online stores’ offerings. Hope I’ve helped you with the first part at least. Happy ho-ho-holidays!

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